5 Best Things About Brussels, Belgium

We were excited to check Belgium off our travel list and recently took an ‘Emptynestcation’ to visit Brussels and Brugge. It would be one of our first trips without kids – either kid – and we were looking forward to exploring as Empty Nesters.

Brussels is bursting with culture, history, food, and architecture and we were ready to soak it ALL in (especially the chocolate, beer, and waffles!)

5 things to do in Brussels, Belgium

When you visit Brussels there are lots of famous landmarks to explore, and the city is built for pedestrians, so it’s easy to get around. As the capital city of the European Union, Brussels is an important hub for international business, politics, and cultural exchange, so it’s bustling with activity.

Cathedrals - Gothic architecture in Belgium

If you’re looking for an exciting and unique travel experience, Brussels, Belgium is definitely worth considering!

Here are 5 things you cannot miss when you visit Brussels

1. Grand Place

Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium

This UNESCO World Heritage building is the central square of Brussels, and is overflowing with history, cafes and stunning architecture.

Grand Place in Belgium has stunning architecture

2. Sample Delicious Belgian Cuisine

fresh seafood in Brussels
Fish soup is a local delicacy and was PERFECT to warm us up since we visited in February!

Brussels is famous for its cuisine, including Belgian chocolate, waffles, and beer. You’ll find many opportunities to indulge in local specialties while exploring the city, and since Belgian chocolate is world-famous you have to try it!

3. Manneken Pis statue

Mannequin de Pis - Temporarily Lost!

This little bronze fountain statue of a boy peeing is a quirky and beloved landmark and is located in the historic city center, just a short walk from the Grand Place. It’s worth walking by for a giggle and to see what all the fuss is about.

4. Enjoy the Parks in Brussels

Parc du Cinquantenaire in Brussels

Take a wander through the parks and gardens of Brussels for a peaceful escape from the noise of the city. The Parc du Cinquantenaire and the Bois de la Cambre are located in the heart of Brussels and are the perfect place to rest, have a picnic or simply sit on the benches and enjoy the scenery.

5. Climb the Atomium

visit brussels, climb the Atomium

The Atomium building is an iconic landmark in Brussels and it features nine interconnected spheres, which are designed to resemble an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. Visitors are allowed to climb to the top of the Atomium to soak in panoramic bird’s-eye views of the city!

The Atomium building is an iconic landmark in Brussels

The walk to Atomium park was pretty long, but we really enjoyed seeing so many different neighborhoods along the way.

Brussels, Belgium: Hidden Gems and Insider Secrets

We wanted a bit of an adventure in Brussels. We didn’t quite know what to expect and wanted to make the most of our trip. Here a few questions we had and the discoveries we made.

What’s the best time to visit Brussels?

Spring (March to May) and fall (September to November) are ideal times to visit Brussels. The weather is pleasant, and there are fewer tourists, making it perfect for exploring the city. We went in the winter but it wasn’t that cold when we were there.

How do we get around in Brussels?

Brussels has a fantastic public transportation system. We used trams and the metro to get around, but you can also use the bus system. Purchasing a MOBIB card can give you a few days affordable travel.

Are there any Belgian cultural differences we should be aware of?

Yes, Belgians appreciate politeness. We made sure to greet in French or Dutch, depending on the area, with a simple “Bonjour” or “Goedendag.” Also, punctuality is valued, so we were always on time. We did find that English is spoken everywhere, but using Dutch or French was appreciated.

What traditional Belgian dishes should we try?

We couldn’t resist trying Belgian waffles and chocolates, and they were heavenly! We also enjoyed moules-frites (mussels with fries) and stoofvlees (a Belgian beef stew), which were delicious. And the mussels – in broth or not. The Moules Frites were wonderful with a dunkel or trippel-bock.

Aside from the Atomium and Manneken Pis, what are some must-see attractions?

There are less crowded places like the Royal Greenhouses of Laeken, and the Van Buuren Museum and Gardens. We enjoyed walking around and looking at different neighborhoods and architecture.

What souvenirs should we bring back?

We think there’s only one thing that everyone will love: Belgian chocolates. Get bars, get variety packs, and bring back bags of your favorites.\

 

Our trip to Brussels was filled with culture, history, and delicious food, making it a perfect destination for empty-nesters. Our adventure in Brussels was a reminder that our “new” life can be filled with new and exciting experiences. Brussels offers a unique blend of history, culture, food, and architecture. It’s easy to reach and quite central, making it the perfect location to start your European travels.

Are you planning to visit Brussels with your spouse?

Let me know in the comments below, and join me on Instagram and Twitter!

About The Author

Samantha

I’m a travel and health writer, digital brand consultant, breast cancer survivor, and supermom to two boys! I keep it real and share stories of raising an active family, life after a cancer diagnosis, and family travels around the world! Each story is shared with my dry, and sometimes naughty sense of humor.

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