If you find yourself strolling around cobbled streets sprinkled with chocolatiers, bars serving wheat beer and spot the iconic Atomium, then for sure you have landed in Brussels. The capital of Belgium and the European Union is not only the largest city of the country but is also bilingual with French and Dutch (Flemish) as the official languages. The metropolis gives due homage to it's glorious heritage with it's fascinating architecture and historical structures but at the same time is rapidly progressing and constantly evolving into a 21st-century cosmopolitan hub.
Any trip to Brussels is not complete without catching a glimpse of the legendary statue - Manneken Pis, showcasing a naked little boy urinating into a fountain basin. Dubbed as Europe's most bizarre building, one of the best-known landmarks housed in the city is the 102-meter-high steel and aluminium structure Atomium, a massive model of a molecule of iron magnified 165 million times. No time to tour all of Europe? No big deal for Brussels has brought the continent to your feet with this exquisite attraction: Mini Europe.Residing at the foot of the Atomium, this unique park will take you around Europe and all it's iconic structures in just few hours.
Belgium and chocolates are synonymous to each other. As the capital of the land of the chocolates, there is a delicious sweetness to Brussels that is not quite found anywhere else. Chocoholics, be sure to take a tour of the Museum of Cocoa and Chocolate. Highlights include learning about the history of chocolates as well as viewing how delicious pralines - luxurious Belgian chocolates, are prepared in a traditional hand-crafted method. Drop by at the House of The Belgian Master Chocolate-Makers ( Maison des Maitres Chocolatiers Belges) to marvel the work of 10 professionals who display superior and artistic chocolate craftsmanship. Chocolate lovers can even participate in a workshop and receive hands-on training as well as help themselves to mouth-watering and creamy hot chocolate.
Pop culture lovers will be interested to learn that Belgium gave the world: Tintin and Smurfs, two very popular comic series in the planet. Head over to the Belgian Comics Strip Center to learn more about the history of comics, originated from this nation. Several exhibits of the Adventures of Tintin as well as it's creator Georges Remi (Herge) are showcased that will surely delight Tintin fans. Children's comics such as Smurfs as well as comic art covering science fiction, wild west, crime and politics are also covered.
Experience the true charm of the city by taking a stroll around the maze of narrow cobbled lanes of Brussels Old Town that houses the renowned Grand-Place. The city's main plaza is characterized by it's elegant architecture of the guild houses coated with majestic gables, pilasters and balustrades, intricately-carved stonework and opulent gold decoration. History aficionados should take a walk around Parc de Bruxelles that is home to some of the most famous and extravagant buildings. Lying opposite the park is the Palais Royal (Royal Palace) which is still used as a royal office and for state functions. During summer, visitors can tour around the majestic Palace.
The magnificent Saint-Michel Cathedral and the spectacular Gothic church Notre-Dame du Sablon are well worth the visit due to their fascinating architecture and impressive interiors that leaves the tourists gasping in awe. The city is home to an array of museums that will surely please art & artifact enthusiasts such as the Belgian Royal Museums of Fine Art, Magritte Museum, BELvue Museum, Natural Sciences Museum and so forth.
Brussels is famous for speciality shopping such as chocolates, biscuits and macaroons. Those seeking to pick up creamy pralines can do so at Neuhaus Chocolate Outlet. Other souvenir shops residing around the Grand Place is a great place to purchase Manneken Pis corkscrews or traditional lace. Many high-end shopping complexes are located in the city but head over to small markets such as the popular flower market to experience the city in it's truest form.
It would be a shame to holiday in Brussels and not gorge into delicious Belgian cuisine. Dig into the scrumptious Moules-frites, crunchy French Fry and mouth-watering Belgian Waffles in any of the restaurants and cafes scattered around the city. Moreover, be sure to sip into refreshing locally-brewed beers in the many pubs and bars interspersed in the metropolis. Only found in Brussels, look out for a place that serves this special drink 'half-en-half" (half and half), a delicious concoction of white wine and champagne.
Brussels is home to an array of stay options that cater to the richie-rich seeking the best luxury hotels as well as provide comfortable and cheap budget accommodations and apartments who are light on the pocket.
Brussels experiences oceanic climate. The ideal time to visit the city is during July and August when the temperatures are pleasant and comfortable for a holiday.