Andrea is an American expat living in Rome, Italy. She writes about life abroad, traveling, and travels with her little cat named Dolce. You can read about her adventures on Why Roam? and follower her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
Brussels is incredibly well located for travel, being two hours or less away by train from London, Paris, Amsterdam and Cologne, just to name a few major cities in surrounding countries. I spent two months in Belgium, and although my time was primarily spent along the Belgian coast and in the lovely city of Gent, I passed through Brussels on more than a few occasions.
I first arrived to Brussels by taking the train from romantic Paris, then caught a local train that carried me off to the sandy beaches along the Belgian coast. I went back to Brussels to catch the Eurostar to and from London for a quick birthday celebration trip. And I finally left Belgium through Brussels when I took the train to Amsterdam for apple pie, pancakes and a visit to the Anne Frank House.
The capital city offers plenty to see and do, but even if you only have a short time in Brussels, you can still get a good taste of the city - both figuratively and literally.
Here are my top 5 tips for things to do, see and eat when visiting Brussels.
The Grand Place (Grote Markt in Dutch) is the main square in Brussels. It's also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here you’ll find the city’s Town Hall, the Church of St. Peter, and lovely guild houses. All around the bustling square you will find many shops, restaurants and cafes where you can sample two of Belgium’s most famous exports, their fries, and their waffles. Try Fritland in the Grand Place for the traditional thick-cut fries, or if it’s a sweet waffle you’re after, head to Maison Dandoy.
This is a beautiful enclosed shopping arcade and well worth a stop off even if you’re not a huge fan of shopping. Instead, take a stroll under the glass roof and admire the storefronts. You can also find some of Belgium’s best chocolate for sale here in fantastic window displays. No trip to Belgium is really complete without a taste of their wonderful Belgian chocolate.
Rue des Bouchers is a charming walk through street lined with cafes and restaurants with tables spilling out onto the pavement. It’s a fun place to stop for a meal, or just to walk through and have a look at the menu items lavishly on display at the different restaurants.
The Royal Palace of Brussels is of course the official palace of the King and Queen of Belgium. You can walk right up to the gold accented gate and admire the manicured garden in front of the elaborate palace. While you’re there, head to the nearby Mont des Arts which offers one of Brussels' finest views. You can relax in the garden, or visit one of the many museums in the area if you have time.
Leopold Park was opened to the public in 1880. It’s a lovely hilly green space with a large pond. Stroll around or stop for a break and have fun watching the many geese and birds that call the park home. Leopold Park is also located next to the European Parliament meaning it’s also located in one of the city’s most famous and photographed neighbourhoods.
Images courtesy of Andrea Longcrier
Has Andrea convinced you to take a trip to the European capital? Have a look at our homestays in Belgium now.
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