Brussels Travel Guide
If you are planning a trip to Europe, Brussels is a great city to visit for a few days. The city culture is influenced by French, Dutch, and German, but most people also speak English which makes it an easy place to be a tourist. Brussels is fairly small, so you don’t need more than 48 hours to get a real feel for the city. Here are some ‘pro’ tips to make sure you make the most of your time!
What to Eat
You'll find mussels on most café menus accompanied with frites. It’s a must-try while exploring the city plus it’s just fun to say, “Mussels in Brussels”. Noordzee – Mer du Nord is a foodie spot that both locals and visitors love. Located in Sainte Catherine, one of the most popular meeting points in Brussels, Noordzee – Mer du Nord is a fish bar famous for serving some of the best seafood in town. While touristy, one of the most famous places to order varieties of mussels is Chez Leon.
These are local gourmet, spiced cookies or biscuits. It’s as if you combined a biscotti and a graham cracker. These are great to dip in a hot drink like coffee or tea.
Belgium is known for its waffles so make sure to try one. They are so warm and fluffy and will undoubtedly melt in your mouth. Beware of the tourist trap stops that showcase all the waffles with different toppings in glass casing or in photos. Those are not authentic! Find your way to Mason Dandoy or Vitalguafre for the real Belgian waffle experience.
This is yet another culinary treat that Belgium has made a name for itself in. Seek out chocolatiers such as Leonidas, Café Tasse, Mason Dandoy, and Galler Chocolatier. You can find these scattered throughout the city but each location is slightly different so there is no judgment if you go into all of them. You should also check the local markets for a candy bar called ‘Cha-Cha’ which are only sold in Belgium.
Last but certainly not least -- Beer. From Trappist breweries to craft projects taking off there are an overwhelming amount of beers to try. For an authentic experience, consider avoiding Delirium alley as they lure tourists in with the promise of 500+ beers on tap. Delirium alley bars are run-down and there won’t be a single local in sight. Any small café or local bar will have just as robust a selection of actual Belgian beers. Try À la Bécasse, Daringman or À la Mort Subite who specializes in fruit-infused beers.
What to See
Between the museums, churches and even making your own chocolate, Brussels will have something that catches your eye.
- Autoworld incredible showroom of cards from all over the world dating back to the late 1800's.
- Manneken Pis is the famous statue of a boy peeing to save the city.
- Atomium is a landmark that was built to mark the 1958 world's fair. There, you can get an incredible view (and photo!) of the city.
- The Royal Palace is beautiful and does full tours in the summer.
- Saint Jacques-sur-Coundenberg Church has incredible architecture dating back to the 18th century.
- Cinquantenaire Museum is full of history dating back to prehistoric times with artifacts from 5 different continents.
- For the foodie in us all, chocolate making is a lot of fun. Laurent Gerbaurd is the place to go!
Julia Blanchard is a content contributor for JUGs by night, by day she works at Amazon on some of Alexa’s feature expansion programs. You can follow her @jcblanchard6 on Instagram.