Being able to drive from France to another country in less than 3 hours was an insanely unfamiliar experience for me. I live in South Florida where it takes about 8 hours to drive out of the state alone. This is what makes Europe so accessible… now let’s talk about what makes Brussels exceptional.
(1) First things first, eat a waffle. Street waffles are around 1 euro so go nuts or bananas. Just so you know, toppings usually cost extra.
(2) Head to the square (Grand Place) morning, afternoon, and night. It is different and beautiful at each time of day. Try to have a meal or drink in the square, but if you don’t want to spend money just toss your jacket down, sit awhile. So much life revolves around this square.
(3) A trip to Brussels is not complete until you’ve had a beer! Trying a Belgium craft beer is a must.
(4) You can have said beer at Delirium. This place is a perfect night out and gets pretty packed. There is a second bar upstairs if you want to order a drink without the pushing or waiting.
(5) If you want an easy day trip, Bruges is the place to go. It will have some more of the architecture you may have been expecting in Brussels and is just a short train ride away.
(6) Manneken Pis. I believe this monument was once voted the most underwhelming, but I loved seeing it every time I walked to the square. Go and be underwhelmed.
(7) Have some sausages and potatoes if you’re wondering what to order for a classic Belgium dinner.
(8) And can’t forget about those street fries! It may be a heart attack in your hand, so maybe just don’t eat it all – or do! To each their own. Just try not to stick with your normal ketchup topping, ask for the sauce that they are known for.
(9) If you can head to the European Union headquarters, they offer some tours. Any news watchers will immediately recognize the room where important EU decisions are constantly made.
(10) Also try and see the Atomium sculpture, it is a little ways away, but a very cool piece of history, constructed for an expo in 1958. To me, it looks exactly how it sounds. The structure is an iron molecule magnified 165 billion times.
It is also more than just something to look at. You can take a lift to the top and get a snack along the way. Escalators take you down where you can stop at different spheres along the way.
(11) Right next door is a “mini Europe” park with miniature reconstructions from Big Ben to the Eiffel Tower. You can see the monuments of Europe in under two hours.
(12) Visit the Basilica of the Sacred Heart while in Brussels. This is the fifth largest church in the world and is modeled after the Sacré-Coeur in Paris, but with a different take on colors and materials.
(13) Galleries Royales Saint Hubert is an enclosed shopping street. Only the very wealthy could go here back in the day. Now us peasants as well can walk through and do some shopping or visit the many chocolate shops lined throughout the walkway. I heard the chocolate was to die for, but don’t take it from me (I hate chocolate, yes yes I’m weird, I know) try it for yourself.
Next on the list… truthfully cannot remember, but I’ll have it figured out by next week. Till then.
by Ashton Anderson , Guest Contributer and travel expert