Brussels

Brussels (French: Bruxelles, Dutch: Brussel) is the capital of Belgium and one of the three administrative regions within the country, together with Flanders and Wallonia. Apart from its role within its country, it is also an internationally important city, hosting numerous international institutions, and in particular the core institutions of the European Union.

218 things to do

All Places Belgium



Atomium

Unavoidable icon of Brussels and Belgium, important place for international tourism, unique creation in the history of architecture and emblematic vestige of the World Fair in Brussels (Expo 58) the Atomium continues to embody its ideas of the future and universality, half a century later. In its cultural programme it carries on the debate of 1958: What kind of future do we want for tomorrow? Our happiness depends on what? Its recent renovation in 2006 gave its original brightness back, and the new equipments guarantee its durability. Five of the nine spheres are open to the public (so they say, but not really true). One of them is housing a permanent exhibition dedicated to Expo 58 (just some small models of some countries pavilions). Another sphere is dedicated to temporary exhibitions with scientific themes (often closed when there is no exhibition). The upper sphere offers spectacular views of the city of Brussels. When the sky is clear, the view reaches till Antwerp. There is a "kids zone" sphere which staff will happily direct you to even though you can never go in, it is only open to touring schoolchildren, and there is nothing inside except places for kids to sleep. In truth there are only three spheres: the top (restaurant), middle (snack bar) and bottom; the only thing to see really is the view; rather expensive at €11. The restaurant, also situated at the top, is open every day till 11PM At night, the nine spheres are lit up with 2,970 lights that offer a very special show. To enrich your visit: audioguides in EN (but also in F, NL, ES, IT and RU) are available at the cash desk for €2. Visio-guides are also available (€2) for the deaf and hard of hearing people. In August 2010, a zip-line was available from the top of the tallest sphere (102m); the "Death Ride" (run by former members of the Belgian Special Services) is a separate €25, and offers a rather unique view of the insides of the Atomium and the surrounding city.


Royal Museum for Central Africa (RMCA)

The Museum is home to some truly remarkable collections. Its collection of ethnographic objects from Central Africa is in fact the only one of its kind in the world. It also contains the entire archives of Henry Morton Stanley which are of great historical value. The actual state of the museum makes it some kind of "museum in the museum" Apart the new (or newish) sections about the Congo River and the colonial period (with some ambiguous statements about the Belgian role), the structure of the museum seems to have been "frozen" 50 years ago. Casing, labels (largely almost nonexistent or vanished), (dis)organization of the collection in homogenous topics, especially in the ethnographic section, reflect those of a museum conceived a century ago and never updated since. Labels, where available, are in Dutch and French only in the permanent exhibition. In fact, '''the museum is closed''' to mend these issues and will reopen after major renovations of buildings and exhibitions about 2017. The audio-guided farewell tour "Uncensored" (€7, including permanent exhibition access) temporary exhibition (largely embedded inside the permanent exhibition tour) digs deep in the history of the museum. In some ways, it is a pity that in the future we will get a more enjoyable and interesting museum, but we will soon loose this unique remainder of the old age of museums.



Manneken Pis

Just a short walk from the Grand Place-Grote Markt is the Manneken Pis, a small bronze statue thought to represent the "irreverent spirit" of Brussels. This is a statue of a child urinating into a pool. Belgians have created hundreds of outfits for this statue. There are many stories of the statue's origins. It is believed to have been inspired by a child who, while in a tree, found a special way to drive away invading troops. Another story goes that a father was missing his child and made a declaration to the city that when he found him he would build a statue of him, doing whatever it was that he was doing. It has also been said a witch turned him to stone for peeing on her property. Yet another story goes that Brussels was under siege and enemies had planted explosives in the city; a boy saw the lit fuse and urinated on it, preventing the explosives from blowing up thus saving the city. The most likely scenario is that it was the location of the market for urine, which was used for its ammonia content to tan leathers. None are definitively true. In 1747, Louis XV's soldiers stole the statue, upsetting many of the city's residents. Louis XV made it up to the city by giving the statue a medal of honor (so that he must be saluted when French soldiers pass by) and by giving him an outfit. He now gets dressed up on special occasions.

SEE   —  Map

Musées Royaux des Beaux Arts de Belgique - Koninklijke Musea voor Schone Kunsten van België

Features both historical art and modern art in the one building. In a vast museum of several buildings, this complex combines the Musée d'Art Ancien-Museum voor Oude Kunst and the Musée d'Art Moderne-Museum voor Moderne Kunst under one roof (connected by a passage). The collection shows off works, most of them Belgian, from the 14th to the 20th century, starting in the historical section, with Hans Memling's portraits from the late 15th century, which are marked by sharp lifelike details, works by Hiëronymus Bosch, and Lucas Cranach's Adam and Eve. You should particularly seek out the subsequent rooms featuring Pieter Brueghel, including his Adoration of the Magi. Don't miss his unusual Fall of the Rebel Angels, with grotesque faces and beasts. But don't fear, many of Brueghel's paintings, like those depicting Flemish village life, are of a less fiery nature. Later artists represented include Rubens, Van Dyck, Frans Hals, and Rembrandt. Next door, in a circular building connected to the main entrance, the modern art section has an emphasis on underground works - if only because the museum's eight floors are all below ground level. The collection includes works by van Gogh, Matisse, Dalí, Tanguy, Ernst, Chagall, Miró, and local boys Magritte, Delvaux, De Braekeleer and Permeke. Don't miss David's famous "Death of Marat."



Musical Instruments Museum

The museum houses more than 7000 instruments, from all times and all over the world. The museum’s reputation is built on its extraordinary collection. The exhibits are displayed on four different floors featuring a wide range of instruments from all time periods and areas of the world. The MIM is a place to experience music. An infrared headphone system allows each visitor to enjoy the sound and melodies played by the instruments presented. The restaurant on the roof is also famous because of its panoramic view over Brussles. You need around 3 or 4 hours to really enjoy the whole museum, make sure you have enough time! The ornate façade of the building was decorated as such to promote the work of local tradesman and to protest the loss of jobs due to automation.


Musée Royal de l'Armée - Koninklijk Museum van het Leger en van de Militaire Geschiedenis

The Belgian Army Museum and Museum of Military History occupies the north wing of the Palais Cinquantenaire. It provides an overview of the development of military technology and of the major campaigns fought on Belgian soil. The museum has three principal sections: Belgian military history (documents, uniforms and weaponry from the Middle Ages to the present day, including a most comprehensive collection of medieval arms and armor); the Armored Vehicle Hall with artillery, tanks etc. from the two World Wars; and the Air Section (Brussels Air Museum) with a collection of aircraft from World War I onwards. The Brussels Air Museum's high point is its collection of original aircraft from World War I.



Cantillon Brewery

The last traditional gueuze/lambic brewery in Brussels, Cantillon still uses natural yeast fermentation (not injected like almost every other beer). The lambics and gueuzes are made in original style with no sweetners or syrups added. Only 100% bio (organic) and natural fruits are used creating a distinctly sour drink. This museum-esque atmosphere is still a functioning brewery. The tour includes two small glasses of lambic and gueuze, and if you've never had a natural beer before, then you will be (pleasantly) surprised by the taste. An absolute must for beer lovers, save room in your luggage to take bottles back with you!


Le Tavernier

''445 Chaussée de Boondael-Boondaalsesteenweg'', While all the above locations are situated downtown in central Brussels, this location is the most popular bar on a strip of bars right by the Cimétière d'Ixelles-Begraafplaats van Elsene. It's location right off the student campus make it extremely popular with students who just want to kick back and have a few relaxed drinks. Note on certain nights there is also live music (making the establishment a lot more hectic). Worth a look especially towards the beginning and end of the academic year and in the summer (especially for their Jazzbreaks nights).

DRINK   —  Map


Neuhaus

A bit more expensive than Leonidas and a bit higher quality. Very popular with the locals as well. It is also possible to get good discounts by buying directly at the shop outlet outside of the factory (Postweg 2, 1602 Vlezenbeek, tel: +32 2 568-23-10) which is just on the outer limits of Brussels, just a short walk away from the Erasme/ Erasmus metro station. Prices can go as low as €10 per kilo, however only the products that are specifically marked as having reduced prices are worth the trip, other products have the exact same price as in local shops.

BUY   —  Map

Crystal Lounge

This prestige location, nestling in the heart of the Louise district in Brussels, offers a new style of Lounge Bar – Restaurant entirely dedicated to the well-being of its guests. The service, the musical atmosphere and the lighting… everything has been carefully thought out to offer a unique experience depending on the time of day: if the client chooses a table at midday, he will discover a totally different Crystal Lounge from the one he would find sitting at the bar in the evening, or in a salon in the middle of the afternoon.

DRINK   —  Map

Red Light District

Just like Antwerp and Amsterdam, Brussels also has its own Red Light District. It is located mainly in Rue d'Aerschot/ Aarschotstraat, behind the North Train Station. Contrary to The Netherlands, prostitution is NOT legal in Belgium, they exploit a loophole in the local legislation presenting brothels as "bars". Do not expect to actually get a drink in there though. Despite heavy police presence, it still remains a fairly seedy area, not the kind of place where you'd want to walk alone at night.

SEE   —  Map

Musée du Cinquantenaire - Jubelpark Museum

Part of the '''Musées Royaux d'Art et d'Histoire (MRAH) - Koninklijke Musea voor Kunst en Geschiedenis (KMKG)''' (Royal Museums of Art and History) group of museums. This museum has an important collection of art objects from different civilizations from all over the world. The museum was founded in 1835 and was located in the Hallepoort/Porte de Hal, one of the last remaining medieval city gates of Brussels. The gate is still operated as a separate museum by the same museum foundation.


Maison Antoine

Tasty fries with a large collection of sauces situated on a square close to the European Parliament. You can eat your fries (''frites'') in one of the several bars/cafés that carries the sign ''frites acceptés''. Vegetarians be careful. Fries are cooked in Beef fat. Although this place has a very good reputation which can be guessed from the long line of people waiting to be served, purists will tell you that is certainly not the best place in town to get your fries.

EAT   —  Place Jourdanplein

Grand Place-Grote Markt

Surrounded by the city tower and a range of beautiful 300 year old buildings. In the evening, surrounded by bright lumination, it is simply ravishing. Some evenings a music and light show is provided with the buildings serving as a canvas. Have a "gaufre de Liège-Luikse wafel" here (Belgian waffle with caramelized sugar)—the best ones are available from the little shops off the northeast corner of the Grand Place-Grote Markt. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

SEE   —  Map

Eurostar

The Eurostar train line links Lille Europe (0h39, €22+), Ashford (1h38, £32+) and London St. Pancras (1h51, £32+) with ''Midi/Zuid''. Some Eurostar tickets are also valid for domestic train travel within Belgium for 24h from the time of the Eurostar ticket. Check in the bottom left hand corner of your ticket to confirm this. A €7 service fee will be added for both telephone and in-person bookings (doesn't apply when booking over the Internet).

OTHER   —  +32 2 528-28-28 —  Map

Christmas market

240 wooden Christmas chalets line the streets looking like gingerbread houses, twinkling with fairy lights and covered with ‘snow-top’ roofs. The chalets sell a variety of Christmas items, decorations, gifts and Christmas season food (including "vin chaud/gluhwein" mulled wine). Activities include a skating rink, a Ferris wheel, and ice dinosaur monster (admission fees). Brass bands, free performances and ice sculptures are also on display.


Musée du Cinema/Filmmuseum

Is part of the Centre for Fine Arts and features a carefully chosen selection of contemporary and classic arthouse films. The best thing about this isn't just the building (due to be restored soon) but also the fact that the entrance fee is cheap. So if you can't live without your dose of Werner Herzog or Jan Svankmajer fret not - this place won't cost you an arm and a leg. ''Royal Film Museum, 9 Rue Baron Horta - Baron Hortastraat''.

DO   —  Map

Belgian Comic Strip Center

Located in Europe's earliest Shopping-Mall (a shiny Jugendstil/Art Nouveau palace). There is a permanent exposition featuring the early beginning of comics as well as it's development. There is enough room for other varying expositions. The bookshop at the ground floor sells many different comics. A readers' library operates on the ground floor, where, for a low entrance fee, you can read many different comic books and buy fries.


Parc du Cinquantenaire-Jubelpark

Definitely check out the '''Arc de Triomphe-Triomfboog''' on the east side of town. It's in the Parc du Cinquantenaire-Jubelpark. It is possible to go up to the terrasse above the arch, from where you'll have a good view of the city. Entry is through the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and of Military History and is free. Take Metro line 1 east, exit Schuman and walk east or exit Mérode and walk west.

SEE   —  Map

Delirium Cafe

Right in the centre of Brussels within a five-minute walk of the Grand Place. This bar is all about the beer, even holding the 2004 Guinness world record for most beers available with 2,004 beers in 2004 (now 3,162 beers, according to their website)! Popular among foreigners. There are some smoke-free areas. Also next door are three different bars specialising in rum, tequila, and absinthe.


Abbaye de Forest

The benedictine abbey was built as a priory to women in the 12th century and expanded many times in the following century as it gained importance. The downfall came in the 18th century, when a fire ravaged the convent and later the aftermath of the French Revolution led to its suppression. The remaining building complex has been restored in the 1960s and serves now a community centre.

SEE   —  Map

Musées d'Extrême-Orient - Musea van het Verre Oosten

Intriguing complex of three buildings in the Laaken area, not far from the Atomium. They comprise a Japanese tower, a Chinese pavilion, and a museum of Japanese art. The architecture and decor may seem over the top to today's tastes, but there are some outstanding examples of Chinese export porcelain, and rotating exhibitions of Japanese artefacts from the Edo period (1600-1868).


Mamma Roma

3 shops: Flagey (Chaussee de Vleurgat-Vleurgatsesteenweg 5), Chatelain/Kastelein (Rue du Page-Edelknaapstraat 5) and Place Jourdan/Jourdanplein. Small pizzeria for eat-in (bar-style seating) or takeaway, sold by weight. Delicious crunchy base and some unusual toppings (one was spicy with walnuts, very tasty). Long queues but speedy service, deals available for pizza + drinks.

EAT   —  Map

Offscreen

A showcase for unusual, independent and unreleased films, cult classics, extraordinary documentaries and offbeat genres from around the world. Takes place during the month of February and/or March in co-production with '''[http://www.nova-cinema.org/ Cinema Nova]''' and in collaboration with the '''[http://cinematek.be Film Museum of the Royal Belgian Film Archive]'''.

DO   —  Map

Bozar Music

Concerts in almost a dozen venues, both at the Centre for Fine Arts and elsewhere in Brussels, with Western classical music from the Middle Ages to our times, as well as non-European classical music, traditional music, jazz, blues, rock, etc. in a great variety of line-ups and genres, from chamber ensembles to big bands, from recitals to concert performances of opera.

DO   —  Map

Hortamuseum

The home of noted Belgian ''Art Nouveau'' architect and designer Victor Horta. Seeing where he lived and worked is a great way to get an introduction to the art nouveau style in Brussels. It is one of four Horta works to be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It can be very busy on rainy Sundays and the queue is outside, so don't forget your umbrella.


The Fuse

A nightclub where it all started and is a Brussels institution. Be sure to check it out. Popular among the young people for its Electronic scene, often having Dubstep and Drum & Bass nights, such as ''Rockme On Electro'', ''Cartel'', ''F*ckin Beat'' or other parties. (Watch out for these other parties in nights spread out in other smaller clubs in Brussels).

DRINK   —  Rue Blaesstraat 208

Natural Sciences Museum of Belgium

The museum is well-known for its famous collection of iguanodons (dinosaurs discovered in a coal-mine in Belgium). The dinosaur collection has been refreshed in October 2007 and includes discovery activities for the children. The other parts of the museum are also interesting, as an exhibit of all animals that live in our houses and a collection of mammals.


Statue of Europe

Also referred to as Unity in Peace, this sculpture symbolises peace through European integration, while at the same time aiming to demonstrate the motto of the European Union (EU), United in Diversity. It is located in the garden of Convent Van Maerlant (the library of the European Commission) Van Maerlant street, in the European Quarter of Brussels.

SEE   —  Map

Brasserie Verschueren

Something of an institution in hip Saint-Gilles. Under the watchful eye of the portly, bearded deep-voiced owner, hipsters, starving artists and local poodle-brandishing ladies mingle and drink endless beers and coffees. A beautiful woodwork football tableau shows the scores of some long lost second and third division teams from yesteryear.


Musée du Transport Urbain Bruxellois-Museum voor het Stedelijk Vervoer te Brussel

Old trams are regularly used to link the museum to one of Brussels suburbs, Tervuren, through a very nice wooded area. The trip is especially pleasant on a sunny day. From the end station in Tervuren you can go to a nearby old train station that has been converted to a bar and small restaurant named Spoorloos (literally "without tracks").


Waffle Workshop

Learn how to make the best Brussels Waffles during this 90' hands on activity! Everything is provided: assistance from start to end, all ingredients, toppings(chocolate, cream, fruits, nutella,...), cookware, take home recipe, a free drink and as many waffles as you can eat! Great for team buildings, stag/hen parties, families & friends.


Brasserie De l'Union

This is a place with a true "atmosphere", wooden chairs and tables, big old wooden bar, a crowd that reflects the diversity of Saint-Gilles. Everybody is welcome and come as you are. This is a bar that just oozes human warmth and a comfortable ambiance. When the sunny days are coming, the terrace is one of the best in Saint-Gilles.


Gays and Lesbians

The two biggest monthly gay clubs remain at La Demence at the Fuse. 100% House & Trance. Don't miss the crowded (but super small) Le Belgica bar, which plays house music. There are quite a lot of gay bars easily recognisable by their flag around the Grand Place area, especially on the street Marché Au Charbon/ Kolenmarkt.

DRINK   —  Map

Bier Circus

Has an impressive selection of beers, including some extremely hard to find beers. Examples of rare beers they have in stock, are Lam Gods (a delicious beer brewed from figs) and the rarest of the Trappist beers, winner of the Beer of the Year 2005, Westvleteren. Also offers meals with beer as an ingredient.


Thalys

The high speed Thalys train connects Brussels with Cologne (1h52), Paris (1h20) and Amsterdam (2h00). It is much cheaper to book further in advance. With your Thalys ticket you can also take a local train to or from ''Central-Centraal'', ''Nord-Noord'', ''Schuman'' and ''Luxembourg/Luxemburg''''' stations.

OTHER   —  Map

Cinema Nova

Is an independent-to-the-bone cinema showcasing the more esoteric side of cinema - films which would not be shown elsewhere are generally shown here. A Korean Ultraman rip-off, a Pakistani documentary or a bleak Chilean cinema vérité flick? Only at Nova. ''Nova Cinema, 3 rue Arenberg-Arenbergstraat''.

DO   —  Map

Belga Queen

''Rue du Fossé aux Loups-Wolvengracht 32''. A restaurant within an old, restored bank building. Has an oyster bar, gorgeous bathrooms (with strange stall doors), and a cigar bar housed in the old bank vaults. A good looking younger crowd seem to enjoy this place, and don't miss the offbeat restrooms.

EAT   —  Map

Audi factory

The former ''Volkswagen Vorst'' factory is, as of 2015, the sole production site for the Audi A1. It offers 2-hour guided factory tours in Dutch, English, French and German at different times of the day. Reservations are required in advance via an online applications and availability is limited.

SEE   —  Map

Cinema Wellington

Located in downtown Waterloo with French, Flemish and English spoken films as well as French and Flemish subtitles. - Screencasts most mainstream American films as well as French movies. ''The Wellington Passage - Chaussée de Bruxelles 165, 1410 Waterloo, tel: +32 2 3549359, +32 2 3549359''

DO   —  Map

Arcadi

A quirky combination of old and new, the menu ranges all over the place but the reason people flock here is the selection of over 30 sweet and savoury pies (''tartes''). A slice big enough for a meal, served with salad, costs €7-7.50. Also current special of cafe & slice of pie for €5.


Mappa Mundo

One of the many trendy bar/cafés located on the popular Place Saint Géry-Sint Goriksplein. You are assured good drinking in at least one of these establishments, which are very popular with younger Eurocrats, foreigners and interns, giving them a rather friendly cosmopolitan character.


Beer experience in Brussels

One hour interactive & fun course on beer & Belgian brews. Learn everything you always wanted to known about beer & more. Get to meet other travelers and taste 5 beers for free! That's the fastest way to become a beer snob. Booking is compulsory either on our website or by phone.


Architectural tours

Atelier de Recherche et d'Action Urbaine, a Francophone Brussels heritage conservation group, runs tours of the city's architectural gems, offering a variety of theme tours to Art Nouveau buildings, Art Deco houses, the EU quarter, the Grand Place area and the Marolles/Marollen.


Chez Léon

Rue des Bouchers-Beenhouwerstraat 18. Now franchised into France as well, this is the original and while it's huge and looks like a tourist trap, the ''moules'' are excellent and it's packed every day. Moules, beer and a starter will set you back €25, and kids eat for free.

EAT   —  +32 2 511-1415 —  Map

UGC De Brouckère

This is the most centrally located UGC in Brussels. Another UGC exists in Ixelles. As far as programming goes it's the usual Hollywood and mainstream European fare you'd expect from any other UGC in Europe. ''UGC De Brouckère, 38 Place De Brouckère - De Brouckèreplein''.

DO   —  Map

Flagey

The old broadcasting headquarters and now houses the regional TV station [http://www.tvbrussel.be/ TVBrussel]. It labels itself 'the sound and images factory'. Quite an apt description arthouse films, theatre pieces or world-renowned musicians are all featured here.


BXL Cafe/Bar

A stylish, friendly internet cafe in the center of Brussels. Offering high speed internet access, occasional live music/DJ, latest movies shown on video screens around the bar, regular art exhibitions. Gay friendly space with women's night every Wednesday from 8PM.


Stoclet/Stokkel House

Several turn-of-the-century houses and manors can still be seen today, such as the '''Stoclet/Stokkel House''', a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which was built between 1905 and 1909 on a design by Josef Hoffmann and contains mosaics and paintings by Gustav Klimt.

SEE   —  Map

Youth Hostel Van Gogh (CHAB)

Good location, near Brussels North Station, quick access to all train stations via metro and airport. Very clean reception, friendly staff, and lively bar with good ambience which stays open late. Rather basic double rooms (toilets in rooms with no doors).


Bibliotheca Wittockiana

A museum that is dedicated to the art of binding books, with one of the most prestigious bookbinding collections in the world. Quite interesting. A discovery of forgotten discipline. Amazing use of materials, that unexpectedly gives room to innovation.


Intercity from Luxembourg

An hourly Intercity train from Luxembourg (3h07, via Arlon, Libramont, Namur) connects to ''Midi/Zuid'', ''Central'', ''Nord/Noord'', ''Schuman'' and ''Luxembourg/Luxemburg'' stations. You don't need a reservation. A weekend return ticket costs €41.60.

OTHER   —  Map

À La Mort Subite

Rue Montagne-aux-Herbes Potagères-Bergstraat 7. This is the Brussels cafe par excellence. Opened since 1927, the decor remains unchanged but still retains its charm. A warm welcome greets the eclectic clientile of which La Mort remains a firm favorite.

DRINK   —  Map

Use-it

Excellent information provided by young locals, and this central office has nice facilities, free coffee and free wifi. The best source for solo travelers. Maps and information about the European Use-it network. Free walking tour every Monday at 2PM.


Belgian Lace

among the best in the world. Several shops are located at the Grand' Place-Grote Markt itself. Beware of some shops that sell Belgian lace even though production was outsourced abroad. Ask for a country of origin if purchasing around Grand Place.

BUY   —  Map

Bozar Cinema

Has showings of quality films for the general public, a special series for Young Film Fans (in the Henry Le Boeuf Hall), and cross-fertilising events that explore connections between cinema, video, and the other arts (Terarken rooms, Horta Hall).

DO   —  Map

GB/Carrefour

Branches around the city carry a wide variety of beers, including almost all Trappist beer. Selection varies by store. The GB in Grand Place has a large selection and offers prices that are approximately a third of the prices in tourist shops.

BUY   —  Map

Le Beau Soleil

This tiny restaurant (approx. 14 seats) looks like a violin workshop, so you sit next to all the tools and half finished violins. Unlike other Belgian restaurants. The menu is small but really delicious. The atmosphere is informal and friendly.


Citadines Sainte-Catherine Brussels

The residence is complete with an indoor garden and fountain. All 169 studios and apartments have a bathroom with separate toilet, a fully-equipped kitchen area with stove and WiFi. 5 apartments are equipped for people with reduced mobility.


Brussels Pub Crawl

Free welcome beer, mini beer tasting, party guide, massive drink discounts and a hell of a night for just seven euro! The tour starts at 9:30PM and finishes after 1AM. We visit 4 bars/club in 3 hours. Book on our website or just show up.


Beer Mania

Claims to have a stock of over 400 beers, but has been overrun by beer tourists. The stock is extensive, but quite pricey in comparison to GB, Delhaize, or Carrefour. Beer Mania is a great place to find out of the ordinary beers.


La Friterie de la Barrière

Golden and crispy frites just the way they should be. This exterior of this fritkot also serves as mini-museum with several tracts, articles and other literature on the fronts and sides of the shack on the good ol' Belgian frite.


Hydra-breaks

Organises "Hydra Sessions" and also "Next Level" and "Caliente" drum and bass parties at various locations. Hydra Sessions are major D&B nights with international headliners such as Pendulum, Spor, or Raiden, along national djs.

DRINK   —  Map

Courtyard Brussels

Positioned between a housing and a commercial area, close to NATO and reasonably close to the airport. Quality furnished spacious rooms, cold breakfast is good but cooked breakfast questionable. Underground parking available.


Citadines Toison d'Or Brussels

The residence offers two types of stay: a rented flat or the prestige option. Each studio and apartment in the self-catering accommodation houses a bathroom with a separate toilet, a fully-equipped separate kitchen area


Bozar Expo

Has many exhibitions every year, in cooperation with the most prestigious international institutions, alternating the great collections with contemporary art, various national heritages, and support for young artists.

DO   —  Map

Marché du Midi - Zuidmarkt

One of the largest markets in Europe, with a strong North African influence. A great source of fresh fruits and vegetables, and the prices drop to dirt cheap by 13:30. Also a wide selection of clothes and other items.

BUY   —  Midi/Zuid station

Snack Pizzeria Porte de Halle

The gentlemen running the place speak a little bit of English and serve the best donar kebap and pizza in the neighborhood. The #39-Pizza Porte De Halle is probably their best pizza. Free delivery on orders over €10.


Izy

Izy is a subsidiary of Thalys marketed as low cost. Trains are only available on the Paris-Brussels route and there are less departures than for other operators, but prices can be the cheapest of all train options.

OTHER   —  Map

Eurolines

Offers bus travel from many countries to Brussels, for example 8 hours from London Victoria station at €39. In Brussels, they stop outside the Gare du Nord-Noordstation and Gare du Midi-Zuidstation train stations

OTHER   —  +32 2 274-1350 —  Map

Hotel Metropole Brussels

As the city's only 19th-century hotel still in operation, this 5-star landmark is in the historic centre. 313 rooms and suites, fitness center, 12 meeting rooms, award-winning gourmet restaurant l'Alban Chambon.

SLEEP   —  Map

Maison Renardy

A great boutique shop with delicious chocolate and friendly service. Stop by for a cup of tea or coffee, and get one of their chocolates free with your tea. Still peckish? You're able to bring a whole box home.


Cora

Two very large supermarkets on the outer limits of Brussels. They have a much larger choice of beers than Carrefour/ Delhaize/ Match and some very nice gift boxes but still with reasonable supermarket prices.

BUY   —  Map

De Gulden Boot (la Chaloupe d'Or)

One of the most famous restaurants in Brussels, situated on Grand Place. Beautiful old building, but too much of a tourist trap. And even after a €200 dinner, you will get charged €0.50 to visit the toilet.


Au Pré Salé

A former butcher shop, locals flock here for some of the best ''moules'' in town, sold by the kilo (figure on €24) and served up in half a dozen ways. Also serves the full range of other Brussels favorites.


The Monk

St Katelijnestraat-Rue St. Catherine 42. A large proper brown bar with walls covered in dark wood and mirrors. Lots of young people from the neighborhood, cool music and a decent Malt whiskey selection.

DRINK   —  Map

Le Chatelain All Suite Hotel

This luxury hotel offers spacious suites, a beautiful garden and a rooftop health and fitness centre. Located in the Avenue Louise-Louizalaan area. Rates at this 5 star hotel start at €89 per night.


Le Corbeau

A bar with a strong selection of beer, Edgar Allen Poe themed, hence the name (The Raven). Known for the clientele who dance on the tables all around the bar. Reasonably priced, well trafficked.


Chez Moeder Lambic

Has a huge list of different beers, with several hundred obscure beers not likely found anywhere else. This cafe is one of the last remaining old-fashioned '''brown cafes''' in Brussels.


BIFFF

Is Brussels' International Fantastic Film Festival (''film fantastique'' in French). This two-weeks festival is scheduled yearly in March and is a must see for tourist and locals alike.

DO   —  Map

Chez Oki

Rue Lesbroussart-Lesbroussartstraat 62, Ixelles-Elsene. French-Japanese fusion cuisine in a modern decor. The chef has worked for prestigious restaurants in Paris. Reasonable prices.

EAT   —  Map

Brussels Bike Tours

Daily bike tours in English allow you to see the main sights in just about 3.5 hours. It includes a halfway stop for fries and beer (not included in price). Reservations recommended.


Thanh-Binh

The restaurant is very popular among the Euroworkers and business types common in Brussels and serves good Thai food. It can get crowded and is often noisy but is well worth a try.

EAT   —  +32 2 513-8118 —  Map

Les Larmes du Tigres

''Justitiepaleis, de Wynantsstraat 21'', closed Tu. Upmarket and stylish Thai restaurant found just behind the Palais de Justice and better than most food found in Thailand.

EAT   —  +32 2 512-1877 —  Map

Vendôme

Another arthouse cinema. It's located near the Porte de Namur (Naamsepoort) and acts as the metaphysical gateway to a lively African neighbourhood known locally as Matongé.


Autoworld

Automobiles from the dawn of the motoring age to 1970s including the earliest Mercedes, Renaults, BMW Isettas, Tatras, Ford T-birds, even a jeepney from the Philippines.


The Bourse

Former stock market building. Locals like to sit on the steps, sometimes with fries. A local restaurant owner has proposed turning the unused building into a beer hall.

SEE   —  Map

Musée Magritte Museum

This museum is dedicated to the life and art of the Belgian artist René Magritte. It holds a multidisciplinary collection containing more than 200 of Magritte's works.


Chocolate bars

For the frugal, you can buy 100-200 gram gourmet bars of chocolate in grocery stores for about €1 each. Good brands to buy are Côte-d'Or and Jacques, both are Belgian.

BUY   —  Map

Radisson Blu Royal

Three minutes' walk from the Grand Place and the Central Station. Free Wifi, fitness center with sauna and solarium, restaurant "Sea Grill" has two Michelin stars.


Bruxelles-Midi / Brussel-Zuid

This station is where the high-speed trains stop. There is a shower room at ''Midi/Zuid'' located in the toilet near platforms 19-20 (between Origin'O and Quick).

OTHER   —  Map

Restaurant Vismet

A small bistro that really gets busy after 19:00. Very good seafood. The handwritten menu can throw foreigners off, but everything on the menu(s) are top notch.


'T Kelderke

Well-made typical Belgian fare. Try the ''carbonnades à la flamande'' (Flemish beef stew) & mussels. Note that this place can feel cramped when full of diners.


À La Bécasse

Serves a typical Brussels product this slightly sweetened Lambic beer, white beer based on Lambic, Kriek Lambic and so on. The entrance is not that easy to find.


Galeries Saint Hubert-Sint Hubertusgalerijen

The world's first shopping mall, opened in 1847, is a light and airy triple-gallery enclosing boutiques, bookshops, cafés, restaurants, and a theater and cinema

BUY   —  Galerie du Roi 5

Brussels International

Located inside the town hall and usually crammed. Sells a couple of discount booklets or cards, such as the Brussels Card and public transport one-day passes


Cirio

A traditional café where time has come to a stop. Also offers some simple meals. Don't forget to visit the bathroom, with the original tiles and porcelain.


Brussels Resto

Offers quality food, especially its steak at acceptable prices. The menu is in Dutch and French which can cause difficulty in deciphering the specialties.


La Friterie de la Place de la Chapelle

Another personal choice for the best ''frites'' in Brussels: the big chunks of potato, fried golden, and served with the usual dazzling array of sauces.

EAT   —  Rue Haute-Hoogstraat

Bozar Architecture

Open to the public with exhibitions and lectures working in close collaboration with the Information Centre for Architecture, Town Planning and Design.

DO   —  Map

Shamrock

Its exterior and misleading name belie a great range of individually cooked Indian food. Get to know the owner and he'll treat you like an old friend.

EAT   —  +32 2 511-4989 —  Map

Wittamer

Another excellent chocolate maker, with also a selection of macarons and cakes. They may however insist on a minimum 100g purchase for the chocolates.


Cinéma Galeries

An arthouse cinema and exhibition venue located within the Saint Hubertus Galleries. ''Cinéma Galeries, 26 Galerie de la Reine - Koninginnegalerij''.

DO   —  Map

Les Brassins

Its crowd is mostly made out of young couples or students. Rich choice of beer, with more than 50 varieties on the menu, and good quality of food.


Kinepolis

Was the first megaplex in the world. It's located at Heysel, near the Atomium, and has 25 screens showing a wide selection of mainstream films.

DO   —  Map

Marcolini

Arguably the best Belgian chocolates and priced accordingly. The country-specific products are difficult to find and quite worth the price.


Sel et Sucre Creperie - Glacier

The fantastic crepes and friendly service makes up for the ordinary decor and just around the corner from the Arc de Triomphe-Triomfboog.


Hostel Jacques Brel

Has a reputation for being unclean and chaotic which may not be deserved. Reception closes early and there's a curfew between 1 and 6AM.


Megabus

Offers cheap bus travel from London, Paris, and Amsterdam to Brussels. In Brussels, the stop is outside the Central train station.

OTHER   —  +44 871 2663333 —  Map

Les Chapeliers

Just off the Grote Markt with reasonable prices and excellent food. Seems to be popular among the locals without full of tourists.


Pullman Brussels Midi

Opened in 2013, the Pullman is an upscale business-oriented hotel right opposite the Brussels-Midi / Brussel-Zuid railway station


Styx

Also run by the cooperative nouveau cinema. Screens interesting films in their original version with French and Dutch subtitles.


Visit Brussels Line

Hop-on/hop-off city open-deck double-decker bus tours with commentary. 12 stops around the city, bus departing every 30 minutes.

DO   —  Map

Bulex nights

A monthly night out for many locals since more than 10 years, blending all kind of music in unexpected venues. Come as you are.

DRINK   —  Map

ICE

German ICE connects four times a day to Cologne and Frankfurt (€39 one way, "Europa Spezial Belgien" offer starting from €29).

OTHER   —  Map

Sofitel Brussels Le Louise

Fully refurbished in 2008 and located in the Avenue Louise-Louizalaan area. Parking nearby. Eurostar station 5 minutes away.


Actors Studio

Run by the cooperative nouveau cinema. Screens interesting films in their original version with French and Dutch subtitles.


Basiliek van het Heilig Hart / Basilique du Sacré Coeur

The fifth biggest church in the world, with an impressive interior and an amazing view over Brussels and its surroundings.


Thieffry metro station

Famous metro station named after Belgian WWI air ace Edmond Thieffry. Contains some interesting sculptures of modern art.

SEE   —  Map

L'Element Terre

L'Element Terre features an eclectic menu and wonderful, attentive service. Chaussée de Waterloo-Waterloosesteenweg 465.

EAT   —  Map

Friterie Tabora

All natural frites with the widest selection of sauces available. It's open almost 24/7 and is a favourite among locals.

EAT   —  Rue Taborastraat 2

Recyclart

For electronica, noise-rock, electroclash, minimal techno as well as art exhibitions, social projects and installations.

DRINK   —  Map

Tapas Locas

Crazy tapas, sensible prices. Some tapas include miniaturised Belgian favourites as well as the usual Spanish suspects.


Bizon Cafe

Rue Pont de la Carpe-Karperbrugstraat 7. A relaxed blues/rock bar in St Gery area. Excellent place for a beer or five.

DRINK   —  Map

TGV

Connects Lyon, Marseille, Avignon, Bordeaux, Montpellier, Nice and many other French destinations to ''Midi/Zuid''.

OTHER   —  Map

Musée BELvue - BELvue Museum

Features Belgium's history. Before it became a museum, the former 18th century luxury hotel was a royal residence.


European Parliament

Multimedia-guided tours in all official EU languages. Don't forget to bring an ID card/driver License with you.


Le Greenwich

Another wood-panelled brown cafe where the only sound is the sound of the chess pieces on the chess board. Shh!


La Tsampa

An organic/vegetarian shop annex restaurant, closed on Saturday and Sunday. Rue de Livourne-Livornostraat 109.

EAT   —  Map

Dolma

A very nice vegetarian buffet Monday till Saturday from 19 till 21h. Chaussée d'Ixelles-Elsenesteenweg 329.

EAT   —  +32 2 6498981 —  Map

Horse-drawn carriages

Horse-drawn carriages do circuits of the Lower Town starting from Rue Charles Bulsstraat, near Grand Place.


Pele-Mele

maze-like, second-hand bookshop with huge selection of used books at bargain prices. A bookworm's haven.


iDBUS

Runs a couch service between Paris, Lille and Brussels. Busses arrive at the Gare du Midi/Zuid Station.

OTHER   —  +32 70 300-042 —  Map

Le You

For young clubbers who just want to party, 2 minutes walking due South-East from the ''Grande Place''.

DRINK   —  Map

Classictic Concerts

A site selling classical tickets, but has an excellent rundown of all the upcoming classical concerts.

DO   —  Map

Match

Another store similar to GB/Carrefour, but has more of the unusual Belgian beers including Delirium.

BUY   —  Map

Made in Louise

Recently renovated boutique hotel with 49 rooms in the commercial area of Louise Avenue-Louizalaan.

SLEEP   —  +32 2 537 40 33 —  Rue Veydt, 40

Palais de Justice/Justitiepaleis

Larger than St. Peter's basilica in Rome, it cost 45 million Belgian Francs to construct in 1866.


European Council

Guided tours not available. Presentations available for groups of 15 or more, booked in advance.


European Commission

Guided tours not available. Presentations available for groups of 15 or more, booked in advance.


Passion Chocolat

Delicious chocolates, and they often offer free samples of 1-2 chocolates from their collection.


Brüsel

Right in the center and one of the most up to date stores when it comes to contemporary comics.


Filigranes

the largest bookshop in Brussels, features a small bar/café inside and quite often live music.


Brussels City Tours

Brussels City Tours is the main bus-tour company, with 2¾-hour tours of all the major sights.


Marché aux Puces - Vlooienmarkt

This flea market offers everything from the weird to the wonderful at rock-bottom prices.


Musée Juif de Belgique - Joods Museum van België

Dedicated to the craft, folk art, culture and religion of the Jewish people in Belgium.


Aux Armes de Bruxelles

Basic honest food, including some very decent moules. Crowded, although worth the wait.


Bozar Studios

The Centre’s educational service, operating as an artistic department in its own right.

DO   —  Map

Génération Europe Youth Hostel

Offers beds for budget traveling. A bit farther from city centre, not as safe area.


General shopping

with GB supermarket at City 2 accessed from Rue Neuve-Nieuwstraat and Metro Rogier.

BUY   —  Map

Botanique

The place for rock and pop. They do, on occasion, bring more experimental acts.

DRINK   —  Map

2Go4 Hostel

Very clean and very modern and chic. Free wi-fi (ask at reception for a code).


De Walvis

One of the very few hip ''and'' non-smoking bars in Brussels. Dansaert street.

DRINK   —  Map

La Belle Maraichere

A classic fish restaurant. Very fresh fish and good old traditional cooking.


Chocopolis

Pick and choose your favorite type of chocolates, all at reasonable prices.


Hotel NH Atlanta

Four star. Traditional Hotel situated next to Place de Brouckereplaats.


Jacques

An authentic old bistro, with a charming kitsch decor. Very good fish.


Mary

Excellent handmade chocolates, with this store originating from 1919.

BUY   —  Map

STIB-MIVB

The Brussels region (Bilingual) public bus, tram and metro service.

OTHER   —  +32 70 232-000 —  Map

Moonfood

100% vegan, organic, and gluten-free restaurant in central Brussels


Lune de Miel

Some very tasty Thai and Vietnamese dishes served in a fine decor.

EAT   —  +32 2 513-9181 —  Map

Sandeman's Brussels Free Tours

Informative 3 hour tour. Groups can be large due to the low price!


Flixbus

Another German company with a network throughout most of Europe

OTHER   —  Map

MIVB/STIB

The Brussels Capital region bilingual public transport service.

OTHER   —  +32 7 023-2000 —  Map

Sterling Books

One of the most popular English bookshops in downtown Brussels.


Hotel Bloom

A bloomy hotel with clean rooms. Free internet and breakfast.


Thon Hotel Brussels City Centre

Major 4-star hotel in the centre of Brussels with 454 rooms.


Mini-Europe

Hosts a set of scale models of famous European structures.

SEE   —  +32 2 478-0550 —  Map

The Floris

Right across from Delirium Cafe, famous for its absinthe.

DRINK   —  Map

TEC

The Walloon region (French speaking) public bus company.

OTHER   —  +32 10 23-5353 —  Map

Madou's Provence

Innovative southern French cuisine at affordable prices.


De Lijn

The Flemish region (Dutch speaking) public bus service.

OTHER   —  +32 70 220-200 —  Map

Wallonie Tourism

Is brought to you by the French Speaking Tourist board.

DO   —  Map

Ancienne Belgique

For popular concerts, where the stadium bands stop in.

DO   —  Map

Church of Saint Augustine

A white art deco church in the middle of a roundabout

SEE   —  Map

Viva M'Boma

For real Belgian home cooking. Terrace in the summer.


New Hotel Charlemagne

A 4-star hotel which combines modernity and comfort.

SLEEP   —  Map

Train World

Belgian train museum, newly opened in September 2015


Bozar Dance

Hosts international contemporary dance productions.

DO   —  Map

Delhaize

Similar to GB/Carrefour, but a tad more expensive.

BUY   —  Map

Bozar Literature

Hosts meetings with Belgian and foreign writers.

DO   —  Map

Hotel Cafe Pacific

Clean, small, cozy, romantic, great location.


Galeria Inno

Department store (fashion, cosmetics, etc.)


Scheltema

Specializes in fresh and tasty seafood.


Bozar Theatre

Oriented towards avant-garde theatre.

DO   —  Map

Comme Chez Soi

Classic Michelin-starred restaurant.


Palais Royale/Koninklijk Paleis

Royal Palace with a park out front.


Godiva

Not very popular and quite pricey.

BUY   —  Map

Stanhope Hotel

108 rooms including 2 apartments.


Berlinlinienbus

A German intercity bus company

OTHER   —  Map

Leonidas

very popular with the locals.

BUY   —  Map

Sweet Brussels

Boxspring bed and breakfast.


Falstaff

Has cheap and decent food.


Town hall of Forest

A major art deco monument

SEE   —  Map

Hotel Manos Stephanie

SLEEP   —  Map

About Brussels

When Brussels became the capital city of a new country in the 19th century, the old town was destroyed to make way for brand new ministries, palaces, schools, army barracks and office blocks constructed between 1880 and 1980. Only a small historic centre (one square and four adjacent streets) was preserved. The historic Flemish town centres are better preserved in other cities: Antwerp, Bruges, Ghent, Courtray, Leuven, Mechelen and Oostende.


Source: wikivoyage