Brussels – Chocolate, beer, waffles and some history lessons

Brussels

While planning my next trip, I said to myself: Three days in Brussels (Belgium) should be enough to see everything I want. Needless to say that it wasn’t really like that, right?

My first day there was all about learning my way around the city, initially by bus and then by foot. And because the bus tickets seemed expensive to me (2,5 euro for a ride if you buy the ticket in the bus and 2,10 euro if you buy it from the ticket vending machines), I adopted very quickly the idea of walking. And since I’m talking about walking, I would like to make a nice reminder to myself to pack warm clothes next time I come to Belgium. It’s pretty cold, cloudy and windy even in the middle of the day. That’s why it was a shock for me to see that Brussels’s parks have lounge chairs instead of regular benches. What are those for? Does anybody expect to get a tan in the occasional 5 minutes of sun that shows up everyday? Just kidding, I’m sure that in the summer the sun is out of the clouds more often and maybe for 10-15 whole minutes!

The old part of Brussels

Ok now, let’s get back to serious business: the sights that are a MUST see in Brussels! I’ll start with the Cathedral of St. Michel and St. Gudula. The fans of Gothic style will have a deja-vu, as the cathedral is very similar to Notre-Dame de Paris. Please take your time to visit the interiors of the Cathedral, it’s free and I guarantee you that the gigantic stained glass windows will leave you in awe.

The Cathedral of Saint Michel and Saint Gudula
The Cathedral of Saint Michel and Saint Gudula

Next stop is the Grand Place, where you will find the city’s Town Hall. That’s an impressive building for its Gothic architecture and for its high tower that measures 96 meters. The Grand Place has a solid historic background, some stories being tragic and funny at the same time. For example, in 1695 the French army attacked Brussels, with the intention of making a diversion. The bombardment aimed mostly at the Town Hall, but ironically the building remained the only one standing, the others around being teared down almost completely.

Town Hall
Town Hall

Across the Town Hall there is the King’s House, which is currently hosting the Museum of the City of Brussels. The buildings around are guildhalls and they are also pretty impressive, so take your time to admire their beautiful facades.

The King's House
The King’s House (also know as Breadhouse) is currently hosting the Museum of the City of Brussels

Not far you will find the landmark of Brussels, the Manneken Pis. There are lots of legends associated with the small statue, some you might already know, but what I bet you didn’t know is that on that very spot there once was a urine market. I know what you’re thinking: Why on earth would somebody buy urine? Well, the answer is simple. Back in the days, urine was used for leather tanning (because it contains ammonia) and this place was the place to buy it or sell it. Don’t you just love when you learn new and exciting things?

The Manneken Pis
The Manneken Pis

Ok, time to move on. Be sure to also check out St. Nicholas church, which is the oldest church in Brussels. It’s rather small and quiet, but that’s exactly what makes it a perfect getaway from the outside buzz.

St. Nicholas Church
St. Nicholas Church

Now it’s time for a treat! Wander the streets, buy some souvenirs, pick a pub and order local beer, eat some waffles from the small shops around and of course try different types of Belgian chocolate. If you are planning to start a diet, this is definitely not the time.

Souvenirs and Belgian chocolate
Souvenirs and Belgian chocolate

After so much shopping, I rested for a while in Brussels Park, which apparently is the largest park in the center of Brussels. If you ask me, it’s very small. So small that you can see it’s end from the entrance. Around the park you can see the Royal Palace of Brussels and the Belgian Parliament.

The Royal Palace of Brussels
The Royal Palace of Brussels

Just 2 minutes away, if you dare making a few turns left and right, you will find this beautiful panorama, so don’t be afraid to explore the surroundings:

Panorama of Brussels
Panorama of Brussels

The new part of Brussels

It’s time now to go in the new part of the city, to see the European institutions. After all, Brussels is the capital of the European Union and we might find something interesting there. Here’s a sneakpeak.

The European Commision
The European Commission

Also, I can’t hold back to not share with you this piece of urban landscape:

Urban landscape
Urban landscape

Moving on, you’re going to see in the distance a U-shaped arcade. You will find there a huge park, called Parc du Cinquantenaire, with a string of buildings and a triumphal arch in the middle.

Parc du Cinquantenaire
Parc du Cinquantenaire

That’s only a small part of what I’ve experienced of the city and still, after three days I left wanting more. Brussels has at the same time the spirit of an old city and of a new city and definitely has something to offer to any tourist what’s willing to walk it’s streets.

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43 Comments on "Brussels – Chocolate, beer, waffles and some history lessons"

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Guest
3 months 2 days ago

Visiting Brussels is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Just the chocolate and architecture alone are enough to have me hooked. We’re visiting Europe in August … maybe we’ll make time to stop by. :) Thanks for the tips!

Guest
3 months 10 days ago

I must admit I really did enjoy visiting Belgium last year. You hit some of the best spots in Brussels. Would love to return again one day!

Guest
3 months 10 days ago

You had me at “Chocolate”, oh and “waffles”. What great sites to see! We too walk almost everywhere when we are traveling. Save money and take your time to see more of the town.

Guest
3 months 10 days ago

Looks amazing. Don’t forget the diamonds too! But, definitely the chocolate. Love all this architecture and could wander through those buildings for hours. So much to see and do so thanks for sharing. Hope to visit one day!

Guest
3 months 11 days ago

We visited Brussels and only had 2 days so definitely did not see it all! This is a great post, have pinned as hope to visit again in the future. #feetdotravel

Guest
3 months 12 days ago

I do love learning new things about a city and you certainly shared a beauty. LOL! Belgium chocolate & Beer? I’m in!

Guest
3 months 13 days ago

I really love Brussels and every time I visit I make sure to have loads of delicious beer and explore the city. I don’t really eat chocolate but there is so much to do in Brussels, that I always find something new to do! Thanks for sharing

Guest
3 months 14 days ago

Great tips and photos, will pin this for future reference, as we’ve not been to Brussels yet, looks incredible and the chocolate wow.

Guest
3 months 14 days ago

Great post about Brussels. I haven’t been to this place although I visited Bruges and Ghent and I loved it. I could eat waffles and drink hot chocolate all day. Thank you for sharing.

Guest
3 months 15 days ago

Great insight into Brussels! Stunning photos and packed with history. I definitely want to go for the chocolate. Thanks for sharing :-)

Guest
3 months 16 days ago

Those buildings are incredible! I loved the fun fact about the urine market! We would love to go to Brussels and enjoy that chocolate one day. Awesome post!

Guest
3 months 16 days ago

Love your pictures. They show all the features of it. Living in Belgium I have to admit that I even haven’t been to a few places

Guest
3 months 16 days ago

I was planning on going to Brussels a couple of years ago, but everyone told me to go to Bruges instead (which I loved btw). Your post is making me want to return to Brussels! The architecture there is so impressive, and how can I say no to waffles & beer??

Guest
9 months 8 days ago

Love love love your shot of the panorama of Brussels and all of your other photos. You have inspired me to travel there!

Guest
10 months 14 days ago

There is a way bigger park in Brussels, but rather far from the old centre. 3 days in Brussels is never enough. It is such a beautiful city – I go there regularly and barely have time to see one new thing at a time.

http://saccharine-soul.com/

Guest
10 months 14 days ago

Brussels is one of my boyfriends and I fav cities in the world its just so unique!! and damm those waffles hahah

Guest
10 months 14 days ago

This is a beautiful place and a-must-visit for me though this post makes me feel like I have already been there. Nice post.

Guest
Jasmin N
10 months 14 days ago

Belgian chocolate is like the best chocolate on Earth! Brussels seems like a wonderful city!

<3: Jasmin N
littlethingswithjassy.blogspot.fi

Guest
10 months 14 days ago

Brussels is on my list of cities to visit. Great post!
Alexandra ~ ArtMandy

Guest
10 months 15 days ago

nice post about brussel chocolate and beer my favourites

Guest
1 year 3 days ago

I love Brussels! I am going back this July, The Parc du Cinquantenaire and the Grand Place are both beautiful! I also went on a beer and chocolate tour of Brussels that I loved. It’s a great city.

Guest
1 year 4 days ago

Wow, the buildings are stunning! So much detail and work on them, it really is impressive. Your photo’s are lovely too by the way

Guest
1 year 4 days ago

This looks like a photographers dream! I certainly want to go now!

Guest
1 year 4 days ago

My husband and I are hoping to go there the end of this year for our honeymoon-do-over! He’s been there once and loved it so much, he wants to take me. He said the Grand Place is just breathtaking! I love the bits of history you’ve added into your post. Fantastic read! :)

Guest
1 year 4 days ago

Brussels is amazing!

<3: Jasmin N
Little Things With Jassy
Bloglovin’

Guest
1 year 5 days ago

Wow it looks like you are experiencing so much in Brussles. Thanks for sharing!

Guest
1 year 5 days ago

The best part of travelling is knowing that you didn’t experience an entire place at once so there is a reason to go back ♡ dynamicbohemian.com

Guest
1 year 5 days ago

I LOVE the pictures in this post! They’re just the style that I like to use on my site. :) Thanks for sharing!

Guest
1 year 2 months ago

really enjoyed your post, great pictures. Was just looking up flights to Brussels just before i seen your article thanks

Guest
Suze
1 year 2 months ago

i didn’t realize there was a urine market there years ago, makes sense given the statue though!

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