Brussels is a unique city that has many different titles. It is not only the capital of Belgium, it is also the seat of the European Union. If you look past its political status, you will see a truly international city with a lot of history. Culturally, Brussels sits at the crossroads of Europe, between the Germanic cultures of the north and the Romance language countries to the south. Even if you take all the political and geographical traits away, Brussels is still an interesting place to visit. A great eating scene, lots of nightlife options, a user-friendly infrastructure and a large number of tourist attractions makes this a great city to visit regardless of where your interests lie.

Because it is a crossroads, many people find themselves in Brussels whether it is their final destination or not. If you find yourself here, you will certainly want to stop at some of the most remarkable places to visit in Brussels.

Brussels is a unique city that has many different titles. It is not only the capital of Belgium, it is also the seat of the European Union. If you look past its political status, you will see a truly international city with a lot of history. Culturally, Brussels sits at the crossroads of Europe, between the Germanic cultures of the north and the Romance language countries to the south. Even if you take all the political and geographical traits away, Brussels is still an interesting place to visit. A great eating scene, lots of nightlife options, a user-friendly infrastructure and a large number of tourist attractions makes this a great city to visit regardless of where your interests lie.

Because it is a crossroads, many people find themselves in Brussels whether it is their final destination or not. If you find yourself here, you will certainly want to stop at some of the most remarkable places to visit in Brussels.

Specialty shops selling the world’s best

Chocolate
Photo: KLMircea / Flickr

Belgium is known for two products: chocolate and beer. You’ll find brew-pubs here serving some of the world’s finest beers. Yes, Brussels is not a cheap city, and these venues are no exception, but if you love beer, you will certainly get great value. Some of the world’s best beers are on tap at these places, while stores like Match and Delhaize have very impressive selections if you want to take some back home. The same goes for chocolate. You can buy locally-made confectionery at small mom-and-pop chocolatiers around the city and even at some major supermarkets. Famous shops like Neuhaus and Marcolini will impress even the most demanding chocolate aficionado, while the atmosphere of some small chocolate shops is just as attractive as the edible artworks that they sell.

Grote Markt, the heart of Brussels

Grote Markt
Photo: bkang83 / Flickr

Also called the Grand Place, this is the main square in Brussels and the best place to experience the city’s attractive atmosphere. Historic buildings line the square and they are all lit up at nighttime, making for a unique visual treat. Shops on the sides of the square sell Belgian specialties like waffles, and there are also some great places to buy souvenirs. On some evenings, music and laser light shows are held. And don’t forget to stop by the nearby Manneken Pis, a popular photo subject and an example of the lighthearted, slightly irreverent side of Brussels. The “peeing statue” is dressed in different outfits throughout the year.

Atomium, a futuristic structure with a view

The Atomium
Photo: O Palsson / Flickr

This unique construction has become an important icon for Brussels. It consists of spheres connected together to resemble an atom, nature’s most basic building block. The Atomium is so large that you can actually go up into some of the spheres. There are various exhibits that are occasionally open, but the reason to go inside is to see the view of the city from the upper spheres. In the evening, there is a spectacular lights show that really makes this one of the best places to visit in Brussels.

Interesting and unique museums

Belgian Comic Strip Centre
Photo: Thomas Quine / Flickr

Brussels has lots of museums, and almost all of the are worth visiting even if you are not a history buff or art fan. Unique museums like the Royal Museum of Central Africa (the region that Belgium controlled during colonial times) and the Belgian Comic Strip Centre are great options for people looking for something outside of the ordinary. The Musées Royaux des Beaux Arts de Belgique and the National Science Museum of Belgium provide a more standard gallery experience, though both rank with the best in the world in terms of their collections and exhibits. Autoworld and the Museum of Musical Instruments are two other exhibit spaces that are worth visiting for their quality and their uniqueness.

The European Union Parliament

The European Union Parliament
Photo: Eva Van Wassenhove / Flickr

Though it is not considered the official capital of the European Union, the powerful organization always holds its parliament meetings in Brussels. You can visit the European Union Parliament building and take a tour (you will be required to show identification when you enter, so bring a passport or ID card). Tours begin promptly at 10 am, with an additional 3 pm time on weekdays (except Friday). It is interesting to see the locations that are so often seen on evening news reports for yourself. This is certainly one of the most interesting places to visit in Brussels.

Have you spent time in this Belgian metropolis? Tell us what we should add to our list of the best places to visit in Belgium.

Categories: Brussels

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The Best Places to Visit in Brussels, the Crossroads of Europe

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