Brussels: Much more than just a transit city!

Most of the destinations I have checked off the list have been on my mind and list to explore since a while! But whenever it came to the city of Belgium, Brussels had never really been high on my bucket list of places to visit. Brussels for me had always been a transit country. I had always been here several times to change trains between the Eurostaror change flights. But on my most recent visit I wanted to explore Brussels and not keep it merely as a transit city on my list.

An airport where you have seen the most sunsets!

Certain places where you have no high expectations, you would be surprised to find the amount of fun things to see and do in this city. When I traveled to Brussels for a brief 3 days I realized, the compact city of Brussels could easily be explored by foot.

Exploring this cobbled city!

On the very first sight Brussels appeared to me as a fascinating place with stunning architecture and intriguing history packed into every street and alleyway.

Coming across some fun structures across the street

The vibe of the city is hard to put your finger on. Being the administer Centre of the EU, sometimes it seems very industry and bureaucracy focused, but at other times it feels laid back and light weighted filled with humor! Like seriously who thought the most attractive monument of this city would be Manneken Pis.

Manneken Pis Statue!

Yes this highly gabbed statue of Manneken Pis is located in one of the cobbled bylanes and takes a little bit of skill in hunting down, but has stillrisen to fame and is a popular tourist attraction in the city. The name simply translates to “little man pee” and it has been given this name for obvious reasons.

I dint land up spending a huge amount of time at Manneken Pis, a good 5 minutes is enough but it’s worth a visit when you’re in the Grand Place area. It’s one of those spots that’s great to see with so many people flocking at but doesn’t take any time at all.

As you let the city vibes sink in, this multi-layered atmosphere of Brussels offers something for everyone to see.

Intricate designs at the Grand Place

On my very first day I was inspired by sight of Grand Place (The ‘Grote Markt’ in Dutch) located right in the center of Brussels. The square is encircled with a variety of incredible buildings, covered in beautiful detailing.

Marvelling at this beautiful building!
The buzzing square!

One such building that took me in awe was the ‘Hotel de Ville’. Spending my evenings here sitting and watching the world go by, it’s easy to see why this Square is on the UNESCO World Heritage list.Dating back almost 300 years, Grand Place is too exquisite to miss in daylight and even at sunset.

Building marvels like these!
Replication of The Carillon

Then there was the Carillon, a star-shaped clock where every hour is represented by a painted figurine, and each figurine represents a historical figure in Brussels. You will stumble upon this while exploring the other side of the city on foot.⁣⠀

Another one of the sights worth visiting several times at different times of the day is Notre Dame Du Sablon. This 14thCentury Gothic Cathedral only reveals its splendour after you’ve made your way up one of the several small cobbled alleys. Visiting this spectacular church is like stepping back in time.

Belgium Evenings!
The way the structures light up at night!

And then there are some points, which give you some of the best city views too! Rest, sit down, marvel at the city and then get going again!

Next I visited the monumental St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral atop Treurenberg Hill which may have taken 300 years to complete, but her singular beauty now reigns supreme over Brussels’ skyline.

St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral

In the evenings when you have had your heart full of some historic culture, unwinding in one of the parks is a must do in Brussels. With so many gardens in this city, Le Botanique is the most admired. This greenhouse, which dates back to the 19th Century, now regularly plays host to a range of performing arts and makes the place feel like more of a cultural Centre than just a garden.

Le Botanique Garden

Siting here and watching the flowers bloom in full spring was a welcoming change of pace from the city itself.

The Palais Royalis a not so hidden away sight right next to the park.

Arriving at the Royal Palace Belgium

Although the royal family of Belgium now spends their lives at Laeken, the Royal Palace in Brussels remains as their official residence. It’s worth a visit while exploring this beautiful city on foot.

And if you’re not too into museums, then Parc du Cinquantenaire is the place to spend your evenings loafing around in the sun.

Sunshine on mind!

Making most out of the sunny day here having a picnic on the grass whilst absorbing the stunning architecture, Parc Du Cinquantenaire’s grand triumphal arch had its own reason to make a visit.This regal-looking park in all of Brussels is a brainchild of Leopold II.

Parc Du Cinquantenaire

Walking through the city, I also came across Europe’s first covered shopping arcades,the beautiful Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert.

When your shopping place makes you feel happy!

This shopping gallery, covered with glass, is open all year and has some nice seating for a drink or two. They built it with the motto ‘alles voor iedereen’ (‘everything for everyone’), which you can still see engraved at the entrance.

On my very last day I realized you couldn’t visit this city while on a diet.

The famous Belgium Waffle house!

Every street you walk by will have you engulfed in tempting smell of fries, waffles, mussels and beer.I swear, I eat about 2-3 waffles a day when I was here and still have no regrets about it. It truly happened to be one of those cities which is perfect for a long weekend, exploring all the historic sites and scoffing every other waffles you can get your hands on.

Any more waffles!

Enjoying a beer tour has played an important role throughout the history of the city.  Beer and Belgium go hand-in-hand, and no wonders by Belgians are so proud of their beer.

The famous Belgium Kwak Beer
And some more beers!
When the only choice you need for the day is between ale and lager!

No beer tour is complete without visiting the massive Delirium bar, which has 2000+ beers on its list and is easily recognized by its pink elephant logo. They brew some of the special edition beers which are a must try too!

Discovering this bar in the bylannes of the city
Pouring a fresh brew at Delirium bar!

Being my last day in Brussels I stepped out of the city centre to marvel at the Atomium. Built in the 1950’s, the Atomium is a great spot to see something a little different. Over 100 metres (330ft) tall, this steel construction consists of nine spheres with a diameter of up to 18 meters. It was constructed to welcome a new and atomic age to Belgium.

The molecule atom structure!

The nine balls of steel balancing on a bunch of sticks might seem like a weird monument to have at first, but it is an accurate depiction of an iron molecule except that it is about 165 billion times larger! Located in Heysel Park in the West of the city, it is a must visit.  This building-and-sculpture hybrid has become so popular that it’s now a permanent fixture on the capital’s skyline.

So I can definitely say now, I have lived and tasted Belgium life for a few days and will look forward to revisit it on my next transit travel for sure. Even if just for a day or as a base to explore other countries, Belgium will now always remain special.

Cannot Miss: 

  • Indulging in Belgium waffles & more waffles
  • Take a beer tour
  • Just get your happy shoes on, to explore the city on foot
  • An impromptu picnic at the Parc
  • Spending your evenings at the Grand Place
GlobeTrotting365Days: BELGIUM March 8th 2019.