Brussels the capital city of Belgium being a center for EU and NATO has gained a prominent political status. But the Belgian capital has enough compelling reasons to beckon tourists and travel enthusiasts to this amazing city which is home to astounding Comic Strip Route, and intriguing historical monuments. Good connectivity to other gorgeous towns of Belgium makes for easy day trips from Brussels.
Our idea of Brussels was a medieval village charm swayed by our visits to Bruges and Ghent earlier. Brussels has a distinctive charm with a medley of culture, trendy restaurants, cafes, over 100 museums and the towering skyscrapers. Getting to Brussels is quite easy too with well-connected high-speed trains from London, Paris, and Amsterdam.
We started our sightseeing from the Central station of Brussels. The tourist route map to Grand Place walked us past several statues. Place d’Espagne has an equestrian statue of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza – the fictional characters in the novel Don Quixote.
Grassmarkt has a gorgeous fountain with a statue of Charles Buls a Belgian politician and mayor of the City of Brussels.
The first glimpse of the Grand Place Square left us wonderstruck for minutes. Our eyes kept gazing at the buildings in square taking in the beauty of the architecture and artistic wonders. Town Hall, guild halls and other lavish and ornate buildings from the 14th to 17th century surround the square of Grand Place.
The Grand-Place is covered with a giant carpet of flowers every two years which is a colorful sight worth a visit.
We lingered around the square for some time before wandering through the cobblestone alleys looking for the iconic Manneken Pis. The alleys are lined with several souvenir shops and cafes. We decided to stop by some cafe and devour on the lip smacking and savory waffles.
While in Belgium indulging in some waffle munching with an assortment of toppings from chocolate, cream, jam, powdered sugar to fresh fruits is a must.
The eagerly awaited ‘Pissing Boy’ was just a couple of minutes walk from the cafe. Being there early in the morning was an advantage as we had the benefit to pose with the little boy without any hustle. There are several legends behind this statue from the little boy going missing and been later found pissing in some corner of the city to a boy urinating on explosives and saving the city from being destroyed.
We came across the walls built in early 13th century during the fortifications of Brussels. Today only a few sections of the walls remains can be found around the city.
Place du Grand Sablon
Place du Grand Sablon is a lively place which hosts a wonderful market where one can shop for various antique items and clothing. Adjacent to the market is the gorgeous Our Blessed Lady of the Sablon Church dating back to 15 century. The church has some amazing Baroque chapels, exquisitely carved sculptures and beautiful stained glasses.
Walking along the same street, we came into a large historic square called Place Royale. The Church of Saint-Jacques-sur-Coudenberg and an equestrian statue of Godfrey of Bouillon dominate the square.
The Royal Palace and several museums are located in and around the square.
Mont des Arts (Kunstberg)
We walked down the Coudenberg hill into a beautiful Mont des Arts garden. Mont des Arts or the Kunstberg is a vantage point with stunning vistas of the old town and the striking tower of the Brussels Town Hall in the Grand Place.
Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert
We visited the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert near the central station, which is a glazed shopping arcade. It has a narrow courtyard with opulent cafes, jewelry and confectionery shops on both side and an arched glass roof.
If you are looking for best options to eating in old town of Brussels then check out this quick guide on foodie Brussels.
Comic Strip Route
Brussels has a well-known comic strip route, which is an interesting way to spot the well-preserved comic heritage of the city. Comic strip Route in the city center itself offers more than 50 comics painted on buildings and walls. Go scouring for the comic heroes painted in vivid colors on the walls of the city is indeed an adventure.
The Atomium, a unique fascinating structure in Brussels was originally constructed for the world fair of 1958. The nine 18 m diameter stainless steel clad spheres are connected to depict a model of a molecule. Spheres house exhibit halls, museums with the top sphere having a restaurant with panoramic view of Brussels.
At the foot of Atomium is yet another unmissable attraction in Brussels the Mini-Europe. Mini-Europe is a miniature park exhibiting around 350 miniature monuments from around Europe.
Basilica of the Sacred Heart
The apartment we booked was in the neighborhood of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. The way to our apartment from the metro station Simonis was through a large park with twin avenues lined with dense trees and a central lawn. The walk through the park provided with stunning views of the magnificent Basilica of the Sacred Heart.
The Art Deco church with a central dome flanked by the two towers is the world’s fifth largest Catholic basilica. One can take elevators to the outdoor gallery located at the base of the dome for remarkable panoramic views of the city.
There is definitely a lot more to experience and learn in Brussels called as the ‘melting pot of cultures’. From historic charm to chocolates, fries, and waffles the city has something for everyone to keep the spirits high!
If you have more time, do plan a visit to the beautiful city of Leuven.
What has been your favorite part of sight-seeing in Brussels? Do share with us in comments.
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