Tourist attractions Brussels
The capital of Belgium and the centre of European bureaucracy, Brussels has all the sights and attractions of a sprawling city, yet maintains a peaceful, laid-back atmosphere. Filled with an eclectic mix of architecture, from colourful gabled houses to elegant mansions and Art-Deco facades, and an ever-growing number of art galleries and museums, Brussels is a cultural powerhouse and the perfect destination for a city break.
The most densely populated and richest region in the country, Brussels sprang from humble roots as a small rural settlement on the banks of the River Seine. Today, there’s nothing small about Brussels; not only is it the capital of the European Union, but it’s also the crossroads of Europe, with extensive rail, road and air connections to the rest of the continent.
Although the city might strike you as overwhelmingly modern, with many concrete-laden areas, if you travel to Brussels you’ll find an array of historic sights, some of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
You can’t visit Brussels without indulging in its opulent food scene. All the mouthwatering Belgian classics are on offer here, plus many visitors enjoy getting to know the diverse offerings of Belgian beers that flow freely from the taps of all of Brussel’s bars and restaurants. The streets are lined with world-renowned chocolatiers, cosy waffle cafes and Frites stalls, ensuring you’ll never go hungry on a tour of Brussels.
Things to see in Brussels
Head to the historic heart of Brussels and you’ll find the Grand Place, one of the most important sights in the city. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this 17th-century architectural ensemble surrounds a cobblestone square. This collection of elegant guildhalls and public buildings invite you to lose yourself in the grandeur of the Brussels of yesteryear, with their Baroque-era gables and intricate facades. Stop for a while at one of the cafe terraces to soak up the atmosphere.
One of the best things to see in Brussels is also one of the most peculiar. Just a five-minute walk from the Grand Place square, Manneken Pis is perhaps the most famous sight in the city. This bronze fountain statue depicts a small boy relieving himself and is the symbol of the city. It is said that the statue is a great representation of the good humour of the people of Brussels. Although the current statue is a replica, you can view the original at the Brussels City Museum.
To discover a more modern side of the city, one of the best things to see in Brussels is the Atomium. This quirky, space-age landmark is composed of nine interconnected shiny spheres. Visitors can explore the interior of the spheres by passing through the connecting tunnels or even stop for a bite to eat in the highest sphere, which is home to a restaurant with panoramic views.
If you travel to Brussels in search of the best Belgian beers, be sure to explore Cantillion, one of Belgium’s most famous breweries. Cantillion has been producing juicy lambic-style beers for over 100 years and its products are famed for their sour, bitter flavours. If you take a brewery tour you’ll be rewarded with a tasty free beer at the end of the tour.
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