Capital city of Belgium, filled with architecture from medieval to renaissance period, and home to an incredibly diverse populace, too many tourists include just one day to explore Brussels. In our first visit, we too did the same only to realize in subsequent trips that what hidden gems are not talked about in the touristy blogs.
Less touristy things to do
Let’s spin the usual sequence and start from the places typically in the bottom half of an average tourist’s itinerary in Brussels. We recommend these, but not at the expense of the more attractive places in the next section. Here is a list –
- Comic Strip Route – Large murals of famous comic book characters, like Asterix and Tintin which precede American superheroes by decades, can be found in this area in downtown Brussels. Spend ~1 Hour to enjoy the artifacts.
- Jeanneke Pis – Similar to the pissing boy statue, this is the girl version of the statue. Should take about 15 minutes to visit and take pictures.
- Musical Instruments Museum – One of its kind, especially in the Art Nouveau culture. Allow a couple of hours to pay a visit and appreciate interesting musical instruments from around the world.
Top Touristy Attractions
- Grand Place – Tucked away in the center of the city surrounded by renaissance age buildings and churches, Grand Place is an expansive square which is flocked by tourists and locals alike. Narrow alleys with cobblestone charm diverge from the square. Walk along them for satisfying your shopping needs and appetite. Some of the restaurants around here are somewhat pricey and are touristy, but are also legendary. This is where every time you will go to Brussels will visit at least once. So take time to walk around and familiarize yourselves better.
Food and drinks are a must mention here –
- Waffles – Street side waffle shops sell cheap and decorative waffles. Pick one up and indulge yourselves in probably the tastiest waffles you may have ever had.
- French Fries – Did you know that the origin of French fries actually goes back to Brussels? Hear about those myths and legends while you are in Brussels. There are many places to enjoy these sinful diet killers in Brussels, but the best of them is a tiny place near Grand Place, is called Georgette’s (Friterie Du Cafe Georgette). There will be long lines, so be ready for that.
- Beer – Want to indulge in those duvel and tripels while in Belgium? Beyond the standard cafes and bars around the city center, our favorite has been the Delirium Cafe or Little Delirium Cafe with its 100+ beer selection and a quaint ambiance.
- Atomium – If you find time, take a cab/uber to the Atomium from the city center, an interesting structure resembling an Iron (Fe) atom with its large nucleus and eight electrons. The spheres are 165 billion times larger than the actual electrons. Visitors now can actually enter the spheres to appreciate the landscape around and the city.
- Some of the other attractions are – Old England House, Magritte Museum and Congress Center towards the south of Grand Place.