It’s unfair to think that this wonderful city is a faceless centre of bureaucracy. The city is home to a beautifully preserved 17th century centre, a huge number of Michelin starred restaurants, the Manneken Pis, and a stunning central square - the Grand Place.
Brussels is a diverse city where 1950’s brick rubs shoulders with 14th century stonework. Flemish is as likely to be heard as Arabic in the numerous cafés and bars lining the streets.
Want to explore more of the country? If you rent a car at Brussels Airport (Brussels-Zaventum Airport) you’re ideally situated to explore all of Belgium and its numerous attractions.
What is There to See in Brussels?
One of the undoubted positives of Brussels is its compact centre. Even if you’re here for a fleeting visit, you’ll be able to pack in a huge amount of sightseeing. Art fans should head straight to the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium to view work by artists such as Anthony van Dyck, Jacob Jordaens, and Peter Paul Rubens.
If architecture is more your thing, locate the Grand Place (or Grote Markt), a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here you’ll discover the gorgeous Town Hall, the wonderful Gothic Breadhouse, and other beautifully gilded buildings dating from the 14th century. Be sure to visit the Gothic St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral. Reminiscent of Notre Dame, the building was completed in 1519 and showcases some fine examples of medieval stonemasonry.
Another major attraction is the Palais Royal de Bruxelles. The former home of the King and Queen is open to the public during the summer months. Wander through wonderful State Rooms such as the Goya Room, the Throne Room with bas-reliefs by Rodin, the 18th century Large White Room, and the Mirror Room with artwork by Jan Fabre.
Day Trips From Brussels
Just over an hour’s drive North West of Brussels is the beautiful city of Bruges. A must-visit destination, Bruges’ most popular attractions include the striking Markt, the canals, and a number of churches. The Belfry of Bruges (Belfort) is perhaps the most famous structure in the city and was a central part of the 2008 film In Bruges. Climb the 366 steps to the top of the tower for some wonderful views of the city.
In the same direction as Bruges but closer, lies the port city of Ghent. Home to handsome buildings such as the Saint Nicholas' Church and Gravensteen Castle, Ghent is a medieval gem with a lovely canalside and some excellent museums.
If your travel plans are centred on World War I, you can be in Flanders Fields in an hour and a half. There are a huge number of memorials and cemeteries to visit and other spots such as the Death Cells which should not be forgotten.