The home of the European Parliament and the headquarters of NATO, Belgium is a traditional city with an international flavour. Over 70% of the population are immigrants from all over Europe, which makes Brussels a surprisingly multicultural experience.
Belgium has evolved into one of the coolest locations in Europe, and just a short walk from its main shopping streets are neighbourhoods packed with charming boutiques, cool coffee shops, art deco wine bars and jazz clubs. Away from the crowds of other European capitals, Brussels offers a warm welcome and a mixture of experiences that gives the city its' completely unique style.
This medieval town square is definitely the first sight to see when visiting Brussels. It is home to the old Belgium stock exchange and the grand Hotel De Ville, a gothic building with spires that dominate the city. Often observed as one of the most beautiful squares in the world, the Grand Place is also home to the Brussels Christmas Market, which is a huge draw for visitors and locals. The Plaza is packed with stalls selling traditional crafts, decorations and warming glasses of Gluhwine.
Atomium and Mini-Europe
Originally built for the 1958 World's Fair, the Atomium is an unusual sculpture that celebrates science and technology. Though sticking out like a sore thumb amongst the mostly medieval buildings in the surrounding area, the huge silver model of a cell has become a symbol of the city and a popular spot for snapshots. Tourists can go inside the structure to see regular exhibitions about science and history.
Next door to the Atomium is Mini-Europe, a scaled down model continent with models of famous buildings from every single country in Europe, including an erupting mount Vesuvius in mini Italy! This quirky attraction is a big hit with children.
Things To Do
Hit the Brussels Bar Scene
Brussels is an exceptionally great city to have a drink, and boasts a bar scene which is the envy of much bigger capital cities in Europe. Reasonable prices, original art deco buildings, beautiful lighting and decorations, and, of course, great drinks makes for a sophisticated night out.
Many of the bars in Brussels have a 1930s theme or decor, with many holding live jazz or cabaret shows. After a few drinks, you may want to try the traditional Brussels hangover cure: a hot cone of frites topped with mayonnaise.
Where to Stay
Because of the many people who have a flat in Brussels to work in the European Union and NATO, Brussels is a very popular spot for people to rent out their homes or apartments when they are not present. These are often centrally located and reasonably priced.
The coolest hotel in Brussels is definitely The White Hotel. The rooms are a stark white and sparsely decorated - because the hotel doubles as a modern art gallery. Become a work of art as you sleep in the gallery, with original works hanging on your bedroom wall.
There are plenty of hostels in Brussels, and the Grand Place Hostel has a far better location than many of the five star hotels in the city, for a rock bottom price.