Insider tips: Planning a trip to Brussels
Jurga Rubinovaite is an avid traveler, photographer, and chief adventure planner behind the popular family travel blog Full Suitcase. On her blog, you can find more information and all the details for planning a trip to Brussels.
What should I do on my first trip to Brussels?
When visiting Brussels for the first time, don't miss the Grand Place, one of the most beautiful town squares in Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Often, you can also see a beautiful music & lights show here in the evening. Other must-sees include the iconic symbol of Brussels, Manneken Pis, and the Royal Gallery of Saint Hubert.
What are some hidden gems to see in Brussels?
Brussels is such a big city that you are bound to find many cool places and hidden gems everywhere you go. One of the nicest local areas to visit is the Sablon neighborhood. Located just a short walk from the main landmarks in the city center, Sablon is a charming area with antique shops, art galleries, quirky cafes, and some of the best chocolate shops in town. On the weekends, check out the Sablon Antiques Market, which is the place to be for quality antiques and some truly unique finds.
How much time should I spend in Brussels?
You can easily see the main highlights of Brussels in a day. However, if you want to explore the city deeper, check out several different areas (including the EU headquarters), visit one or two museums, or do some shopping, you’ll need at least 2-3 days.
What food is Brussels known for?
Brussels is a great place to try all kinds of Belgian food, including Belgian chocolates, Brussels waffles, and hundreds of types of different Belgian beers. But if you try just one traditional dish in Brussels, make it moules-frites (mussels and fries), which is said to have originated in Belgium. There are many restaurants serving moules-frites in Brussels, but for the most authentic experience, head to Chez Léon on Rue des Bouchers.
What is the best way to get around Brussels?
The best way to explore the city center of Brussels is on foot. However, there are also many landmarks and points of interest scattered all over the city, with big distances between them. The best way to see all the main areas and landmarks of Brussels in a short time is by taking a hop-on hop-off bus. The fastest way to cover bigger distances in Brussels is by metro.
What are the best months to visit Brussels?
Brussels is a year-round destination with plenty to see and do in all seasons. The months between May and September are the best weather-wise and there is always so much happening in the city in the summer.
What are the best neighborhoods for shopping?
Brussels is a real paradise for shoppers, with plenty of options for all tastes and budgets. Avenue Louise is the place to be for the most expensive luxury brands, whereas Rue Dansart is best known for boutique shops and local designers. Rue Neuve is the main and the busiest shopping street of Brussels, where you’ll find the more affordable brands such as H&M, Benetton, etc. Sablon and the Marolles are the best areas for vintage and antiques, and also for the lesser-known designer boutiques.
What are the best annual events in Brussels?
Probably one of the most popular events is the annual Brussels Christmas Market, traditionally held from the second half of November until the first weekend of January. With wonderful decorations and lighting, and hundreds of market stalls spread out through a big part of the city center, Brussels Christmas Market is one of the best in Europe. In addition, the city also offers an amazing (free) music and light show at the Grand Place, which makes a winter city trip to Brussels even more magical. Another world-famous celebration is the bi-annual Brussels Flower Carpet, which takes place in mid-August on even years.