Travels for You

Brussels is Belgium’s capital and home to the European Union headquarters. The Grand-Place square at the heart of the city has shops and cafes inside ornate 17th-century guildhouses, and the intricate Gothic Hôtel de Ville (town hall) with a distinctive bell tower. The 19th-century Maison du Roi houses the Musée de la Ville de Bruxelles city-history museum, including costumes for the city’s famed Manneken Pis statue

Old City Square
This magnificent city square is home to some of the most impressive buildings in Brussels, including the majestic Grand Palace. The old city square is lined with ancient guild houses and is considered to be one of the finest squats in the whole of Europe in terms of architectural styles and decorative façades. 

Most of the buildings that can be found here date back to 17th century and some of the main highlights include the former guild houses of Le Sac, Le Cornet, Le Renard, Le Roy d’Espagne and Le Cygne. Live theatrical and music performances are often held in the old city square in the evenings and taking in one of these performances is the perfect way to unwind at the end of the day.

Grand Palace, Brussels
Grand Palace, Brussels

Place Ste Catherine
Wandering around this enchanting square and the narrow lanes that branch off it is an experience that should not be missed while exploring Brussels. This district boasts traditional markets and is a great place for people-watching from one of the street cafés. The area also includes several ponds and a number of excellent seafood restaurants.

Quartier de la’Ilot Sacre
This vibrant district features a winding network of lanes that are filled with all kinds of shops, cafés, bars, restaurants and street entertainment. Most of the action here takes place outdoors and the mood at the Quartier de l’Ilot Sacre is always extremely festive, which makes this a great place to hang out in the evening.

Cathedral of Saint Michael and Saint Gudule
This magnificent cathedral is one of the most famous buildings in Brussels and many parts of this striking building date back to the 13th century. The cathedral’s soaring twin Gothic towers immediately capture the attention and imagination of visitors, while the cathedral’s stained glass windows are also extremely impressive. 

The cathedral is dedicated to St Michael, who is the patron saint of Brussels, as well as St Gudule, daughter. Visitors who climb to the top of the cathedral’s tall tower will be treated to stunning views right the way across the city of Brussels.

Cathedral of Saint Michael and Saint Gudule

Parc de Bruxelles
This large and lovely park is a great place to unwind while exploring the city of Brussels. Visitors can relax under the shade of one of the park’s tall trees and enjoy a picnic before taking a stroll to take in the mysterious Masonic designs and interesting buildings such as the magnificent Palais du Roi, which was once the palace of Leopold II. The palace can be found in the very heart of the Parc de Bruxelles and is open to the public during the summer months.

During the Austrian rule in the 18th century, empress Maria-Theresia preferred not to have the old palace rebuilt because she didn’t want the Austrian governor in Brussels to feel himself like a king. Only four houses where built on the site where the palace now stands.

William I, king of the reunited Netherlands, who decided in 1815 to rebuild these houses to turn them into a royal palace. This was finished in 1829. One year later Belgium became independent and the new king of Belgium, Leopold I, decided to use the new palace as his residence. It was king Leopold II, who had the original building turned into the palace like we now know it today.

The palace was used as the residence of the Belgian King until after the death of Queen Astrid in 1935, when her husband Leopold III, decided to move his residence to the castle of Laken. His successors also resided in Laken. The royal palace in the center is now used as the office of the king and as the residence of the crown prince.

The royal palace houses a museum called Belle-vue with a collection about the Belgian royal dynasty.

The royal palace, Belgium | Photo: Dennis Jarvis from Halifax, Canada, via Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 2.0

The vibrant city of Brussels in Belgium can easily be reached through your favorite ferry crossing operator. The journey is sure to be smooth and simple, which makes Brussels the perfect place to take a weekend break. Brussels also boasts a vibrant nightlife scene as well as plenty of exciting shopping opportunities. 

Culture vultures will want to spend an evening taking in a performance at one of Brussels’ excellent theatres, while people who time their trip to coincide with one of the major festivals such as the Animation and Cartoon Festival in February or the Ars Música festival in March will find the city at its most vibrant. People who are travelling with children will also want to check out exciting theme parks such as Oceade and Mini Europe.