2 days in Brussels
The capital of Belgium and centre of European culture and institutions, has a lot to offer. Apart from its beers and chocolates, the visitor will find many museums, beautiful parks, architecture and much more.
Temperatures in Brussels are relatively mild during the whole year. July is the hottest month with an average temperature of 18°C and February is the coldest at 3°C. The wettest month of the year is June.
We travelled to Brussels by Eurostar so the train stops at Brussels-Midi/Zuid which is one of the three major railway stations in the city. From there you can take the underground or the tram to reach your final destination.
If you arrive to the airport, it will take you around 17 minutes to get from there to the city centre. Take the train from Brussels Airport-Zaventem station which is located on level -1 of the terminal. The train will stop at Brussel-Central. A single ticket will cost you around 9€ during the week. Check prices here Belgian Rail prices.
A taxi from the airport to Brussels city centre will cost you around 45€. Taxis are available in front of the arrivals hall.Licensed taxis can be recognized by the blue and yellow emblem. Travellers are advised to avoid unlicensed taxis!
Once you arrive to the city centre you can purchase a day travel card which will cost you 7.50€. The travel card is valid for 24 hours, so if you purchase it at 15h on a Tuesday it will be valid till 15h on Wednesday. We used the travel card quite a lot as the weather kept changing and we found it more convenient.
PLACES TO VISIT AND THINGS TO DO
Visit the Brussels Cathedral, built in a Gothic style at the beginning of the thirteenth century.
Stroll around the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert where you can find jewelries, important chocolate shops, exclusive boutiques, restaurants and bars. Even if you don't buy anything, this place it's worth a visit.
Walk around the magnificent Grand Place, Brussels main square. The Grand-Place is beautiful square surrounded by the guild houses, the City Hall and the Maison du Roi.
Have a look at the Old England Building. This former department store is an art-nouveau showpiece. You can visit the music museum. Alternatively, have a drink at the rooftop cafe for a superb city panorama.
Go on an statue hunt and find the Manneken Pis (the most famous statue in Brussels, which is a bronze sculpture of a naked little boy urinating into a fountain's basin) and its female version, the Jeanneke Pis.
It's time for a cold beer!! Nearby the Jeanneke Pis you will find Delirium, a bar that serves more than 2000 types of beer.
Start your day visiting the Atomium, a modernist landmark building in Brussels that was constructed for the Expo 58. Nowadays it's a museum.
Visit the Royal Palace of Brussels, the official palace of the King and Queen of Belgium.
Unwind in the Parc de Bruxelles, the largest urban park in the city.
Find the house where Audrey Hepburn was worn (number 48 Rue Keyenveld, in Ixelles).
Take the Lift Marolles, an elevator that connects downtown with uptown Brussels. When you are up, you will get a great view of the city. Don't miss it...it's free!!
If you are up for some posh shopping, you can stroll around Avenue Louise where people come for high-end shoes and boutique shops. Alternatively, opt for shopping at Rue Neuve ( Nieuwstraat) where you will find international and more affordable fashion brands like Zara or Mango. Don't forget to buy some Belgian chocolates to take home.
Note: When you explore the streets of Brussels you will find loads of beautiful comic murals. Tintin, The Smurfs, Lucky Luke... They are all created by Belgian cartoonists and they are known worldwide. If you are a comic fan, pay a visit to the Comics Art Museum Brussels.
FOOD AND DRINK
Beer lovers... Welcome!! My favourites are : Leffe, Jupiler and Duvel.
Here I mention some of the most famous dishes:
Moules-frites: Mussels cooked or steamed with onions and celery served with fries.
Frites: fries, which are Belgium national dish.
Meatballs: Usually a mixture of beef and pork.
Flemish stew: Beef slowly simmered in Belgian beer until it melts in your mouth.
Note: You will find many friteries in Brussels where, apart from fries, they sell all types of fried food.
My personal recommendation:
Le Prétexte, a Belgian restaurant located nearby the hotel where we stayed (Hotel the Neufchatel). We really enjoyed the food here, prices are cheaper than in Brussels city centre and service was great. Address: Rue de la Victoire 225, 1060 Saint-Gilles, Belgium.
WHERE TO STAY
I visited Brussels with two friends and we stayed at Hotel The Neufchatel. This 3 star rated boutique hotel is located in Saint- Gilles (area where you can find nice bars and restaurants) , 5 minutes walk from Avenue Louise and not far from Brussels main attractions. Rooms are spacious with comfy beds and a really nice bathroom. Breakfast is convenient and staff (specially the Spanish receptionist that checked us in) are professional and extremely helpful.
If you wish to book a room at this hotel, please use this link Hotel The Neufchatel.
Around 120€-150€ to spend on transport, food and drink, tickets and shopping.