We can forgive sophisticated travelers who forget about Brussels, the capital of Europe, famous for the sculpture of the 17th century, depicting a boy pissing in a fountain. However, tourists who ignore Brussels, a centre of the European Union, twice fried French-fried potatoes and surrealist painter Rene Magritte, take a risk.
First of all, they lose an opportunity to know more about food, as Brussels is a true “Milky Way” of Michelin stars. Second, they are missing a possibility to learn something about the beer, as in Belgium there are more than 600 varieties of beer, including beer brewed by monks. The list can be extended by rich cultural life and numerous unique places. Now it is obvious why nobody should treat Brussels as provincial and boring city. Indeed, Brussels has become one of Europe’s most important cultural centers. Join the crowd of people in front of the Peeing Boy, and you will understand why.
Let’s check the list of ten of the most interesting things to do in Brussels
1. Park “Mini-Europe”
Here you will see a wonderful collection of the most famous buildings in Europe at a scale of 1:25. The Eiffel tower, the Acropolis and the Leaning Tower of Pisa are only a few examples of what you can see here, this is a fabulous place where you can feel like Gulliver! Both children and adults will definitely like this wonderful park. Don’t forget to bring your camera with you.
2. Beersel Castle
You definitely will not regret making a journey to Beersel Castle. This construction of the XIII century with towers and old drawbridge will definitely impress you. In addition to the historical significance of the place, there are many great restaurants which offer stunning cuisine.
3. Nemo 33
If you are fond of diving, be sure to visit the deepest swimming pool in the world for diving. It is obvious from the name that the depth of this pool is 33 metres! The diving centre is open 365 days a year. Here you can attend scuba diving courses and get your instructor’s certificate. If you are not fond of diving, this is not a reason to skip Nemo 33, you can find wonderful Thai restaurant, convenient for business meetings or having dinner with friends.
Those who can’t live without skiing and snowboarding will certainly appreciate the fact that the main ski resorts in Europe are located not that far from Brussels. However, before you begin to conquer the famous mountainsides, it’s better to practice on easier routes. It can be easily done in the capital of Belgium. Anderlecht resort offers excellent ski-runs and all the necessary equipment to rent.
5. The Grand Place
The Grand Place has been a place for gathering for centuries. This is the place where all major historical took place. Now it is one of the most popular tourist attractions. There are many restaurants and cafes, shops, and exceptionally beautiful buildings.
The market square appeared in the twelfth century where dried up bogs used to be. The Famous Bread House (the King’s House) and the Town Hall can be viewed here. The buildings standing on the market square of Brussels is in the list of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Every two years, on August 15th millions of multi-colored begonias are planted here, making the most enormous blossoming flower bed. If you’re lucky enough to be in Brussels at this time – do not miss this show (Ed -the last time was in 2012, so it will be on again this year see http://www.flowercarpet.be/).
6. Royal Museum of Fine Arts
This museum has an impressive collection of paintings and sculptures, owned by the Belgium Government. It consists of the Royal Museum located next to the Royal Palace Museum of Old Art and Museum of Modern Art, Antoine Wiertz Museum and Museum of Constantin Meunier in Ixelles. This place is worth visiting.
If you have a strong desire to spend money in luxury stores you should go to Avenue Louise and Boulevard de Waterloo. You can start with the surrounding Chaussee d’Ixelles where less expensive H&M, Mango, Etam are situated. Boulevard de Waterloo is the place where international brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Chanel, Bvlgari, Gucci, Hermes, Louis Vuitton can be found. Things made by famous Belgians are waiting for you in multi-brand boutiques on Avenue Louise.
One of the oldest shopping centers in Europe – Galeries Royales St-Hubert with a glass roof (Metro: Gare Centrale) welcomes you in Brussels. There are boutiques, restaurants, cafes, bookstores, theater and cinema. Here you can listen to street musicians playing classical music. Gallery, opened in 1847 and built in the style of the Italian neo-Renaissance, Galeries Royales St-Hubert definitely deserves your attention, even if you do not like shopping. there are restaurants, cafes, bookstores, theater and cinema.
Flea market at Jeu de Ball is full of unusual jewelry, souvenirs, paintings, clothing, and a lot of other interesting things. The market is open daily from 7:00 am to 2 pm.
8. Horse riding
Not many people know that in Brussels horseback riding is available. However, tourists enjoy horse riding in the popular Centre Equestre de la Cambre in the forest Ter Kameren situated the centre of the city. Here you will find everything necessary, from horses and equipment to teachers. Another wonderful place is Les Drags club located at Hoeilaart, near the Soignes forest, offers endless riding opportunities.
9. Belgian Comic Strip Center
Belgium is a homeland of comic books, it is not surprising that the Centre for Comic Strip Art is located here, in a building in Art Nouveau by grand master Victor Horta. This place is a magnet for children and adults everybody who is fond of this colorful and interesting art. The museum contains more than 25,000 comic books, including original drawings of the famous master Hergé’s comic books.
10. Eat in Brussels
Some people believe that the Belgian cuisine is the most delicious in the world, it has many components that are based on the standards of French and German culinary traditions. You will find 2,000 restaurants in Brussels. Eight of them are marked with Michelin Stars (4 – 1 star, 4 – 2 stars), and it means a lot. You will definitely enjoy eating in the capital of Belgium!
About the author: Melisa Marzett writes articles dedicated to tourism, traveling and geography. You can contact with Melisa on Google+
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