We had 2 days to travels and opted for Brussels. At first I was not that excited. Once I got there though I really enjoyed it and thought the combo amount of days/location could not have been better.
I have listed a few quick tips for the city. This is not meant to be a thorough guide but should give a good head start to tackle the city.
- Central and affordable: Novotel off Grand Place - chain hotel (know what to expect) but kudos for its location. Ibis off Grand Place - maybe an even cheaper version located at the same spot.
- Splurge celebrity option: Hotel Amigo - indeed where celebrities stay when they visit. Didn't stay there but tried the Italian restaurant (Ristorante Bocconi) downstairs and it was worth it!
- Our pick: Hotel des Galeries - for its location (inside the beautiful Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert) and for its low key boutique style (if that's what you are looking for).
Foods not to miss
- The fries (Belgium is famous for its fries and in Brussels they make up for a meal topped with a dash of mayo)
- The chocolate, what to say about the chocolate! It is simply the best chocolate of all times. There are chocolate places all over town, it is impossible to miss them. The ones I recommend: Pierre Marcolini (stores all over and one inside Galeries Saint-Hubert) and Maison Dandoy (that also has the best cookies - speculoos - in town)
- Waffles, eaten anywhere, on the go most of the time. There are two kinds: the crispy Brussels version of the heavier (with more dough) Liège type. Both are good. Our best and more tasteful experience was to seat at the Maison Dandoy (off Grand Place) to have ours.
- Carbonnade, a wonderful beef stew cooked in Belgium beer. Usually served with fried and mayo! Had a great one at Le Marmiton (inside Galeries Saint-Hubert).
- The beers - with more than a hundred breweries in Belgium you can practically taste a different beer every time you seat down for one. The pub Chez Moeder Lambic offers 450 kinds of beer.
Things to do (in a nutshell)
Staying in central Brussels will make your life simpler, the city is very easy to navigate on foot. And if you need a cab ride somewhere that will not kill your budget. Here are things not to miss:
- Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert, beautiful design full of shops and restaurants.
- Magritte Museum which displays famous paintings, drawings, photographs, videos and archives of the Belgium artist.
- Centre Belge de la Bande Dessinée, a beautiful Art Nouveau building dedicated to the art of comic strip and its Belgium famous characters like Tintin and The Smurfs.
- Musée Horta, the so well preserved space dedicated to the 'original' Art Nouveau architect Victor Horta.
- Manneken-Pis, the little guy statue who is pissing freely in one of the corners off-Grand Place. It has become a symbol of the city. An absurd one!
- Place du Grand Sablon, beautiful and a little off the off-Grand Place circuit but worth the visit for its cafes, chocolate makers, Tintin statue and antiques.
In case you need more inspiration to decide Brussels is a cool destination check here.