Tourist information about Brussels
Brussels is regarded as the capital of Europe as well as Belgium. It’s a bilingual city, Bruxelles in French, Brussel in Flemish, but 85% of locals speak mainly French. Historically a successful trade centre, it has been ruled by Romans, Spanish, Austrians, French, Dutch and Germans.
Don’t let the city’s understated reputation deter you. Its most famous symbol may be the Manneken-Pis, a miniscule statue of a boy peeing, but one glance at the Grand Place, or Grote Markt, possibly Europe’s finest city square, makes you realize what a fine city this.
Add in the continent’s widest choice of quality beer, superb restaurants, the world’s best chocolate and fine museums and you will soon be captivated.
Stylish and fashionable
The medieval city features narrow, characterful streets, while beyond are Parisian-like boulevards and the new European Union quarter. The areas of St-Gilles and Ixelles are stylish with fashionable shops and restaurants featuring many Art Nouveau buildings, a style originally developed by a local, Victor Horta.
The Grand Place is the social heart of the city, often featuring events and markets, with the Hotel de Ville and fine Gothic buildings, many of them Guildhouses. The Place du Grand-Sablon is the city’s smartest square, dominated by Notre-Dame de Sablon and with antique and books markets at weekends.
The Royal Palace, open to the public in the summer, looks out on to the Brussels Park. Fine museums include the Belvue, located next to the palace and where the Belgian Revolution took place in 1830 and which led to independence.
The Belgian 'Royal Museums of Fine Art' and of 'Art and History' are both excellent while the Natural Sciences Museum, near to the European Parliament, will delight dinosaur fans.
Transport in the city is excellent and the train network to other Belgian cities like Bruges/Brugge is efficient and affordable. Eurostar trains from London, TGVs from Paris and regular services from Germany and Netherlands make Brussels as easy to reach as any European city. The climate is temperate with warm summers and mild winters.