After the exam period, I felt like I needed a change of scenery, a break before starting the next block of classes, and that’s how I found myself in Brussels a couple weeks ago! The Belgian capital is just a hop away from Rotterdam, making it a perfect destination for a day trip. I paidÂ â‚¬25, hoped on a train, and in slightly more than one hour I reached my destination .
If you happen to be planning a day trip to Brussels, here are some tips on how to spend your day!
Places to visit in Brussels
The Belgian capital is a fairly compact city, you can get to see the main touristic sites fairly quickly and should have enough time to stuff yourself with waffles, chocolate, and beer! Brussels has a fantastic metro system, but if you are just visiting for a day, you definitely wonâ€™t need it as the city is very easy to see on foot
The Grande Place
First, head to the Grande Place, it’s the centre of Brussels and a place to start your day off. The square is home to the City Hall and gothic-styled King’s house (as well as many chocolate shops, yum!).Â By day or by night, the buildings covered in gold gilt are absolutely beautiful and you can see why tourists flock to explore and take pictures. Grab a beer and just enjoy the scenery.
Often voted as one of the most disappointing tourist attractions in the world, The Manneken PisÂ is a 61cm high statue ofâ€¦a little boy pissing. “Is that it?” is a sentence you’ll often hear from the multitude of tourist around there. Still, the many waffle shops in the neighboring streets make it worth it to go see the iconic statue.
Cathedral of St. Michael
The beautiful gothic Cathedral is the national church of Belgium and it is here that royal weddings and funerals take place. Though dating from the 12th century, the church was only granted cathedral status in 1962.You can visit inside for free.
Royal Palace of Brussels
Even though it is named “palace”, this gorgeous building is not actually used as aÂ royal residence. In fact, the royal family of Belgian lives in the Royal Palace of Laeken on the outskirts of Brussels. Still, it’s worth going inside before heading to the beautiful Brussels Park for a stroll next door.
Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert
This is a shopping arcade in the centre of Brussels, not too far from the Grande Place. Split into two major sections, each more than 100m in length, it is the home to a multitude of small shops selling everything – chocolate, designer clothing, jewellery, and many more. If not for shopping, just go there for the scenery, it’s gorgeous!
Food and Drinks
After a whole day of walking, you deserve to enjoy the local food and drinks without restriction (or almost?). Forget the calories and indulge yourself for a day!
Waffles:Â One cannot come to Brussels without at least one waffle. You can choose to add a multitude of ingredients like fruits, Nutella, caramel and so on, or simply eat it nature.
Mussel & Fries:Â a classic Belgian dish that you will find everywhere around the city. Don’t miss it, but try to avoid eating in touristic streets as the price can be excessively high!
Chocolate:Â Belgium is known for itâ€™s Chocolatiers and you just cannot leave Brussels without sampling some of its chocolate and buying some to bring back home! Pierre Marcolini & Godiva are the best in terms of quality in my opinion.
Beers: Belgium is a paradise for beer lovers, and you simply cannot leave Brussels without sampling a few (many?) decent beers. For that, head to the Delirium near the Grande Place – it offers more than 3000 sorts of beers and you’re sure to find one to your tastes!