Five reasons to love Brussels

You might think a city that’s home to both the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) would be dull and uninteresting. You would be wrong.

Brussels exceeds all expectations. The same city that gave the world Tintin, Jean Claude Van Damme and a delicious type of sprout also dashes the stereotype that Belgium is boring.

Don’t believe me? Here are five fun things to see and do in Brussels – the capital of both Belgium and Europe.

The Grand Place in Brussels, BelgiumThe Grand Place

Grand by name and nature, Brussels’ ostentatious city square is a Unesco World Heritage Site – so you know it just has to be good. The square is home to some incredible gothic architecture, the most impressive of which is the Town Hall (pictured above on the left).

Waffles, chocolate, frites and sprouts

True, you can get frites (hot chips), waffles, chocolate and sprouts most places around the world – but are they as good as in Belgium? I don’t think so. Waffles are particularly good covered in chocolate and it’s a well-known fact that the best kind of chocolate in the world is Belgian. Meanwhile, Belgian fries are served in a cone with a wooden fork and a big dollop of mayonnaise.

I haven’t tested the sprouts but I’m sure they must be better in Belgium. They certainly can’t be any worse.

The Mannequin Pis in Brussels, Belgium.Manneken Pis

How can you not love a city with the audacity to erect (sorry, couldn’t help myself!) a statue of a boy taking a leak? This cheeky little boy would be easy to miss if not for the crowds of people swarming around it, trying to photograph him peeing into a small basin below. The city actually goes to the effort of dressing him up in little outfits, which just adds to this unique attraction’s whimsical appeal.

The Atomium in Brussels, BelgiumThe Atomium

Now this is a strange one. Futuristic and yet retro at the same time, the Brussels Atomium was built for the 1958 World Fair and has been blowing people’s minds ever since. Apparently it represents an elementary iron crystal enlarged 165 billion times. Five of the structure’s nine spheres are open to the public with a restaurant at the top.

Nearby Mini Europe is also worth a visit, if only to save you the time and effort required to visit all 80 European cities featured in this model village.

Beer

Last but certainly not least, when travelling to Brussels you simply must drink the beer – and lots of it. Danish, Dutch, German and Austrian beer is great but Belgian beer is sublime. You owe it to yourself. It’ll make all of the above even more enjoyable.

 

About Simon Petersen 315 Articles
Travel blogger, journalist, sports and movie fiend. Chronicling the life and times of a Kiwi at home and abroad.

3 Comments

  1. I’m missing Brussels as I’m reading this article. I especially miss the waffles – once you’ve had Belgian waffles you’ll never be satisfied by those in any other city! Thanks for sharing your travels, they’re always entertaining!

  2. Beer = a great reason to visit anywhere! Sprouts not so much. As a science graduate, I think the atomium looks cool (geek alert)! I’d like to go there someday.

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