Brussels, the capital of Belgium and home of the EU parliament, may not stand out against the glamour of its neighbouring European countries and big cities but it has its own brand of charm. The city is decorated with numerous gothic structures and magnificent art that tempts people to explore it.
Definitely a melting pot of people, cultures and styles, Brussels offers a lot to see and do. And this was the reason it became the starting and end point of my #BudgetEuroTrip this time. The beauty of Brussels is beyond the usual stuff which it offers. It hides so many of its charming features that you will be surprised what you missed. And trust me you can stay cheap in the land of waffles, beer & chocolates. Brussels is not really considered to be a dream travel destination but it has everything to keep you entertained.
If you really want to experience Brussels like a local, you should visit the markets. If the weather is nice, one of the best ways to pass time is to visit a park. Luckily Brussels has many different parks, so you’ll surely find a favourite. On other times, just walk around the town and see what it has to offer. Most people start from the impressive Grand Place along the café lined streets. Belgium is known for chocolate, no doubt, and in Brussels, you can even take a short course and learn how to make your own chocolate. Go around the Grand Sablon, a market square which is chocolate lover’s paradise filled with countless boutique artisan chocolatiers with shops that ooze sophistication, artistry and immaculate taste. Also pay a visit to Manneken Pis, the iconic structure of Brussels that is a must see for many. It is a bronze structure of a naked little boy urinating. The story behind this structure varies. For all the different stories, you can once visit the Brussels City Museum. The structure is much smaller than it seemed in pictures but I guess you can’t visit Brussels without paying the Manneken Pis a visit.
Here are five free attractions to enjoy in the Belgian capital:
1. The Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula
Dating back to the 11th century, the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula is a prominent fixture in the Brussels cityscape. Inside you’ll find stained-glass windows and beautiful arched ceilings. The cathedral is home to a Romanesque crypt.
2. Visit European Parliament
Brussels is the administrative center of the European Union and this special distinction affords visitors the opportunity to tour the European Parliament
3. Free museums on the first Wednesday of the month
While some Brussels museums are always free, others open their doors gratis monthly, on the first Wednesday of the month. Among the participating museums are the Museum of Old Masters and the Museum of Modern Art. Free admission begins at 1 p.m. Visit the Brussels Museums Website for more information.
4. Free concerts
L’Archiduic, a popular bar in the Ste. Catherine hood, hosts live jazz throughout the week. Check the site to see what’s on though drinks are not cheap here
5. People Watching at Grand Palace
Once known as “the most amazing medieval square in Europe”, this place has its charm both in the day and at night. So if you have the time, do visit the place twice during your trip! This is the best place to enjoy a drink or two while you see the world pass by. You can see the local artists performing around and this is the place where locals hang. Great place to take in the city’s vibe.
Fries, or rather, frites, here are not to be taken lightly. Sold everywhere along the streets it’s regarded with local passion and pride. You have to eat to believe it how different a Frites/Fries can be.
Belgian Waffles are known all over and something that can’t be missed. You can get it for as cheap as 1 Euro and then can customise the toppings to your liking. Taste the Dark local Chocolate and Cream over the waffles and you will understand what a Foodgasm really means.
Do I really want to tell what to drink in Belgium? Beer is the way to go. There are so many types of beer that you might even forget the count after a couple. Besides buying the beer from the normal supermarkets,shops etc, head to Delirium Cafe. It was inducted to the Guinness Book of World Records in 2004 for having 2004 different beers commercially available on their menu. It still boasts one of the largest beer selections anywhere and there are beers on the menu from over 75 different countries. Located in an 18th century basement on Impasse de la Fidelite, an alley off the Rue des Bouchers.
It is easy to manoeuvre around the Capital City of Europe. There is a well-developed public transport system and is well connected to other major cities in Europe by Bus, Train, Road & Flights. The city centre itself is compact so there are good walking trails to check out the city’s main attractions. The cheapest and best way to get around is the public transport system which is made up of the metro (underground trains), buses and trams. All of these services are operated by the same company and therefore share the same ticketing system.
Amount Spent: Approximately 60 Euros for 2 days including Food, Stay, Internal Travel & Drinking
Next Stop- Freiburg im Breisgau