Updated January 19, 2019
- I was here: one and a half days, December 2008.
- Number of days needed: one, maybe two if you are a museums person.
- My rating: 3/5.
For a great European capital, Brussels should have something else. On my personal scale, it would be the fourth city to visit in this country without too many cities, but let’s face it: unless you come by land from the Netherlands, you can hardly go to Belgium without stopping in Brussels, and the truth is that it is worth spending a day.
- The streets of the center are beautiful and interesting from the architectural point of view, but the ones in Bruges and Ghent are better.
- Taking a leisurely visit to enjoy local healthy food (beer, chocolate, waffles and French fries) should be mandatory, but it is possible to do it on every street in Belgium.
- Two of its attractions, the cathedral and the triumphal arch, are kind of similar to those in Paris and Berlin, respectively.
- Copenhagen Mermaid, a real disappointment, is Michelangelo’s David compared to the Manneken Pis.
- Town Hall Square (Grand Place) is certainly the best in the country, although the one in Antwerp can be a rival.
- It is the best base city. The rail network is excellent, fast and punctual, and all interesting destinations are an hour or less by train.
- The Atomium: it’s weird, but it’s cool, it’s sparkling since the 2006 restoration, and at least for once in Brussels, it’s something original.
- Museums: as a good capital city, most of the interesting museums are here, including the best paintings from the schools of Flanders from the 16th to the 18th centuries; we are talking about Rubens and Van Dyck among others.
In conclusion, Brussels is not too good nor too bad, but you will almost certainly spend more hours in it than in any other city. Take advantage of that, although it is less beautiful, it is bigger and therefore with more restaurants, cafes, bars, parks and museums than anywhere else around here.
WHAT TO SEE
- ITINERARY: THE BEST OF BRUSSELS IN ONE OR TWO DAYS
- THE ATOMIUM
- SACRE COEUR BASILICA
- THE GRAND PLACE
- WHEN TO GO
- WHERE TO SLEEP AND EAT
- DANGERS AND ANNOYANCES