Where Your Journey Begins........
Brussels Places to Visit
Brussels is a city of contrasts with enormous diversity when it comes to places of interest and things to do. Below we've listed a few of those sights from museums & monuments to parks & points of interest. Although this list is by no means exhaustive, we feel it represents a genuine sampling of the diversity Brussels has to offer travelers. After all, you've got to start somewhere!
The Grand Place, with its ornate baroque and gothic guild houses, is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, and one of the most beautiful squares in Europe. Built as a merchants market in the 13th century, it serves as the city center and a great place to enjoy Belgian hospitality at one of the many terrace cafes. It is also a venue for many concerts & events throughout the year and during the warmer months has a vibrant, daily flower market.
Town Hall (Hotel de Ville)
The first building you notice upon entering the Grand Place is the striking gothic town hall, which dates back to the 13th century. Its beautiful facade features the famous needle-like crooked spire which is 315 feet in height and is topped by the archangel St. Michael. Tours are available of the interior, which contains 15th century tapestries and works of art.
The Royal Palace (Palais Royal)
The official home of the Belgian king, you will always know if he is in the country when you see the Belgian flag flying on top of the building. The building is a highlight of Neo-Classical architecture and overlooks Brussels Park. The Royal Palace is open to the public during the summer months.
Brussels mini break
We flew to Charleroi airport from Manchester for a weekend break to check out the Christmas markets for this blog. The airport is 54 Kms away from the city centre, shuttle buses run frequently to and from the airport, but beware there can be extensive queues . We were lucky enough to find persons to share a minibus which reduced the cost, however the buses cannot take you directly into the centre, you will need to complete your journey from the Midi station in a taxi.
We found the Novotel Centre Hotel was in an excellent location near Place Ste Catherine, (which in December hosted the ice skating rink and Christmas Market) and only 5-10 minutes’ walk from the Grand Place.
The large reception area was decorated with fabulous tasteful Christmas decorations and tree, felt in the Christmas spirit already!. Check in was smooth, and we took the lift to our adjoining rooms, ours seemed to be more of a suite, very spacious, with sitting area, comfortable beds , tea/coffee facilities and a window that opened, which is always a bonus! Everything about the hotel was very pleasant. We didn't eat within the hotel as there were plenty of eating places very close by.
Our only criticism was the steam room in the spa area was on the cool side.
Brussels is a great weekend destination, with plenty to see, including the Grand Place, beautiful architecture, Place St Catherine, lovely cobbled streets.
The Parliamentarian, a great interactive exhibition well worth a visit (but eat before you go, as the cafe not very exciting)!
But or favourite district was Sablon, so atmospheric, little cobbled streets, wine bars, beautiful chocolatiers, stylish shops and restaurants , it had it all for us. In December it was also very Christmassy.
You will be spoilt for choice with Restaurants as well, there is something for all tastes, our favourite was the t'Kelderke, a busy cellar restaurant on the Grand Place specialising in traditional Bruxellois dishes, great atmosphere.
All in all a great weekend, definitely recommended.
This hotel was fully renovated in 2011 and offers Free WiFi. It is perfect for your seminars and meetings (16 rooms) but also for exploring Brussels. It is located right in the heart of Brussels, in the lively Place Sainte Catherine area, just 875 yards (800 m) from the Grand Place and the famous Manneken Pis. Brussels Midi train station is easily accessible and offers connections via Thalys, Eurostar, TGV and ICE. The Bozar Center for Fine Arts, built by Victor Horta, is also close by.