Monday, 23 June 2014

Brussels: What to see and do!

As you might have gathered from my instagram my brother and I were recently in Brussels for a long weekend.  

Since we had such a good time I thought I would maybe do a couple of posts with what we thought were the best things to do, a review of our hostel (which was *spoiler alert* fab) and maybe our top tips from the weekend.  

First things first, this is my post about what I'd suggest doing in Belgium's capital city.  I had never really considered going to Brussels before but we found flights for a measly £40 and it would have been rude not to go.  Since going I would really recommend Brussels as a city break, there's lots to do and it has a really nice vibe about it.

Before I begin I apologise for my lack of decent photos, when I'm on holiday my 35mm film camera is glued to my eye so I only went digital when I remembered.  My brother was equally useless because he's a film nutter too.  

Walk around and see the touristy sights 


Manneken Pis - the pissing boy, it's smaller than what you probably thought it was going to be but you see his picture everywhere so it's worth a visit.  

Beautiful old buildings - The Stock Exchange, Federal Parliament, Royal Palace etc.  Everything in Brussels is pretty close together so you can walk most places, although there is a metro line which can you take you longer distances.  

Palais De Justice - Get the lift up to the top of the palace and look at the view out over the city.

Grand Place - with the Town Hall and City Museum, so full of life.  

And the not so touristy sights 

The Graffiti - there is so much of it, and it makes the city so vibrant and colourful.  Try to see as much as possible.  We particularly liked the ghetto version of Manneken Pis. 

Zinneke Pis - a charming pissing dog to match the boy.  We stumbled across him when we were checking out the vintage shops (just around from cocktail corner) but whilst we we on our night out we came across him again and took photos - which explains my pose... 

Eat everything 

Waffles - do it, you know you want to.  

Moules - you have to eat mussels when you're in Brussels.  But don't jump in on your first night.  Look at the prices at every restaurant you eat at or walk past so you can get an idea of prices and you can pick a place where you won't get ripped off. 

Fries - you can buy these in special vans on the go or in every restaurant.  Belgians love their fries, but I found them slightly different from other European fries.  In Germany for example fries always come really well salted, but this wasn't the case in Brussels and it was a nice change - you could season your food yourself!  

Drink almost as much

Beer - Brussels is all about the beer.  And in most places it will be cheaper / the same price as soft drinks, so it's actually economical to drink beer isn't it? 

Cocktails - now if you're more of a cocktail girl like me then you won't be disappointed.  Cocktails everywhere, from all the bars on the streets surrounding the Stock Exchange to buying mojitos from a van near St Katherines.  St Grey is a really interesting bar, it has deckchairs in the back and a museum area at the side.  Confusing but good.  

Celtica - cheap beer.

Shopping 

For vintage clothes - Episodes - Great fun and some really great finds.  Although I would say it's a little bit overpriced, especially for bags.  For vintage bags check out the flea markets, there is far more to choose from and much cheaper.

Het Ivoren Aapje book shop - this is the most charming bookshop ever.  It's pretty small but so quirky.  

Record stores - there's a surprising amount of them about, you won't struggle but one good one is 72 Records.

Flea market - Place de Jeu de Balle. Lots of fun, so much stuff and everywhere!  It's a true flea market with a mix match of things which you really have to dig through.  It is quite touristy though so barter and barter hard.  I bought these cute bracelets and a Captain sign for Fathers Day.

Silent Movie

Now this is a special one - for 4EURO at Cinematek you can catch a silent film.  Not all are silent as it is the Brussels film museum and has a huge collection of films.  

If you look at the poster outside the door the silent films all have a piano symbol next to them.  We saw a Russian silent film from 1929 of modern life which was a real insight into life in between the wars.  But what was really incredible was that the piano player played flawlessly for an hour and a half, without any sheet music and in the dark.  

It was such a special experience; you watch a full size cinema screen but there are only three and a half row of seats so it was really intimate.  


For free

Parks and gardens - there are so many to go see and they are lovely to walk through.  It's times like this I loved having my Kindle because it could fit in my bag easily and we could sit down for a read whenever we wanted.

Pee against St Katherines - if you are a boy that is.  There is a perfectly legal, albeit smelly, public urinal area right up against the old church.  Let's be honest when else do you get the chance to pee up against a church?  


Parking58 - This is the best panoramic view in town.  

So that's my top list of things to see and do in Brussels if you are heading there for a weekend.  I hope you like it, please tell me if you think this sort of thing is a good post or not!  
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2 comments

  1. Oh it looks lovely! i quite fancy brussels, we did paris for a weekend last year and i was thinking Amsterdam this year but you may have changed my mind!
    Two Hearts One Roof

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    Replies
    1. It was really nice for a weekend away! Similar vibe to Amsterdam actually :)

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