With the Amalfi Coast ticked off my bucket list, I was feeling in the mood for more of a city break for my next destination. Somewhere not overly expensive where I could walk, explore and have some much needed cafe time.
Having heard that you can do Brussels in a day, I thought, why not? and booked myself a ticket. It still feels surreal that within two hours I can go from being in London to being in an entirely different country. I absolutely love it!
So off to Brussels it was for me – the land of world famous chocolate and waffles. And it didn’t disappoint!
WHAT TO SEE
Without doing day trips to nearby towns, there’s not a whole lot of “sites” to see, but I think that’s what makes it such a great city break. You don’t need to pack a weeks worth of activities and attractions into a short window of time. I was able to see everything I wanted within a day, exploring at a leisurely pace.
Mannequin Pis the bronze sculpture of a naked boy urinating into the base of a fountain. To be honest, I have no idea why this statue is famous. And if you ask the locals, you will no doubt get varying stories. But word on the street, is that it symbolises the rebellious nature of the city. Over the years the statue has been stolen so many times, that the original is now kept locked up in a museum somewhere. Or so rumour has it.
I visited Mannekin Pis around 11am and when I passed by it again around 4pm, it had been dressed up for the world cup. The statue is dressed up periodically throughout the year to coincide with various events and holidays, making the attraction even more popular with tourists.
Grand Place This square is considered to be one of the most beautiful in Europe and I can definitely see why. As I navigated my way down a narrow street filled with tourists and endless waffle shops, I found myself coming to an abrupt stop when I unexpectedly found myself standing in front of the square. I wasn’t prepared for the beauty of it, the architecture dating back to the late 17th century, so I made sure to take my time, properly soaking it all in.
Comic Book Route Brussels and comic books go hand in hand. World famous for The Adventures of Tintin, comics as a whole are considered an integral part of Belgium culture. So its no surprise that one of the cities main attractions is the comic book route. I decided not to follow the map taking you to over 50 murals, but instead was pleasantly surprised every time I turned a corner and stumbled upon one.
Galleries Royal St Hubert The architecture of this shopping arcade, with its glass ceilings and marble pillars is definitely not one to miss. The arcade is split into two sections, housing endless chocolate shops, restaurants, boutique stalls, and so much more. Purchasing items here can get a little pricy, so if you’re not wanting to spend some cash, then do as I did and enjoy a little window shopping. Although, I did find myself inside one of the chocolate shops, sampling and purchasing a little goodie bag for my train journey back to London.
WHERE TO EAT
Maison Dandy is where you want to be for THE BEST WAFFLES in my opinion. For years I wanted to visit Belgium for the world famous Belgium waffles and the one I had at Maison Dandy completely exceeded my expectations.
The moment I stepped inside, the sweet aroma of freshly baked goods had me eager to place my order. You can choose from either a Belgium waffle or a Leige waffle, the difference being that the Belguim waffle is crispier and lighter, whereas the Leige waffle is sweeter and denser. I opted for the Belgium waffle, knowing that my toppings of cherries, strawberries and chocolate sauce would provide all the sweetness I needed.
In addition to amazing waffles, Maison Dandy also have an incredible biscuit section. After accepting a sample, my tastebuds came alive, and I couldn’t leave without purchasing a bag. I had good intentions of sharing them with my colleagues back in London…. but, well, in the end they were just to good to share.
Fritland At first I didn’t understand all the hype around these hot chips, but after queuing for twenty minutes and then tasting them for myself, well, I completely understood. I’m not 100% sure what gives them their unique flavour, but whatever is it, its delicious!
If you decide to give this place a go, be sure to have cash on you. I’m not sure if they’re always cash only, but that was the case when I visited. And on that note, I’d recommend getting your cash from an ATM at the train station if arriving by the Eurostar, because ATM’s can be hard to find when you’re out and about.
Neuhaus Chocolate Yes, it’s true, Belgium chocolate is by far one of the best. For me, it’s right up there with the chocolate I had in Lapland late last year, and definitely better than what I get back home (sorry Australia!).
There’s multiple chocolate shops for you to indulge your taste buds in, but I immediately took a liking to Neuhaus Chocolate. Not only because my initial was displayed on all the chocolate (I mean if that isn’t a sign then I don’t know what is), but because the variety of flavours was extremely diverse and they have the most amazing window displays!
Overall, Brussels was fun, super chilled and had an incredible positive atmosphere to it. My favourite part was when a group of musicians came together in the middle of the street and started playing for anyone who cared to listen. The beats were incredible, they weren’t asking for money, they were simply just sharing their talents and having the best time doing it. To check it out, head over to my Instagram highlights. It was amazing to see.