Belgium might be small compared to other countries in Europe, but their legacy affects the entire world. Besides being the birth place of one of my favorite surrealist painters, Rene Magritte, Belgium is home to the best beers, chocolates, waffles and FRIES in the world! (Well, to be fair, Swiss chocolate is pretty high up there as well) But the beers! Really!
With over 1,000 breweries in such a small country, enchanting architecture and a electrifying dance and performance scene, this country can be the biggest surprise in your Euro Trip. Backpackers and travelers usually skip Belgium and prefer to do stops in the Netherlands or Germany, however it has a lot of great medieval towns, historical sites, and breweries worth sticking around for. This travel guide to Belgium will help you plan your adventure.
House of the headquarters of the European Union, the registered offices of The North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the World Customs Organization. Immediately, this gives an international, enchanting atmosphere to this gothic jewel of the European continent. With companies, associations, cultural institutions, embassies and the worldwide press accumulated in Brussels, no wonder why it is a major economic, scientific and cultural center with an international, magical atmosphere.
Around the borders of the city center you will have a strong mix of world cultures, with numerous immigrants from Africa, India and the Middle East. This spices things up in Brussels and makes it one of the most diverse cities in Europe. With numerous political refugees, you will surely meet a brilliant mind over a side of fries or a cold local beer. Make sure to feed yourself with their famous waffles and chocolates as well. At night, the city can be a bit edgy if you walk alone in the outskirts, so don’t. Stay in the city center and feel free and safe to walk around in daylight.
Gay City Guide
Brussels Gay Parade May 19-21, 2017
Brussels’ gay bars, clubs, saunas and shops are located pretty much on two main streets in the city center along and around the street Rue du Marché au Charbon (or Kolenmarkt – Brussels and its street names are bilingual: French and Flemish). The gay bars on this street are usually very crowded on Friday and Saturday nights.
Brussels most famous party, La Demence at club Fuse, is known around Europe and attracts guys from all over Belgium, as well as from its neighbors France, Germany, Netherlands and other countries. Make sure to check their site for the up coming events http://www.lademence.com
Free entry before 24:00.
Regular Parties and Clubs
Flash @ You Night Club
Admission: free before 24:00, afterwards 10 €, incl. 1 drink
La Demence @ Fuse
Next dates: 1 January, 3 February, 10 March, 14-16 April, 4 June.
Admission: 10-15 € before 23:00, afterwards 15-20 €
Admission: 15-20 €
City Travel Guide
Hostel prices – Expect to pay, on average, 25 EUR per night for a bed in a dormitory room and about 60 EUR for a private room with an in-suite bathroom. For hostels, I recommend Sleep Well. They are my favorite!
Budget hotel prices – A night in a budget hotel will cost about 80-90 EUR in a single room and 110-120 EUR for a double room for a two-three star hotel with basic amenities.
Average cost of food – Casual meals and fast food cost around 12 EUR. A meal in a sit down restaurant with table service will cost from 22 EUR. Frites (french fries and a great snack) cost around 4 EUR. If you want to cook your meals, there are some great markets throughout the city. Expect to pay around 55 EUR for a week’s worth of groceries.
Transportation costs – Get a bike or walk around! Like Amsterdam, Brussels city center is a small charming place that you can walk in 2 or 3 days in its entirety. If you want to explore further areas then get the train or the bus. A single metro ticket costs 2,10/2,50 EUR. Taxis are just a rip off, they go up to 18 EUR for a 5 minute ride. There’s no reason to ever take them! Get a day bus pass for 7,50 EUR, and ride as much as you want.
Top Things to Do
The most memorable landmark in Brussels. This gothic town hall with closed baroque facade fronts makes it a dream for architecture and design lovers. The Grand Place is the heart of the city and includes the Town Hall, Belgium museum of history, beer breweries and the famous Breadhouse. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1998. Make sure you visit in the daytime and night-time, it provokes two totally different reactions. Find the Cuban salsa bar that is near by!
Belgium’s most famous bar near the Grand Place. Here you will find not only the biggest beer selection a bar could offer (They made it to the Guinness Book of World Records!) but you’ll meet travelers and backpackers from around the world wanting to know what’s so special about this place. Even if you don’t drink, this is a must see place and a great spot to meet other travelers. I went when I was backpacking Europe alone and ended up making a German, a Swiss and an Indian friend!
I truly don’t get why this is so famous but it is. This is a ultra small bronze fountain sculpture designed by Jerome Duquesnoy of a naked little boy urinating into the fountain’s basin. It was put in place around 1619 and is located near the famous Grand Place square. I could have easily missed and it wouldn’t have affected the incredible impact Belgium had in me.
Just go! Really. With 200 pieces that include paintings, sculptures and drawings of Belgium’s most beloved surrealist, you will be treated to first class art.
Musical Instrument Museum
I had so much fun in this museum! I think it’s brilliant how museums find interactive ways to affect their goers. Once you enter this three level museum, you’re given a set of headphones that plays the music and sounds of most of the instruments in the exhibition. It is like walking through a massive parade. The design of the building stands for itself and the city views from their little cafe makes a good picture.
Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert
It’s the total luxury market experience. It reminds you of the life you’re not living. It’s the oldest shopping arcade in Europe, and also houses cafés, restaurants and chocolate shops.
St. Michael and Gudula Cathedral
Built in 1047 but renovated in the gothic style in the 13th century, this imposing cathedral incorporates a mix of architectural styles, much like Brussels itself. It is the official site of all royal Belgian weddings and funerals.
Learn at the Cantillon Brewery
For just 7 EUR, you’ll get the chance to see Belgium’s famous beer making process in action. The beer is brewed between April and October, but you will still find it a rewarding experience all year round. The owners are passionate about their beer, and you get to taste the beer at the end of the tour.
Want to be in an epic place? This is it. Napoleon’s final battle against Europe. It has a hill in the middle that offers a perfect 360 degree view.
Basilique de Koekelberg
Inexpensive access compared too the other churches around Europe, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart is the 5th largest church in the world.
The Grand Salon
Around the antique market district and surrounded by cafes, this area is an amazing place to walk around, enjoy a beer or a good side of fries. The Church of Notre Dame du Sablon is also a beautiful piece of Gothic architecture that is housed here.