Brussels is the perfect city for a short weekend trip: It’s easy to reach, has a lot to offer, and if your thing is discovering a city on foot, Brussels offers that as well. There are a few sights which are easily found, and once you have ticked them off your list, you finally have time for the other things which matter on a city break: cafés, shopping, and watching people. Here are my tips on what you should do in Brussels:
Manneken Pis is part of Brussels like their beer, fries, and waffles. But once you are standing in front of it, it’s actually quite unspectacular. It is just a statue of a small boy peeing, but assuredly it’s one of the most-photographed little boys in the world. What I didn’t know was that Manneken also has a sister: Jeanneke Pis, who has been peeing in a small lane off the Rue des Bouchers since the 1980s. And finally, at the corner of Rue des Chartreaux and Rue de Vieux-Marche, you will find Zinneke Pis, which is, as it were, their dog.
Street art in Brussels is hard to overlook. No matter around which corner you turn, no matter which street you’re walking along, in Brussels the chances are huge that you are going to come across some extremely cool street art. To me, this is much more interesting than all the other sightseeing things you could be doing, because you might suddenly find yourself in front of a genuine ROA, or you don’t discover the street art on houses until later, when you’re looking at your photos.
Brussels is the perfect place to just sit in one of the many cafés, order a coffee, and watch people in the café and on the streets. My favorites are:
– The L’atelier En Ville, a mixture of café, bar, furnishing store, fashion shop, and beer garden.
– Coffee Company, a cute little hipster café with the yummiest cupcakes I have ever tasted!
– At OR Espresso Bar you will find the best coffee in town and scrumptious home-made lemonade and ice tea!
Brussels is also known for its good food, of course. And it goes without saying that on a trip to Brussels you have to definitely try Belgium fries and waffles, and mussels! The Belgium cuisine has however a lot more tasty food to offer besides just the classic dishes. I can recommend:
– The Arcadi Café is as rustic as only Brussels can be. It is often crowded and you have to wait for a table, but it is worth it!
– The Fin de Siecle is also very rustic and serves good, down-to-earth meals. The atmosphere is like that of a Bavarian beer garden mixed with Belgium charm. From 7 pm onwards it is absolutely packed with people.
– The Gabriele Vintage is a true treasure trove for all fans of second-hand stuff. You can find hand-picked clothing and matching accessories from nearly every era here.
– Het Ivoren Aapje is a bookshop which might have come straight out of a movie. If you love books, you will want to spend hours here. Part of the reason for this is that you grow fond of the owner, Frederik Deflo, and his dog straightaway.
– There is a flea market at the Halles Saint-Gery on the first Sunday of each month. Perfect for a Sunday morning stroll after breakfast! If you don’t happen to be in Brussels on a first Sunday of the month, but you really like flea markets, you can go to the flea market at the Place du Jeu de Balle as this is held every day.
TIP: There are a few more tips and all addresses in Brussels of the places mentioned here on my Brussels list on Foursquare
Yvonne Zagermann is a travel blogger and award-winning German TV editor. Her travel blog JUST travelous is not only one of the best German travel blogs, but is also counted among the Top 100 travel blogs worldwide. She writes bilingually (German/English) about unique experiences, adventure travel and flashpacking.