We had heard mixed reviews about Brussels before we visited so expectations were reasonably low. However, I must say, that we had a delightful time exploring the city for the brief time that we were there. We had fabulous weather, which always helps. All the main sights to see are in the city centre and right near both the Central and Midi train stations. We planned to do a lot of walking so started the day with a hearty brunch and strong coffee from a place called Le Dillens then hopped on some Lime Scooters to cruise the streets. The Lime Scooters are incredibly fun and are a very cheap way to get around the city.
Our first stop was the Parc du Cinquantenaire which is home to the impressive military museum. It is also a lovely park to go for a walk around with a conveniently located pop up bar right in the middle. It was almost midday so we decided to indulge in our first (of many) Belgian beers.
Since we had just started on the Belgian beers we thought why not continue. We took a stroll down to a bar called Bier Circus where they have hundreds of beers to try including serving each one in its own personalised glass. On the way we walked past the European Union headquarters which was interesting and busy as the elections were on.
It was then time to see some of the other main sights around the city. Some highlights included the Royal Palace of Brussels, the Musical Instruments Museum and the view from L’oreille Tourbillonante. There is so much history in the city and the buildings are stunning. Don’t bother going to see the famed Mannekin Pis… Trust me. It’s tiny and there are always crowds of tourists in front of it, many of the Belgians have no idea why its so famous.
For a late lunch we decided that we had to try Belgian Frites, obviously. There are many friteries dotted around the city and they all claim they are the best. The Belgian fries really are delicious, probably because they are double fried. And served with plenty of mayonnaise. So healthy. Andrew got his fries inside a baguette which we decided we would never try again!
Our absolute highlight of Brussels was checking out the Grand Palace. Honestly, our pictures do not do this place justice. The buildings are just incredible and the workmanship so detailed, it really blew us away. There is a lovely market in the square nearby which is definitely worth checking out.
Overall our time in Brussels was lovely and I recommend it for a stopover on your way to the rest of Belgium. We stayed near the airport as we were leaving early the next morning, but there are plenty of reasonably cheap places in the city centre. Cost wise, it is a place that can be as expensive or as cheap as you like, the beers are reasonably priced and food like the traditional frites are really cheap.
Here is a breakdown of our costs for 2 people for 1 day and night:
Accommodation – E82 (NZ$140)
Food/Drink – E62 (NZ$105)
Transport – E18 (NZ$31)
Total spent – E162 (NZ$276)