Brussels, a city that continues to surprise and move you. This city-region-capital of 500 million Europeans is waiting to share its treasures with you. It’s a fair bet that its stormy history is the reason for its open-mindedness, warmth and friendliness. You’ll feel right at home in Brussels! As well as its historic monuments, Brussels has so much to share with you: its comic strip speech bubbles, its Art Nouveau façades, the talent of its stylists and designers, its delicacies and its surrealism, which can be found on every street corner.
Do & See Brussels city is quickly becoming a trendy spot for weekend getaways and holidays. Apart from its famous chocolates and beers there are many attractions that most visitors cannot begin to imagine. It is a centre of European culture, officially nicknamed ‘the European Village’, with almost 90 museums, beautiful parks, fascinating walks, trendy restaurants and bars. Brussels is the perfect city for holidays with family and friends, or even with colleagues as a team-building event. There is a lot to learn about the history of the city, the architecture, the Belgian obsession with comic strips, and the art of chocolate and beer.
Brussels Card: discover Brussels with one key! The Brussels Card is the best way to see this fascinating capital of Europe. It is available in 24 hr (€24), 48 hr (€36) and 72 hr (€43) versions, and offers a free guidebook, free entry to many museums, free use of public transit, and discounts at various shops, restaurants and attractions. May not be worth it to those who already receive discounts (children, students, etc). The card can be purchased on-line in advance for a discount, or at the tourist offices at: Grand-Place, Midi/Zui station, BIP. Some museums also sell the card.
Dining In Brussels, greed is not considered a shortcoming but a way of celebrating the ability to enjoy life! There are plenty of good restaurants in Brussels offering a wide variety of Belgian delicacies. Most people concentrate on the three classics: mussels (moules in French and mosselen in Flemish), fries (frites in French and frieten in Flemish) and chocolate. A few more adventurous Bruxellois/Brusselse dishes include anguilles au vert/paling in ‘t groen (river eels in green sauce), meat balls in tomato sauce, stoemp (mashed vegetables and potatoes) and turbot waterzooi (turbot fish in cream and egg sauce). For dessert, try a Belgian waffle (wafel in Flemish and gauffre in French), also available in a square Brussels version dusted with powdered sugar, and choices of bananas, whipped cream and many other toppings. Although many prefer the round, caramelized version from Liège.
Shopping Round off your journey of discovery by exploring the shops and boutiques! In the past, the upper part of the city was heavily influenced by the middle classes. It’s now almost naturally evolved into an upmarket shopping destination. Avenue Louise and its shopping arcades, Boulevard de Waterloo, Avenue de la Toison d’Or and the side streets are a real hive of creativity and variety. Very few shops in Brussels open before 10AM, and most open about 10:30-11AM. Many shops are closed on Sunday and Monday.
Accommodation Brussels offers a wide choice of international chain hotels as well as unique boutique-hotels. Each reflecting your wishes as an international traveller. More than 18 000 rooms are available, all connected by a public transport network taking you from the international airport to the international railway station (Eurostar and Thalys).
Bars & nightlife When it comes to hot spots in Brussels it can vary, but Place St-Gery is always a good nightspot. In Brussels you are never far away from a good bar. Belgium is to beer what France is to wine, it is home to one of the greatest beer traditions in the world, and Brussels is a great place to sample some of the vast variety on offer. Typical beers of Brussels are gueuze (rather sour) and kriek (rather sweet, cherry based). A special drink only found in Brussels is the “half-en-half” (“half and half”). It’s a mixture of white wine and champagne.
Essential Information Population: 1,132,781 (last census: 31st December 2011) Currency: 1 euro = 100 cents Emergency numbers: 112 Newspapers: Le Soir, La Libre Belgique, L’Echo, La Dernière Heure, European Voice, De Morgen, De Standaard, Het Nieuwsblad Website: http://visitbrussels.be/bitc/front/home/display/lg/en/section/visiteur.do Opening hours: Shops are open from Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. ‘til 6 p.m. Supermarkets close later and usually stay open until 9 p.m. on Fridays. Tourist information: VISITBRUSSELS, the tourist office for Brussels can be found at the following addresses: BIP – Rue Royale 2-4, 1000 Brussels Town Hall – Grand-Place, 1000 Brussels Gare du Midi, 1000 Brussels