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Brussels in 2 days

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Aug 27th, 2011, 08:23 PM
  #1
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Brussels in 2 days

Any suggestions on how to spend 2 days in Brussels. We're not beer drinkers, but love chocolates!
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Aug 27th, 2011, 08:51 PM
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Help us out here. You can eat a lot of chocolate in 2 days but what do you want to do in the meantime?

I loved Brussels.
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Aug 27th, 2011, 09:11 PM
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1 day in Brussels is enough
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Aug 28th, 2011, 12:52 AM
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We spent our first day on the hop-on-hop off bus - as we didn't have a car, this gave us access to most sights, as well as local history commentary.
You can walk between most of the inner city landmarks . . . with plenty of chocolates, frites etc to munch on the way! Di
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Aug 28th, 2011, 04:30 AM
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Definitely let us know what your interests are. We spent a few days in Brussels a couple years back, and I disagree - 1 day is not enough. But, of course, it depends on your interests.
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Aug 28th, 2011, 04:55 AM
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I spent a day in Brussels and thought that was plenty.
Try Grand Place, The mannekin pis (which is kinda small!!) the Royal Palace, perhaps the Chocolate Museum - we went cos we ran out of things to see!
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Aug 28th, 2011, 07:06 AM
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You could easily fill two days in Brussels. There are chocolate stores all over Brussels. I recommend going to the Grand Sablon--many of the well known places have shops there--Pierre Marcolini, Wittamer, Godiva, Neuhaus, Leonidas, Passion (and there are also some other neat art, antique, and home furnishing shops there, too). The hot chocolate at Wittamer is amazing and, on a nice day, it's lovely to sit outside and take in the scene. If you are in the Sablon on a Saturday or Sunday, the antiques market will be going on.

Don't buy the chocolate in the tourist shops where they are offering 10 boxes for a special price or things like that. Most of this is low quality chocolate and not worth it. For another delicious treat, be sure to get a warm Gaufre de Liege--a carmelized sugar waffle.

Besides chocolate (and waffles), there are lots of interesting things to do in Brussels. You definitely have to see the magnificent Grand Place. Even though he's overrated, you should also swing by the Manneken Pis statue/fountain. It's actually fun to see him if you happen to catch him on a day when he is dressed up. If you really enjoy this sort of thing, you can go find the female version (Janneken Pis) and the dog version (Zinneke Pis). The dog version is near the Halles St Gery, which is a beautiful old covered market building that has been converted to a tourist desk/coffee shop and exhibition space. There are usually at least two exhibits going on and they have always been free when I have been there. It is worth stopping by just to see the building. This is also a lively neighborhood for restaurants, especially Asian restaurants, with many outdoor cafes.

If you like Art Nouveau architecture, I suggest getting the map from the tourist office on the Grand Place and following the nice walking route marked for some fantastic examples. You could also go to the Victor Horta House museum. If you are into comics, the same map also has a walking tour of the comic strip murals painted on buildings around Brussels. There also is a comic strip museum.

If you like modern art/surrealism, the Magritte Museum is well worth a visit. This is not my favorite type of art, but I thoroughly enjoyed the museum. The audioguide is very well done and really enhanced my visit. I am not sure I would have appreciated it as much without it.

If you like military history, the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military history is great. I liked it a lot, even though I am not a huge military history buff. It is located in one of the buildings by the arch in the Parc Cinquantenaire. The collection is very impressive--all sorts of military uniforms, weapons, armor, artifacts, and even all sorts of vehicles like tanks, airplanes, helicopters, etc. There is a whole hangar of them. The museum is free, including the visit to the top of the arch where you can have a nice view over Brussels. The park itself is nice for a stroll or a run if you are looking to get some exercise in.

Don't miss walking through the covered shopping arcades of the Galeries St Hubert. These are really beautiful and near the Grand Place. You can also walk through the Parc de Bruxelles and walk by the Palace.

There are many more things to do in Brussels, but this should get you started. Enjoy your trip!
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Aug 28th, 2011, 07:59 AM
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Coll has given you an excellent rundown.

The Fine Arts Museum in Brussels is outstanding for Flemish Primitives paintings. The new Magritte Museum is probably worth visiting (I haven't been since it's opened). I'm a huge fan of Art Nouveau and there are plenty of self-guided walks you can do in Brussels. Must sees are Horta Museum and the Museum of Musical Instruments.
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Aug 28th, 2011, 10:13 AM
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I agree with Coll and yk--there is plenty to do in Brussels for two days, especially if you like art in addition to chocolate. If by some chance you did get bored on the second day, you could always hop a train for a short trip to Leuven, Ghent or Mechelen.
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Aug 28th, 2011, 10:16 AM
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The music museum, in a former art nouveau department store, is said to be very good.
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Aug 28th, 2011, 10:22 AM
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The Museum of Musical Instruments has a cafe on the top floor that has a great view. I would suggest visiting the cafe if you are not interested in the museum. I also kind of like the Atomium. It is a bit away from the center and the content of the museum is not that impressive but the structure itself and the views from it were worth the price of admission for me: http://wikitravel.org/en/Brussels
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Aug 28th, 2011, 12:03 PM
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I'm glad some others have chimed in. I came back because I realized I should have mentioned the cafe at the top of the Museum for Musical Instruments and the Atomium, too. Fortunately, Tentek, Michael and yk mentioned them.

Di2315 mentioned the hop on hop off bus. I've never done this but know it goes all over, including out to the Atomium. Otherwise, you can take the metro out there. You did not say what time of year you will be in Brussels, but there are some special events depending on when you are there. For example, the Royal Greenhouses are open to the public in late April and early May. They are out near the Atomium and very much worth seeing. If anyone will be in or near Brussels in mid August next summer (usually the weekend that falls around August 15th), the flower carpet will going on--they cover the center of the Grand Place with a flower "carpet" made of begonias. It's spectacular and only every two years. I'll stop now, but wanted to point out there there are lots of things to see and do in Brussels. It seems to be one of the step children on the board sometimes. It's true that it can be a little gritty and travelers don't necessarily fall in love with it immediately the way many do with Paris, but it certainly has its charms.
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Aug 28th, 2011, 12:27 PM
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I am surprised to read that some people think that one day is enough for everything worth seeing in Brussels. After 5-plus years living there, we still find new things to see and do.

Brussels has lots of temporary art exhibitions all over the city - check the listings in the Bulletin (English language magazine) to see what's on during your visit.

Brussels has terrific food - if you tear yourself away from the tourist-oriented restaurants in the warren of streets around the GP. Our preferred restaurant area is the Chaussee de Waterloo from about the 400 block up - take a tram to the Ma Campagne stop and just start walking up the street. A variety of attractive, non-chain restaurants with something for most tastes - from vegan restaurants to places that specialize in grilled meats.

One of our favourite activities is checking out the auction previews at the Horta auction house - pop in, have a glass of wine, peruse the goods. The next one is on Saturday/Sunday Sept 10-11 from 10 am to 7 pm. www.horta.be
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Aug 28th, 2011, 02:53 PM
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We only had 2 1/2 days in Brussels and I'd still like to return. There were so many little details just walking around Brussels. Good food, great energy.
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Oct 9th, 2011, 07:45 AM
  #15
 
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definitely agree that 1 day in brussels is not enough! we spend part of our christmas holidays there every year, and, like others have said, there's always more to discover.

Our favourite chocolatier is Frederic Blondeel near Place Sainte Catherine: http://www.frederic-blondeel.com/en/presentation/

I also love coming across the cartoon murals all over the city--what a fun way to tour brussels. here's a list of them: http://www.pbase.com/wdkg/comics

Enjoy yourselves!
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Oct 9th, 2011, 08:13 AM
  #16
 
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Just back from a trip to Belgium, based in Brussels. We spent a total of 4 full days in the city visiting friends and sight seeing. We really enjoyed seeing some of the sights already mentioned on this thread (Horta museum and Museum of Musical Instruments) and generally exploring with the help of some good walking tour books.

Secret Brussels and Brussels for Pleasure: Thirteen Walks Through the Historic City were both good sources.

The city has some good food markets and antique markets on different days if those appeal to you.

We also took day trips including one to Trevuren and its Royal Museum of Central Africa, just past the city limits but easily reachable by tram.

No special insights on chocolate-related sites but I am sure you could have lots of fun just getting small samples from the different stores.
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Oct 9th, 2011, 08:19 AM
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One hour in Brussels is enough.
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Oct 9th, 2011, 09:13 AM
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We really enjoyed the Hop on Hop off bus, hopped off at the Atomium and spent a couple hours there, and even ventured over next door to mini Europe. Tacky but still enjoyable.

Another place I really enjoyed spending time at was Cook & Book ( http://www.cookandbook.be ). Was a bit of a trek on the metro, but once we found it, we had a good meal and enjoyed roaming around the different sections of the HUGE bookstore.
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Oct 9th, 2011, 11:41 AM
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We also liked Brussels and don't understand why so many people say it's uninteresting. We stayed in the Avenue Louise area and really loved it. Aside from the Museum of Fine Arts, Magritte Museum and Horta House (all definitely worthwhile) we spent most of our time walking around the Ixelles neighborhood/Place Flagey etc.

There's a lot of beautiful architecture and great parks/squares etc. We also visited the flea markets at the Marolles and Place Sablon.

We liked Brussels so much we're going to spend a few days there again next March.
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Oct 9th, 2011, 12:04 PM
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outwest--We also really enjoyed the Ixelles neighborhood. We were staying at an apartment near the Place Fernand Coq and only a few blocks over from Avenue Louise. We had fun exploring the market at Place Flagey and walking around the ponds of Ixelles/Abbay de la Cambre and were also intrigued by the lively multi-racial scene on Chaussée d'Ixelles
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