What to do in Brussels

Feb 4th, 2019, 02:46 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2011
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What to do in Brussels

My 19 year old daughter and I are considering stopping in Belgium in between Amsterdam and Bayeax in mid June 2019. Would probably only have one day so was thinking Brussels might be our best option. We both have traveled extensively in Europe but neither of us has been anywhere in Belgium.
Any ideas of what to do? My daughter is studying history and loves all things WW2 related. And of course chocolate.....
jeriog is offline  
Feb 5th, 2019, 10:58 AM
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Visit the Horta mansion which is now a museum and the music museum located in a former Art nouveau department store.
Michael is online now  
Feb 5th, 2019, 01:56 PM
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Some ideas:
• the Horta house is good but it's outside the city. It is worth the detour. Combine with a shopping trip to the elegant Louise district (both the Louise metro station and Porte de Namur have shopping streets). If you can do it on a Wed afternoon (you will have to check open times), you can also catch the wonderful Chatelain market, which is a late afternoon / early evening affair. It's mostly for the locals but you can get all sorts of specialties like tiny dried sausages or cuberdons, which are sweets you can't get outside of Belgium as they don't travel well.
• Visit the Museum of Musical Instruments (a fabulous Art Nouveau building called Old England, a former department store). It is not only a good museum but has a café at the top with a wonderful view for the city. The food is all traditional Belgian food.
• the Cartoon Museum is quite good but of course it's Belgian figures that are celebrated there and that might put some people off. I enjoyed it, though. Other good museums are the military museum and Autoworld, both in the Cinquantenaire park (metro: Mérode). The chocolate museum in the city centre is terrible except for the chocolate-making demonstration at the end.
• of course in the city centre the usual sights (Grand' Place, Galeries St Hubert, which is a very old, elegant shopping arcade; Place du Grand Sablon, where there are a lot of chocolate shops).
• eat and drink: food is fab in Brussels, and make sure you try some of the local beer. A cherry beer (kriek) is something to try that you won't get anywhere else. If you don't like cherry then perhaps a framboise...? Trappist beers can have quite a kick but are also unique. Go to a traditional estaminet like À la Mort Subite for drinks and a light snack. Vincent for a fantastic meal. The St-Catherine district is the traditional seafood area. A district that's good to try the local cafés (alcohol, coffee, light food) is Place-St-Gery - if you don't drink then try a thé du menthe or un capu (a 'cappuccino' topped with whipped cream, not froth). Cafés include Mappa Mundo or Zebra. For breakfasts the chain Le Pain du Quotidien has awesome bread and lots of different chocolate spreads and jams on a communal table. Paul is also another chain with awesome baked goods (viennnoiseries).
• traditional foods include moules-frites (mussels with fries (chips)), gaufres (waffles), stoemp (a mashed potato and vegetable dish), ballekes (meatballs), boudin noir (black pudding). Avoid the restaurant street in Brussels and look further afield.

That's to start you off; maybe when you do some more research you will have more questions.

lavandula is online now  
Feb 5th, 2019, 02:12 PM
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oops, that should be "view of the city"!

lavandula is online now  
Feb 5th, 2019, 02:24 PM
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Consider Bruges for one day - much smaller and sights clustered - one of most beautiful towns in Europe:

Montecatini to Florence day trip - drive down to Chiusi and hop regional trains to Florence and back.

If taking Thalys trains from Holland to Antwerp you could then with the ABS fare in conjunction with a Thalys ticket for a few euros and take any train to Bruges - similar when going by Thalys from Brussels - nearly free any train from Bruges to the Thalys train.

Just mentioning Bruges if you know little about Belgium - Brussels is a large modern city that many here don't seem to like. (I like Brussels a lot but am thinking hard to ferret out its neat sights in just a day.

Anyway for lots on trains and booking early for discounts check www.thalys.com; www.seat61.com; www.budgeturopetrael.com and www.ricksteves.com.
PalenQ is online now  
Feb 5th, 2019, 02:45 PM
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The Horta Museum is in Brussels proper; here is the address:
25, rue Américaine

1060 Brussels (Saint-Gilles)
Michael is online now  
Feb 5th, 2019, 06:59 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
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>The Horta Museum is in Brussels proper<

Yes, but it's outside the 'belt' around central Brussels. Having said that, it is not hard to get to. At Louise metro, just change to the 92 tram which goes down Chaussee de Charleroi. Or take the 81 from Bruxelles-Midi station. For both you will have a short walk. I repeat, the Horta is worth it.

With the exception of the Atomium and the Horta Museum, all the attractions which I have mentioned are within the perimeter of Brussels' belt, and easily walkable. But the public transport, if you need it at all, is excellent. It is safe, convenient and clean, and there are many, many trains and trams so you never wait more than a few minutes. It is not the case that the attractions are far-flung, nor would I call medieval Brussels a 'modern' city. It has modern areas (the European Quarter and an area around Madou metro which has tall buildings) - but you have to go there expressly to see them. And hey, maybe you do want to see the European Parliament, many European tourists do. It isn't Bruges, which is smaller and almost entirely original medieval buildings. But it's also not as plagued by tourists. I lived in Belgium for a while and we return every few years. My daughter had not seen Bruges so we went last July. We had to compete with so many other tourists so that if I returned I would pick my dates very carefully and not visit at that time of the year. By contrast we were also in Brussels and found ample to fill three to four days and did not have to queue up everywhere and there were places in the local restaurants. With one day I would only attempt Brussels for best use of time, but if you had a couple of days then sure, I would add in Bruges and Ghent.

lavandula is online now  
Feb 11th, 2019, 06:05 PM
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great suggestions form Lavandula-she knows Brussels as do I .-
northie is offline  

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