Brussels city guide

11:23 AM


Brussels, the queen of chocolate and beer is a controversial destination due to the recent unfortunate incidents of terrorism, with the most recent on March 22, 2016 in subway and at the airport. 
It is true that the city is still in a shock although everyday life seems to have found its normal pace. Is everything normal, though? I can say it is not. There are soldiers around the major touristic spots and there are inspections while you enter the main commercial centers. The Belgian crisis centre said the threat level for Brussels is still 4, meaning a "serious and imminent threat", whereas the rest of the country is at 3. 

But Brussels is the heart of Europe and nothing can change that - many European people work there, many international people go there for business and tourism seems to be rising again. This Christmas the city was celebrating with nothing less than any other year. Christmas festivities were all around the city, people were at the streets and the amazing Grand place Christmas show had many attendees. 
I did not feel unsafe however, the constant view of the soldiers on the streets reminded me of the terrorist attacks. 

Here is my top 10 for Christmas time in Brussels:

1. The greatest Christmas Market of the city is located at Place de Ste Catherine

Small wooden houses around the square form the cutest Christmas market with artisanal goodies, local food and ofcourse hot wine. You will also find the big wheel, a Carousel and a big wooden house in the middle of the square serving Leffe beers! This is the place where older people meet whle their kids play around the market.


Tip: do not miss the Christmas show at Grand Place every night, it is simply amazing!

2. Visit 'Elizabeth'


You will find too many chcolateries around the city centre. Just enter and try whatever you might like. Nothing will let you down. However, my favourite chocolatier is 'Elizabeth'. Amazing cookies and artisanal chocolate and special Christmas editions.
You will find an 'Elizabeth' shop at Rue du Marché aux Herbes 55 in the city centre and you can have a look and learn what to expect via the official website: http://elisabeth.be 


3. Eat a gofre (belgian waffle) from Churros outside the 'Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert' 


Belgium is known for its delicious waffles that you can literally find in every corner in the city centre. The smell of Brussels is cooked suger. In the morning. Because at nights it smells like beer.
Do not resist to the temptation of a gofre and decorate it with all the edible ornametns you can: fresh fruits, chocolate chips, nutella, marmelades, powder suger and ofcourse heavy cream. 


4. For a night out, go to pub 'Delirium'


Delirium is the most well known pub in the city and is usually packed with people. Its vintage decoration is quite amazing. Not as amazing as its list of beers though. 
Delirium makes it own beers and has a variety of 200 (!) beers to try. It has entered The Guiness Book of Records in January 2004 offering 2004 different brands of beer not only from Belgium but from 60 different countries! It is located at Impasse de la Fidelite 4A, a small alley just some hundred meters from Grand Place. The name of the bar comes from 'Delirium Tremens' beer, having as a symbol the pink elephant that you can also see at the entrance of the bar. 

Delirium bar is becoming international and one can find it in Brazil (Rio de janeiro and sao Paolo), in Japan, and in Poland (Warsaw). 

A must-try is cherry beer that all locals go crazy. To be honest I did not liked it that much.


5. Take your picture with Manneken Pis

Standing there and pissing is like making mocking us. The little cute boy is the city's landmark and an unmissable picture taken :D 

At the event of an Internaional or local festivity/event or celebration, the little boy wears a special costume. We visited the 1st of December, Wold Aids Day, and the statue was covered in a woven condom. 

At the Museum of City of Brussels, located at the Grand Place there is an exhibition where the visitor cana dmire the little guy's costumes. For a brief look, here are some samples: https://www.brussels.be/artdet.cfm?id=4960&function=PICTUREBOOK 


6. If you have to visit one museum then definitely it must be 'BOZAR'

Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels, known as BOZAR, is the most important museum of the city - and the greatest. It is located at the wonderful and spacious Place du Musee / Museumplein and has numerous exhibition rooms and theatre/ concert halls. It is an architectural masterpiece and jewel to the city. It has a relaxed and cool vibe but expect a quite pricey ticket.

Check out the official website for current exhibitions. Tickets cost 15-25 euros, depending on the number of exhibition you choose to visit. 

Official website: http://www.bozar.be


7. If you love concept stores, then visit Appart. no. 17
Shopping will not dissapoint you in Brussels. In the city centre you will find amazing boutiques and big stores like ZARA, Benetton, PRIMARK. Most of them are located along Rue Neuve, the shopping street. 

Walking around the centre, I discovered the best concept store in the city, named Appart no. 17It is located at Rue des Grands Carmes 17, just next to Manneken Pis. 


8. If you are into luxury shopping, head to Avenue Louise

Take the metro and get off at the station 'Louise'. In front of you there is a huge avenue with luxurious shops, boutiques, hotels, cafes and restaurants. In comparison to the central Rue Neuve, here you will find luxurious brands like Louis Vuitton, Burberry etc. 
It is the most chic area of the city and the most expensive one. So f you can afford it, then go for it!

9. Try Mussels

'Moules Frites' as they call it in French, is kind of a national plate and even if you are not a fan of them, give them a try as they are usually very delicious. 
The best season to try them is from September to February. They are served in a large steaming pot of savory broth accompanied with fried potatoes and mayonnaise. The most famous mussel restaurant in Brussels is "Chez Leon", located at rue de Bouchers. 


10. Try Trappist beers
If you haven't already tried trappist beer, then you have to! I mean the Chimays and Grimbergens that you can -maybe- find at your country as well, but in Brussels you will find them draft and in the half price! What is more, you will discopver a bunch of unknown ones that are so delicious you won't believe they are actually beers! 
Do not be afraid to try various kinds, labels and mixtures. In Chrustmas time you will also find limited editions! Beer is a serious matter in Belgium :)

What to pack for Brussels?

Warm clothes, a warm jacket, scarf and beanie, comfortable shoes, lip butter for the cold! It is pretty chilly out there!



        
Have you seen our Brussels video?
Watch it here:


Where we stayed: Citadines Appart Hotel 

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