Brussels is often seen as the epicentre of European politics, but in fact it also has a lot to offer for a city break. From panoramic views to naked statues, here are our top tips for a weekend break in Brussels.
1. Arrive by Eurostar
There is only one logical way to get to the Belgium capital, and that is by Eurostar. Trains take as little as 1 hour 53 minutes from London St Pancras, with up to 10 trains per day. Arriving by rail takes you directly to the city centre and you don’t have to worry about bagging all your liquids up in 100ml containers either – so you can bring some Belgian beer back as a souvenir.
2. Visit the Grand Place
On the topic of beer, it may be more expensive than the rest of the city, but nothing beats grabbing an ice cold beer on a summers day on an outdoor terrace overlooking the Grand Place. This historic square, which is strangely hidden as you disembark from the central station, is overlooked by the 15th century city hall. For those looking to discover more about the narrow streets that surround the square, tours (both walking and cycling) depart from the adjacent tourist office daily.
3. Flick through comic book heaven
Belgium has a national centre dedicated to comic strips. Explore the invention of the comic strip and discover the story behind Belgium’s most famous (and favourite) character, Tintin. Plus you might even spot a smurf or two!
If you’re not a fan of comic books, not a problem – because you don’t have to pay admission to enjoy the central hallway of the steel and glass warehouse which houses the museum, which itself is a beauty to behold. Fun fact: it was originally a department store.
4. Climb the Atomium
On the outskirts of the city, the Atomium is a gigantic metallic structure resembling a magnified iron crystal (apparently!). Ascend to the uppermost sphere for great city views, before heading down through the other protruding arms on a mesmerising journey. Interestingly, youth groups can book educational overnight stays in the structure.
5. Check out the naked statues
The famous Manneken Pis is arguably the smallest, yet most interesting feature of the city centre. The 61cm tall bronze statue, depicts a boy quite literally urinating into a fountain. And if you didn’t think it could get any weirder, there’s a 50cm female version, the Jeanneke Pis only a few blocks away. Happy squatting!
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