Like many other European cities, the city of Brussels itself qualifies as a "tourist attraction," with its haunting mix of medieval and Gothic architecture, more complex post-modern constructions, and Flemish and Art Nouveau town houses. One can spend hours simply wandering through the city's cobble-stoned streets, taking in the sights, which can be a welcome diversion for those hoping to save money and still experience Brussels.
The Place des Palais or Grand Palace
in the old center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a vision of glittering windows and Gothic structure. The St. Michael and Gudula Cathedral
, Basilica of the Sacred Heart
and Palais Royal
are also worth a visit for their impressive facades, whereas more modern structures such as the Atomium
might elicit a lively debate on the merits of postmodern architecture. A striking composition of steel columns and globes making up the crystal molecule of an iron atom, the Atomium was built for the 1958 World's Fair, and is adjacent to the Mini-Europe
park which hosts models of famous European monuments in miniature form. The EU institution buildings in the European Quarter are also worth a gander, as is the gorgeous Arc de Triomphe-Triomfboog in Parc du Cinquantenaire-Jubelpark
for a gorgeous view of the city.
However, one would be remiss to visit Brussels and not partake in at least one of its museums or affordable sights, including the Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium
, which includes work by Bruegel and Van Dyck, and the Museum of Modern Art
. René Magritte studied in Brussels and the world's largest collection of the surrealist's work can be found at the new Musée René Magritte
, a must-see for any fans of modernist art.
The Belgian Comic Strip Center
(and, of course, the Boutique de Tin Tin
) is a fun alternative for the younger set, featuring the treasured characters Tin Tin and Lucky Luke in a variety of Belgian comic strips, and housed in a Victor Horta-designed former department store building. (Architecture-enthusiasts will also appreciate the Horta Museum
, devoted to the works of the famous Belgian architect and designer.) The young at heart will also appreciate Manneken Pis
, a bronze statue of a young boy relieving himself that dates back to the 17th century.
Meanwhile, older tourists wishing to do some more adult sight-seeings might enjoy a beer tour or a visit to the Musée de la Gueze
, which offers a guided tour and samples of lambic and gueze beers. Lastly, the open-air markets are some of the best ways to enjoy Brussels on a budget, with their offerings of street music, cheap food stands and hassle-free "window" shopping. The Grand Place-Grote Markt
on the main square is full of bustling locals and tourists day and night, and hosts a light show on the surrounding 300-year-old buildings each evening. Also be sure to seek out the famous Marché aux Puces de Bruxelles - Vlooienmarkt
, a flea market in the Place du Jeu de Balle-Vossenplein that offers some of the cheapest shopping in the city.
place des Palais
Square near the Palace...
rue du Bois Sauvage 15
Historical Musical Venue...
avenue Emile Bossaert
Art Deco Church...
rue Brederode 16
Place des Palais
Symbol of Belgium Monarchy...
square de l'Atomium 1
Bd. du Centenaire, Heysel
Tribute to Science...
avenue du Football 1
Europe at Your Feet...
Parc du Cinquantenaire 10
A Triumph For Brussels...
rue de la Régence 3
rue de la Régénce 3
Museum of Modern Art...
Rue Esseghem 135
Off bd. de Smet de Naeyer
Home Of Famous Belgian Surrealist...
louis hapstraat 16
Come and experience the real Brussels!!!!!...
Bondgenotenlaan 145, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
Nieuwstraat, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
Avenue du Centenaire,Bruxelles, 1020, Belgium
Mechelsestraat 23, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
Steenweg, 2800 Mechelen, Belgium
Mechelsestraat 51, Leuven, Vlaanderen 3000, Belgium
Monseigneur Ladeuzeplein 31, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
Naamsestraat 96, 3000 Leuven, Belgium