Let me begin with some fun facts! Brussels is the capital of Belgium which is also the capital of Europe! Brussels is where the European Parliament and the European Headquarters are located. Both of these institutions chose Brussels because it is a central and neutral place in Europe and Belgium was a relatively new country when they found Europe. Brussels has a multicultural population. You will see all European nationalities in Brussels with a lot of French and Dutch speaking Belgian people. The best thing about it is that the city uses a lot of English and is tourist friendly to rest me assured when I was there for my first ever solo trip.
Brussels is a small city so you can get around easily on foot most of the time. The thing is that this city has a historical city center which is from the middle ages and later, many of those monuments and buildings have been restored quite a lot of times due to wars and as time went by. The city of Brussels hired many different architects to build its most famous buildings like Grand Place which is the city-center square. I have even been there at different times of the day to enjoy both the day and night view in the plaza.
This beautiful square is elegantly decorated with golden leaves and a lot of details such as statues and animals sculpted on the facades. You should definitely pay attention to the details to be truly amazed by its design during your visit. Many of these buildings play a crucial role in the city and hold typical Belgian restaurants on the first floor. Even the Town Hall has its own style. It is a Gothic building with a huge tower in the middle which marks the tallest tower of the old city center so you can clearly see the Town Hall tower in the distance. This historical center is only accessible on foot so this makes it very pleasant to walk around without having to worry about any cars. An array of chocolate stores are around the corner in the square and of course it is a must to buy some Belgian chocolate both for friends and your own in this chocolate paradise. You may get yourself other souvenirs around this area as well.
If you want to go to the Famous Belgian statue of Manneken Pis, you will have to go deeper in the old town area to see it near all the waffle stores! You can always take a walk further up to Place Poelaert taking a deep breath with a beautiful view of all of Brussels. This place is located near the Belgian Justice palace which is one the biggest in its category! This massive structure is a very nice spot to take some photos and appreciate Roman architecture. I guess now you know how close everything is so you don’t actually have to look up to your google map for direction to see all of them on your way.
When it comes to eating in this multicultural place, you can easily find lots of different cuisines from all over the world. But one thing you must taste is mussels! Making a quick search and you will get Chez Leon on the top like I did. Being a 127-year-old restaurant conserving not just the taste but the history and cultures of Belgium, I believe Chez Leon’s reputation is unbeatable and worth a visit. It is very thoughtful for them to include a set for solo visitors like me with the perfect proportion of mussels, fries and some beer! With simple ingredients like onions and garlic, satisfaction has already been overloaded and you would ask for nothing but an encore haha
Address: Rue des Bouchers 18,B-1000 Bruxelles
Waffles & Fries
Waffles is indeed my kind of definition of Belgium. Not until I got to Brussels in person did I realize waffles are more than just a simple dessert. There are two kinds of waffles: the Brussels waffle and the Liege waffle with the former being fluffier and lighter in rectangular shape while the later being more dense and crispier on the outside. I tried both styles during the trip and the favorite ones I had were the Liege waffles with strawberries and whipped cream on top! Waffle shops are everywhere so I just picked one of them when I randomly wandered on the street. Another must-try snack is French fries which are actually a Belgian speciality! You will find the best one at Place “Jourdan” while the french fries shop is called “Maison Antoine” and it is considered the best in the world. I have always dipped fries in ketchup for my whole life but then Belgium has brought me a brand new experience. Fries served with mayo feel like another best combination. So be prepared to gain some calories in your trip!
Do you think I am going to introduce you with another cafe in town? No! Delirium Cafe is indeed where all beerlovers must go. This gigantic bar has an overwhelming selection of 2000 beers having all the beers that you have ever dreamed about. People from all over the city and even the world come to enjoy some alcohol and a night out. You will see foreigners and tourists but also locals drinking and having talks with friends.
You must pass by and grab yours! The interior of the bar in which I found it impressive is the beer references decorations everywhere on the wall and even the ceiling. Don’t be shy to ask the servers to help you with making a choice among the beers, they will help you based on what you usually like. My Belgian friend has recommended me to take “Kriek” as a foreigner as this beer is all about Belgium! It is soft and has a sweet cherry flavor. Located at the end of a small alley, however, the bar is always filled with laughter and noise from the crowd. That’s why you would never miss it out.
Address: Impasse de la Fidélité 4, 1000 Bruxelles