Brussels is often overlooked by tourists in favour of destinations such as Bruges and Ghent, but there's far more to the Belgian capital than meets the eye. It boasts culture, fine architecture and an elegance that is found in few other urban areas. Whether you're visiting Brussels for a couple of nights or spending several days in the city, you're bound to find plenty of reasons to come back for more.
Brussels is the capital of Belgium and also holds the status of the 'capital' of the European Union. This gives it a truly cosmopolitan flair, with people from all over the continent and beyond making the city their home. Some one million people live in Brussels, with many more staying for business or diplomatic purposes. Increasingly, the city is also embracing tourism and more and more people are choosing to visit the Belgian capital for weekend breaks or longer.
Don't be put off by its seemingly high prices - while its status has indeed inflated the cost of living, it is still possible to visit Brussels on a budget. One way to do this is to choose a holiday apartment in Brussels instead of a hotel. Apartments tend to be quieter, safer and more affordable than hotels of a similar quality, making them the ideal choice for discerning tourists and business travellers on a budget.
Large parts of Brussels are modern thanks to its political importance, but many of the city's streets are still steeped in history. In fact you can expect to find a fascinating blend of old and new, with important attractions including:
The Cathedral of St Michael and St Gudula - This ancient Roman Catholic cathedral dates back to the 11th century and is often used for important ceremonies, such as royal marriages and state funerals. Its facade was completed in the 15th century and features Gothic architecture. The nave was restored between 1983 and 1989, returning much of the structure to its former glory and uncovering well-preserved remnants of the original Romanesque church.
Grand Place - Brussels' ancient town square dates back to the 15th century and is rarely missed by visitors to the city. Many of the buildings were constructed in the late 17th century and offer ideal photo opportunities, with a range of architectural and artistic styles living harmoniously side by side. The Grand Place also provides a range of cafes and restaurants for those in need of refreshment.
Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium - Located near the Royal Palace and Brussels Park, the Royal Museums are actually comprised of two separate museums in a single building. They are also linked to the Magritte Museum, which features the works of surrealist artist Rene Magritte. Visitors to the museums will be treated to an array of works, ranging from ancient art to comic strips and ultra modern pieces. This large building provides several floors of exhibits, including eight subterranean levels!
Manneken Pis - One of Brussels' more unorthodox landmarks is the Manneken Pis - a small bronze statue depicting a naked boy urinating into the basin of a fountain. Standing 61cm tall, the current sculpture is actually a replica of the original, which was first put in place in the early 17th century. Since then, the figure has been stolen on a number of occasions and the most recent version was installed in the 1960s.
Brussels is easy to reach thanks to its proximity to Brussels Airport (Zaventem National) and its status as a major rail hub. The train network extends to the airport itself, with the journey from the airport to the capital taking approximately 20 minutes.
There's never a bad time to visit Brussels. However, the city is often affected by rain, so pack a raincoat and an umbrella and you'll never be caught unawares. Many of the most important festivals - such as Iris Day in May and the Ommegang procession in July - take place during the milder months of the year. But if festive spirit is your thing, then you should consider visiting in December for the city's famous Christmas markets.
If you're interested in visiting the Belgian capital, why not take a look at our holiday apartments in Brussels? Our high quality accommodation often provides significant savings compared with staying in a hotel.
Rent holiday apartment accommodation in Brussels. Stay in Brussels apartment instead in a Brussels hotel.