We arrived in Brussels through Paris, so our excitement began on the plane. The view from our window seat stretched our imagination and, after seeing the Eiffel Tower once again from the clouds, we could only think of catching a glimpse of the impressive Atomium, one of Brussel’s great icons.
I’ll admit that our expectations for Brussels were high – after all, we were about to visit the Capital of Europe!
As soon as we landed, we headed straight to the Atomium. From there, we visited the famous Mini Europe park, walked around the neighborhood of the European Parliament and fell in love with the spectacular architecture of the Grand Place.
A mandatory stop for anyone traveling through Europe, Brussels is a modern and cosmopolitan city, full of museums to discover. We leave you with our best experiences in the city that are an absolute must if you want to make your trip as a couple even more special:
Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful squares that Joana and I have visited to date. The buildings that encircle it are everything you imagine when you think of the traditional European architecture with its lacy details in washed stone. The various cafés that turn their tables towards the square definitely opened our appetite with their sweet smell of chocolate and waffles.
Another one of Brussel’s main landmarks, the Atomium was originally built for the Expo 58 that took place in the city. The impressive structure of an iron atom that rises up 103 meters’ high was so successful that it is still today one of the most visited attractions in Brussels. For a truly special visit, head up to the 8th floor and enjoy a nice lunch with a panoramic view of the city.
TRY THE FAMOUS BELGIUM CHOCOLATE
And because it’s impossible to think of Belgium without thinking of chocolate, it would be almost a crime to visit its capital without getting a taste of this local treat! When your tour through the historic center opens your appetite, choose a café and enjoy the best chocolate that the local chefs prepare every day with a waffle or a crepe. Simply delicious.
Located a short distance from the Grand Place, this small statue about 60cm high of a small boy peeing is a symbol of Brussels. People told us many legends about this statute – some say that a boy saved Brussels from a fire by putting out a bomb fuse with his pee; others that a rich nobleman lost his son in the streets of Brussels and that the people found him in the position of this statute. Our personal favorite that we choose to believe in is that the son of a duke was found peeing on a tree in the middle of battle and, when he was found out, people made a statue of him to honor the bravery of the Belgian army. Which is your favorite?
ADMIRE THE STREET ARTISTS
With its modern and cosmopolitan atmosphere, it’s in Brussels that the most interesting street artists truly flourish. Walking through its historic and modern streets, you can feel the arts coming to life through stunts, music, paintings and unique local crafts.
And those who want to visit all of Europe in one day can head to the Mini Europe park in Brussels. In one morning, Joana and I traveled from the Big Ben to the Berlin Wall and the Porto riverside, passing by the Eiffel Tower, the leaning tower of Pisa and the Colosseum along the way! It was a really fun morning where we were able to see the most emblematic landmarks of Europe.
RELAX ON PARC DU CINQUANTENAIRE
In such a busy city as Brussels, it’s nice to know that there are green spaces where it’s still possible to rest and walk around peacefully. The Parc du Cinquantenaire is one of those places with a green area that stretches infinitely and is used in its totality for leisure purposes only. It was so nice to see families here having picnics, couples sitting by the lakes and parents playing with their kids.
THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT NEIGHBORHOOD
And because Brussels is considered the capital of Europe, a visit to the neighborhood of the European Parliament is a must. Besides admiring the modern architecture of the buildings, those who want to know a little more about Europe can also visit the Parlamentarium, an interactive museum that tells the story of Europe.
GALLERIES ROYALES SAINT-HUBERT
Those looking for some quick retail therapy can head straight to this historic shopping gallery. From luxury brands to ice cream shops and décor boutiques, you can find a little bit of everything at the Galleries Royales.
HAVE A DATE AT JARDIN DU PETIT SABLON
It can seem impossible to have a romantic moment in such a busy city as Brussels. But, fortunately, the city saved us a special spot to spend some quality time together. With an inviting garden surrounded by a decorated forged iron fence, this is the ideal place to relax and enjoy a romantic date.
Have you been to Brussels? What was your favorite moment in this big city?
honeymooners, Brussels 03/2012