We started our Europe trip in Brussels. We had never been to Belgium before and honestly didn’t know much about it but Brussels was awesome! We needed a work week so we stayed at a fabulous Airbnb apartment in Uccle. We were a little out of the center but we could easily take the metro into town.
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What to Do in Brussels
See the Infamous Mannekin Pis
This statue gets so much hype and its so tiny! I was expecting it to be bigger and more impressive but it truly is just a silly statue/fountain of a little boy relieving himself. Sometimes he even has on a costume!
Hang out in front of the Grand Place
The Grand Place is quite impressive and there are tons of people hanging out in the plaza in front of it. Be sure to go at night when it is all lit up.
Take in the View at Place Poelaert
The Palace of Justice at Place Poelaert was at one time the largest building in the world. It is quite impressive. This is also a fabulous place to take in views of the city, including Atomium, the huge replica of an atom. There is also a little bar selling cocktails where you can lounge and enjoy the view.
Admire the Jardin du Mont
The Jardin du Mont is full of beautiful flowers and a lovely spot to stroll around. We were here during Belgium National Day and the entire area was full of fun events!
Take a Day Trip to Ghent or Bruges
If you want to get out of Brussels for the day head over to Ghent or Bruges. We visited Ghent to check out the Gentse Gruut Brewery and it also happened to be a big festival, Gentse Feesten, which was pretty cool. Bruges is a very popular and touristic nearby town. We didn’t get a chance to go but we heard it is very beautiful.
Where to Eat in Brussels
From street food to fine dining, Brussels has a decent food scene. Unfortunately, we never got to try brussels sprouts here! We cooked a lot of meals at our Airbnb so we didn’t get to try too many restaurants but here are some memorable ones.
Named the greedy glutton, this old and cozy restaurant is the spot to go if you want to try traditional Belgian food. We had something similar to a shepherd’s pie and it was quite tasty. There is often a wait so try to make a reservation.
Cafe al Dente
This Italian cafe in Uccle is such a treat! We stumbled upon it accidentally and were so impressed. The pasta and salads are divine.
You can’t go to Brussels without getting waffles! We tried Le Funambule right in the middle of the tourist center beside Mannekin Pis and it was great. There is a variety of flavor combinations to choose from. We recommend Belgian chocolate. They are very decadent but messy!
Mussels in Brussels is also a thing! We tried them at Big Mama on the recommendation of a bartender but they were just okay. We were expecting more flavor. I kind of think the bartender only recommended them because it was right next door to his bar… Insider tip: several spots make you order per person and you aren’t able to share. Big Mama was cool because we were able to share, and thankfully so since it was a huge portion.
Where to Drink in Brussels
Belgium is known for their beer and it is easy to see why. It is delicious. While it isn’t the West-Coast style IPAs we love, it is definitely complex in flavor and intense in potency. Proceed with caution as these are not your average beers. I especially got into the sours while we were here.
Delirium deserves the hype. The beer is phenomenal and the bar is huge. It is actually like an entire alley full of different Delerium bars. While they brag about their draft beer selection (apparently they have the most in the world) we didn’t see a huge bar full of taps like we were expecting. Nonetheless, it is a must-do in Belgium. Who can resist the cute pink elephant!?
Toone is a puppet bar which I had read about and dragged Grant to. Both of us are kind of creeped out by puppets but it ended up being really cool. It is super old and has a cozy vibe. There are puppet shows you can see as well. We didn’t see one but it was going on in the theatre while we were there. It seemed to last over two hours! Be sure you like puppets before committing to a show, but anyone can enjoy a beer here.
Don’t worry, I can’t pronounce the name either! This bar is super cozy and filled with antiques and you guessed it, puppets! So random. This felt like a true Belgian bar and I imagine it would only be cozier on a cold winter evening.
We made a day trip to visit Gentse Gruut in the nearby town of Gentse. It is super easy to take the train here and then walk to the brewery. We made an appointment for the English speaking tour and it was super fun! You get to try lots of different types of beers and the guide is super knowledgeable of fun facts and keeps it interesting. I especially liked how the tour focused on the culture and history of the beer rather than the brewing process.
This was the first place we went to in Brussels and it is still my favorite. The beers are great and it is nice yet casual. We sat outside on a lovely sunny afternoon and it was delightful. The servers are super knowledgeable and have great recommendations.
This place is always packed and it is easy to see why. They have big flights of beer right beside the Grand Place. Sit outside and enjoy the people watching as you sip yummy Belgian beers.
Chemistry and Botanics
We randomly stumbled across this fancy craft cocktail bar and decided to take a break from beers. It is a cool concept and while it is pretty overpriced, if you are not a beer drinker, you’ll love it!
Aksum Coffee House
For a nice coffee shop head to Aksum. We sat outside on the sidewalk but the inside is very cute and trendy.
Brussels was great! We had a super nice time and it is totally recommendable for a Europe trip stop. Read about our entire Europe trip here.
Want more information to plan your trip to Brussels, Belgium? Check out the Belgium Lonely Planet here.
Every day I’m brusselin’