Travel: Brussels; 10 Great Reasons to Visit. You Might Think of Brussels as the Dull, Bureaucratic Capital of the European Union. Think Again. Imagine a Heady Mix of Amazing Beer Styles, Delicious Chocolate, Food of French Quality but in German-Size Portions, Medieval Buildings, Art Nouveau, Great Galleries, Museums, Shops and, Just for a Laugh, Comics. Here's the Top 10

South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales), January 24, 2009 | Go to article overview

Travel: Brussels; 10 Great Reasons to Visit. You Might Think of Brussels as the Dull, Bureaucratic Capital of the European Union. Think Again. Imagine a Heady Mix of Amazing Beer Styles, Delicious Chocolate, Food of French Quality but in German-Size Portions, Medieval Buildings, Art Nouveau, Great Galleries, Museums, Shops and, Just for a Laugh, Comics. Here's the Top 10


1. The Grand Place

The impressive heart of medieval Brussels is a large square surrounded by Flemish Renaissance buildings including the Town Hall and the Maison du Roi (King's House). Settle into one of the cafes and enjoy the view. The Maison du Cygne restaurant was where Marx met Engels to discuss the Communist Manifesto.

2. Musees Royeaux des Beaux Arts

The not-to-be-missed collection of Belgian fine art near Place Royale includes classic Rubens paintings and rare works by Pieter Brueghel the Elder. Also noted for its captivating rooms of Belgian Symbolists and work by Surrealist Magritte. Prepare to be enchanted - and exhausted.

3. Delirium

After all that culture, you'll need a drink. You'll be spoilt for choice in this rambling bar in Impasse de la Fidelite, which holds the world record for the number of beers on offer - more than 2,000. Try a Belgian classic like Orval brewed by Trappist monks.

As the bar is in the Ilot Sacre fish restaurant area, stumble outside for some moules (mussels) and frites.

4. Musee des Instruments de Musique

A real curiosity, "Le MIM" contains a vast array of more than 6,000 musical instruments from all ages.

Take the children, as headphones bring each instrument to life. The tall Art Nouveau building housing the collection off Place Royale is just as remarkable. And the cafe at the top provides the best views over the city.

5. Galeries Royale de St Hubert

Milan has its elegant, glass-domed Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II for shoppers. But Brussels can almost match it with this magnificent shopping arcade built in 1847. If you are looking for Belgian chocolate, one of the finest makers, Corne Toison d'Or, has an irresistible store here. Also look out for exquisite (but costly) Belgian lace and tapestries.

6. Antiques markets

If you prefer to search for antiques, Brussels is the bargain-hunting capital of Europe. The Place du Jeu de Balle has a flea market every morning, while the adjoining Rue Blaes is full of bric-a-brac shops.

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Travel: Brussels; 10 Great Reasons to Visit. You Might Think of Brussels as the Dull, Bureaucratic Capital of the European Union. Think Again. Imagine a Heady Mix of Amazing Beer Styles, Delicious Chocolate, Food of French Quality but in German-Size Portions, Medieval Buildings, Art Nouveau, Great Galleries, Museums, Shops and, Just for a Laugh, Comics. Here's the Top 10
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