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Brussels - Do's and Don'ts

(33 Posts)
Nogravyforyou Sun 09-Oct-16 19:50:51

Have recently booked five days in Brussels. One day has been earmarked for a day trip to Bruges.

Any recommendations for activities/museums etc? Is the Brussels card worth it? What should we expect for food prices?

It was all a bit spontaneous as the flights were cheap and am now panicking that we're there for too long and we will be bankrupt feeding ourselves confused

MrsPigling Sun 09-Oct-16 20:11:18

Musical instrument museum in Brussels is very interesting smile waffles in city centre are very yummy!

Nogravyforyou Sun 09-Oct-16 20:18:51

Oh I'll have a look at that. Also like the look of the chocolate museum! grin

What prices were waffles etc? Looking forward to trying a few!

MrsPigling Sun 09-Oct-16 21:54:06

I think it was a euro for the waffle plus 50c per topping, nothing very expensive (this was summer 2015). Loads of shops selling them, takeaway style smile

Nogravyforyou Sun 09-Oct-16 22:03:08

Brilliant! I wonder if I can spend the 5 days eating only waffles gringrin

eurochick Sun 09-Oct-16 22:08:20

Go for frites at Place Jourdan. Allegedly the best in Brussels and they have pics up of the famous people that have stopped off there.

The Sablon for chocolate and people watching.

The Grand Place for pictures. You'll probably feel obliged to go and see the Mannekin Pis and will be disappointed (unless he's wearing a comedy outfit - he wears different things on certain days).

The Galeries du Roi et de la Reine (just opposite the Grand Place) for window shopping. They lead on to rue des boucheres. This is a road of seafood restaurants with elaborate outdoor displays. They are a mix of tourist traps and really good. Try just off the main drag if you want to avoid the touristy ones.

Have a beer in La Mort Subite (traditional bar).

Wear sensible shoes. The city is very walkable but there are slippery cobbles everywhere.

I love Brussels. I lived there for a couple of years and go back for work from time to time.

TrinityForce Sun 09-Oct-16 22:08:48

the food carts that stand on the street are better for Waffles than sit down places!

You can see other places in Belgium whilst you're there if Brussels gets boring. Antwerp is a bit far but Bruges is only about an hour's train ride away (£14 per adult iirc), good to walk around.

Look for a 'Frituur' restaurant shop, they do the best fries and meat there for the same kind of prices as a chippy (get a Frikandel and fries if you want to try what the locals eat, I prefer the bittebollen)

can't advise on museums, only went for food... confused

LyndaNotLinda Sun 09-Oct-16 22:10:15

Best waffles are from street stalls.

Grand Place
Museum of Central Africa
Horta Museum
Cartoon Museum
Art Museums (lots)
Sablon flea market
Lots of restaurants do prix fixe menus

Nogravyforyou Sun 09-Oct-16 22:47:46

Thanks everyone, will have a look through all of the suggestions and google them.

Is mini europe any good?

TheSconeOfStone Mon 10-Oct-16 12:06:41

Mini Europe is great fun. They take it really seriously and you get a little info book on how they chose the buildings from each country. We got a combined ticket with the atomium. Also loved the cartoon museum, Horta museum and the musee des beaux art (probably spelt wrong). Very expensive beer at a cafe in the grand place has to be done. Love Brussels. Have fun.

Nogravyforyou Mon 10-Oct-16 12:45:36

Getting excited now! Looks like the food there will be fab, looking forward to eating chips, chocolate and waffles and say it's for culture gringrin

Based on on these recommendations, I think the brussels card may be worth it. €35 for three days which leaves us with one day for bruge and another just for mooching.

catslife Mon 10-Oct-16 15:20:40

Also possible to go on a tour of the European Parliament building. If you don't want to go inside possible to walk round the outside and get a feel for the place - it's massive!
It's in the outer suburbs, but we liked the Herge museum with all it's Tin-Tin memorabilia

Nogravyforyou Mon 10-Oct-16 18:33:58

I read somewhere last night that the EU parliament is the size of a housing block and they had to demolish a whole street to build it!! I would definitely be interested in having a gawk at that, but think I might be doing that alone.

eurochick Mon 10-Oct-16 20:59:42

Place Jourdan with the friterie is just up the road from the Parliament. It also has a French style market a couple of times a week, which would be nice if you are self catering.

vlvlvlvl Mon 10-Oct-16 21:05:07

Pleased this thread popped up! I'm off in two weeks for a couple of days with OH

Nogravyforyou Tue 11-Oct-16 01:03:09

Hope you don't mind me asking, where are you staying?
DP booked the hotel and tbh it looks shit!

GraceGrape Tue 11-Oct-16 01:31:01

Go to Place du sablon (grand and petit) to look at the chocolate shops.

Mini-Europe is fun - don't bother going in the atomium.

Mort subite as someone mentioned upthread is good for trying different beers.

5 days is quite a long time for Brussels. If you have time to do anything else, apart from Bruges, try Ghent. It's as historic as Bruges, but feels a bit more "lived-in".

Nogravyforyou Tue 11-Oct-16 07:57:38

It's five days including the day we fly in and fly out, so wouldn't really be up to much on those days tbh.

How long is the journey to Ghent?

salamandress Tue 11-Oct-16 10:16:09

I'm about to book for Bruges for a couple of days.. where was the cheap deal to fly to Brussels please?
Booking holidays is so stressful! So much pressure to get it right!

GraceGrape Tue 11-Oct-16 11:18:14

About half an hour train to Ghent. It's a longish walk or short tram ride to the city centre (same in Bruges). Personally, I would go and visit some of the other cities rather than visit somewhere like mini-Europe, but I suppose it depends how much train travel you want to do.

Nogravyforyou Tue 11-Oct-16 11:42:06

I'm flying from Ireland so I don't know if you'd get the same deal... It was €34 each. Hope you find a decent flight, Skyscanner app is brilliant!

Nogravyforyou Tue 11-Oct-16 11:56:39

Thanks Grace, I'll give Ghent a look.

turkeyboots Tue 11-Oct-16 12:03:16

Ghent is lovely as is the Belgian coast if the weather is nice. Belgium has great public transport and almost everyone in Brussels speaks English so easy to get help if needed.

TheQueenOfItAll Tue 11-Oct-16 12:41:57

For food - expect London tourist prices - I would also stay away from the chain restaurants giving a hard eye to the Hard Rock Café . Go to a frituur.

Brugges is gorgeous and is lovely with kids - bring a scarf and gloves, Belgium is bloody cold right now.

Yika Tue 11-Oct-16 22:01:25

I agree Ghent is lovely... but not worth it if you've already planned to visit Bruges.

If you like walking, the comic strip walk is good (pick up the map at the tourist office on the grand place).

Off the beaten track, a lovely small museum is the Ixelles Museum - both for the permanent collection and the exhibitions.

I think the European Parliament 'museum' - the Parlamentarium is well done and really interesting. Nice places for lunch in the EU area too. I'd go to the Parlamentarium, walk across Parc Leopold and have lunch at Grand Central.

If you like architecture both the Horta house on rue Americaine (art Nouveau) and the Musee van Buren in Uccle (Art deco) are a nice detour. Good food places and art nouveau houses around the former (Pl Chatelain) and you're close to the Bois de la Cambre for a walk if you go to the latter.

I second the Herge museum even though it's in Louvain la Neuve which is very soulless - absolutely nothing else to do there.

Also agree with the Musical Instrument Museum suggestion - very good value for money and no reading required so good with children. Nice restaurant on the top floor.

Shopping is a bit rubbish in Brussels in my view. If you're there over a Sunday it's nice to wander around the flea market though and around the Marolles.

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