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10 Reasons Brussels Is Europe's Most Underrated Capital
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10 Reasons Brussels Is Europe's Most Underrated Capital

Picture of Bridgette Gottwald
Updated: 12 October 2016
Brussels, the capital of Belgium, is a historic town where there is always something captivating and exciting going on. This unique city provides locals and tourists with some of the best food, activities, shopping, and outdoor parks they could ask for. An old city of fantastic charm, it has a contagious positive energy, which will keep you coming back for more.
Mont Des Arts | © Bridgette Gottwald
Mont Des Arts | © Bridgette Gottwald

The View from Mont des Arts

Mont des Arts is a beautiful historic site, situated between the Royal Palace and Grand Place and offers one of Brussels’s finest and most appreciated views. Through the changing colors of the various seasons, its beauty never seems to subside. Alternatively, have a drink on the roof terrace of the MIM (Musical Instruments Museum) for the absolute best view over Mont Des Arts and the city.

 

Bois De La Cambre | © Bridgette Gottwald
Bois De La Cambre | © Bridgette Gottwald

Gorgeous Parks

Brussels is filled with breathtaking parks and outdoor areas to enjoy on warm and cold days alike. You will often find visitors and locals walking, biking, exercising, or relaxing in these common outdoor spaces. The greenery, brightly colored leaves, and fragrant flowers provide an enriching change of pace from city life.

 

A Waffle a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

Waffles in Brussels are everything you would expect them to be and more. Nothing beats an easily accessible truck waffle, served warm with the fixings of your choice. The batter used to make a Belgian waffle causes its interior to be as light as a feather, while the exterior is crisp with granulated sugar. It is difficult to walk more than 10-15 minutes in any direction without running into a waffle van or stand.

 

La Belgique Gormande | © Bridgette Gottwald
La Belgique Gormande | © Bridgette Gottwald

Chocolate Shops Galore

No matter where you are in Brussels, most of the time a chocolate shop is within close reach. The homemade chocolate is extraordinary. Each piece is intricately hand-crafted to perfection and leaves you wanting more. While you’ll find well-known brands such as Neuhaus and Pierre Marcolini in most major shopping areas of Brussels, be sure to wander into smaller chocolatiers for a quaint and delicious experience.

 

The Markets at Flagey| © Bridgette Gottwald
The Markets at Flagey| © Bridgette Gottwald

Daily Markets across the City

All throughout Brussels, there are local markets, that bring in fresh goods and merchandise from around Belgium, Europe, and further afield. The ‘melting pot’ of different foods makes the experience not only unique but also culturally diverse. You can purchase the freshest goods to cook your own meal, or indulge in a wide array of cuisines, including Pakistani, Thai, Italian, and countless others.

 

Arcades du Cinquantenaire | © Bridgette Gottwald
Arcades du Cinquantenaire | © Bridgette Gottwald

Arcades du Cinquantenaire

This monumental triple arch, located in the center of the vast Cinquantenaire park, is a must-see while in Brussels. Commemorating the 50th anniversary of Belgian independence, it was built in 1905. Regardless of its meaning, this grand structure simply adds more splendor to an already beautiful city.

 

Beer in Brussels

In Brussels, beer is not just a beverage; it’s a culture. Café bars offer numerous varieties of Belgian-made beer, accompanied by the properly shaped glass to enhance the beer’s flavor. Belgian beer is affordable, and there are more than 450 varieties. The world-famous Delirium Café, located just off the Grand Place, boasts the world’s largest beer selection with over 2,000 beers.

 

Brussels City Center | © Ted Gottwald
Brussels City Center | © Ted Gottwald

It’s a Pedestrian-Friendly City

Pedestrians are given a central place in Brussels and vehicles will always give them priority. There are car-free zones in the city center, and one of the many holidays in Brussels is ‘car-free Sunday,’ during which people walk, skate, bike, or roller-blade through the streets.

 

The Showstopping Flower Carpet at Grand Place

The Flower Carpet at Grand Place is held every other summer, during the week of August 15th. The robust Flower Carpet, which is assembled by 100 volunteers in four hours, is 75m long, 24m wide and includes over 600,000 flowers. Often called the world’s most beautiful central square, walking around the Flower Carpet while enjoying the Gothic architecture of Grand Place is an experience to remember.

 

Eccentric Music Festivals

Music festivals in Brussels and neighboring towns are a large part of the culture and the positive environment created by attendees is often a highlight. Everyone is thrilled to be there, and the energy is contagious. There are music festivals for nearly every genre of music, especially throughout the summer.

 

By Bridgette Williams Gottwald