The Solo Traveler's Guide To Brussels
Brussels, a city often overlooked when compared to its big player neighbors: London, Paris, and Amsterdam, is just the place to plan your next solo adventure. Whether you are making a pit stop in Western Europe or whether you have arrived at your main destination, there is plenty to see and do when flying solo in the European capital.
Poelaert | © keriluamox/Flickr
Brussels hosts a large variety of cultural and culinary tours available through many different outlets. There’s something for everyone, ranging from tours highlighting Brussels’ famous paintings of comic book heroes painted across the walls of the city, to chocolate and beer lovers tasting tours. The best part of guided tours is finding yourself in the company of like-minded travelers while exploring a new city.
Read A Book
Filigranes is Belgium’s biggest bookstore, made for the solo traveler. Open seven days a week, this library boasts an impressive collection of books, comics, and other charming bookstore finds. You will also be able to order a slice of cheesecake and a cappuccino at the café. Or sit down to people watch, and catch up on a good read. On Sundays, there are often book readings, author signings, and live piano performances.
Filigranes: Avenue des Arts 39, 1040 Brussels, Belgium, 0032 2 511 90 15
MeetUp is an app designed for people roaming alone in foreign places. In Brussels, popular MeetUp groups include The French Language MeetUp Group where everyone from beginners to native French speakers gets together to parler Français. These events often are hosted at trendy wine bars, so if you want to meet people and you’re feeling courageous, grab yourself a glass of Merlot and get ready to roll your R’s at the next French night.
Bois de la cambre | Courtesy of Leanna Hunt
What can only be described as an enchanted forest, Bois de la Cambre is an urban park at the edge of Sonian Forest in Brussels. In the spring and summer, you will find people running, biking, picnicking and enjoying the beauty that these woods have to offer. If you brought your running shoes to Brussels, take advantage of the outdoors and make a tour of the lake.
BRAFA Opening Night | Courtesy of Leanna Hunt
Spend an afternoon admiring the works of Belgian artists at one of many art galleries in Brussels. Brussels is developing a booming contemporary art scene and is also host to the BRAFA art fair, one of the leading European art and antique fairs. Check online to see which exhibitions are happening during your visit.
No more tables for one. Harvard Business School graduate Evelyne White was living in Brussels when she came up with BookaLokal, where the concept is easy: food brings people together. With BookaLokal you can find yourself a guest at a dinner party in the home of a Brussels local. This is a way to try homemade, cultural fare while meeting people from all over the world gathered together at a single dinner table.
Flea Market | © Peter.Lorre
Brussels’ shops have something for everyone. As a solo traveler feel free to wander in and out of stores at your own ease without having to worry about a shopping partner. From high-end designers on Avenue Louise and Boulevard de Waterloo to the flea markets of Jeu de Balle, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the variety of shopping available within a short walking distance of each other. Take note: shops are closed on Sundays.
Petit Sablon | © WikiCommons
Stop For A Coffee Break
One of the greatest European pleasures is the coffee break. It won’t be hard to find one of many cafes scattered across the city, but if you are in the Sablon area be sure to check out Café du Sablon. This welcoming café is a favorite hangout for ex-patriots and travelers, and you will almost always hear a constant hum of English being spoken here. Not to mention their specialty drinks menu puts Starbucks to shame.
Café du Sablon: 1000, Rue de la Régence 26, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
Have A Beer… Or Two
Located next to Grand Place, Delirium Café tops the list when it comes to solo traveler nightlife. This bar offers more than 2,000 choices of beer and holds the Guinness World Record for the longest beer list. This is an international hub for tourists and locals to meet over a pint.
Delirium Café: Impasse de la Fidélité 4, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
Take It All In
Bring friends you have made along the way, or go as a lone wolf but don’t miss out on Place Poelaert after dark. Take a seat on the wall and have a look at the city in lights. From here you can even see the Atomium. Take a minute without your phone or camera. Just look out and enjoy.
Place Poelart, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
By Leanna Hunt