Get away! Brussels
Some bank accounts or credit cards give you free airport lounge access, so check if you can relax in style before flying. Some lounges also sell one-off passes. There’s amazing architecture and fascinating history packed into every street
Visit Notre Dame du Sablon
1This spectacular Gothic church was built in the 14th century, when it was used as a chapel by the Archers’ Guild. Due to the supposed healing powers of the Madonna statue within, it was built up extensively. The statue was allegedly stolen by a husbandand-wife team of thieves in a rowing boat. The location of the statue is still unknown but the story is commemorated inside and there’s a life-size replica.
Step back in time
2The Old England Building in Brussels was built in the 1890s as a department store. Its stunning Art Nouveau facade and the vast musical museum it now houses attract visitors daily. The museum is home to more than 2,000 musical instruments with historic value and guests are given the chance to listen toman to many of them, and the cafe on the roof offers great panoramic views.
Marvel at the Atomium
3Located in Heysel Park in the north of the city, the Atomium is a jaw-dropping model of an atom that just happens to be a whopping 100 metres tall. The sculpture was made in 1958 to welcome the new atomic age to Belgium and is an accurate depiction of an iron molecule except that it is about 165 billion times larger! Book tickets in advance from getyourguide.com.
See the Palais Royal
4Although the royal family of Belgium now live at Laeken, the Royal Palace in Brussels remains their official residence. The palace is open to tourists in the summer months and makes a worthy addition to any itinerary while visiting the city. The most notable room in the palace has a ceiling covered in the wings of beetles, forming an odd yet beautiful mosaic.
5Beer and Brussels are inextricably linked and there are countless bars and restaurants where you can enjoy a tipple. There are also beer tours and festivals aplenty. See visit.brussels/en for details.
Laugh at the Manneken Pis
6This odd statue is an incredibly popular tourist attraction in the city. The name simply translates to ‘little man pee’ and it’s been given this name for fairly obvious reasons! The statue does take a little bit of skill in hunting down (unless you see it as part of an organised tour) but it’s worth persevering. You’ll find it by taking the right lane away from the town hall.
Don’t miss the mighty Atomium
Get a real taste of the city on a beer tour