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

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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.

Beer, any­one?

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

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