Weekend Getaway in Brussels

We’ve collaborated with writer and blogger Sophie Lenoir to create this in-depth look at Brussel-based getaways. Looking for more content on Brussels, then see some of our other blogs. Alternatively, head over to Sophie’s blog – EverythingBrussels.

Situated in the heart of Europe, Brussels is a real little gem. It’s a metropolitan and multi-faceted city with a laid-back atmosphere, nice people, amazing beer and great food. Although it’s relatively small for a capital city, there are many interesting attractions and various districts with their own charm, feel and identity. With so many things to do, it can be overwhelming where to start, so here are some suggestions for your getaway.

Brussels Grand Place

Explore the city center

The highest density of tourist attractions is situated in the historical city center of Brussels, which you can best explore by roaming around on foot without an exact plan. Let your curiosity guide you around as you discover the pedestrian cobblestone-clad streets surrounding Grand Place. The latter is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and features some fine architecture and impressive buildings like the city hall, the Brussels City Museum and many beautiful guild houses. Make sure to also check out the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert (beautiful shopping arcades with fancy boutiques and excellent chocolatiers), Manneken Pis (the famous peeing statue), Mont des Arts (for an impressive viewpoint over Brussels), the Royal Palace (the administrative residence of the King) and Sablon (a square with a beautiful church and fancy boutiques). Along the way, you’ll be faced with the temptation of countless fries, chocolates and waffles, but it’s okay to cave in (multiple times) and enjoy these Belgian specialties. After all, you’re not in Brussels every day.

Grand place, Brussels

© Sophie Lenoir / Everything Brussels

Antique shopping in the Marolles

A less touristic and more authentic area is the one of the Marolles. It is dominated by the immense Palace of Justice, which is visible from afar. In front of the palace is Place Poelaert, which offers a great view over Brussels with the basilica of Koekelberg and the Atomium visible in the distance. By taking the large public elevator down, you’ll find yourself in the heart of the Marolles. This district is characterized by antique shops, hipster places and some great dining places. Every morning, a large open-air flea market takes places on Place Jeu de Balles, a great place for treasure-hunting.

On the southern end, the Marolles are bordered by the Halle Gate, which looks a bit like a fairy-tale castle. It’s actually one of the last remnants of the second wall around Brussels, which today functions as a museum on the history of Brussels. From the top you’ll also enjoy a splendid view over the surroundings.

Halle Gate, Brussels

© Sophie Lenoir / Everything Brussels

Go out in Saint-Gilles

Saint-Gilles is not only home to the welcoming Park Inn by Radisson Brussels Midi, it also features an abundance of places to eat and drink. Locals love to hang out on Parvis de Saint-Gilles, which is a vibrant square with a lively bar scene.

As for the food, your taste buds get to travel world as you try the international food from the countless restaurants: Belgian fries at Friterie de la Barrière, fancy French cuisine at La Quincaillerie or Bistro-Bar Voisin, Moroccan tajines at La Caravane Passe, Greek mezze at Kriti… You name it! The advantage of staying at Park Inn by Radisson Brussels Midi is you can eat and drink all you want, and then it’s just a short stroll or metro ride away to find the comfort of your bed.

Quincaillerie, Brussels© Sophie Lenoir / Everything Brussels