Among the many attractions in Brussels, comic book graffiti is a particular source of pride. On the walls of the houses here you can see illustrations of fascinating stories from the lives of famous characters, and then, walking around the square, be sure to taste the hot chocolate and Belgian waffles, because this is also a national landmark!
Top 9 attractions in Brussels
For those who are just going to Belgium, consider the top top sights to see in Brussels.
Historically, Brussels is divided into two parts, the upper and lower city. Back in the day, this division was not only territorial, but also class-based. In the lower part of the city lived artisans and merchants, while upstairs lived the rich, nobles and royalty. Today this distinction is no longer on the map, but it is in the appearance of these areas. To get from one part of the city to the other you can take the stone stairs steep roads, which tell tourists to cross the border of the area.
The lower town is a tangle of narrow paved medieval streets, where even today, there are souvenir shops, small stores, cozy cafes and small museums.
This is the part of the city where experienced guides advise to begin your fascinating journey, because many interesting and unusual sights of Brussels are concentrated here.
The upper part of the city is much different from the lower part. The streets here are spacious, with many parks squares and alleys. Also this part of Brussels is famous for its unique churches, museums and magnificent palaces. It is here that the main historical monuments of the country are concentrated. The family of the reigning monarch still resides in the Upper Town. The royal residence was built back in the 11th century and is still used for accommodation.
Today the upper part of the city looks mostly like many metropolitan areas of Europe, but despite the massive buildings of the 50’s in this area of the city there is still a lot of old buildings, which are perfectly preserved and still in use. This unusual juxtaposition of medieval and modernity makes the city unique in its own way.
There are no old and new neighborhoods and you can see beautiful palaces and major landmarks framed by modern buildings in the center.
The Grand Place is the center of historic Brussels. The huge square, framed by majestic buildings, has a rich history, as evidenced by the photos with descriptions. The square can be accessed from any corner of the lower town, because all its streets lead here.
In the very center of the square is a magnificent flower bed. This carpet is created from millions of begonias, which create a single multicolored ornament. It is noteworthy that the bed is planted once every 2 years, only in even-numbered years. This tradition dates back to 1971. The total area of the ensemble occupies 1,800 square meters.
The Grand Plaza is framed by magnificent majestic buildings. You can see the Tailor’s House, the Boatman’s House, the Baker’s House, the Star House and even the Swan House. The Bread House, now called the King’s House, was also located here. Each of the buildings has its own architectural design, which makes the square unique in terms of the mix of styles. This square is recognized as the most beautiful square in Europe.
Royal Museum of Fine Arts
This museum complex is one of the largest in the world, with a unique collection of paintings and sculptures of ancient and modern art. During the invasion of Napoleon, most of the exhibition was confiscated and taken to Paris. It was possible to return the exhibits only after the overthrow of the Emperor. Today the complex includes several museums, tickets to which must be purchased separately. The exhibition includes works by such great artists as Van Gogh, Rubens, Hals, Rodin, David and others. The complex is located in close proximity to the Royal Palace and includes 6 separate galleries.
The gallery of ancient art is represented by paintings from the 14th-18th centuries. There are more than 1,000 pieces, among which the most valuable are the collections of Dutch and Flemish paintings. In the Museum of Modern Art you can admire the paintings of Van Gogh, David and Rodin. The complex also includes the late-century gallery, the Marguerite Museum, the Wirtz Gallery, and the Meunier Gallery.
Mini Europe Park
This exhibit is located at the top of Brussels and presents Europe’s grandest architectural structures in miniature. The park covers an area of 24,000 square meters. A tour of the park will be interesting for both children and adults. Once in this place, you get the impression of a full-scale trip to the most beautiful places in Europe.
Here you will find the Eiffel Tower, the famous Big Ben, Stockholm City Hall and other world-famous sights. The park has a total of 350 miniatures from 80 cities. The Mini Europe Park is not just a collection of miniature buildings, it’s a living country where trains run, ferries cross the English Channel and even Vesuvius erupts!
For history buffs, there is a separate corner that will tell you about all the countries of the European Union individually. Here you can also find out the history of the union, and which states were included in it. The theme park was created by the country’s most famous architects, who recreated each exhibit in great detail.
The Church of St. John the Baptist. Mary
This magnificent mid-19th century temple is located on the outskirts of Brussels in the Muslim quarter. The church is distinguished by its unusual architectural style, which today is called the New Byzantine style. Remarkably, it is the only structure in this style in the country, which is why thousands of tourists from around the world come every year to see the church. The tall towers and spires of the temple rise above the rest of the neighborhood, and so the church is visible from afar.
Today services are not held in the temple, and the church has become an architectural historical monument. There are also no tours of the temple and it can only be viewed from the outside, due to the poor state of the interior.
The temple is especially proud of its magnificent Byzantine dome, decorated with thousands of twinkling stars. The architect of the temple was Louis van Verstraaten, who managed to seamlessly combine Roman and Byzantine architectural styles, which marked the beginning of a new trend – the electric style. At the entrance to the temple there is a unique mosaic panel with the face of St. John the Baptist. Mary.
Petite Sablon Garden
On the square of the same name in Brussels there is a magnificent park, which is one of the main attractions of the city. Photos of this place show that before entering the park area you will be greeted by magnificent fountains and sculptures, symmetrical alleys lead to the central flower bed, which depicts intricate floral patterns.
The flowerbeds are framed by statues, each with its own meaning. In all, there are more than 50 sculptures in the park, which depict representatives of the craft guilds, politicians, architects, scientists, philosophers and artists. In the very center is a beautiful fountain, which has no analogues in Europe. This construction is dedicated to two prominent Belgian princes, Horn and Egmont.
Until the end of the 9th century there was a cemetery on this site, but by decision of the city council, it was moved to the western area of the city. The park is enclosed by a beautiful fence, which is decorated with statues of artisans, each holding their own working tools. The seclusion of the garden will appeal to lovers of peace and quiet.
Restaurant “Aux Armes de Bruxelles
The restaurant Aux Armes de Bruxelles is one of the attractions of Brussels. It is considered one of the oldest. The restaurant opened in 1921 and has been popular with residents and visitors ever since. The dishes served in the institution belong to the traditional Belgian cuisine, which has made this place a real Mecca for connoisseurs of national food.
The restaurant traditionally employs the best chefs and waiters in town. It is noteworthy, but the restaurant is located on the butchers’ street, there are also several other restaurants, but for unknown reasons, they have not been able to gain the same popularity as Aux Armes de Bruxelles.
The menu consists of classic Belgian dishes. Seafood and beef in beer deserve special attention. The main dishes are served with vegetables and several varieties of sauce.
The average bill for two people does not exceed 100 euros. Due to the popularity of the restaurant, it is advisable to book a table in advance.
Parkours Tourist Route
To lift the spirits as a family, you can take a comic trip. The Parcours itinerary was compiled by the Comics Center of Belgium. The route goes through 22 sites of street graffiti, which depict fragments of comic books. All the drawings were created by professional comic book illustrators and represent a separate art that is the pride of the country. Walking through the streets with painted facades, every tourist gets a lot of positive emotions. Children especially like this walk, because they themselves love to draw on the fences and facades of houses.
You can sign up for a tour and travel with a professional guide. But you can also travel the route yourself by purchasing a guidebook. Along the way, you will see unique illustrations of famous characters, which are periodically updated to maintain their vividness and expressiveness. Several hours of walking will not leave any tourist indifferent!
A day in Brussels
If you are passing through Brussels and have only 1 day for sightseeing, don’t waste it! Let this day be the most eventful and interesting in your life! See the main sights of the city! Start your journey in the Lower Town and gradually move from one attraction to the next, you can enjoy visiting churches, museums, parks and other most interesting places in the Belgian capital.
So, once in the Lower Town, we start from the statue of the peeing boy. This is the most famous sculpture in Brussels. After viewing this landmark, which, incidentally, has a surprisingly small size, you can move on. The next stop is the Grand Plaza. There really is a lot to see on the square. This landmark is included in all the tourist routes of the city and is recognized as the most beautiful square in Europe.
After wandering around the square and seeing the Town Hall, the King’s House, the flower carpet and other buildings, we move on. Our next destination is the Shrine of Our Lady of the Sablon. This magnificent Temple is simply mesmerizing in its beauty. The majestic Gothic-style structure strongly resembles Notre Dame de Paris, which is what makes the temple so popular on tourist routes.
Moving on, you can look into the The Church of St. John the Baptist. James. The church is active and if you’re lucky, you might get to attend a service or a Catholic wedding. From afar the temple can be confused with a medieval palace and the only indication that it is a church is the dome in the center of the building.
The path then goes on past the Royal Palace. Note the flag; if it is flying, the monarch is in town; if the cloth is down, the king is probably out of town. Past the palace, our way to the Royal Museum of Fine Arts. Depending on your preference, you can take a ticket to the hall of ancient art or modern masterpieces. The price of tickets is the same, so at the ticket office you need to specify which exhibit you want to visit.
We finish our trip with a visit to Mini-Europa Park. It’s really interesting and there’s a lot to see. Amazing miniatures of the most famous buildings in Europe simply amaze by their detail and elaboration. After wandering around the park, you can eat in the restaurant on its territory. If there is time and energy left, go on a trip Parcours, it will be a worthy end to the day, because the walk will give maximum positive emotions and smiles!
Video overview of the sights of Brussels
The capital of Belgium can really surprise, because the architecture of the city harmoniously combines several styles, from the Middle Ages to Art Nouveau.