12 Surprising Reasons to Visit Brussels

When planning to visit Europe, you might be overwhelmed by all the cities and different destinations to visit. There’s Rome, Paris, Milan, or Barcelona if you want the classic experience, but there are so many other cities that are worth visiting. If you’re looking for a vibrant and modern city to see in Europe, look no further than Brussels, the capital city of Belgium.

A few reasons why Brussels is worth visiting are its historical buildings, art museums, and many cool and quirky landmarks it’s famous for. Additionally, you can taste fantastic food and shop around for high-end clothes or vintage objects. In Brussels, you’ll find warm and welcoming people. 

If you want to know more about why Brussels is worth visiting, stick around! In this article, I’ll explain everything you need to know about this city and its attractions. 

12 Reasons Why Brussels Is Worth Visiting

There are so many reasons why you should visit Brussels, whether you’re looking for culture, education, nightlife, or simply good food. There’s something for everyone in Brussels, and you shouldn’t miss the chance to explore this wonderful city. 

1. It Has Almost 1100 Years of History

Founded toward the end of the 900s, Brussels soon bloomed and developed into an important political and cultural center of the region. You can find traces of more than a thousand years of history in Brussels, like the underground parts of the once glorious Coudenberg Palace or the Grand Place, a beautiful medieval building that’s been preserved very well.

Other historic buildings include La Monnaie, a theater and Opera house built in the 1700s, which played a role in the Belgian Revolution, and the Black Tower, a stunning and exceptionally preserved medieval tower that creates an interesting image, located in the middle of modern buildings.

2. A Variety of Architectural Gems

Brussels offers a beautiful mix of different architectural styles, from gothic (Town Hall) to neoclassical (Place Royale) to Art Nouveau (Victor Horta’s townhouses). Art Nouveau, in particular, is tied to this city forever since the first two Art Nouveau buildings in the world are located in Brussels. You can find more than a thousand buildings of this style around the city. 

3. Underrated Museums

Unfortunately, Brussels museums aren’t as well known as the ones in Paris or Amsterdam. However, you can find unique art in various museums around Brussels, like the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, the Magritte Museum, or the Horta Museum

You’ll also find other museums dedicated to automobiles, human history, natural sciences, etc. The best part is that you’ll hardly have to wait in line for any of them, especially on weekdays.

4. Home of European Union Headquarters

If you’re interested in European politics, you may want to visit the European quarter in Brussels. This district includes the headquarters of some of the most important European Union branches, like the European Parliament, the European Commission, and the Council of Ministers.

However, there’s more to the European Quarter than just European Union government buildings. This area is known for high-end stores, restaurants, and great street artwork. Interestingly, you’ll also find pieces of the Berlin Wall in this area. 

If you’re also interested in visiting Germany, read my other article to learn more about its snowy weather

5. A Must-Visit for Food Enthusiasts

You may have heard of the famous Belgian chocolate, waffles, or even Belgian fries. When visiting Brussels, you have the chance to taste all of these popular foods and so much more. Brussels is known for its restaurants and food markets, offering mouthwatering Belgian delicacies and international cuisine. 

Don’t forget to try the famous Belgian mussels, meatballs, or beer stew, for an authentic Belgian experience in Brussels. However, you can also find excellent Italian, Middle Eastern, French, and Ethiopian restaurants.

6. Relaxing Parks 

If you’re looking for a quiet place to relax and enjoy nature, you’ll love the many parks Brussels offers. Visit The Bois de la Cambre for a nice picnic or lunch on a tiny island or something smaller like Tenbosch Park, a quieter place with a playground if you’re traveling with kids. 

7. Quirky Landmarks

If you know one thing about Brussels, it’s probably the famous sculpture Manneken Pis, which translates to Little Pissing Man. This hilarious fountain statue is one of the main attractions of Brussels. Still, there are many other interesting and quirky things to see, like the Atomium, the mini-Europe, or the Comic Book route.

Speaking of the Comic Book Route, Belgium is well-known for several comic book strips that have gained international fame and almost a cult following. The Adventures of Tin-Tin, Spirou, and many others are famous around Europe and beyond. You’ll find a great Comic Book Museum in Brussels, displaying all kinds of comic books, old and new, popular and obscure.

8. Vibrant and Relaxed Nightlife

If you’re into partying and clubs, you’ll find plenty of good options in Brussels. Some consider this city quieter and more relaxed compared to some cities like Berlin and Amsterdam, but you’ll still find various nightlife choices for all kinds of people. Whether you want to go dancing or just chill with a nice cold beer, Brussels has a place for you.

9. Shopping for All Budgets

Shopping enthusiasts will find plenty of options to choose from in Brussels, no matter their preference or budget. You can find the most high-end stores downtown, with famous designer names or local quality boutiques. You can also go to more affordable franchise stores located in different districts around town. For a more authentic experience, you can always look for little local shops or vintage markets.

10. Vintage Flea Markets

Brussels is a great place to visit if you enjoy shopping for antiques in flea markets. Even if you’re not interested in antiques, you should visit one of Brussels’s many antique markets just for the amazing atmosphere and unique objects and trinkets you’ll see. Markets like The Jeu De Balle or Sablon Antiques offer an incredible experience and pretty good bargains for antique objects or even vintage clothes.

11. Artist Hangouts

Brussels has historically attracted famous artists, as it has always provided a great art scene and many sources of inspiration. You can have your coffee at the same spots that famous European and international artists frequented. For instance, La Fleur en Papier Doré was a popular hangout spot for the most famous artists in the early 20th century.

12. A City of Warm and Open-Minded People

The people of Brussels are welcoming, tolerant, and hard-working. Whenever you need help, you’ll find a welcoming smile and helpful advice. Known as the capital of Europe, Brussels is home to people from different countries and cultures around the world.