Brussels Weekend City Break and Holiday Attractions Tours day trips

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It’s easy to see why Brussels is so often overlooked as city break destination, after all the capitals’ synonymy with bureaucratic red tape hardly lends it an air of excitement. However, there’s much more to Brussels than first meets the eye.

Brussels may not be Belgium’s architecturally best dressed city (Bruges wears that particular crown), but the capital still boasts a number of fine cathedrals; including St Michael’s and St Gudule’s and the resplendent Grand Place in the heart of the city. The Place du Grand Sablon is one on the city’s most beautiful spaces and a popular spot for people watching and laid back lunches. Meanwhile the neighbouring Place du Petit Sablon corrals together some of the city’s most striking monument, including 48 statues (representing the medieval guilds) and a grim fountain which relates the demise of two beheaded Belgian Counts. A short walk then takes you to the capital’s most prestigious gallery, the Museum des Beaux Arts.

Out of the city centre there’s also plenty going on in the suburbs, including the ideal place to get the kids off your hands the Atomium in Laeken. Fashioned after a giant molecule, it’s become the capital’s newest landmark, and while its exhibitions fail to get the pulse racing; its futuristic other worldliness alone makes it worth a visit. An architectural experience that’s much easier on the eye can be had at the Mussée Victor Horta in St Gilles. Horta earned himself the title of father of Belgian Art Nouveau and his house is a fitting tribute. Official tourism site for Brussels.

In the sixth century Brussels was christened Broekzele (village of the marsh) and quickly grew to become an important staging post on the trade route between Cologne: Ghent and Bruges. In fact, traces of Brussels’ mercantile heritage can still be found today in the Sablon antique’s market. A favourite haunt of dealers and souvenir hunters alike; the world famous market has been doing business every weekend for the past 35 years and is an Aladdin’s cave of curios and knick knacks.

Epicurean excess is an integral part of every Brussels city break. Brussels has over 1800 places to eat and the Belgians are said to eat out more than any other nation on the planet. With over 400 beers to sample most British holidaymakers should soon feel at home and chocoholics will think they’ve died and gone to heaven. The Museum of Cocoa and Chocolate (13 Grand Place) is a good place to start; then it’s simply a case of following your nose. Official tourism site for Bruges.