Europe Travel

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Why to travel to Brussels?

Why Brussels?
I first visited Brussels in 2006. It’s not all Eurocrats. There are chic restaurants and hot waffle stands, Baroque guildhalls and Tintin murals...

What do you miss most when you are away?
The food and drink. I never realised what a gourmet’s paradise Belgium is – and that doesn’t just apply to expensive restaurants. We eat at a snack bar at our local swimming pool and you can have a superb glass of red wine with your meal.
What's the first thing you do when you return?
Cycle around the park in Tervuren. After a long journey it’s great to get some fresh air.
Where's the best place to stay?
I recommend the Hôtel Galia, 15-16 place du Jeu de Balle (0032 2 502 4243;; doubles from £64). It’s in the old town, by the flea market. The Grand Place is about 15 minutes away by foot.
Where would meet friends for a drink?
At the newly opened Bootjeshuis (306 7464;, which means boathouse, in Tervuren (take the 44 tram from Montgomery station). It has a beautiful view over the lake. In summer you can sit outside.
Where are your favourite places for lunch?
My absolute favourite is Le Cercle Des Voyageurs, rue des Grands Carmes 18 (514 3949;, close to the Grand Place. You’d hardly spot it from outside – there’s a board on the pavement but often the doors are closed. Go inside for the wonderfully civilised club-like atmosphere, with armchairs, board games and a library of travel books.
And for dinner?
Cook and Book, place du Temps Libre 1, 1200 Woluwé-Saint-Lambert (761 2600; It’s near Roodebeek métro station and is a bookshop and restaurant combined – the ultimate for gourmet book lovers. There’s an English section, though my favourite bit is the comic books.
Where would you send a first-time visitor?
It’s practically a tradition to stand in front of the Manneken Pis and say: “He’s a lot smaller than I expected.” I’d also send people to see the Grand Place – it’s a knockout, especially the 15th-century town hall with its ornate carvings. As a contrast, I’d suggest visiting the Atomium, the futuristic relic of the 1958 Brussels World Fair.
What would you tell them to avoid?
I didn’t enjoy the Belgian Comic Strip Centre as much as I expected to. Children might struggle, too, as many of the comic strips are in French or Flemish. I’d suggest instead buying a guide to all the outdoor comic strip murals in Brussels and doing a walking tour.
Public transport or taxi?
The Brussels public transport system (métro, trams and buses) is excellent. A métro card valid for 10 trips costs about €10.50 (£9).
Handbag or moneybelt?
As with any city, you have to keep an eye on your belongings, but I carry a handbag. If you drive in the city, avoid leaving a handbag on the passenger seat – I’ve never had my bag snatched, but it happens.


Hey its very nice place to visit once in a year....It has lot of attractions that is often called mini-europe.....Last year we went with our family and spend for 4 days and our childrens enjoyed a lot.....

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