Lisa Mackinnon, Senior City Break Specialist

"Brussels is quickly gaining a reputation as one of Europe's must-see destinations, with its small town charm, stylish bars, fabulous restaurants and numerous museums. It's essential you pay a visit to the beautiful Grand Place to discover the heart of Brussels. This beautiful city is a hub for fashion, contemporary art, and not forgetting its chocolate and beer. A definite city break hot spot! "

Brussels at a glance

Displaying a grand passion for life, the capital of Belgium is an elegant city, with an eclectic mix of Flemish and French influence, impressive architecture, a hip café culture and grand cuisine. Cosmopolitan, yet unpretentious, Brussels offers an heirloom of history, art and culture perfect for exploring on a short break.

Founded in the 10th century by a descendant of Charlemagne, Brussels grew from a fortress town to become the largest populated city in Belgium. Dutch speaking origins saw a major shift when independence came to Belgium in 1830, bringing with it French language and culture. Today the city is officially bilingual and continues to draw influence from its multi-cultural background.

The architecture in Brussels ranges from medieval to postmodern. Popular sites such as the large city centre square, Grand Place, with its impressive, Gothic town hall remain important tourist destinations among new landmarks such as the Atomium, a tubular construction representing a magnified construction of an iron crystal cell, built for the World’s Fair in 1958.

Perfect if you’re looking for:

  • Art and culture
  • Stunning architecture
  • Indulgent cuisine

Getting around

A tram, underground metro and bus network make it easy to navigate Brussels quickly and efficiently. “Jump” tickets can be purchased in time increments and can be used across all public transport.

Dining in Brussels

Brussels’ appetite for excellent cuisine gives it the ability to boast more Michelan star restaurants per head than Paris. Belgian food is most often a combination of French fare with a hearty Flemish influence.

Brussels is also known for its high quality chocolate production through brands such as Neuhaus and Godiva. Chocolatiers found in the city consider chocolate making to be an art form and aim to impress with carefully crafted blends in a never ending selection of flavours sure to suit every sweet tooth.

Must-try local dishes:

  • Gauffres -  a light and crispy waffle often dusted with icing sugar or topped with whipped cream, soft fruit or chocolate spread
  • Moules-frites – steamed or cooked mussels served with onions, celery, and chips
  • Frites – not your typical chips, Belgian french fries are made from a special potato and are deep fried twice, giving them a special flavour

Osprey Holidays top tips

If you have a spare day to explore hop on the train to Bruges or Gent - they are only an hour away.

Get your tailor-made city break itinerary

Osprey Holidays can create a fabulous short break to Brussels designed completely around your needs. We can arrange whatever you need, including:

  • All travel and transfers on days of your choice
  • Accommodation from our handpicked range of Brussels hotels, to suit your budget and requirements

Our award-winning team can provide expert advice and recommendations, from general questions to tiny details. Contact us now for your tailor-made itinerary.

Important information
Population 1,138,854
Languages French, Flemish
Currency Euro
Visa Information No visa required for EU citizens
Average temperatures

(monthly highs °C)

Interesting facts

Check out the city's boutique chocolatiers where you can sample exquisite handmade chocolates and purchase unique gifts.

Distance from airports
Brussels 16 km
Railway stations
Brussels Central

Things to do in Brussels

  • Grand Place: Magnificent central square, dating back to the 12th century, with the Baroque Town Hall and an array of fascinating cafés and shops.
  • Brussels City Museum: Discover the city’s history through maps, architectural relics and paintings.
  • European Parliament: Visit this imposing building for a free audio tour of the debating chamber.
  • Manneken Pis: Duquesnoy’s famous statue of a little boy has become a national symbol and attracts hordes of visitors.
  • Parc de Bruxelles: Flanked by the Palais Royal and the Palais de la Nation, this formal park is dotted with classical statues and tree-lined alleyways.

Tours and Excursions

World War I Battlefields Flanders Tour 

This poignant full-day tour includes visits to the German Military Cemetery at Vladslo, Tyne Cot Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery, Diksmuide, Passchendaele, Essex Farm Field Hospital and Ypres, where you will attend the Last Post ceremony. Entrance to the In Flanders’ Fields Museum and lunch are included. 

Chocolate Walking Tour and Workshop

Nothing says Belgium more than chocolate! Explore Brussels on this walking tour following the trail of the city’s top chocolate shops. Your guide will point out the major sights and talk you through the history of chocolate production. Enjoy tastings along the way and create your own treats at a workshop with a chocolate connoisseur.

Ghent and Bruges Day Trip

Two of Flanders' most picturesque and historic cities, Ghent and Bruges are easily reached from Brussels. During this day tour you can take a stroll by the minnewater in Bruges and admire the awesome St Bavo's Cathedral in Ghent, as you visit both. Your guide will take a walking tour in each city and give you time for independent exploration.