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
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 Michelin-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
Shopping in Brussels
Brussels abounds in shopping opportunities, the key shopping hotspots are located in and around Brussels. High street brands are located on the Rue Neuve and the leading fashion designers can be found on the Rue Antoine Dansaert. Head over to Avenue Louise and the Boulevard de Waterloo for chic, luxurious shopping comparable to Paris' Champs Elysees and New York's Fifth Avenue.
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