Brussels, located in the heart of Belgium, is that country's capital city as well as the working capital of the European Economic Union and headquarters for NATO. Founded more than 1,000 years ago, Brussels combines history and art with modern technology and cutting edge cuisine and entertainment. The city of more than 1.2 million residents offers something for most every taste and interest.
When to visit
There's no bad time to visit Brussels. Summer (June - August) can be crowded as this is when schools are out for holiday around Europe and the United States. This is also the most expensive time to visit. The shoulder seasons (April, May, September and October) offer more comfortable temperatures, lower prices and fewer crowds.
Visiting during the winter season isn't to be dismissed, however. Brussels looks charming with a light dusting of snow and the lights, store windows and other decorations during the holiday season give the city a magical air.
Brussels has four, full seasons. While summer temperatures can sometimes top 80 degrees (Fahrenheit), winter brings snow and occasional freezing temperatures. A little snow is to be expected in winter, but Brussels doesn't usually get more than a light covering. Rain is possible year-round, but showers generally don't last for very long. Below are some of the average high and low temperatures as well as the average precipitation in the city:
Average high (F/C), average low (F/C), average precipitation:
• January -- 42/5.6, 33/.07, 3 in.
• February -- 44/6.4, 33/.07, 2 in.
• March -- 50/9.9, 37/2.9, 3 in.
• April -- 56/13.1, 41/4.8, 2 in.
• May -- 64/17.7, 48/8.9, 3 in.
• June -- 68/20, 53/11.5, 3 in.
• July -- 72/22.4, 57/13.6, 3 in.
• August -- 73/22.5, 56/13.1, 3 in.
• September -- 66/18.7, 51/10.8, 2 in.
• October -- 58/14.4, 46/7.6, 3 in.
• November -- 48/8.9, 39/3.7, 3 in.
• December -- 44/6.4, 35/1.9, 3 in.
Noteworthy events include the Iris Festival in May, the National Day celebration on July 21 and the Winter Wonders Festival in December.
You can tour one of Brussels many breweries, such as the Cantillon Brewery; sit in on a working session of the European Union Parliament; attend one of the many cultural events popular in the city; and rent a bike and explore the many nooks and alleyways of Brussels.
There are plenty of attractions for all ages and interests in Brussels. The most popular attraction is the Grand Place, a collection of 300-year-old, gilded buildings. The square is also home to a number of cafes and summer open-air concerts. Other must-see's include the Mannekin Pis, the iconic bronze statue of the little boy urinating in a fountain; the Atomium, the atom-shaped structure that was the symbol of the 1958 World's Fair; and mini-Europe, scale models of some of the continent's most popular structures.
Of course, Brussels has its share of museums, too. Chief among these are Royal Museum of Fine Art, the Royal Historical Museum, the Horta Museum (which features decorative art from the Art Nouveau period) and the Magritte Museum.
Tips & Recommendations
• French and Dutch Flemish are both official languages in Belgium. However, English is also widely spoken and understood.
• Belgium is known for its delicious, tiny mussels, its thin "frites" (French fries) served with creamy mayonnaise, its luxurious chocolates and its beer.
• Lunch is typically served around 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM and dinner is served around 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM. The midday meal is generally the largest of the day in Belgium.
• When in Belgium, shop for handcrafted lace items, chocolate and linens.
• Most shops are closed on Sunday in Brussels. Some are also closed on Monday.
Thon Residence Parnasse offers 4-star service. With so many rooms, you'll find a comfortable one to call home. Enjoy good connections to surrounding areas via Brussel-Centraal Station. The famous landmark Place Royale is conveniently close, as are Mont des Arts/kunstberg and Cinquantenaire Park. This lodging is near numerous points of interest, including Palace of the Nation. While in Brussels, spend a few hours exploring Musees Royaux des Beaux or The BELvue Museum.
Carmelites Guest House is a 3-star property, ensuring high-quality service and amenities. Bustling Brussel-Centraal Station takes you to all points of interest in and around Brussels. You can walk to Manneken-Pis, Grote Markt Square and Jeanneke Pis from here. A visit to The Guild Houses can be a moving experience. The nearby Church of Our Blessed Lady of the Sablon is well worth a look.
With its well-earned 3 stars, B&B La Villa Zarin is a fine choice. You won't get lost in a crowd here, as there are fewer than 20 rooms. Sight-seeing and travel is available via nearby Brussel-Centraal Station. Popular landmarks near this property are Manneken-Pis, Grote Markt Square and Jeanneke Pis. From this location you can easily visit The Guild Houses, just 0.6 km (0.4 miles) from here. A museum visit can be fascinating; try the nearby Horta Museum or The Saint Hubert Gallery.
If you dislike giant hotels, BnB Urban may be a good choice. The 3-star rating ensures a memorable stay here. If you plan on visiting Place Royale, Mont des Arts/kunstberg or Grote Markt Square, this accommodation is a good choice. From this location you can easily visit The Sablon Square, just 0.9 km (0.6 miles) from here. Cultural options in the vicinity include Musees Royaux des Beaux and The BELvue Museum. Located 0.8 km (0.5 miles) away, Church of Our Blessed Lady of the Sablon attracts locals and tourists alike.
Un Jardin en Ville is one of the smaller Brussels holiday accommodations. The 4-star rating promises an enjoyable stay in Brussels. Near this accommodation you'll find The Sablon Square and Place Royale. Explore the surrounding area in comfort thanks to the nearby Bruxelles-Midi.
The affordable 2-star BRXXL5 CITY CENTRE Hostel offers value for your budget. Bruxelles-Midi is the easiest station to reach by public transit. Staying here puts you within easy access of Manneken-Pis, Grote Markt Square and Mont des Arts/kunstberg. In the accommodation's vicinity, you'll find The Sablon Square. Nearby are numerous museums, including the fine Horta Museum and The Saint Hubert Gallery collections.
Brussels@Heart Guesthouse boasts a rating of 3 stars. Sometimes the best things come in small packages, and this is one of those. You'll easily access all the city has to offer: Brussel-Centraal Station provides public transit connections throughout Brussels. This is a great location for walking to landmarks such as Jeanneke Pis, Grote Markt Square and Manneken-Pis. From this location you can easily visit Maison du Roi, just 1.1 km (0.7 miles) from here. In the immediate vicinity of this accommodation, you'll find the outstanding The Comic Strip Museum and The Saint Hubert Gallery.
If you prefer a more intimate property, Villa Sablon is a good option. The comfortable rooms are 3-star rated. Here, you'll find Place Royale and Mont des Arts/kunstberg as well as Manneken-Pis, all just a short distance away. Recommended: A visit to Brussels's famous nearby monument The Sablon Square. Brussels museums are delightful! Spend some time in The BELvue Museum, or perhaps The Saint Hubert Gallery. Take in the impressive Church of Our Blessed Lady of the Sablon.
Given its 2-star class, Be&Be Sablon 7 gives great value for the price. The accommodation is near Brussel-Centraal Station for easy accessibility. This district is jam-packed with landmarks such as Place Royale, Mont des Arts/kunstberg and Manneken-Pis. Wandering through The BELvue Museum and The Saint Hubert Gallery, both a short walk away, is time well-spent. Church of Our Blessed Lady of the Sablon is within walking distance.