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There's more to Brussels than beer and chocolate

By Edited Dec 20, 2013 0 0

When some people think of Brussels, they may immediately bring to mind its numerous varieties of beer and its many world-class chocolate companies. Though tasting these Belgian specialities is always a good idea, there's also so much more to see and do in this historical city, which can be a fascinating getaway for people of all ages and diverse interests - as well as being very easily reached from the UK.

If you're interested in seeing Brussels' iconic architecture and monuments, one of your first stops should be the distinctive Atomium, a remnant of Brussels' hosting of the World's Fair in 1958. This gigantic model of an iron molecule can be scaled via lifts, and you can even enjoy some Belgian cuisine in the restaurant in the top sphere. Beneath the Atomium is a painstaking recreation of Europe in miniature, which comprises 80 cities, 350 individual buildings and natural marvels from all over the continent, including an erupting Mount Vesuvius.

The Old Town is the focal point of many people's visits to Brussels, especially the Grand Place which was originally a merchant's market as far back as the 13th century, but now houses cafes, theatres and luxury boutiques in the Galeries St Hubert and along its well preserved cobbled streets. Walking around the Old Town can be an experience in itself, especially when you come across iconic sights such as the Manneken Pis - a bronze sculpture of a child relieving himself into a fountain.

To bring yourself bang up to date on your Brussels city break, you may also consider visiting the headquarters of the European Union, which offers audio guided tours and even the chance to attend parliamentary sittings on certain occasions. One of the most convenient ways to get around in Brussels is to take a dedicated tour bus offering a hop-on-hop-off service, though it may be cheaper to make your own way around if you arm yourself with a map and a guidebook.

Brussels is also home to several must-visit museums, covering various aspects of the city's heritage. One of the best known is the Chocolate Museum, where you can see how your favourite confectionaries are made and enjoy some free samples, before buying some souvenirs to take home as gifts for friends and family. The Comic Strip Museum is another interesting destination, with special exhibitions devoted to home-grown Belgian comics such as Tintin and the Smurfs.

Another popular activity enjoyed by those enjoying holidays in Brussels is watching a puppet show performed in the traditional style in places such as Café Toone. This is an activity that's as popular with adults as it is with kids, due to the re-enactments of Shakespeare and other enduring works. It's likely you'll spend a fair amount of your time in cafes while in Brussels, and it can be rewarding to try out some of the local delicacies - such as moules frites mussels. You might also give yourself permission to try out some of the famous Brussels beer, such as Lambic beer, which is still prepared in much the same way as it was 100 years ago.



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