Max out your Brussels city-break with our guide to creating the perfect weekend itinerary with plenty of time for exploring, eating and drinking and hotel-relaxing.
Depending on whether you’re solo-exploring, romance-creating or family-bonding, Brussels offers different sides to the same city. But whatever you’re planning a visit to the impressive Grand Place (15 minutes on foot from The Hotel Brussels) is a must. Approach from one of the winding alleyways and allow the full magnificence of this city square to surprise you. Beautiful buildings, cosy cafes and a historical ambiance that is perfect for some people watching.
If the sun is shining then a stroll, or even a picnic in The Parc du Cinquantenaire (Park of The Fiftieth Anniversary) is the place to go. Built to commemorate Belgian Independence, the park’s pentagon design mimics the city’s inner and outer rings and has plenty of open space and shady trees. There’s also a collection of museums and exhibits for the historically inclined.
The halls of Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts are as inspiring as they are educational and as romantic as they are beautiful. Their collection of ancient and modern works include some of the best known international artists as well as works by Belgium’s leading figures in the art world.
You can’t go wrong with dinner at The Restaurant. With Pierre Balthazar at the helm diners are assured of fresh, local and seasonal with a menu that’s as ‘Brussels’ as it is global.
Tap into Belgium’s rich jazz heritage with a visit to Music Village (near Grand Place and less than 20 minutes walking from The Hotel Brussels). The buildings themselves are worth a visit with a history dating back 400 years, but the real show, quite literally, is the nightly jazz concerts.
The café scene in Brussels is a highlight of any Brussels weekend and there is perhaps nowhere better to experience it than in the grand café setting of Le Cirio. It’s all about the smartly attired waitrons and elegant details with a menu that is perfect for lunchtime snacking and afternoon drinks.
Shopping in Brussels is a mix of everything from shops that are uniquely Belgian and tourist-friendly to edgy concept stores and big-brands. Skip the malls and head to the streets for the best of Brussels shopping on your weekend city break.
Chaussée d’Ixelles and Rue Antoine Dansaert are both more fashion focused, with the latter offering a more specialist (both luxurious and boutique) selection. Don’t miss (you won’t be able to if you’re staying at The Hotel Brussels) Avenue Louise and its adjoining Boulevard de Waterloo where you’ll find the hottest brands and luxury names (Hermes and Louis Vuitton are next door), as well as neighbouring Rue du Bailli where indie stores and boutiques are great for finding something a little different.
If you’re only here for the weekend then maximising your time relaxing, and minimising your time getting there, is a must. The Hotel Brussels is not only a legendary hotel with class-leading levels of service, it is also located close to the Avenue Louise Metro station for easy inner-city transport connections. And with its high-rise position it’s a landmark in its own right.
You can get around on foot, on bike, by bus, tram, metro, taxi or even rollerblades, and all offer different benefits. Getting around by foot is easy in Brussels and a great way to see the city and explore its relatively compact city centre. Make use of Uber Jump (bikes from Uber just launched a month ago in Brussels) for short term bike hiring. Picking up and dropping off is easy almost anywhere in the city, you just need to use your Uber app, select a bike, and enjoy the ride. And if you are planning on riding the bus or metro then you can buy single tickets (that last an hour) or a potentially more cost saving all-day unlimited ticket.