If you're planning to travel for Valentine's Day, there can surely be few better destinations for embracing that romantic vibe than Brussels. The city's rich cultural history and gorgeous Art Nouveau architecture create a quaint feel that is perfectly accentuated by the wealth of attractions for couples (or just good friends!) spending Cupid's birthday in the Belgian capital. Here, we take a look at what to do in Brussels this Valentine’s Day.
The continental cafe scene lends itself effortlessly to intimate conversation, and there can be few more atmospheric cafes than those adorning romantic Brussels' Grand Place. Sipping espresso with someone you care about against the backdrop of towering, intricately designed buildings and vibrant floral displays and a soundtrack of lilting ambient music... I just dare you not to fall in love here at one of the most romantic places in Brussels.
It's no big secret that chocolate is one of Belgium's proudest exports; the country has a rich history of chocolate making dating back to the arrival of the cocoa bean via Spanish explorers in the 17th century. Chocolate forms a central part of contemporary Belgian culture and should be one of the first entries on any itinerary. Of particular note for any interested parties are long-standing institution Neuhaus (originators of the classic Belgian praline), Chocolaterie Mary (must-visit for all-round chocaholics) and, for a more modern approach, Pierre Marcolini (pioneer of the bean-to-bar operating model). All have many locations around the city, introducing the potential for a great DIY chocolate walking tour.
Belgium's contributions to art history have been many and varied, and there is ample opportunity to learn about the visionary work of artists like van Eyck, Campin, and van der Weyden during the Early Renaissance period. Perhaps the country's most famous artistic son, though, is of course Rene Magritte. The city hosts a central museum housing the surrealist's greatest works, whilst the old family home offers culture vultures a more in-depth look at his life and times. For those of a more 'cartoon-y' disposition, Brussels also hosts a vast collection of street murals paying homage to the storied history of comic books in Belgium. Everyone knows Tintin but the full picture goes so far beyond him. Toss in the ambient lighting of the golden hour on a brisk February day and you have the formula for a great way to take in some of the less-obvious cultural offerings of romantic Brussels.
With so much to see and do, you'll need more than just the one day in the city to make the most of your trip and with this in mind the Hotel Brussels (one of the most romantic hotels in Brussels) has set out two tantalising promotions for the Valentine's period. Those looking to cap their dreamy day in the capital with a romantic tête-à-tête can do so in the plush surrounds of the hotel's Iris restaurant, with a €98/person set menu offering visitors the chance to sample their esteemed wares at a bargain price. This generous deal can be supplemented with an overnight stay (€159.76/person) to truly put a bow on your romantic getaway.