Luxury Travel Blog

History and Chocolate in Brussels Belgium

I had very limited expectations on our arrival into Belgium. I’ll be honest; I didn’t know all that much about the city before the visit. Of course, I knew some of the world’s best chocolates came from here, but that was almost the limit to my knowledge of the city.

 

Brussels - Belgium - 2

Views from Mont des Arts

 

And now, I feel ashamed I did not know more about this amazing city or that I didn’t have it higher on my ‘must see’ list. There is much more to Brussels than overindulging on tasty chocolate – Although that in it self is worth a visit, trust me!

 

Brussels - Belgium - 8

Manneken Pis – Cupid doing his business…

 

Brussels is rich with intriguing history and as someone from a young country, like Australia, this fascinates me. Witnessing architecture from the 17th century still standing proud is quite astounding. If only those walls could talk; the stories they could tell would be astonishing.

 

Brussels - Belgium - 6

Place Royal – Another stunning structure in the city

 

What I loved about the architecture in Brussels is the diversity. On the same intersection you could see art nouveau (pre war), art deco (post war), modern and Parisian influences. And what’s more, it all works so well together, complimenting each other nicely.

 

Brussels - Belgium - 10

Every street you look down you will see eye catching architecture

 

Everyone knows Belgians know how to make chocolate but they do not get enough credit for other tasty treats they are so proud of. Take for example Speculoos; a heavenly shortcrust biscuit with a splash of cinnamon and sugar. Of course, Belgium is also responsible for waffles, beer, cheese and fries. Belgium is definitely a foodies paradise.

 

Brussels - Belgium - 5

Yummy steak anyone?

 

I found it really interesting to learn that Brussels has three national languages; Dutch, French and German. Most Belgians can speak French and/or Dutch, while about 10% speak German.

 

Brussels - Belgium - 4

Cute little alleyways littered with Cafes and Restaurants

 

My favorite place in Brussels was Grand Place. We have witnessed some amazing ‘squares’ in our travels, but I would dare say Brussels has the most beautiful square in the world. As you stand in the middle of the square you are surrounded, on all four sides, by the most magnificent structures I’ve ever seen.

You will find three variations of architecture in Grand Place; Baroque, Gothic and Louis XIV. Back in the day, this area was a marketplace where people would buy/sell all types of food. Now days, it’s a magnificent square for one to admire the stunning buildings that surround. You will find great restaurants here too… and of course many chocolate shops!

 

Brussels - Belgium - 11

One of the many building surrounding GrandPlace

 

Our hotel was from a different era too, but not quite as far back. Vintage Hotel is a retro style boutique hotel, which makes you feel you have stepped into an Austin Powers movie. Everything was vintage retro from the fluffy cushions to the moon chairs to the shag pile carpets. I absolutely loved it there and that it wasn’t like every other hotel we’d been to before.

 

Brussels - Belgium 12

No we didn’t sleep in there!

 

Comics are huge in Brussels. They have three schools for comic artists, and their biggest comic claim to fame; The Smurfs. I had no idea The Smurfs where Belgians. There are comic murals painted on walls throughout the city, which is really cool. We took a Comic Tour which not only showed us some of the 50 murals, but also talked about the history of Brussels. I highly recommend it.

 

Brussels - Belgium - 7

Comics are scattered all around Brussels. Seeing them all is a great way to explore the city and the surrounding area.

 

I wont lie to you – My favorite part of the 48 hours we spent in Brussels was the chocolate tour we went on. We taste tested our way around the city, experiencing the best of the best in Belgium chocolate. As a lover of all things chocolate, this was absolute heaven. However, I am sure I will now be disappointed going back to standard chocolate. My pallet will now expect only the best Belgium chocolate. Luckily, some of the brands can be found worldwide!

 

Brussels - Belgium - 9

Chocolate that looks too good to eat… Nah!

 

As much as I love my chocolate Michael loves his beer. So of course we also enjoyed a bit of beer tasting. We were given around 8 different types of Belgium beer to try, including a raspberry beer – Interesting! I am not a huge beer drinker so I was more impressed by the meat and cheese platter that came with the beer. I think the Belgians might be almost as good at making cheese as they are chocolate – Almost!

 

Brussels - Belgium - 3

So many beers to choose from. Not just your standard off the shelf stuff at Moeder Lambec.

 

Be sure to explore the areas outside of Grand Place also.  Grand Place is beautiful, but you really should experience other areas throughout Brussels too.  The trams make getting around the city very easy, and you don’t have to go too far to really enjoy the surrounding suburbs. 

 

Brussels - Belgium - 1

More beautiful architecture

 

After 2 days in Brussels I can honestly say this city deserves much more credit than we give it. We will definitely visit Belgium again and spend more time exploring this amazing country.

 

For more information on Brussels and all the amazing activities you can do there, visit the Visit Brussels website and let the experts show you the best of Brussels.

 

Have you been to Brussels?  What did you like best?

 

 

20 comments

  1. I went to Brussels once but just for one day so I didn’t really have the chance to explore the city properly…a good excuse to go back. One thing I remember are the waffles…plenty of them! Thank you for sharing.
    Davide recently posted…Bristol International Balloon FiestaMy Profile

  2. Totally agree! I was in Brussels just for a half-day trip from Amsterdam, and was really pleasently surprised by the city. I really want to get back there next time I’m in Europe, as I could only carry a limited amount of beer abd chocolate back with me!

  3. I have been to Brussels three times now and have yet to cross The Atomium off my list. I am dying to see it.
    jennifer recently posted…What’s It Like Living in New York City? Rant #2 AND Rant #2.5 – Canal Street Train StationMy Profile

  4. Definitely my kind of city!

  5. What a great post! I have never been in Brussels proper (save the train station when going from Amsterdam to Paris!) and this makes me want to go STAT: chocolate and architecture are calling me!

  6. Did you stand in the Grand Place at night to see the lights turn on? We watched every night of our stay – it was magical!
    Heather recently posted…The Best Meals We Ate in BudapestMy Profile

  7. Always happy to hear when visitors are impressed by Brussels 🙂 Those of us who live here are rather fond of it. Glad to hear you got out to see more than the Grand Place. We expats who stay here actually spend most of our time in the neighborhoods surrounding the center – St Catherine, St Gilles, St Boniface, Chatelain, Flagey – all worth a visit. The one downside? Overdosing on chocolate is actually possible 🙂
    Jess {JessinBelgium} recently posted…Belgium gets a new King and we get a history lessonMy Profile

    • Michael
      Michael Wright /

      Yes I think that would be a problem if we lived there. We would put on 20 kilos!

      We now have a house sit lined up for later in the year in Belgium, so can’t wait to get back.
      Michael Wright recently posted…Dutch CuisineMy Profile

  8. Looks like my to-see/to-eat list just got a little bit longer… and I’m such a sucker for quality beer. Thanks for the intro!
    Sally recently posted…Confession: I’m No VagabondMy Profile

  9. Totally agree! We are spending the month of August here and we are discovering everyday how great and complex the city is. We are living in Ixelles, a hip and diverse neighborhood just south of the city center, so many layers to this city besides the Grand Place and Mannekin Pis, great post!
    Scott recently posted…Interstate Love SongMy Profile

  10. Antoine /

    Brussels is a great place and I’m glad I lived there for a few years as you really need some time to get to know the place well.Since you’re into beer, one other thing to do would be to exit Brussels (slightly!) and go and tour the Duvel brewery. You can check out a review of this on my blog.

    Thanks for the memories!

  11. Good to read you had such a nice time in our capital:-)

    Just one side note:
    “All Belgians can speak French and Dutch and about 10% speak German.”
    >>>
    Not quite. There are language barriers within Belgium: officially there’s a French speaking part, a Dutch speaking part and a German speaking part. Although ‘a lot’ of people from the north (Flemish/Dutch) speak French and some of the people from the South (French) can speak Dutch, we definitely don’t all speak both.
    Sofie recently posted…In search of the light: touring UmbriaMy Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge