The food alone is reason to visit Brussels and could, and has, consumed multiple tomes extolling the virtues of the wide variety of culinary yumminess found there. Belgians have pioneered several foodie revolutions, and it doesn’t matter if they may not be entirely healthy, it’s no exaggeration to say this influence is felt around the world.
The Fry Museum in Bruges, Belgians invented what we consider to be the modern French Fry, or chip if you’re British. But Belgian fries are unlike others found around the planet, they are double fried which results in a crunchy and extra tasty salty treat. To accompany these baskets of brilliance, the Belgians also have created a variety of sauces to pair with the fries. Whether you eat them plain or with a condiment, they are one of the best culinary treats in Brussels.
Fries aren’t the totality of rich Belgian food. Some foodie highlights include waffles, Flemish stews, beer and of course chocolate. Thanks to the worldwide distribution of Godiva, most of us are at least familiar with the legendary quality of Belgian chocolate, but to experience it firsthand is an entirely different experience. While the big name brands are of course good, wander off and look for a small, artisanal chocolate master for the ultimate in sweet creativity.
An important feature of Brussels is its dedication to art and architecture. Belgium is perhaps most well known for its great love of the cartoon, comic strips to be exact. While Belgians may not have invented the art form, they have indeed embraced it as their own and some of the best known comics in the world had their start in Belgium. Tintin, the Smurfs and Gaston Lagaffe are just a few of the famous strips to make their mark on global popular culture, no small feat. Love of the comic is seen all around town, starting at the Comic Strip Museum and extending to statues and murals placed almost randomly around town. Belgian love of design doesn’t stop there though; the city also embraces design just as fervently especially when it comes to one of its favorite sons, Victor Horta. Horta was a true master of the Art Nouveau movement and although many of his works have been lost to development over the years, walking around Brussels still reveals many of his original buildings. There are guided and self-guided tours of his masterpieces, but always make sure to look up when you walk around town so you don’t miss any architectural details.
Most cities have a variety of festivals throughout the year and Brussels certainly lives up to that expectation. The Brussels Animation Film Festival, Brussels Jazz Marathon and the Brussels Festival of the Arts are just a few of the many public events that take place throughout the year. We were in town for one of the most popular events of the year, the Winter Wonders Festival. This large Christmas Market lasts for more than a month around the Christmas holidays and features everything from great food to ice skating and plenty of crafts to buy for those special people in your life. Walking around with the lights and music, huddled up under warm clothes drinking Gluhwein and watching the general merriment will be an experience you'll never forget.
Brussels Airport is an international airport 6.5 NM northeast of Brussels, the capital of Belgium. In 2017, more than 24 million passengers arrived or departed at Brussels Airport, making it the 23rd busiest airport in Europe. Address: Leopoldlaan, 1930 Zaventem, Belgium. Code: BRU. Elevation: 190'.