With the Bruges Christmas markets as the main drawcard of our December weekend in Belgium, we elected to spend just a night and a morning in Brussels. We came in fairly late on the Eurostar from London so our only stop that night was bed.
I STILL have not stopped raving about how amazing I thought the Eurostar was. Coming from an island nation, the idea of catching a train to another country sounds quite bizarre. In practice, it was super easy and efficient – I work one stop from St Pancras so I could get there pretty much straight after work, much more convenient than the hike out to Heathrow or Gatwick. It was also cheaper than flying as we booked the tickets well in advance. I find trains really relaxing, so I loved watching the night lights fly by, and before I knew it we were in Brussels!
So what can you accomplish with just a morning in central Brussels? Thanks to the fairly compact nature of the centre, it turns out you can still do quite a lot.
You can eat a Belgian Waffle
A Savoury waffle; Kate’s chocolatey waffle
Of course, one of the first things we did was wrap our laughing gear around a delicious waffle. Savoury or sweet, sugared or dripping in Nutella, they’re warm and delicious and munching one of these is a great way to start your morning.
You can marvel at the beautiful buildings in the Grand-Place
The Grand-Place, or Grote Markt, is in the centre of the city and home to amazing buildings, from the Town Hall to the King’s House and lots of intricate Guildhalls. I loved the Gothic architecture, particularly on the slightly drizzly and grey day we were experiencing – it all looked slightly menacing yet beautiful.
You can giggle at the Mannekin Pis
The Mannekin Pis is an iconic sculpture of Brussels and was created in about 1618. It shows a little boy peeing into the basin of the fountain below, and is often dressed up by the city for festivals. He’s much smaller in height than I thought he would be, but a big drawcard for photos!
You can hunt down the much-less well-known Jeanneke Pis
A comparatively recent addition, the small girl version of the Mannekin Pis was created in 1987 and is quite hidden behind security bars and down a side-street in amongst a bunch of fun-looking bars and restaurants.
You can admire the Cathedral of St Michael & St Gudula
Perched on the hill, the stunning Cathedral of St Michael and St Gudula is often used for Belgian royal weddings and state ceremonies. I’d love to explore inside – it looked magnificent.
You can spot street art everywhere
I loved the street art in Brussels, from Tintin and Captain to oversize street lights! It added a fun vibe to my glimpse of a city centre that otherwise felt quite sober and historic.
And then you can jump on the train to Brugge super easily! I loved our taster of Brussels and I’ll definitely be back for more, in particular the Courts of Justice which were a little too far for our constrained time-frame. And I’ll be returning for more waffles!
Have you visited Brussels? Was it a quick stop, or did you get to explore all the city?