I first visited Brussels seven years ago when I was living in Paris. I had just finished a month long trip starting from Morocco to London, Scotland, Ireland and then ending in a two day quick look around in Brussels. We arrived in February and as our initial housing plans fell through, my friend and I were forced to roam the streets of Brussels with all our stuff trying to find a hostel. After an hour of walking around in circles, asking people to direct us and getting lost, I got so frustrated that I ended up sitting down on the corner, cracking open an Guinness and taking 5 minutes of “me time” before figuring out what to do next. In the end, we got a hotel and spent the next two days aimlessly walking around Grand Place before drinking a couple of Belgian beers and having our own private dance party in our hotel room in an attempt to unwind. As I boarded the train back to Paris, never in a million years did I think that one day I would be living in Brussels
Flash forward seven years and I am at a crossroads in my life. It’s time to move from Mississauga and a friend of a friend offers me a spot on their couch in Brussels. I accept, move and inadvertently fall in love with Brussels. Think I am crazy? Here are MY top three reasons why Brussels is not boring:
#3. It is a big city with a small city feel WITH lots of green spaces
Almost all the major downtown areas are walkable or if you feel extra motivated: bikeable. If you are feeling lazy than the city has an excellent transportation system with trams, buses and metros available to almost any part of the city. Take a stroll through any part Brussels on a lazy Sunday afternoon and just get lost. I personally live near Bourse, and love to take a stroll through the downtown area. My strolls have allowed me to unearth some great restaurants, local shops, bars, a couple of vintage stores and even a Brazilian club!
Brussels has a ridiculous amount of green spaces that lie just outside the city centre (a short walk or bus ride away!). In fact the city has over 8,000 hectares of green spaces, most of which can be found in the outer suburbs. According to be.brussels “Parc Royal between the Belgian Parliament and the Royal palace (Parc metro station) is the green centre of the city. Not too far away, you can also take a stroll around the Botanical Garden, Parc Egmont – a real hidden gem – and the gardens of Mont des Arts or Petit Sablon. But the green lung of the capital region is undoubtedly the Forêt de Soignes (FR/NL)(Hermann-Debroux metro station), also sometimes called the Sonian Forest in English. It is the ideal way of enjoying nature without leaving the city.”
#2. Markets, Markets, Markets.
From huge food markets like the one at Gare du Midi every Sunday to daily, weekly or monthly vintage markets, Brussels has something for everyone. Every day one party of the city hosts a food markets, the most famous of which is the Sunday food market at Gare du Midi and at Clemenceau. There are also various vintage markets from the daily market held at Place du Jeu de Balle to the monthly vintage market held at St. Gery every first Sunday of the month.
#1. Beer, FOOD and never ending FUN
Craving Chinese? Thai? Romanian? Brussels is the the capital of Europe so it has all the food that the world has to offer. It is also one of the gourmet capitals of Europe, boasting many different restaurants that have garnered coveted Michelin Stars in gastronomy, like Bon Bon and Comme Chez Soi.
There is also a different type of beer for every single day of the year. Sit down with a couple of bottles and start trying some out with your friends. Or you can visit some of Brussels cool artisan beer bars, like Moeder Lambic, and get some beer advice from the experts. Lastly, Brussels may seem boring for those coming in and that is because most of the epic parties held in this city is known through word of mouth. Many expats know about Delrium cafe but if you take a walk around any part of the city, you will quickly find that there is a party in Brussels every single night. Brussels is obsessed with the apéro, or the after-work beer and there is always some sort of an excuse in Brussels to sit down with a group of friends and have a drink. On Wednesday you can find the crowd at Place Chatelein and on Thursday the place to be is Place Luxembourg. In the summer there are the Apéro Urbains, rooftop DJ parties and garden parties and in the wintertime heaters are put outside for those who dare sit outside and events like the Christmas market are held where people can drink mulled wine while Christmas shopping.
So what do YOU think? Is Brussels boring?
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