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

Pictures taken seven years ago during my trip.
Pictures taken seven years ago during my trip.

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:

Brusselsis not

#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.”

SOULSESSIONS

#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.

SOULSESSIONS (1)Brussels Vintage Market

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.

SOULSESSIONS (2)

 So what do YOU think? Is Brussels boring?


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Brussels | Belgium | Backpacking | Slow travel

29 Comments

    1. Hi Yvonne, you sell Brussels well and a beer for every day of the year? I’m in 🙂

      I must admit that the city is somewhere I should go back to in order to give it a fair assessment.

      I’ve only been once and that was for about 3 hours! I was interrailing around Europe and this was towards the back end of the trip when funds were low. After getting off the train I was scared by how expensive the city appeared to be and how little money I had left. I took the next train out of the city and discovered Antwerp – which I fell in love with.

      Maybe with a little more money now I can enjoy Brussels for all the positive sides it has?

      1. Brussels can be expensive, especially if you are traveling with USD (or even worse CAD)! But a lot of people do not know is that there are a lot of free and great things to do here that do not cost that much money. I hope to bring more light to these things so people can STOP saying that Brussels is boring. It really isn’t! If you do come to Brussels, please let me know 🙂

    1. Talking about Christmas Market in Brussels, I was there last December and I must admit that mulled wine there was almost as good as in Strasbourg, the capital of Alsace!
      If you want to feel some of this great atmosphere, I made a photo-gallery on my blog:
      http://travelingilove.com/winter-wonders-brussels-christmas-markets/
      I know it’s not the same as drinking the mulled wine in that cheerful atmosphere, but still it gives some clues of how this special time in Brussels is 🙂

    1. Great post! A friend of mine was living there a couple of years ago while working for the CBI, and she told me the usual, that Brussels is boring because most are there only for work and leave the city of a weekend. I bought the story, and haven’t ever been that attracted to visiting – but you might have begun to change my mind! Your first photo in particular is stunning, and I laughed out loud at your crack-open-a-Guinness response to your Brussels troubles all those years ago – fantastic! 🙂

      1. You need a little bit more than a couple of days here in Brussels, but I guarantee that if you just go off the beaten path a little bit, you will not be disappointed

    1. Brussels is just a short train journey from London. I know it well – spent 9 months working there many years ago and I agree with your points. I loved Brussels best of all the places I stayed at that time, it was quirky, fun and about the right size to walk round

      1. I am going to be uploading a lot of content about why Brussels isn’t boring so make sure he checks back to the site and I am sure I can change his mind 🙂

    1. I love the food scene in Brussels! We always eat a ton of Italian food when we’re there and it’s always amazing. I would go back in a heartbeat – I’ve never found it boring at all!

    1. I’m not sure about living there but having been there twice for a few days each time, I know why I love Brussels. Grand Place, the park near to the Arc de Triomphe (which I think is much better than the one in Paris), and waffles and chocolates! 🙂 Yes, I know, I sound like a typical tourist to Brussels, haha! 😉

    1. We didn’t have the best introduction to Brussels, but it was our own fault. I would really love to go back and give it another shot though–there are quite a few things I want to check out and your reasons are definitely compelling!! 🙂 Great list of reasons!

      1. Thank you! And I am going to be adding more and more information about cool things to do in Brussels, especially in certain neighbourhoods so stay tuned!

    1. Never been to Brussels, but from your post I can tell that it’s not boring aha! A city is only as boring as your attitude 😉 Great tips!

    1. I’ve not been but it definitely doesn’t look boring. I’m sure I could entertain myself for a while just sampling Belgian chocolate.

    1. I’m originally from Belgium, and I’ve never been a huge fan of Brussels. I moved to the UK 6 years ago, and every time I go back to Belgium, I started to like Brussels more and more 🙂 I still prefer Gent or Bruges though.

    1. omg.. thank you so much for posting this! I absolutely LOVED Brussels, and I’m glad I followed my instinct and went despite what everyone else said. You really captured a lot of the things I loved about it and make me want to go back…asap! ^_^

    1. I’ve just returned from weekend in Brussels,visting a friend who works and lives there. I was shown around various neighbourhoods, went to some excellent bars, sampled some of the best beers imaginable and saw a fantstic live jazz band. I found the architecture to be fabulous (some fantastic examples of Art Nouveau) , the Belgian Comic Strip Centre was very interesting and well worth a visit and there are some vibrant and lovely squares. I also found it to be a pretty friendly city too. I will be returning in a few months and I’m really looking forward it.

    1. this is my town, born in france, my parents are born there as a large part of my family, i decide to get back permanentely 2 years ago (when i get enough money to live there) and i love it so much, the place, food, animation. Not the most beautiful city in the world, not even in belgium but i couldn’t live without it, i dont know why, it’s in my skin, his streets, his restaurants, his animation, parcs etc… i love brussels!

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