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Brussels in 20 Photos

It wasn’t until semi-recently that I started to fully appreciate Brussels. Growing up in Belgium I wasn’t particularly wild about our capital city. However, the city has grown on me over the past few years.

My eyes finally opened about three years ago, when visiting the Christmas markets in Brussels. I was conditioned by travel, conditioned to look around and actually see the place you’re in. I was blown away by the architecture in the city. There is seriously no place in the world like the Grand Place in Brussels. That is the most beautiful city square on the planet. Period.

Later, I went back several times to explore, take more detailed looks around and get myself a visa to America. I gradually learned more about the city’s long history and about the historic landmarks. Although there’s no denying that there are areas in the Brussels suburbs where you don’t want to be – that’s the case in virtually every major city – I dare to say that Brussels is the most underestimated city in the world.

There are chocolatiers, old shopping malls, jaw-dropping architecture, tons of history and old medieval alleyways. The food is world-class too – it’s a Belgian city after all. Brussels has a little bit of everything. It’s historic and hip; confident enough to partake in some serious self-mockery, yet it’s not arrogant; Brussels is sometimes bizarre and always fascinating; it’s extremely bureaucratic and vibrantly multicultural; and it’s both Francophone and Flemish.

A last note before we get started: the reason there are no pictures of the Atomium, one of the major landmarks in Brussels and Belgium, below is that the people behind the Atomium are being A-holes – that’s right, with a capital A – about copyright. Allow me to solve this very minor issue by sharing a couple more pictures of the Grand Place.

Brussels in 20 Photos

The Town Hall of Brussels, at the Grand Place
The Town Hall is the first thing you notice when entering the Grand Place. This stunning 13th-century Gothic building is one of the main attractions in the city
The Town Hall spire, Brussels
The Town Hall’s spire reaches 315 feet (96 meters) towards the sky and is visible from most places in Brussels
The Comic Strip Route, Brussels
The Comic Strip Route runs along façades and walls and shows off Belgium’s most famous cartoon characters, such as Tintin and The Smurfs
Royal Palace in Brussels
The Royal Palace is the home of the King of Belgium. When you see the Belgian flag flying on top of this Neo-Classical building, you know that he’s home
The Museum of Musical Instruments
The MIM (Museum of Musical Instruments) is a beautiful building that combines both Neo-Classical and Art Nouveau styles. The museum houses more than 7,000 instruments!
Rue des Bouchers in Brussels, Belgium
Brussels is filled with narrow cobbled streets, lined with old stepped-gabled houses
The Parliament
The Parliament lies adjacent to Brussels Park in the heart of the city center
The Breadhouse or King's House, Brussels
The Breadhouse or King’s House is located at the Grand Place opposite of the Town Hall and houses the City Museum and numerous historic artefacts
Small street in Brussels, Belgium
Several small streets like this end at the magnificent Grand Place
The Bourse of Brussels
The Bourse or Brussels Stock Exchange is located in a grand building in was established by Napoléon in 1801
Art Nouveau buildings in Brussels
As the former home of Art Nouveau icon Victor Horta, Brussels is chock-full of beautiful architecture
Manneken Pis statue
Manneken Pis is a famous statue of a little boy peeing and a major tourist attraction in the city. It has stood on the same street corner since 1619. The little boy even has an entire wardrob with outfits for every imaginable occasion
Guildhalls at the Grand Place
The collection of historic guildhalls that surround the Grand Place adds to the splendor of the square
Street in Brussels
A typical café-lined street in Brussels, with the spire of the Town Hall in the background
The Royal Square in Brussels
The Royal Square played a major role in the Belgian Revolution of 1830 and was where the first King of the Belgians was crowned in 1831
Galleries St Hubert, Brussels
A spectacular glass-roofed arcade in the heart of the city, the Galleries St Hubert or Royal Galleries was the first shopping mall in Europe and is lined with chocolate shops, luxury stores and cafés
The Rue des Bouchers in Brussels, Belgium
The Rue des Bouchers is one of the most charming streets in the city. This area consists of restaurants, bars, cafés, stepped-gabled houses, decorated doorways and cobblestones
Cathedral of Saints Michel and Gudule
Completed at the end of the 15th century and dedicated to both the male and female patron saints of Brussels, the imposing Cathedral of Saints Michel and Gudule is a major landmark
Horse-drawn carriage in Brussels
Brussels, as an historic European city, also has its share of horse-drawn carriages
Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium
More beautifully decorated guildhalls at the Grand Place, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site

You can find more of my photos in my travel photography portfolio.

Have you ever visited Brussels? If yes, what did you like most about it?
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6 thoughts on “Brussels in 20 Photos

  • Great photos! I hope to make it to Belgium on my European cycling trip before I run out of money 🙂

  • The royal palace on the photo is the working palace of the king and when the flag is out it means the king is in the country and not abroad 🙂 Thanks for your blog!

  • The residential palace of the king is in the Brussels’ district of Laeken, nearby the Atomium. The Park of Laeken is worth to visit! And yeah, the copyright of the Atomium is ridiculous and should stop, being a major landmark of Belgium and one of the most beloved by the Belgians!

  • If I may add: the Gallerie St Hubert is the first covered shopping mall in the world, and inside is the first chocolate boutique of Neuhaus, where the praline or chocolate was invented. Horta invented Art Nouveau (architecture at least).

    • These are all excellent additions, Isabelle. Thanks so much! 🙂 I didn’t know that the praline was invented there at all. Great stuff!

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