First Day in Brussels, Belgium
Hello from Brussels, Belgium! Brussels is the start of my little Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg) European vacation. I haven’t explored much of Benelux besides the main highlights so it is exciting to get to dive deeper into some new areas while eating as many waffles as possible.
My friend from college is at the end of a work stint in Brussels so after I flew in, she met me at my hotel with a beer. Such a good friend.
My hotel, the centrally located Ibis off Grand Place has quite the view. After my welcome drink, Lauren took me around the Grand Place area so I could get a lay of the land.
My first thought is always food but I needed something light. Mussels and frites is a Belgian staple so we went for it.
But Belgium is most famous for beer. Monks originally brewed beer to sell to raise money for their monasteries. These days not many countries do beer as well as Belgium does. Lauren guided me towards the Delirium Café, a gigantic beer hall specializing in their own Delirium beer as well as hundreds of other Belgian ales. It was a delicious stop!
Luckily for me, the Royal Palace in Brussels is open to visitors for only one month of the year, August. A happy accident that I was in Brussels and was able to tour the palace. It was well worth the time and it was free to visit!
Belgium’s Royal Palace was a lot more impressive than some I’ve seen. They definitely appreciate a good chandelier. Some rooms reminded me of Versailles, it was impressive.
The Royal Palace is crowded so go early to avoid some of the craziness.Again, it is only open for about a month each year so people cram in the palace each day it is open.
My favorite room is a little bit creepy and a little bit awesome. The Belgian King at the time wanted this room to be inspired by the lush Congo so he commissioned it to be redesigned including iridescent blue-green Thai beetles shells on the ceilings and chandelier. I loved it!
The other sight I really wanted to see in Brussels was the Atomium tower built for the 1958 World’s Fair. For around 12 Euro, you can go up into the balls and look out over Northwest Brussels. Atomium and the World’s Fair ground are actually quite a distance from downtown. But the metro system here is efficient and cheap so it takes about 20 minutes and 4.20 Euro roundtrip to get there and back from Central Station near Grand Place.
Atomium is close to the other palace where the King and Queen of Brussels live most of the time- Royal Castle of Laeken. It isn’t as impressive and no tours here. It was directly across from the King Leopold I monument in Parc de Laeken. A lovely little area of Brussels that is peaceful and not crowded.
It was a fun day in Brussels. I’m here for one more day of exploring before heading to Luxembourg, a new country for me!
King Leopold I Monument:
Reader Question: Have you been to Belgium? Luxembourg? Have any Luxembourg tips for me?