When working in the EU bubble, you are bound to have friends over from your hometown or from your Erasmus year ;-). After a while you get weary from visiting the Grande Place and the Atomium for the hundredth time. This guide is designed to provide an alternative. Please feel free to give some advice at the bottom so we can improve this guide. I also made an effort to focus on free stuff, as the best things in should be for free!
Visit some of the beautiful parks
Brussels has a couple of beautiful green strips, Park Cincquantenaire obviously being the most impressive. In summer there are a lot of events going on, so be sure to be on the lookout for the occasion’s environment party or the annual summer party. Another cool feature of Park Cinquantenaire is its landmark Arch, which gives a spectacular view on top (entrance for free through the museum). The Ambiorix Square is also marvelous and might be on route when walking from Cinquantenaire to the City center. Another gem is the Elisabeth Park.
Visit other landmarks
Basiliquee National Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Koekelberg is one of the great landmarks of
Brussels. It is the fifth longest Church in the world, and you’ll be surprised by the interior architecture which is made entirely in art-deco style.
Visit other museums
Legendary cafes and restaurants
To experience Brussels, one really needs to visit some of the legendary cafes and brasserie. Brussels is full of places which have been around for more than a century. The Hotel Metropol for example is one of those great institutions of Brussels. Big Lebowski's favorite cocktail -The white Russian- was actually invented in Hotel Metropol. Don’t sit in the brasserie, opt for the inside lounge instead. Mort Subite is also a diner with a long tradition, and a story. Het Goudblommeke van Papier is not far from the center, and is the place where the surrealistic movement of Brussels has its roots. Finally, in the evening go to L'Árchiduc which is my second favorite bar in the world.
Explore Brussels by public transport
Yes the hops on hop off bus provides for an instant tourist fix, but why not buy a day pass for the general public transport and design your own route? Brussels bus lines go from one end of the city to the other, and armed with a map you can go urban exploring. At the same time you can design your own hop off moments and explore the communes. My favorite public transport rides are;
Brussels doesn’t have a shopping center which is worth the bother, and the main shopping street - ------Nieuwstraat- is a nightmare on a Saturday. Why not visit a market instead? The markets of Brussels provide for a couple of hours of fun and food and are a refreshing alternative to cramped shopping. The antiques market of the Vosseplein is filled with curious object, and even you don't buy anything you'll be digging for treasures for a couple of ours. The Abbatoirs, or the Anderlecht Market is a market in the more traditional sense of the word. Open on Saturday and Sunday, it is the ideal place to show your friends how well, integrated you are buy buying fresh veggies in Anderlecht.