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Welcome to Brussels


City Breaks to Brussels

A magnificent capital city brimming with culture, chocolate and of course a home away from home for foreign leaders with the European Union housing itself in the centre of Brussels. City breaks to Brussels from Dublin are a great way to immerse yourself in this cosmopolitan capital in the heart of Belgium.


Information & Facts

Things to do
Brussels boasts one of the most impressive collections of architecture of any European city. A perfect cheap weekend breaks to Brussels from Ireland are perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth - it's a well-known fact among many chocolate lovers that Belgian chocolate is one of the best in the world. Enjoy the best of shopping in Brussels ranging from large department stores to small market squares with last minute city break & short break deals to Brussels.

Brussels has a maritime temperate climate, characterised by warm summers and mild winters. The city has a high average annual rainfall, and visitors can expect a downpour any time of year. Temperatures range from highs of around 80°F (27°C) in summer to 45°F (7°C) during the middle of winter. Snow is possible, but not frequent, in winter.


The Flemish, in the north, speak Dutch (60% of the population); the Walloons in the south speak French (40%). Brussels is bilingual, the majority of citizens speaking French. In the east there is a small German-speaking community. English is also spoken.


Euro (EUR) divided into 100 cents. Most credit cards are accepted (Visa, American Express, Diners Club and Eurcard) as are travellers cheques (though it is best to carry them in Euros, US dollars or Pounds Sterling to avoid additional charges when exchanging). ATMs are available in all major cities. Banks are open Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm, and are closed on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Some banks close for an hour during lunch. There are however some foreign exchange offices that trade on Sundays.


Brussels is packed tight with historic buildings, monuments and museums making a nearly impossibly long list of worthwhile attractions. The best way to sightsee in Brussels is to pick several personal niche interests and follow a tourist map accordingly. Comic book fan? - there is a museum for you; chocolate connoisseur (who isn't)? - another for you. In fact, there are nearly 75 great museums in Brussels alternating between explaining Belgium's long history, showcasing its art and architecture, and just plain fun (more often than not, doing all three at once). Of course, several city landmarks cannot be missed, the most important is a visit to Mannekin-Pis, which when read carefully accurately describes the statue of a boy peeing. After that rather weird tradition, visitors are free to roam Brussels' larger highlights mostly walkable from the heart of Brussels, the Grand Place. The ancient Hotel de Ville is Brussels best example of early architecture and is almost as grand a sight as the Royal Palace. Several of the best museums in the world include the Museum of Ancient Art and the Museum of Modern Art, both housing Brussels best art treasures. For the rest, much like the Belgians, relax, enjoy and take it all in between pints of the city's best attraction, Belgium beer.


Local time in Belgium is GMT +1 (GMT +2 from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October).

Belgium's love of wacky humour and comic book art come together in this wonderful museum housed in a fabulous Art Nouveau building designed by Victor Horta. You'll see plenty of its most famous subject, Hergé's Tintin ,as well as the Smurfs and art from over 670 cartoonists. This is a temple to cartooning, now considered an art form worthy of serious consideration, and so the museum aims to trace the history and development of the discipline rather than to entertain.

This village was originally created for the 1958 World Exhibition and houses some of Brussels' most popular tourist attractions. The Oceadium water park, Mini Europe, a Kineopolis cinema and the world-renowned Atomium are all located here, making this a great day out for the whole family with plenty of eateries to stop and grab some refreshments and a bit of fuel for the next attraction.

With interactive and educational exhibits, the Brussels Children's Museum is a wonderful place to take the kids to enjoy learning and playing. From learning about colours, careers, the body and even watching shows on themed exhibits, children will be entertained from start to finish.

Mall lovers everywhere should make a pilgrimage to the Galeries Royales Saint Hubert, the very first shopping arcade in Europe. Opened in 1847, the arcade became a draw card for the cream of 19th century society and today continues to inspire shoppers and browsers alike. The building itself is an architectural marvel: arcaded shop fronts across two floors are separated by pilasters, conceived in a Cinquecento style. The roof above is made of arched glass panes connected by a delicate cast-iron framework - very photogenic! In between the various shops you'll find cafes, restaurants, a theatre and even a cinema.

The Grand Place is the heart of Brussels and has been since the Middle Ages. One of Europe's more beautiful squares, it lies in the centre of a confusion of small cobbled streets, and is surrounded by richly decorated 17th century Baroque Guildhouses, various Neo-Gothic buildings and museums. It is, however, the town hall, a magnificent Gothic building that dominates the square. Markets, flower stalls and various events are held here and this is the place to get to grips with the essence of Brussels, perhaps over a local delicacy at a pavement café.

Brussels' city hall is rated as the most splendid civic building in Europe. The foundations were laid in 1402 and it survived the mercifully inaccurate bombing during World War 2 when most of the other buildings on the Grand Place were destroyed. The façade is embellished with gargoyles and images of nobility while the intricate 100 metre-high tower is resolved by a fine statue of St Michel, patron saint of Brussels. Tours are available - well worth it to see the fine tapestries and miscellaneous works of art inside.

The distinctive statue has been described as the Eiffel Tower of Brussels and tourists throng the streets in search of the tiny urinating urchin. The bronze Mannekin is thought to represent the 'irreverent spirit' of Brussels, but there are numerous tales about its beginnings. Started by Louis XV of France many years ago, it has been the custom of foreign countries, companies, visiting dignitaries or charities to donate an outfit to the Mannekis-Pis and the little boy is usually decked out in the latest costume; previous costumes are displayed in the City of Brussels Museum.

Located next to another one Brussels' most popular tourist attractions, the Atomium, Mini Europe contains miniatures of all of Europe's favourite attractions at a scale of 1:25. Approximately 350 attractions can be seen from around 80 cities. Mini Europe is one of Brussels' leading attractions, bringing in over 300,000 visitors annually.

The Chocolate Museum is a fitting tribute to both the history of the cocoa bean and the Belgian's famed love of chocolate. The first chocolatier in the city appeared in the 1600s and today Belgians eat an average of 9kg a year! Visit on Tuesday to Friday between 10am and 3pm and you'll to see the master chocolatier at work and get to taste his handiwork.

Featuring fascinating displays and exhibitions, kids will enjoy a trip to the Museum of Natural Sciences of Belgium, and in particular the dinosaur section, the largest of its kind in Europe. Other points of interest for younger visitors are the PaleoLab where fossils and replicas of mammoths are on display, as well as the Evolution and Animal Kingdom sections.

Belgium's magnificent Royal Palace was built in the 19th century as the official residence of the Belgian Royal family although today is used for official functions and other ceremonial purposes. The palace is positioned in front of Brussels Park, itself well worth exploring, and directly opposite the modern Parliament building as if symbolically representing the country's system of government, a constitutional monarchy. Tours are only possible in summer and commence after the National Holiday on 21 July. Inside are a multitude of historical artefacts and some impressive contemporary art, commissioned by the queen in 2002.

Under the direction of King Leopold, the Belgian Congo returned fantastic riches to Belgium in the 19th century, yet the people of that colony paid a terrible price. This museum was founded to explore the relationship between European colonial powers and the people they subjugated. Recent exhibits have broadened the museum's focus to include environmental issues and ethnography in Africa, Asia and South America. The museum is situated on beautiful grounds in the Flemish commune of Tervuren, just outside of Brussels.

An unmissable attraction for art lovers: the twin Museum of Ancient Art and the Museum of Modern Art are Brussels' premier art museums. They feature art from the 15th to 18th centuries (ancient) and 19th century to the present day (modern). The larger of the two is the Museum of Ancient Art, opened in 1887, featuring the best collection of Flemish art in the world; highlights include works by van Dyck and over 20 paintings by Rubens. The Museum of Modern Art was opened in 1984 and includes fine examples from Belgium's best artists over the past century, plus modern legends such as Francis Bacon.

Forget the Mannekin Pis - this is the structure that best symbolises Brussels and certainly the one locals are more proud of. Built for the 1958 World Fair, the Atomium takes its shape and proportions from the internal lattice of an iron atom. There are nine spheres linked by escalators and each contains exhibition rooms hosting a rapidly changing series of exhibitions. There is a great view from the deck of the uppermost sphere.

With dozens of exciting and thrilling rides, children will be simply captivated at Walibi Belgium Amusement Park. With terrifying roller coasters and children's favourite cartoon characters such as Tweetie Pie and Bugs Bunny, your children will love you for taking them here.

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