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Brussels is an important landmark in the history of Europe and many important events and activities of the EU Quarter take place over here. The city bears the remains of its glorious past and in the present times, they are major tourist attractions which lure many travellers from all over the world.
The Old town retains its old world charm and is one of the best-preserved sites in Brussels. Interesting monuments, statues and fountains make this city a living museum of the bygone era. Given below is a carefully selected list of the best places that every traveller must visit while touring the city.
The Brussels Town Hall (French: Hôtel de Ville) is a Gothic building situated in the Grand Place and was destroyed in 1695 when it was bombed by Marshal de Villeroy. The Hall today is home to a museum displaying tapestries, wood panelling and paintings from the 17th century. The Grand Place and the Town Hall look even more beautiful at night when they are illuminated with golden floodlights. In the spring and summer season, there is a light show that is spectacular.
Address: Grand Place 1, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium.
Tel.: +32 2 279 2211
Grand Place is one of the most stunning town squares in Europe. An eye-catching bunch of public and private buildings that date back to the late 17th century, the square boasts of an intricate but beautiful architecture. The towers are 96 meters (315 ft) high and are capped by a statue of Saint Michael slaying a demon.
Address: Grand-Place, 1000 Brussels, Belgium.
Tel.: +32 2 279 2211
Atomium, a whopping 102 meters (335 ft) tall structure, located on Boulevard du Centenaire was developed for World's Fair, 'Expo'58' in Brussels. It represents a structural composition of an iron crystal unit cell if magnified 165 billion times. The nine steel spheres of Atomium house exhibit halls, restaurants and are connected by the tubes along the 12 edges inclusive of escalators of the cube and all eight vertices to the centre.
Opening Times: 10am to 6pm
Address: asbl Atomium, Place de l'Atomium 1, B-1020 BRUXELLES.
Tel.: +32 2 475 4775
The Islamic and Cultural Centre of Belgium (Great Mosque of Brussels) located in the Cinquantenaire Park is the oldest mosque in Brussels. The mosque was reconstructed by Tunisian architect Boubaker at the expense of Saudi Arabia. After the completion of the reconstruction, it was inaugurated in 1978 in the presence of Khalid ibn Abd al-Aziz and Baudouin.
Opening Times: Mon. to Fri. 9am - 4pm, Fri. to Sat. 9am - 1pm
July, August:- Mon. to Fri. 9am - 3pm, Fri. to Sat. 9am - 1pm
Address: Parc du Cinquantenaire 14, 1000 Brussel, Belgium.
Tel.: +32 2 735 2173
Once upon a time, Quartier Royal was a home of the Belgian royal family. Quartier Royal prides itself in housing Palais Royal, Palais de la Nation and Palais des Academies, the palaces with neo-classic architecture that were built between 18th and 20th century. The Palais Royal, the largest of the palaces at Quartier Royal is open to the public between July and September and is well worth a visit.
This architectural square houses buildings dating from the 16th to the 19th century. Today, the square is mostly known for shops selling chocolates and antiques as well as tapestries and carpets. The Wittimers pastry shop is one of the famous places to purchase delicious chocolates. In addition, the place also holds an antique flea market on the weekends from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm where you can find a land full of historic wares and statues.
One of the most remarkable archaeological sites in Brussels, Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula is a Roman Catholic church at the Treurenberg hill located in the city centre of Brussels, Belgium. The history of the cathedral spans over 12 centuries. Initially built in Romanesque style, the church was later styled in Gothic architecture, because of its growing significance. Jean II, the Duke of Brabant, the archdukes Albert, Isabelle and Charles de Lorraine are buried in the chancel.
Address: Place Sainte-Gudule, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium.
Tel.: +32 2 217 8345, +32 2 219 1170
Located just south of the Grand' Place, this Flemish Renaissance styled church followed the plans of both Jean Cortvrindt and William de Bruyn. This baroque masterpiece was partially destroyed in 1695 and has since been rebuilt during the end of the 1600's.
Address: Rue du Marche au Charbon, Brussels, Belgium
Tel.: +32 2 514 311
In Flemish it means "little man pee". This is a very famous attraction in the city. The statuette is of a little naked boy urinating in the fountain, located at the junction of Rue de'lEtuve & Eikstraat. There are various stories about this statue. One of them goes like this - Brussels was under siege by foreigners in the 14th Century and the attackers had planned to destroy the city walls with explosives. A little boy named Juliaanske from Brussels happened to see it. He urinated on the burning fuse and saved the city. On some occasions the statue is dressed in a costume. The present statue is bronze as the original which was made of stone was stolen and destroyed.
Address: 1000 Brussels, Belgium.
Tel.: +32 2 513 8940
This is the oldest church in Brussels and it is named after the patron saint of merchants. St. Nicholas Church (French: Église Saint-Nicolas) established in the 11th century and renovated in 2005 it now houses several shops.
Address: 1000 Brussels, Belgium.
Tel.: +32 2 513 8022
Located just north of the Grand' Place, this church was built on a site of a smaller 15th century church. Church of Our Lady of Finistère (French:Église Notre-Dame du Finistère) is well known for its extravagant interior.
Address: Rue Neuve 76, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium.
Tel.: +32 2 217 5252
Palace of the Nation (French: Palais de la Nation) is the Belgian parliament building which is located at the northern end of the Park of Brussels. On the other end of the Park lies the Royal Palace and both these places together symbolize Belgium's constitutional monarchy.
Address: Place de la Nation 1, 1008 Bruxelles, Belgium.
Tel.: +32 2 519 8136
The official palace of the King of the Belgium lies is in the heart of Brussels, although today the King and his family do not live there anymore. The Royal Family has shifted to the Royal Castle of Laeken in the suburbs of Brussels. The Royal Palace is situated at the southern end of the Brussels Park and the present structure as we see it today was renovated in the 1900's on the initiative of King Leopold II. Even if the King does not reside here, he uses it as his office. There are four buildings which also consists of a museum inside, displaying the collection of the Belgian royal dynasty.
Address: Rue Brederode 16, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium.
Tel.: +32 2 551 2020
The Former Palace of Brussels (Dutch: Koudenberg) is a very significant landmark in the country, due to its archaeological value. Initially, only the remains of the chapel of Charles Quint and the rue Isabelle could be seen on the hill of Coudenberg. But with further excavations, a large ceremonial hall has been unearthed, which dates long back than the chapel itself and was constructed in the 16th century. The Aula Magna (great hall) of the Dukes of Burgundy and of rue Isabelle has been discovered at the lower level. This Former Palace has served its kings for over 700 years before getting burnt in 1731. Today, it has got its former importance back after several years of excavations.
Address: Place des Palais 7 1000 Brussels, Belgium.
Tel.: +32 70 220 492
The Church of St. James on Coudenberg (French: Église Saint-Jacques-sur-Coudenberg) church was built in 1775 and during the revolutionary influence of France, it was used as a temple of law. In 1802, this church, which resembled a Roman temple but with a surprising bell tower placed on the top, was returned to a Catholic church.
Address: Impasse du Borgendael 1, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium.
Tel.: +32 02 511 7836
This (French: Église Notre-Dame du Sablon de Bruxelles) is one of the most aesthetically pleasing churches in Brussels. Built in the 15th and 16th centuries, the church once consisted of the famous statue of Mary which is said to have had healing powers. However, the statue was destroyed during the Iconoclastic riots by Protestants. The church today features an impressive stained glass window set with the saints which is over 12 metres high.
Address: Rue des Sablons, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium.
Tel.: +32 02 511 5741
The Palace of Justice of Brussels (French: Palais de Justice) is Situated on the top of a hill, known as "gallows hill", this palace was built between 1860 and 1880 by architect Joseph Poelaert in contemporary style. The structure was supposed to be the largest construction ever in the 19th century. It is massive and soars at 105 m high and covers a total surface of 24,000 square meters. In modern times, it functions as the Supreme Court Of Law for Belgium.
Address: Place Poelaert 1, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium.
Tel.: +32 2 508 6410, +32 2 508 6541
Mini-Europe is a park that is located in Bruparck, at the base of Atomium in Brussels. It has miniature reproductions of all the famous monuments in the European Union. Although small in size, they appear very realistic. To make it more appealing, it has various live models such as Airbus, cable cars, volcanic eruptions etc. The park was inaugurated in 1989 by Prince Philip of Belgium with a starting investment of €10 million. A must visit for anyone visiting Brussels. The exhibition "Spirit of Europe" which you should see when the visit is over, gives an interactional overview about the European Union. The reproduction of Brussels Grand-Place monument here has cost more than €350,000.
Address: 1 Avenue du Football, 1020, Bruparck, Brussels, Belgium
Tel.: +32 2 474 1313, +32 2 474 1311
The Parlamentarium gives you a rare chance to explore the European Parliament at its visitor’s centre. The construction of this place took six years and it was inaugurated by the President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek on 14 October 2011. The visitors are given a personal multimedia guide (PMG) which helps them to investigate the exhibition. Guided tours are also held for children and disabled people.
The Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Brussels (French: Basilique Nationale du Sacré-Cœur) church is the fifth largest church in the world. The construction of the church started in 1905 under the governance of King Leopold II, but could not be completed on time due to the two World Wars. The construction was put on hold for some time and it was in the year 1970 that the church finally was inaugurated. This huge structure is about 100 feet tall and is made from bricks and terracotta. At the entrance, there are two towers on each side. With its towering height of 89 meters and width of 167 meters, it is no wonder that it is the largest building in Art Deco style of architecture. The construction of this church is simply marvellous.
Address: 1083 Brussels, Belgium.
Tel.: +32 2 421 1667, +32 2 421 1660