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Belgium

Welcome to Brussels

City description  

Who could conjure up Brussels better than a surrealist? Jean Cocteau considered its Grand-Place to be the “most splendid stage in the world”. What a nice promise! Victor Hugo said of its majestic town hall, as proud as the St Michael slaying a dragon which adorns its spire, that it was a “poet’s magnificent fantasy fallen from the mind of an architect”; proof that the city also knows how to charm romantics.

Many fantasies fell from the minds of the architects of Brussels. If painful “Brusselisation” has done its work and destroyed major buildings, the city is still happily packed with architectural gems. Thanks in particular to Victor Horta and Paul Hankar, Brussels saw the plant-like curls of Art Nouveau flourish over its façades, which then spread all over Europe. The districts of Ixelles, Saint Gilles and Schaerbeek are the finest examples of this major trend. There was also a good measure of exaggeration in the minds of certain engineers, encouraged among others by Leopold II, the Builder King. As witness by the Cinquantenaire with its triumphal arch, its park and its buildings built to celebrate the jubilee of a young nation born in 1830. For a different era with different obsessions, the Atomium was constructed for the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair. It has become the steel symbol of the city symbolises faith in science and the future. In its shadow you’ll find a miniature version of it alongside a tiny Eiffel Tower in Mini-Europe, a park which reminds you that Brussels, though unique, is also the capital of the European Union. Though alterations are in full swing, the Parliament district is not, however, forgetting its roots and houses a magnificent Museum of Natural History.

The land of fashion, Brussels has seen the birth of great designers who can be found in the fashionable Rue Dansaert and its surrounds, as well as around Châtelain. But the city also welcomes big international and popular brands along Rue Neuve or at the Woluwé Shopping Center. Brussels might thus be summarised: chic but not snobbish, with wonders to be found under a veneer of modesty, and self-deprecation in a bag of chips. “Whilst Paris makes you Parisian and London a Londoner, Brussels does not make you a local but will allow you to be yourself. Its inhabitants cultivate a warmth which is lacking in the climate”, wrote Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt with accuracy. He must have been thinking of the welcome in the traditional taverns – the estaminets – around a gueuze beer, the fervor of the Marolles flea market, creative chefs’ restaurants, the “frenzied” matches at the King Baudouin Stadium or at Anderlecht and the numerous events which liven up the Brussels annual calendar. Whilst the city glistens under its regular December snowflakes thanks to its Christmas market, in summertime it is the Ommegang, a costumed procession, which colours the capital. Brussels is a land of concerts and also welcomes numerous festivals of renown, from Couleur Café to the Brussels Jazz Marathon. It also offers a suitable range of Nuits Blanches night-time events as well as an ode to its preferred drink during Brussels Beer Weekend. Whether Hemingway liked it or not, Brussels is undoubtedly a perennial party

Brussels

Enjoy our selection of finest attractions

  • All
  • Highlight
  • Art & design
  • Shopping

Where to Eat

  • Sofitel restaurants
  • Café
  • Restaurants

Bon-Bon

Awarded two Michelin stars and 19.5 / 20 by Gault Millau, Bon-Bon restaurant is helmed by celebrated chef Christophe Hardiquest who is known for his bold and inventive culinary creations.

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Spirito

On the weekends, this deconsecrated Anglican Church offers delicate fusion dishes beneath its Murano glass chandeliers. At night, Spirito becomes a temple of dance music.

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Au Vieux Saint Martin

Au Vieux Saint Martin restaurant is a popular local dining spot in Brussels known for its excellent house specialty "filet américain" (a revised version of beef tartare). It was Joseph Niels, the ancestor of this elegant establishment, who devised this iconic house recipe in 1924.

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L’Archiduc Jazz Club

The haven of singers such as Arno, this Art Deco piano bar has been a nightlife institution in Brussels for over 80 years. L’Archiduc Jazz Club even inspired French designer Philippe Starck when he created the first Cafe Costes.

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La Marée

Set within Brussels’ ancient port and fish market district, La Marée restaurant honors the history of this vibrant local area and serves delicious fresh seafood, prepared with delicate culinary techniques.

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Comme Chez Soi

One of the most celebrated restaurants in Brussels, Comme Chez Soi is a gourmet restaurant known for its refined and creative cuisine and its sophisticated dining setting.

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Le Belga Queen

The Belga Queen combines revisited brasserie cuisine and the stunning interiors of famous designer Antoine Pinto beneath the restaurant’s beautiful glass roof.

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Parlor Coffee Roasters

A cosy café with a hint of Scandinavian style, Parlor Coffee is the ideal setting to watch a 19th-century coffee roaster at work, releasing the rich aroma of beans meticulously sourced from small producers. Enjoy the sunshine on the pretty terrace or head upstairs and settle into a sofa with a single origin espresso and a freshly baked cookie. 

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OR Espresso Bar

With two Brussels-based cafes and an in-house roastery, OR Espresso Bar is home to an expert team of baristas who travel the world seeking the finest small coffee producers. Join the city’s creative crowd reading newspapers and sipping coffee at shared tables in OR Espresso Bar’s bustling Place Jourdan location. 

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Bocca Moka Coffee & Bagel House

Nestled in Brussels’ elegant Louise neighbourhood, Bocca Moka Coffee & Bagel House offers a mellow hideaway from the bustle of the city. Take a seat on the garden terrace or relax in a Chesterfield sofa with a smooth flat white and a New York style bagel smothered in cream cheese and avocado.

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BE Café Marché Jourdan

Chef Romain Abeille is the talented chef behind the contemporary Belgian restaurant BE Café Marché Jourdan, housed within the Sofitel Brussels Europe. Relax in the glamorous backlit bar with a signature Cointreau Fizz in hand, before joining the discerning clientele at candlelit tables. With ingredients sourced from the finest artisan purveyors, Chef Abeille’s cuisine is inspired by the seasonal ingredients on offer at the celebrated Sunday farmer’s market nearby, the Marché Jourdan. Savour flavoursome dishes such as beef tartare with hand-cut french fries, and slow-cooked Flanders fowl with Waterzooï sauce. Don’t miss the chance to try one of Belgium’s world-renowned craft beers or lesser known local wines.

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Crystal Lounge

One of Brussell’s most stylish terraces awaits at the Crystal Lounge in the Sofitel Brussels Le Louise, where award-winning Chef Adwin Fontein turns heads with his menu of Mediterranean flavours with an Asian twist. Interiors by celebrated architect Antoine Pinto ooze a sultry, modern boudoir feel, while the elegant terrace is the ideal setting to enjoy an alfresco meal on a warm summer evening. Chef Fontein’s menu showcases refined dishes such as the fillet of beef Rossini, sauteed duck breast, and roasted fillet of cod with sauteed spinach. Make sure to linger later into the evening to join the party as guest DJs take to the decks.

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Practical information

  • where to stay
  • when to go
  • Travel transportation
  • event calendar

Brussels • Belgium

Sofitel Brussels Europe

Set in the heart of Brussels, in direct connection to the Grand Place, next to t...

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Brussels • Belgium

Sofitel Brussels Le Louise

The Sofitel Brussels Le Louise is a 5-star hotel designed by famous architect An...

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When to go

With an oceanic and temperate climate, Brussels ​is a great city to visit all year around, especially from May to October when the temperatures are superior to 15°C and can reach 22-23°C during the summer. However, from January to March the temperatures are cold, and can drop to 2-3°C.
The average number of rainy days is high in Brussels compared for example to Paris. Rainfalls are generally at their highest from November to January, and don’t be surprised if it snows in Brussels during the Christmas period.

Brussels annual calendar

  • Jan

    Brussels Jazz Festival, 13 - 23 January 2016

  • Fev

    Brussels Book Fair, Foire du Livre, 18 - 22 February 2016

  • Mar

    Eurantica, Brussels Fine Art and Antique Fair, 5 - 13 March 2016

  • Apr

    Brussels Design Market, largest vintage market in Europe, 23 - 24 April 2016

  • May

    Brussels Jazz Marathon Weekend, 22 - 24 May

  • Jun

    Couleur Café, world music concerts, late June/early July

  • Jul

    Ommegang Royal Pageant, medieval festival, early July

  • Aug

    Brussels Bad - Bruxelles Les Bains, urban beach atmosphere, July and August

  • Sep

    Belgian Beer Weekend, early September

  • Oct

    Brussels Marathon and Semi Marathon, 4 October 2016

  • Nov

    Innova, world exhibition on inventions, 17 - 19 November 2016

  • Dec

    Grand Place Christmas market and New Year's Eve Party, December

Travel transportation

Transportation

​Transportation is very convenient and easy to organise in Brussels. Expect ​a wide range of ​methods of transportation, including​: local cabs, private car services, rental car, metro, ​​trains, trams, buses and bikes.​
Operated by STIB/MIVB, inner-city transport uses the same ticketing system, so you can use the same ticket for bus, metro or tram, or a combination of all methods of transportation. A single ticket entitles the traveller to take any inner-city transport for 1 hour and will cost 2,10€ or 14€ for 10 tickets. Unlimited one-day passes cost €6. Tickets can be purchased at metro stations, STIB/MIVB kiosks, and directly on buses and trams.
Brussels’s metro offers 4 lines, plus 2 tram lines, serving around 110 stations that cover Brussels city center. Metros run every 3 minutes at peak hours and every 10 minutes after 8pm, and operates from 6am to 12am, 7 days a week.
​Keep in mind that when driving in Brussels​, you must drive on the ​right ​side of the road.

Taxis

Licensed taxis in Brussels are usually black and have a “taxi” sign at the top. Taxis can ​be ​hail​ed on the street, f​ound​ at taxi ranks or boo​​k​ed in advance through one of the several Brussels taxi companies.​
​The initial charge is ​2.40€ and then add 1.35€ for each kilometer within the 19 cummunes of Brussels and 2.70€ per km outside. Some additional charges may apply.​ Credit cards can be accepted and a​n additional charge fee may apply.

getting to & from the airport

Brussels Airport is located 15 kilometers from the city center. Expect ​a 30 minutes​ journey​ and a fare of 45€ (depending upon traffic and the time of day). Metered taxis are available and private transfers can be arranged at the airport​s​.​
Another convenient option is the Aiport City Express trains which run every 15 minutes in both directions, betwwen the airport and the main train stations such as Brussels-Nord, Central and Midi. Expect a 17 minutes journey to central Brussels. The standard ticket price for travel between the airport and the Brussels Zone is €8.50 per journey, which includes the Diabolo fee.

Getting around

Other destinations

* Prices start from. Offer subject to the hotel's conditions and availability. See the sales conditions for the rate. Depending on the country, these prices may not include taxes, may include VAT only or may include all taxes (VAT and city tax). When prices do not include all taxes, the relevant taxes (VAT and/or city tax) will be stated in the following stages of the reservation process. The price is only guaranteed at the time of reservation.

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