Hi, I’m Ruth, a finalist in French and German. I spent five months of my year abroad in Brussels and it has easily become one of my favourite cities. The Belgian capital has a really special atmosphere because it’s so vibrant and multicultural and it was an absolute joy to get to know it a little over my time there. Here are five of my favourite spots in Brussels!
#5 Molenbeek Street Art
The Molenbeek quarter of Brussels isn’t somewhere you’d necessarily visit on the tourist trail but it’s well worth a visit if you love modern art. The canal especially is a hotspot for street art as I discovered when I was exploring the city with friends. The walls of the canal and many of the buildings are covered in amazing graffiti and paintings, which gleamed in the summer sun!
#4 Parking 58
At a first glance, Parking 58 is just an unassuming car park in the centre of Brussels. However, the highest storey of the car park is open air and basically acts as a giant viewing platform right in the middle of Brussels’ beautiful skyline. From the top of the car park, you can see the Town Hall in the Grand Place and the Cathedral on one side, and the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the other. The ideal time to visit is at sunset, but the Brussels skyline is really special at night-time too. If you look closely, you can even see St. Michael standing on the spire of the town hall!
#3 Parc du Cinquantenaire
The Parc du Cinquantenaire or the Jubelpark is in the east of Brussel’s European Quarter. The park is the ideal place to hang out with friends on a warm summer’s day. As well as a relaxing atmosphere in the middle of the big city, there is also a stunning backdrop – the Arcade du Cinquantenaire. The triumphal triple arch was completed in 1905 and, together with the park, commemorates Belgian independence.
#2 MIM Restaurant
The Mont des Arts has made it onto our top 5 because the view over Grand Place and the rest of the city is absolutely stunning! The hill is the traditional art hub of the city as it’s home to the Musée des Beaux Arts where I spent quite a lot of my time. The Musical Instrument Museum is also located here in a former department store called Old England. I never plucked up the courage to wander around this 9-storey museum but I did make my way to the 10th floor. Instead I preferred to sit and take in the gorgeous views of Brussels from the terrace over a coffee or lunch in the fantastic restaurant (which does an amazing all-you-can-eat brunch with bubbly on Sundays).
#1 La Grand Place (after dark)
La Grand Place de Bruxelles (or Grote Markt) is absolutely stunning and it only gets better after dark! The square in the centre of the oldest part of the capital is definitely my favourite spot in the city. It’s also arguably the most beautiful square in the world (although I’ve yet to meet someone who can argue against this convincingly!).
In May each year the square is lit up for Pride. The rainbow colours adorn the town hall and all the former guild halls and it looks absolutely gorgeous. It’s an amazing display of solidarity and love for all in the most beautiful square in the world!