Top Brussels Attractions

Discover the Capital of Belgium

Hotel Manos Premier is located in the heart of Brussels, the capital of Belgium and the administrative center of the European Union. It is 12 kilometers from the Brussels Airport. The hotel is a short walk to the luxury shopping district on Avenue Louise and minutes from the famous Bois de la Cambre (a fascinating wood in the center of the city). Major Brussels attractions (Grand Place and historical center) are just a short taxi ride away.

The pulse of Brussels and the place to get to know the city is the Grand Place (Grote Markt). This historic market square with its splendid guild houses and the impressive Gothic beauty of the Town Hall, is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful town squares in Europe. Brussels has been given its character by the coexistence of French and Flemish culture, and today is home to nationalities around the world, adding a cosmopolitan flavor. The vibrant atmosphere of the city is further enhanced by picturesque medieval streets, lively squares, beautiful boulevards, impressive monuments, spacious parks, cozy cafés, interesting restaurants and an active cultural life.

Top 10 Things to Do in Brussels

Grand Place (Downtown)

One of the most beautiful town squares in Europe, if not in the world is a phrase often heard when visitors in Brussels try to describe the beauty of the central market square. French speaking people refer to it as the Grand-Place, whereas in Dutch it is called De Grote Markt. The Grand-Place Brussels is one of the main tourist attractions in Brussels. Throughout the year it is visited by thousands who admire its beautiful buildings, or sit at one many terraces to enjoy a good Belgian beer. Concerts and musical events are featured throughout the year on the square. The most famous events that take place are the annual Ommegang (a historical procession at the beginning of July) and the biennial flower carpet.

Place du Sablon (De Zavel or Le Sablon)

Sablon Square is one of the most prestigious and attractive areas in Brussels. In recent years it has become the center of antiques shops and art galleries, of which there are hundreds. The most popular antiques market is held on Saturday from 9am to 6pm and on Sunday from 9am to 1pm. The daily flea market, which is held from 6am to 1pm, is situated at the Vossenplein/Place du Jeu de Balle in the adjacent Marolles area. Sablon also offers good restaurants and interesting cafés. A visit to Wittamer, the most exclusive pastry maker in Brussels, is also a must.

Antique Markets

In addition to Place du Grand Sablon, which is considered one of Europe's best antiques markets and famous for furniture and objects from the 1900's, 1920's and 1930's, Brussels is known for its food markets in different squares daily and the Brussels Antique Fair at Palais des Beaux Arts.

Palace of Justice

Although this gigantic edifice does not really belong to the Sablon, it nevertheless dominates the area. It was built between 1860 and 1880 by Joseph Poelaert in eclectic style. It is believed to be the largest building constructed in the 19th century in the world. It is situated on top of a hill, which was called Gallows Hill in the Middle Ages. The Palace covers a total surface of 24,000 square meters. It still functions as the supreme court of law for Belgium.

Avenue Louise Luxury Shopping District

Avenue Louise is one of the oldest thoroughfares in Brussels, with prestigious shops clustered around the large department store, Innovation. The nearby Rue de Jourdan is a pedestrian-only street that features shops selling classic and tasteful collections for Haute Couture shopping, as does the Galerie Louise with its top names in Italian and American fashion. More designer shops can be found on the Rue de Namur and on Avenue Louise, with top quality shoes, clothes, accessories and home decorations. Also on Avenue Louise is the Pain Quotidien, which offers a covered courtyard for a well deserved rest!

The Royal Palace

The Royal Palace was formerly the residence of the Belgian King until the death of Queen Astrid in 1935, whose husband, Leopold III, decided to move his residence to the Castle of Laken. His successors also resided in Laken. Today, The Royal Palace is used as the Office of the King and is also the residence of the Crown Prince. The Palace houses the Belle-vue Museum which features a collection about the Belgian Royal Dynasty.

King’s House

At the Market Place, opposite the Town Hall, stands another of the remarkable historical buildings of Brussels. The beautiful Neo-Gothic building with its many decorative statues is the Maison du Roi in French or Broodhuis in Dutch. On June 2, 1887, the King's House became the City Museum of Brussels. Exhibited are original statues of the town hall, paintings, wall tapestries and various artifacts which have a relation to the history of the city.

Musical Instruments Museum

In a beautifully restored complex in Brussels, of which one part is Art Nouveau and the other, Neo-Classical in design, 1200 of the most interesting instruments are assembled in four galleries, enhanced by images, text panels and sounds. The MIM also has a concert hall, a space for workshops, a museum shop, a library and a rooftop restaurant that offers breathtaking views of the city. Since its opening in 2000, the MIM has become a first class cultural attraction on the Mont des Arts, with an average of 125,000 visitors per year (not including restaurant guests).

Bois de la Cambre (Forest)

In the characteristic Belgium style of “double-naming,” the largest urban park of Brussels is called Bois de la Cambre in French and Terkamerenbos in Dutch. Although a bit removed from the central part of the Belgian capital city, the park is annexed to the city and linked by the main road Avenue Louise. The terrain has many diverse features, including a beautiful lake with an island. Its numerous shady trees and vast lawns give it its forest image, a delightful place to enjoy a lazy afternoon. The serpentine pathways that crisscross the park are a perfect route for a long walk, bike ride, jog or even a horseback riding experience.

The Bourse

The building that houses the Brussels Stock Exchange does not have a distinct name, though it is usually called simply The Bourse. It is located on Boulevard Anspach and is the namesake of the Beursplein/Place de la Bourse, which, after the Grand Place, the second most important square in Brussels. The building was erected from 1868 to 1873, and combines elements of the Neo-Renaissance and Second Empire architectural styles. It has an abundance of ornaments and sculptures created by famous artists, including Auguste Rodin.