A weekend in Brussels

Grand Place at dusk
Grand Place at dusk

I would wager a bet that when thinking about the best places to do a weekend city break, Brussels probably doesn’t even enter the race. I don’t blame you, though I reckon I could change your opinion on that.

It’s historic centre is small

Going somewhere like Paris, London or Rome for a weekend, whilst undoubtedly a dream destination, I guarantee you’d leave thinking you wished you had more time to see more of the city’s highlights. They’re so big, you couldn’t possibly do everything. You’d certainly try to fit in as much in as possible, perhaps leaving you more exhausted than you’d hoped from your city “break”. Brussels however, is a very small city with a charming historic centre big enough to wander around in an hour or two. The focal point is the Grand Place, which is objectively stunning and surrounded by cute cobbled streets and charming cafes with outdoor terraces just perfect for sampling one of the country’s hundreds of beers. In fact, you could spend the morning wandering around here, have a hearty lunch to sample the local cuisine, and spend the afternoon admiring the grand buildings between Mont Des Arts and Brussels Park.

The cute bars surrounding Halles Saint-Gery covered market, turned hipster bar
The cute bars surrounding Halles Saint-Gery covered market, turned hipster bar

The food is delicious

Chocolate IN the batter!
Chocolate IN the batter!

This is the land of waffles and chips, what’s not to love! Ok, it’s not great if you’re on a diet, but diets shouldn’t be respected on weekends anyway. It’s important to sample all the different varieties of waffles when you’re here, the Liege Waffle is most famous (the rounded one with sugar in the dough), and comes with chocolate INSIDE the batter, or any multitude of toppings including fruit, cream and sugary sauces. The lesser known Brussels waffle is also worth trying, its light and fluffy and ever so moorish… check out the famous Maison Dandoy for both styles of waffles, and Vitalgaufre for chocolate in the batter. Chips are also a must here and you might be thinking that chips and just chips, but they’re not. And you’ll know that after you’ve tasted the belgian ones, twice cooked in different oils, beef fat if you’re lucky. Queues at Cafe Georgette’s take away are immense, do yourself a favour and eat in their restaurant, chips come with every dish and you can even sample Carbonnade, a sort of Belgian version of Boeuf Bourguignon but where the meat is slow cooked in beer instead of wine. Delicious!! Another national dish is meatballs, they take it to the next level here. You can sample the classic beef and port meatball in tomato sauce, but also chicken meatballs in creamy mushroom sauce, or beef meatballs in beer sauce. Head to Ballekes for the taste sensation.

Image result for ballekes

The beer is plentiful

Having a beer at Poechenellekelder Bar
Having a beer at Poechenellekelder Bar

Belgian beer is world famous, and there’s a reason. I never thought I liked Belgian beer, but in fact they have such a huge range there’s something for everyone if you look for it. For daytime beers on the terraces I chose Pecheresse, a peach flavoured light beer at only 2.5%. Check out Delerium Cafe for the biggest selection of beers in the world, or have a pint by the Mannekin Pis, Brussels most famous fountain of a little boy…. pissing!

It’s pretty easily done with a baby

This was our first weekend away with Camille, and we found it to be a great destination because it’s so small, you don’t feel obliged to pack in the sight seeing. Travelling from our hometown Paris, it’s only 1hr22 on the train, don’t underestimate the importance of travel time with a baby. Not just travel time in fact, but also the time you travel. Try to fit in with naps if you can, as the train is a great natural rocking crib 😀 We ordered Belgian food on Deliveroo in the evening which meant we still got a cultural experience on the sofa! But I definitely recommend taking a baby carrier for the cobble stones, it makes life much easier.

Want help planning a weekend city break? Get in touch and I’ll take the stress away and plan you the perfect relaxed yet memorable weekend!

 

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