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Brussels City Guide

Brussels used to be known as a staid and sombre city, but this perception could hardly be further from the truth today. Travel to Brussels now, and you will find yourself in a centre of European culture, where the fame of its chocolates and beer is rapidly being replaced by its new reputation as a trend setting city with the best of Europe’s fashionable bars and restaurants as well as a museum hotspot and offering tranquillity on its beautiful parks. Though the main language spoken is French, with Flemish and Walloon also greatly spoken, Dutch and English are also key tongues within the city, with an increasing spread of languages promoted by the city’s status as the capital o0f the European Union.

Brussels Arch de Triumph 

The city hosts many institutions, including the European Union Parliament and secretariat, and is the European headquarters of NATO.  It has a temperate climate, with average temperatures in the summer around 19 Celsius and falling to near freezing during the winter months of January and February: a perfect climate, in fact, for walking around the city and taking in some of its fine architecture. The Grand Place is a UNESCO world heritage site, and the Royal Palace is one of the most modern monarchy buildings in the world (it was built in 1904) but nonetheless breath-taking for it.

Perhaps the most famous of its statues is the Mannequin Pis – a sculpture of a urinating boy – though the Atomium really should be up there in popularity. At 103 metres high, and constructed for the 1958 World Trade Fair, this model of an iron crystal stands next to Mini-Europe, where you can visit Europe’s most famous buildings recreated in 1/25 scale.

With opera houses, theatres, pubs, and clubs in plentiful supply around the city, you’ll never be left without something to do or see during your visit to Brussels.


Best Hotels In BrusselsBest Business Hotels

Being a centre of politics and business, as well as the hub of NATO operations across Europe, it is only natural that Brussels has a great number of fantastic hotels to suit politicians, business persons, and military Generals. Here are five of the best, as reviewed on

Steigenberger Hotel

One of the most luxurious hotels in Brussels, the Steigenberger has 267 rooms and suites, ranging from a Classic room to the Royal Suite, fit for Presidential purposes and equipped with a meeting area for up to a dozen people. There is nothing lacking in this hotel, which is within easy reach of the European Parliament, Town Hall, and Atomium., at 71 Avenue Louise. Website

Hotel Amigo

When you stay in a Rocco Forte Hotel, you know that you’ll be treated with great service. The Amigo is no different, with a luxurious ambience repeated across all of its 173 rooms. However, for fitness enthusiasts the gymnasium facilities may disappoint, and there is no swimming pool. All rooms have the technology and business facilities you might need, and the hotel also has six fully equipped meeting rooms and business centre. Ideally situated at 1-3 Rue de L’Amigo, immediately behind the Grand Place. Website

Hotel Be Manos

A modern hotel, decorated in a combination of modern colours, this hotel was voted as one of the best 25 business hotels in Europe by CNBC Business Magazine. It has 60 rooms, including junior suites, with natural stone flooring and offers all visitors a top class service. Relax on the fantastic rooftop terrace after a hard day in the office, though you will have to pay a surcharge if you want to use the swimming pool. Situated perfectly for Eurostar travellers, you’ll find Be Manos at 23 -0 27 Square de l’Aviation. Website

Hotel Metropole

Hotels In Brussels

Ideally placed for those travellers who enjoy cinema and theatre, as well as shopping, this hotel is a luxurious combination of fantastic location and art nouveau and art deco architecture. Many famous people have stayed here through the years, sleeping well in the opulently decorated rooms and walking some 7km of corridors. Sprawling it may be, sincere it certainly is. The hotel address is 31 Place de Brouckere. Website

The Stanhope

A boutique hotel, and the first official five-star in Brussels, the Stanhope is decorated in an English aristocratic fashion. It houses a library bar, with an interior garden and ivy clad walls. All rooms have complimentary Wi-Fi, and there is a well-equipped sauna and fitness centre to prepare for the day ahead. This hotel is located at 9 Rue du Commerce, near the Grand Place, the restaurants of Sablon Square, and the designer shops of Avenue Louise. Website

Best Restaurnts In BrusselsBest Restaurants in BrusselsTop 5 Places To Eat

Brussels is a delight for the gastronomically appreciative, and is packed with award winning restaurants. Although offering an international cuisine, don’t be surprised to find a Brussels’ speciality, Mussels and chips, on the menu Elitetraveler has reviewed several of these. Here are our top five.

Comme Chez Soi

With a magnificent reputation, Comme Chez Soi has not one, but two Michelin Stars and offers set three course menus as well as a la carte. Whether for business or an intimate evening meal, this is an excellent choice. Website

Bon Bon

You can never be sure of what will be on the menu at Bon Bon, but you will be certain of its quality: the chef changes the menu according to the produce available on a daily basis in the local markets. Diners can watch the chef creating his magic in the kitchen from the bar area. Website

Sea Grill Yves Mattagne

A sea food lover’s delight, and with two Michelin stars in evidence, Chef Yves Mattagne has carved out a reputation as one of the world’s foremost shellfish experts. You must try the Lobster Press, an extraordinary creation made at the table Website

La Truffe Noir

Best Restaurants in Brussels

Every dish on the menu here is infused with truffle. Amazingly this even extends to the desserts. A real eye opener, and a unique dining experience in a uniquely elegant setting, though closed for two weeks during August. Website


Within just months of opening in mid-May 2010, Alexandre had received its first Michelin star. You’ll always find fresh and seasonal produce on the menu, and Chef Alexandre Dionisio creates a spectacular daily menu, in keeping with the crisp, clear lines of the dining room. Website

Brussels After HoursBelgium Beers Brussels After HoursBrussels After Hours

As you would expect, beer is high on the evening menu in Brussels, though it certainly doesn’t have to be. There is something for all tastes, from electro clubs to the up-market and stylish Sablon, you will find a nightlife that last through to after sunrise.

In the Grand Place and its immediate surrounds, you’ll find bars such as Goupil le Fol with a dimly lit labyrinthine layout and juke box music from Piaf, Brel, and Ferre, this is an altogether different experience. Fruity wines and chocolate dispensed at will by the barman, together with sumptuous sofas that you won’t want to vacate make this not so much a bar as an old friend. Jazz lovers will revel in the Music Village, with its live entertainment and eclectic clientele from students to business people. For the more modern oriented, Café Central offers a more nightclub feel, while Blues and Rock lovers will want to spend the night at the Bizon Bar.

Brussels Beer BarsIn Sablon, you’ll find luxury cafes and pavement coffee shops, while the Louise area offers the cinema and theatre lover a mix of shows and after movie entertainment, while the Place Luxembourg is the place to be found if you want to mix with the hoi polio from the European Parliament.

You’ll find in-depth reviews of all these and more at

For other things do around Brussels try:

Visit Belgium Must See - Brussels
CheeseWeb - Top 5 Belgium Beer Bars in Brussels

Brussels Travel Tips Business EtiquetteSaint Catherine BrusselsBrussels Business Etiquette

Being such an international city, business etiquette in Brussels is sometimes dictated by the individual with whom you are conducting business, though there is a universal code of conduct generally accepted.
Firstly, you need to dress the part. Being a city with an abundance of politicians, business people, and military personnel, you will need to be suited and booted to be taken seriously in business negotiations.
Greetings will be formal, with a handshake both before and after a meeting, though don’t be surprised to be greeted with three kisses, on alternate cheeks, by Belgians that know you (always start with the left cheek).
Arrive punctually, present your business card, and address opposites by their surname.
Belgians’ love conducting business over lunch or dinner, and such meetings are likely to be lengthy affairs, though more relaxed than meetings held in the office.
Tipping is at the discretion of the individual, and it is used to show appreciation for good service. Generally, however, a tip that rounds the bill up is made, often to the next big number (e.g. a bill of €18.50 is rounded to €20).

Travel Tips

Transport In Brussels

Brussels Travel Tips

Travelling around Brussels is easily negotiated by either the well-developed metro service, with four lines, or the Tram service that travel frequently around Brussels. Buses, offer a more complete service than the trams, though are less frequent.

Inner city transport is best made by purchasing a ‘jump’ ticket, which allows you to take any mode of public transport within one hour of ticket purchase.

There is a convenient train service for travel to other parts of Belgium, and, of course, the Eurostar terminal offers easy access through to Paris.

Safety In Brussels

Brussels is one of Europe’s safest cities, but, just like other major cities, you should always keep your personal belongings close to you. After dark, try to steer clear of the industrial areas around the Canal de Charleroi and the districts nearest to the Gare du Nord and Gare du Midi. Women may wish to avoid the Boulevard Adolphe, well known for its strip bars and peep shows.

Smoking In Brussels

Smoking in enclosed areas is illegal in Brussels, and this includes bars and cafes. It is also banned in other public places, though there are many smoking areas provided in many establishments such as airports and railway terminals.

Brussels City GuideBrussels MapBrussels Practical Information


Important Phone Numbers

Police: 101
Ambulance: 100
Fire: 100
Tourist Assistance: + 32 (0)2 513 89 40

Brussels Quick Facts

Country: Belgium
Population: 1.83m (metro)
Languages: French, Dutch & German

Timezone: UTC +1/+2
Currency: Euro

Further References

Brussels Wikipedia
Brussels Lonely Planet
Visit Brussels



Categories : City Guide
Tags : Stay In Comfort, Europe, Brussels, Belgium
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