We’re not sure who started the rumor that Brussels is boring. But that person clearly never ate, drank, or went sightseeing around Belgium’s bustling capital.
Situated on the neo-classical Place des Martyrs, Juliana Hotel Brussels is an utterly charming member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World that’s outfitted with velvet, jewel tones, and art. There are plenty of inviting areas to lounge on the ground floor. While the sanctuary-like rooms flaunt plush headboards, mood lighting, and mosaic tile bathrooms with Molton Brown toiletries.
A luxurious choice that stands in the grand tradition of other polished Rocco Forte properties, Hotel Amigo occupies an enviable address on a cobbled street that’s steps from the Grand-Place. The ambiance feels upscale yet relaxed and it has an elegant bar that mixes up craft cocktails as well as pours wine and Belgian beer.
Nénu is a Saigon-inspired eatery that tantalizes tastebuds with really interesting, flavorful share plates like clams swimming in kefir lime-scented coconut milk broth and crispy duck tongue with red chilis. The atmosphere and cocktails are on point, too. Just be sure to make a reservation because tables book up.
A casual joint with outdoor standing tables (yes, even in the winter) in a lively square, Oysters & Smørrebrød serves the freshest fish in town—that includes oysters shucked right before your eyes, grilled razor clams, and salmon a la plancha. It’s connected to the famous, affiliated seafood shop called Noordzee.
As you’ve likely gathered, there’s a ton of delicious stuff to eat in Brussels. Can’t decide on just one type of cuisine for lunch or dinner? Treat your tastebuds to a medley of international delights at Wolf, a hip take on a food hall inside a former bank with vendors ranging from Indian to Syrian.
If you’re looking for a chill, welcoming neighborhood hangout to cozy up with a cocktail, Belgian beer, or glass of wine, Life Is Beautiful makes a compelling case. Cactuses hang from the ceiling, potted plants fill the corners, and candles add to the ambiance. Oh, and the homemade nibbles are really tasty.
A change of pace from the city’s myriad beer-focused establishments, Plumette is a laid-back speakeasy-style bar that’s plastered with deep blue brocade wallpaper. It’s the sort of place where you go for a classic cocktail and then get tempted to try one (or two) of the signature drinks, listen to music, and end up staying way later than anticipated.
Brussels is a city known for its cultural institutions. Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium comprises six distinct museums—the Oldmasters Museum, the Magritte Museum, the Fin-de-Siècle Museum, the Modern Museum, the Antoine Wiertz Museum, and the Constantin Meunier Museum—and features an extraordinary permanent collection of masterpieces as we as temporary exhibitions.
In addition to world-class museums, the city brims with spots to admire a new generation of creative talent. Distinguished as the oldest gallery in Brussels with an eye on the past, present, and future, Baronian spotlights the inspired works of international contemporary artists.
Rue Antoine Dansaert
Take a break from sightseeing to hit the indie boutiques and Belgian designer ateliers in the trendy Dansaert distract. Don’t miss NOJ, La Fabrika, and Carine Gilson. The neighborhood is also full of European ready-to-wear brands such as Maje, Sandro, and ba&sh.
Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert
An essential stop on any tour of Brussels, the Royal Gallery of Saint Hubert dates back 175 years, making it one of the oldest—and, we’d argue prettiest—covered shopping arcades in Europe. Under the arched glass roof sit dozens of beautiful storefronts that sell everything from luxury watches to artisan chocolate.
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