Just have one day in Brussels? Here's how to make the most of it!
Once again, we’ll be turning to our Rick Steves e-guidebook to take advantage of their self-guided walking tours. We’ll first start in the Lower Town to take in the most famous sites and have a relaxing lunch around the Grand Place before hiking up for a look around the Upper Town – assuming we’re not too lazy! One place that’s definitely on our list – if only for a short visit – is Le Cerceuil, aka “The Coffin Bar”, where drinks are served in stone skulls and cocktails have names like "bat’s hemoglobin". Fun and cheerful, right?
We will have to take care of two important chores in Brussels. We’re planning on setting aside time for doing laundry and checking in for our flight to Istanbul the next day.
This research will have to wait until we’re on the ground: we’re going to plot out the walk between our hotel and the train station since we have a very early departure the next day.
Leaving to Chance:
Our evening activities, as I’ll likely want to relax, rest, and prepare for the early morning flight, while Ryan will probably want to enjoy his final evening to bond with fine Belgium beers. We’ll just play it by ear and see how we feel.
We'll be missing breakfast at our hotel due to the very early morning departure. We're going to ask if we can grab some fruit and pastries the night before we depart.
There’s no need for us to leave the city center and we’ll be spending the day walking, so no transportation costs for us! We’ll also seek out Brussels’s free public art – everything from comic strip inspired graffiti to the impish Manneken-Pis.
Splurges and Souvenirs:
We’ll be indulging in final pints of rare beers and have a list of 6 chocolate shops to hit up on a self-guided chocolate walking tour!
Our first stop was a frites joint called Mannekin Frites (get it?!?) for what would be our final serving of frites and mayonnaise. Not as good as the little hole in the wall that we discovered in Liege, but definitely respectable.
The Galleries Royale is a gorgeous indoor shopping plaza that's just off the Grande Place. It's fun to wander around and look at the beautiful window displays of the very posh shops, but there are many affordable treats as well. We popped in to a couple of bookstores (which all had a good English language selection), as well as the Museum of Letters and Manuscripts (which has a gift shop any writer would die for!) However, the main attraction for us at the Galleries was Neuhaus Chocolates.
Neuhaus does a to-die-for hot chocolate that is so incredibly rich and decadent that one cup is enough to share. This delectable brew is made for sipping, not gulping! We took ours to go, knocking nearly 2 Euros off the eat-in price of 5 Euros and the staff included an orange macaroon on the side as well. (I'm not sure if this is a standard treat or if it was just my lucky day!). Either way, if you are a choco-holic or if you want to experience the high quality of Belgium chocolate on a budget, you can't go wrong with about 3 Euros for a medium size take out cup of pure molten chocolate goodness.
Since it was our last night in Europe, we treated ourselves to half a liter of wine before digging into bruschetta - yes, again! The bruschetta at I Primi Piatti was much different from the one we had at noon, as it was covered in arugula and drizzled with a bespoke balsamic dressing. I honestly could have eaten it all night long!
Previous stop: Liege
Next stop: Istanbul
Related article: Reviewing Brussels' Hotel Atlas (and how to save 50% on all Brussels hotels!)