First stop in Central Europe is none other than Belgium! Many people warned me of going to this Country due to the attack on the airport but hey my thought is if they got attacked then security it probably heightened and it should be safer! Regardless when people tell me it is not safe, it really means that I just have to use that rare thing called common sense and be wary of my surroundings! Brussels was a gorgeous little city that offers the delights for the eye and the stomach and I was pleasantly surprised about everything that this tiny city has to offer. The city offers a lot of history in addition because of its neutrality presence between Germany and France.bruges cathedral Bruges Grand Cathedral (Look for Seashells on the Ground of Sacred Pilgrimage)

Transportation

I came from London using the bus route which provided some interesting instances of going below the sea in order to end up in Paris. The bus route took me straight through France and into Belgium offering some great sights along the way. The bus station is located 13 minutes from the city centre but some of the hostels are located father out so prepared for a medium walk to any of the locations. The train is also within 15 minutes of the city centre. While exploring city, I only used public transportation once to get to the Atomium which is about a 40 minute walk from the city center. The rest of the city’s attractions are well within walking distance of each other.

Things I Did

Brussels Free Walking Tour

This walking tour by Sanderman’s was one of the most informative tours that I could ever get about Brussels. The tour covers historical references, how to properly eat a Belgian waffle, and how Belgium people protest amongst other items! The tour will take you through almost all of the main attractions and explain a bit about the beer culture specific to Belgium. Attractions included the main square with guild halls (look at the town hall for a while and see if you see anything funny), mannequin piss (make sure to honor him), Gothic influenced cathedrals, and main garden square!

Time required: 2-3 Hours  Price: Free  Rating: 5/5

bruges main guild halls Guildhalls in Gold in the Main Square

mannequin piss statueManneken Pis Statue! (no costume today unfortunately)

Bruge

Day trip time to the town known as Little Venice in Belgium. The town itself is a 2 hour train ride from Brussels and is strictly a visitor town but quite charming! I ended up doing this trip as part of a tour but for the price its totally not worth it (I paid 40 euros). The train ticket can be bought for less than 20 euro including the open return time on the ticket. In Bruge you must check out the huge square and the tower walk to the top! They offer some great views of the city itself and you can see the cathedral that’s being renovated. In addition the first ever stock market was built in Bruge which is can be seen because the word for stock in every other language stems from that building. There is an area that used to house Begin women and you can see how secluded they were to society during that time. The last thing I recommend is the famous relic located in the city, the actual relic is not much in the church but its really cool how they still have patrons of the church that are hand selected to look and guard this relic that supposedly contained Jesus’s blood. Boat tours are also offered in the city but I don’t recommend these at all since the city is tiny and easily walkable within a few hours!

Time required: 6-8 Hours   Price: 20-40$   Rating: 4/5

bruges settitng Gorgeous Entrance View of Bruges from Train Station!

bruges sacred relic One of the Sacred Relics!

bruges beer wall Beer Wall & Beer Pipeline on the Side of the City!

Atomium

If you love random architecture and shiny things then this attraction is for you! The attraction is a bit of a walk from the city center so I recommend taking the tram but if you are keen for a walk, you will pass by the river area and possibly some flea markets that are open early morning to afternoon! The attraction itself isn’t long but offers some great views of Brussels! On the top floor you can actually see another attraction called Mini-Europe which will save you the trouble of actually going to the attraction (only recommended if you have kids). The views are amazing on all sides and after the top you get to proceed through a few of the different balls explaining how the structure was originally made and some of the events that have happened there in the past. One room has this cool light show which reminded me of EDM festivals!

Time required: 2 Hours   Price: 5$ (I got student discount) Rating: 4/5atomium outside What A Cool Looking Structure!

mini europe view from atomium View of Mini-Europe From the Top of Atomium!

Beer Tour by Sandermans

I mentioned the beer culture is so specific in Belgium and it is probably some of the best beer I have ever had! The tour covers the different types of beers including double, triples, and Trappist beers which are all common in the Belgium area. The tour takes you to 2 different bars and you different choices for tasting for every type of beer. You will get sour and sweet beers to try and then you end up at Delirium at the end of the night which is a bar that contains 3000+ types of beers. I ended up trying the Cherry Beer which was surprisingly did not taste like cough syrup like most cherry flavored things are. The tour itself was worth for a solo traveler and looking to meet people but all of the beers during the tasting can easily be bought in more volume for last than the price of the tour. I met some great people on the tour which I ended up meeting up with later in my trip!

Time required: 4-Infinity Hours   Price: 22$   Rating: 4/5

beer tour light beer Light Bitter Beer (Never Again)

beer tour Dark Fruity Beer (Will Get This Again!)

Antwerp

The gorgeous coastal city of Belgium! You can either day trip to Antwerp or do a layover day like I did in the city. I actually arrived to Antwerp in the morning and left on a night train to Luxembourg (only recommended if you are in a hurry). The city itself has many resemblances in architecture to that of Brussels with the town squares and gold on the guild halls! During my time here I actually stumbled upon a tall ship festival where there were real crews for huge wooden and metal ships from the different era’s. Some of them looked exactly like the ships used in Pirates of the Caribbean! The central rail station is a gorgeous building with the Antwerp zoo sitting right next to the station. Overall a great city that I think it worth a day trip but not a full 3 day visit!

Time required: 6-8 Hours   Price: 25-50 $   Rating: 3/5

antwerp train station The Magnificent Grand Railway Station!

antwerp city hall Flags Surrounding the Antwerp Town Hall!

tall ship at antwerp Tall Ship Festival Tim!

What to Eat

Belgian Fries at Fritland

Did anyone ever tell you that French Fries are not even French? They are Belgian and boy do the people here know how to do the fries right. The fries are cut to a specific thickness and then fried twice to give a perfect crunchy texture on the outside while retaining the mush taste of a cooked potato on the inside. My favorite sauces include andalouse, americain, and curry ketchup! This is a must try food while you are in town.belgian fries Worth Every Single Calorie! (Get Andalouse Sauce)

Belgian Waffles

There are 2 types of waffles being sold in the Brussels, one is a square which is a non sweet waffle and one is an oval which is a super sweet waffle. Both are good but I prefer getting a non sweet waffle if you are going to get some sweet toppings. The best place to get waffles are the cheapest stores you see around and the ones with long lines. Reasoning is because these stores are creating new waffles consistently and so the chance of you getting a fresh waffle are high! Most waffles with topping will be around the 5$ mark!belgian waffles with strawberry Probably One of The Best Desserts Ever

Shrimp Croquettes at Nordzees

Nordzees is actually a big seafood chain restaurant but their store front during lunch time in Brussels provides some of the freshest seafood in the area. I would recommend only going here during its outdoor terminal as the food is the freshest during that time. The shrimp Croquettes were perfectly mush and creamy but not really worth the price. Instead I recommend trying the razor clams.

prawn croquettes from nordzees Fried to Perfection though a bit Expensive!

Mussels and Fries

This is a staple dish in Belgium usually eaten with a white wine sauce. I was actually quite disappointed as many of the mussels that I had during my time were not fresh and from New Zealand. There is only a 2 month window when the mussels are freshly caught from the nearby sea. The wine sauce tasted quite unique and I ended up dipping my fries in the sauce as well instead of the ketchup. The dish doesn’t have me coming back to Brussels anytime soon. YMMV.

Summary

I was quite surprised at the amount of charm and delicious items that are located in Belgium. If you are a chocolate fan make sure to try some Belgian chocolates and if you feeling posh, buy the chocolates from Mary (official chocolate maker of the royal house). The town itself wasn’t big enough to feel like a big city and not small enough that I felt like everyone knew each other. I really enjoyed the people the most there as they were all nice and welcoming about their culture! I highly recommend dropping by Belgium and visiting a few of the cities in the surrounding areas as part of a euro trip. I would recommend taking about 5 days with day trips to get the best out of this country in one trip.