Friday, 20 September 2013

My Top 5 Places to Visit in Brussels

Continuing on with my mini series of posts on my recent trip to Brussels, my penultimate post will be on my favourite things that we visited while there. So I have shortened it down to my Top 5 even though we did so many more things in the 5 days we were there.

I will mentioned a thing called the Brussels Card quite a lot, it's a card that you can buy for 1, 2 or 3 days and gives you unlimited travel on all buses and metro's as well as discounted or free entry to attractions and museums. We got the 3 day card which was 40 Euros and it saved us so much money! Definitely recommend it, I think most European countries do a similar scheme to this.

1. Mini Europe!

Cost: 12.20 Euros (Small discount with Brussels Card)

We stumbled across this by accident when we went to visit the Atomium (they're next to each other) and I don't know about you, but for some reason we love model towns! This may not be your cup of tea but we spent quite a long time here and each country in Europe is represented by a famous landmark or a collection of buildings. It was really fun to walk around and see places that we had visited and the detail was really good. This would also be great if you've got kids (or are a big kid like we are!)

 2. The Musical Instrument Museum 

Cost: Free! (with Brussels Card)

This is one of the best museums I have ever been to! We went because we're both musical and have an interest in instruments but it was still so much better than we had expected. When you arrive you buy your ticket and get given a little black device that you hang round your neck and as you walk round the exhibition you will hear the different sounds the instruments play. So you hold the little black box up to your ear, walk in front of a piano and all of a sudden a piano will begin to play through the device. We still have no idea how the technology works but it was really interesting and would recommend it even if you aren't that into musical instruments.

3. The Comic Book Museum

Cost: Free! (With Brussels Card)

Belgium is home to more than 700 comic strip authors so it's only natural that there is a whole museum dedicated to comic strips and characters! I am not a comic book reader but I am quite fascinated by them. As a child I always tried to make my own comic strips (and failed) so it was really good to see original drawings from Herge and how he built up his ideas and illustrations to make a final comic strip. It's also in a really beautiful building so walking around is a pleasure. If you're a particular comic fan or enjoy the Smurfs, Tintin or Bob and Bobette etc then the gift shop is also pretty amazing. You'll be able to find every sort of comic and memorabilia that you desire!

4.  Atomium

Cost: 8.00 Euro (Discount with Brussels Card)

This is named as Brussels biggest attraction and is one of the things you will see on most of the postcards. Built in 1958 for the Brussels World Fair, it houses exhibitions in each sphere varying from the building and history of the Atomium through to some art installations near the top. Right at the top is an observation level so you get really good views of the whole of Brussels. It's a bit cheesy and if 50s architecture isn't your thing I would stay away because it is 1950s in every way! Although we felt a little bit obliged to visit it, we did like looking round it and had a nice day there.

5. The Last Remaining Gate Tower

Cost: 1.50 Euro (With Brussels Card)

Formally know as La Porte de Hal De Hallepoort, we didn't actually plan on going here or did we know it existed until we got there. We were looking for somewhere else and when we gave up it was still quite early in the day so we got the map our and Jamie suggested we go to see the gate tower from the second walls of Brussels. Built in 1381, it's a pretty impressive sight standing on it's own in a park surrounded by roads and shops. We went straight to the top which had brilliant views (worth going up there just for the view in my opinion) and then worked our way down the other floors which had some exhibitions on. Jamie is more interested in this sort of stuff than me but even I was impressed that it's still standing and that it's survived all this time. If you love history, definitely worth a visit.

Hope you enjoyed some of the places we enjoyed visiting!

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