Easter in Brussels

Belgium 2015 009

When planning our trip, we went back and forth about whether to stay in Brussels or Bruges, and where to day trip to.  We ended up staying in Brussels with a day trip to Bruges, which worked out well, but I think instead of 3 full days in Brussels we should have added a day trip to Ghent or Antwerp.  Now we know.

Getting to Brussels from Charleroi Airport is easy, there’s a shuttle that goes directly from the airport to Midi/South Station.  If you book it online here, you can save yourself some hassle/money at the airport.  It runs every half hour and takes a little less than an hour depending on traffic.

Getting to other cities is very easy and fairly inexpensive as well.  Trains run from Midi or Central to Bruges and Gent (as well as many other locations).  These are both on the metro, and therefore easy to get to and transfer at.  Handy computerized trip planners are available in Midi to help you out.  Belgium 2015 002

Getting around Brussels:  Most areas are very walkable, and it isn’t too far to get from the EU area to the Grand Place area.  The metro was great and easy to navigate (yay google maps!) so we didn’t have any trouble getting further afield, to other neighborhoods and the Atomium.

We stayed outside the Grand Place area a bit, closer to the EU buildings, which was nice because it was a bit out of the fray (the Grand Place was constantly packed) but disappointing because many restaurants and bars in the area were closed over the holiday weekend.  As a side note, it seemed like most restaurants and bars had free wifi for customers, which was a pleasant surprise!

The EU Parlimentarium was impressive and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about the EU, or lives in it.  It is free, and if it wasn’t the holiday weekend we would have also been able to take a free tour of the parliament building itself.  Basically, it goes through how and why the EU was formed and how it has grown and developed since its inception.  For someone who isn’t from Europe but now lives here, it was a good and interesting intro.

We also visited the BELvue Museum, which is a museum of Belgium’s history from its founding in 1831 through the world wars and now as home to the “capital” of the EU.  It also follows the royal family through the years, highlighting their contributions to Belgian culture.

Our final museum was the Musical Instrument Museum, an impressive collection of instruments from around the world.  It is definitely different than other museums I’ve visited in the past, and it had come with good recommendations.  You are given a set of head phones at the entrance which, when you walk up to various instrument exhibits, the instrument in view will play over the headphones.  I really enjoyed it, but wished a bit more information had been provided about the history of the instruments in English.

Belgium 2015 007

Overall, I definitely enjoyed Brussels and would definitely go back to take in more museums.  It was a little sad that they were only open for 2 of the 4 days we were in Belgium (as Sunday and Monday were holidays) but we made the most of it while we were there.  More posts coming on food and our day trip to Bruges!

Have you been to Brussels?  Thinking about going? What did you enjoy most?

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13 Comments Add yours

  1. A lot of people knock Brussels but I liked the beer, bars, the underground, Atomium and Grand Place. It’s a great country for one so small – looking forward to reading more from you…

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    1. Thanks! I definitely agree that there is a lot to see especially for a small country. And you can’t beat the beer! The grand place and Atomium are impressive sights as well!

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  2. We stayed one night in Brussels in the summer and the rest of our time in Bruges – we loved Brussels so much we actually went back there for a day. Didn’t see any of the same stuff as you – it all sounds fab – so a trip back is most definitely on the cards. We did manage a day in Ghent too – stunning and a must see if you’re back in Belgium.

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    1. What sights did you see in Brussels? I would love to make it to Ghent, I think that’s an excuse for another trip back!

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      1. We spent an evening just wandering in the streets around the Grand Place then went back to Mini Europe and the Atomium (mainly to keep our son happy!). I think my excuse for going back is those museums!!

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      2. Definitely! We made it to the Atomium but it was incredibly crowded so we didn’t attempt mini Europe. The Grand Place is great for wandering!

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  3. carriokeee says:

    I so understand the frustration of having things closed over the holiday weekend (i.e all pubs in Ireland on Good Friday), but Brussels sounds so nice! I definitely have it on my to-do list if I have any extra free weekends.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. At least good Friday wasn’t a public holiday in Belgium, but yes a bit frustrating. All the pubs in Bruges were open on Easter though, just none of the museums. I definitely recommend it!

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  4. Isabel says:

    I loved Brussel’s food and if you do go back try to make it to Ghent or Bruges, they are so beautiful!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We did make it to Bruges for the day (post coming later) and it was gorgeous! And I agree, the food was amazing!

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  5. I love the music instrument museum. Too bad about Ghent, maybe next time ! You made it to Bruges, that’s the most important bit !

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    1. Thanks for recommending the MIM! It was fantastic, and a refreshing break from a lot of art museums. 🙂 Bruges was beautiful though, posts to come on that soon!

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      1. I can’t wait, Bruges is one of my favourite town 🙂

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