Brussels is one of the best places in European for a city break. The food is rightfully famous, it’s easily reachable by plane or Eurostar and it has a wealth of attractions. Your only dilemma may be deciding which of these to visit. We’ve put together a guide on what to see in a luxurious Brussels weekend, to help you make the most of your time.
Day 1 – Luxurious Brussels Weekend
Start your visit at the iconic Grand Place.
This pedestrianized square is considered by many to be the best preserved in the world. Its 17th century architecture is listed by UNESCO and the gilded facades gleam in the sunlight.
From here, take a walk through the Galeries-Royales Saint Hubert. This elegant covered arcade is home to several luxury boutiques and fine chocolatiers. If the sight of all these delicacies has made you hungry, check out our suggestions for where to eat and drink.
A sizeable area of the centre of Brussels is being pedestrianized and a new Belgian Beer Palace will open in the former Stock Exchange.
It may be rather kitsch but a look at the Manneken Pis is a must. Did you know that they dress him up in different costumes at various times of the year? There’s also Jeanneke Pis, the female equivalent and even a canine version, Het Zinneke, dotted around the centre.
After this, head to Place du Grand’Sablon for its top notch chocolatiers and boutiques. Galerie Tintin is a must for any fans – and who isn’t! There’s also another Tintin shop on Rue de la Colline, just behind the Grand Place.
Take a look inside the Catholic church, Eglise Notre-Dame de la Chapelle which dates back to 1134 – the stained glass windows are superb.
Did you know that you can have glasses tailored specifically to your face measurements? A few streets away from Place du Grand’Sablon at Lunetier Ludovic you can choose your preferred material and Ludovic will design a frame that suits your face shape. For example, I’ve always had trouble keeping glasses on my nose and according to Ludovic I have a very small nose so no wonder!
From here it’s a short walk to Avenue Louise and Maison Degand, a concept store unlike any other. Located in a historic townhouse, it has the widest range of gentlemens’ tailoring that we have come across. The selection of own brand and other labels is impressive with smart and casual clothing, hats, scarves and belts. There’s a bespoke service for custom made suits, shirts, raincoats and more. Shoes are housed in their own stylish annexe and there are some famous brands such as John Lobb, Edward Green and Saint Crispin.
If you’re looking for presents, their daughter Emily has a lovely boutique, Degand Gifts, on Rue de l’Abbaye. She’s also a talented artist who customizes jackets with her drawings.
Manalys at Boulevard de Waterloo is a fine jeweller of distinction. Moïse Mann is a rare talent, who selects the finest gemstones and crafts them into truly unique pieces. Visitors to his elegant showroom can see his craftsmen at work in the rear atelier, as all the jewellery is made in Brussels. We loved this elegant sapphire and diamond necklace, and these intricate brooches.
The Magritte Museum on Rue de la Régence is superb, and just one of the many interesting Brussels museums that we will be writing about in detail.
Day 2 – Luxurious Brussels Weekend
Brussels is famous for its Art Nouveau architecture. The newly extended Horta Museum on Rue Américaine is well worth a visit.
Next, catch a tram or taxi to the Boghossian Foundation. It’s home to the Villa Empain, a magnificent Art Deco mansion that is now a museum.
From here it’s a short walk to Chalet Robinson, an idyllic restaurant located in the middle of a lake and reached only by boat.
After lunch, head to the trendy Dansaert area for some serious retail therapy. It’s home to the Brussels fashion district and boasts many independent shops. Conni Kaminski is a talented young designer whose clothes are all produced in Belgium. Her garments have a beautiful drape and are highly flattering.
Benoît Parotte is the brains behind Parrote. b men’s and women’s clothing. He has a real eye for colour and the little details that make a difference. All his pieces can be altered for a perfect fit and his Mother hand knits the cosy sweaters sold in his store.
Niyona is a real treasure trove, specializing in fine leather items. They have successfully found new ways of working the leather to make some very elaborate items. Their store has a great selection of gifts although you may well want to keep them for yourself! Their leather aprons are popular with craftspeople. We particularly like their metallic iridescent bags which take on different hues depending on the light.
Finish your luxurious Brussels weekend at the cool new MIMA street art museum on Quai du Hainaut, followed by a refreshing beer or two at the Brussels Beer Project, just over the river on Rue Antoine Dansaert.
Where to Stay
Hotel Amigo is a five star hotel, located a stone’s throw from the Grand’Place. Part of the Rocco Forte group, the decor is a pleasing blend of traditional and contemporary style. Smartly dressed doormen welcome you into the lobby and Bocconi Restaurant. The bedrooms are a good size for such a central location and many have fantastic views. Just look at the Grand’Place spire that you can see from ours!
I do have a soft spot for the Tintin Suite too. The Amigo is the only hotel in the world that is allowed by the Herge estate to use Tintin’s image.
As for the Armond Blaton Suite, it’s popular with politicians and has a huge 60 square metre terrace with panoramic views over the centre of Brussels. All in all, it’s a great place from which to explore the many attractions that you’ll see on your luxurious Brussels weekend. Visit Brussels has a range of free minimaps available online and from the tourist information office – my favourite is the Tintin one.
Have you ever visited Brussels? If so, what was your favourite sight and why?