By Clare and Sami
This past MLK weekend, we flew to Brussels for a quick tour of a city neither of us knew much about. Only two hours from Pairs and Amsterdam, Brussels is a great city to go pass through if you’re in the area or for a relaxing weekend getaway. The people are friendly, the beer is hardy, and the chocolate is rich…what more could you want?
What to Pack
So here’s the thing… cobble stone streets are so cute, you don’t have to convince us of that… but unless your an Olympic speed skater or a professional ballerina, they can be treacherous for your ankles. Brussels is mainly cobblestone streets, so bring a tote you can throw those adorable platforms or heels into! This way you get your cute photos, but don’t roll an ankle! We were unstoppable in our converse and vans!
What to Wear/How to Dress
Brussels, much like Paris, is about simplicity. The style there could easily be categorized as “less is better”. So bring on the jeans or trousers with sweaters and oxfords! However, we can’t forget to mention that lipstick was a thing there too, for all of you rouge lovers!
French. Dutch. English. So don’t worry if you only speak English – so many people spoke it, and every sign we passed was in all three languages. However, if you’re a French novice and nervous about practicing this is a good place to start! The people in Brussels were so nice, they won’t make fun of you for taking a stab at your French skills (for those of you who have unfortunate French in Paris experiences…), and if you fail you can just speak English!
Even though nearly everyone spoke English, most everyone greeted us in French. “Bonjour” (hello/good day), “Bonsoir” (good evening/goodnight), and “Merci” (thank you) will get you places!
Where to Stay
Whether hotels, airbnbs or hostels are your thing, our recommendation is to stay in Bruxelles Centrale. It’s a 20 minute commute to the airport on a train with no transfers that drops you off at the terminal and right in the heart of everything in downtown Brussels. When we got off the train the hotel we stayed at was a 3 minutes walk, and we highly recommend it. Check out eco friendly Hotel Agora. The staff were the sweetest and gave us great ideas of things to do with our short time!
Brussels is a rare beauty because it’s one of the few times in life you’ll visit a city that’s completely accessible by foot. We didn’t ride the metro once! Take into account we’re both new yorkers (did you know that according to bussinessinsider.com the average new yorker walks 5 miles per/day?) so we weren’t phased by a ten minute walk – but even ten minutes would be going far in Brussels. The furthest landmark was the atomium and that was only a 30 minute walk from Buxelles Centrale!
What to Eat
Chocolate. Frites. Waffles. Beer. Need we say more?