15th Dec 2012 2:29pm | By Jade Bremner
In this European political hub you’ll find both French and Flemish, uber amounts of culture, art and history, plus, food and beer by the bucket load.
10:00 Start your trip with a visit to Arcadi Café (mains from £6; Rue d’Arenberg 1a; tel. +32 25113343). It’s a great spot for an early morning pastry or cake and cup of coffee.
The interior is super cute, with old-fashioned cake stands and Post-its on the walls.
11:00 Begin sightseeing by wandering around the buzzing medieval central square Le Grand-Place (Rue au Buerre Ilôt Sacré, 1000).
Amid the soaring gothic and Renaissance architecture, visitors will find museums, cafes, bars and chocolate shops.
Here Belgium’s leading chocolate artists craft delicate and sumptuous, melt-in-the-mouth morsels.
They’ll also package them beautifully in mint green boxes – pressie idea, perhaps?
12:30 The Flemish, it seems, are excellent at making dainty things, they also have a heritage in lace making.
There’s an entire museum dedicated to this very form. The Costume and Lace Museum (Rue de la Violette 12 Ilôt Sacré; +tel. +32 22134450) showcases outifts, ball gowns, overcoats and mini skirts from throughout the ages.
They evoke images of what the people from bygone eras would have worn strolling along the city’s canals and historic lanes.
13:30 Toddle back to the central square and get your camera ready for Brussels’ most bizarre attraction, the Manneken Pis (corner of Rue de l’Étuve and Stoofstraat and Rue du Chêne/Eikstraat).
This tiny statue’s name translates to “little man pee” and is of a boy taking a leak, but it’s world famous.
This chap dates back to 1619 and was designed by sculptor Jerome I Duquesnoy.
The locals dress him up in various outfits throughout the year, depending on the festivities. Legend has it that the original was stolen, and this one’s a replica. Scandalous!
14:00 By now you must be peckish, and we’ve got just the place to fill up.
KoKoB (mains from £7.30) is a few minutes’ walk from the central square and serves spicy Ethiopian cuisine, including curious yet delicious dishes, such as chicken drumsticks with boiled eggs and berbere.
Or try the veggie mix, served in dollops on a round tray.
15:00 After a late lunch, the beautiful Cathedral of St Michael and St Gudula awaits.
This architectural wonder, built in 1047, looks like something from a Harry Potter film and opens its doors daily so visitors can soak up the spooky gothic vibe. Inside you’ll find bright stained glass windows and staggering ceiling arches.
19:00 After your busy day of walking, sink a few cold ones at a traditional Brussels boozer. A La Mort Subite serves cherry and peach beers, plus local brand Maes Pils, on tap.
If you’re in need of a bar snack, they also do a range of sandwiches and chunky chips.