Even though it is not the largest of cities, Brussels is well worth a visit, just as for the other European capitals. An international and cosmopolitan city, it has a sizeable population of people from other countries and culture, to the point that it has been defined as the most multicultural city in Europe. In addition, it is the political capital of the European Union, and it is famous for its culture, in areas ranging from art and architecture, right through to comic strips. These characteristics may seem difficult to reconcile, but it is precisely this that sets the city apart from others. Brussels, with a vast heritage of historic and institutional buildings, is distinctive for its contrasts, with many different architectural styles, Gothic, Baroque, Renaissance, right through to Art Nouveau. Grand Place is the iconic square, a meeting place for locals and a highlight for tourists, and location for celebrations, performances and concerts. The combination of its highlights makes Brussels a true metropolis notwithstanding its size. And if you’re interested in the comic strips, all you have to do is take a stroll in the city centre and soon you will see some of the brightly-coloured murals painted onto many buildings, depicting famous comic book characters linked to the city’s history, primarily Tintin, and of course the Smurfs (Schtroumpfs), plus Lucky Luke, Zagor and many others. The Belgian comic book tradition has made the city popular with adults and children all over the world.
There are many other traditions that have made Brussels famous: for example, chocolate and beer, which help make the atmosphere even warmer and more welcoming. The menus of pubs and beerhouses are encyclopaedic, to the point at which it is useful to have some assistance from the staff when choosing a label. No problem when it comes to choosing souvenirs: amongst chocolates, local beers, comic books and other specialities, there is an endless choice.
Brussels has another positive feature. As it is relatively small, it is easy to visit by bicycle or on foot, and so it’s not hard to come into close contact with its points of beauty. In any case, it also has an excellent public transport system, providing punctual services at accessible prices.
Maison Dandoy Depuis 1829 – Grand Place
Comme chez soi
De Noordze Mer du Nord
The Music Village
Nemo 33 Diving Centre and the Pearl Restaurant