The Belgian capital of Brussels is charming through and through, practically bursting with impressive historic and modern architecture that make each short stroll delightful. Aromas of frites, waffles, and chocolate drift through the air, luring passers-by into quaint cafés and independent shops, and beer flows freely.
1. The Grand Place
The city’s iconic Grand Place is perfectly placed in the central square. Recognised around the world for its aesthetic exuberance, the landmark was registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1998.
The Place was almost destroyed during the War of the League of Augsburg – also known as the Nine Years’ War – in 1695. In the five years following, the once beautiful building regrew into the beloved structure we know today. Thanks to its turbulent history, Brussels’ Grand Place is a perfect symphony of four architectural styles – Gothic, baroque, neoclassical, and neogothic.
2. Victor Horta’s Major Town Houses
The second of our most beautiful sights in Brussels appears, like the Grand Place, on the revered UNESCO World Heritage List.
Architect Victor Horta was a pioneer of the decedent style, and his Brussels Town Houses represent its most recognised elements. From their open-plan layout to the considered diffusion of light, and the ingenious, intricate joining of curved lines within the structure of the building.
Horta’s Town Houses, which include Hôtel Tassel, Hôtel Solvay, Hôtel van Eetvelde, and Maison & Atelier Horta, are a shining example of Art Nouveau architecture and a must-see in Brussels.
3. Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert
The Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert was one of Europe’s first covered shopping arcades, setting it aside from the numerous similar arcades which can be explored across the continent today.
Officially opened in 1847, the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert was immediately considered fashionable due to its offering of luxury brands, tasteful cafés, and cultural spaces including the Théâtre du Vaudeville and the Cinéma des Galeries. Also serving as the meeting place for creatives at the time, the Galeries attracted French refugees including Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, and Edgar Quinet.
Split into three grand halls including the King’s Gallery, the Queen’s Gallery, and the Prince’s Gallery, the Galeries are not only a beautiful sight to see while in Brussels but an exciting place to pick up unique treasures.
4. The Royal Greenhouses of Laeken
The Royal Greenhouses of Laeken were designed by Victor Horta’s mentor Alphonse Balat to allow King Leopold II and his ancestors to collect exotic plants and trees. The towering complex of greenhouses includes pavilions, cupolas, and arcades, and is open to the public for just a few weeks a year, and its exclusivity makes it all the more tempting.
Plants from King Leopold II’s original collection are still thriving in the Royal Greenhouses today, while the newer additions are in line with the spirit of the original complex. Many of the plants and flowers inside are exceptionally rare and valuable, adding to the joy of their beauty.
If you’re able, we strongly recommend you visit the Royal Greenhouses of Laekan while you’re in Brussels for an experience that will stay with you for the rest of your life.
If you’re looking for a beautiful hotel in Brussels or hotels near Brussels airport to enhance your experience of the city, our Pullman Brussels Centre Midi is the perfect choice. Explore our Brussels City Guide for all the trip inspiration you might need, from the best restaurants and most luxurious bars to boutique shopping hotspots and unmissable galleries.
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