You and your partner are visiting the capital for the first time? Now is the perfect time to discover it.
Hand in hand, stroll across the cobblestones of Brussels' historical centre. Our two-day tour is ideal for couples looking for bucolic walks, local shopping and gastronomic concepts. Enjoy two wonderful days of escapism in the heart of Europe.
Day 1: the historical centre of Brussels and its local addresses
Start your tour at the majestic Grand-Place, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Marvel at the contrasts created by the first rays of sunlight on the eclectic gilded buildings. If you are interested in the history of Brussels, visit the Museum of the City of Brussels, located in the Maison du Roi. Then, pay a visit to the nearby Manneken-Pis. Another must-see near the Grand-Place are the superb, light-filled Royal Saint-Hubert galleries. As you walk through them, stop at Maison Dandoy, famous for its waffle and speculoos. A little further, loose yourself for a moment in Tropismes, one of the capital’s most beautiful bookshops. The galleries, inaugurated in 1847, are full of history. It was here that Juliette Drouet, the mistress of Victor Hugo, lived. It was also here that Verlaine bought a gun with which he later shot Rimbaud. Fortunately, some love stories have happier endings.
Is it almost lunchtime? Then make your way to the Sainte-Catherine neighbourhood, which is bursting with delicious little establishments (Comptoir de Tom, Noordzee, Ballekes,…). After lunch, it’s time to digest. So how about an hour discovering modern masters at the CENTRALE for contemporary art?
After this welcome dose of culture, head to the Dansaert neighbourhood for a spot of shopping. This area is known for its little design and fashion boutiques. Although the big French brands too are well represented, there are many Belgian shops selling items for both men and women (Hunting & Collecting, la Fabrika, Blender 01, Cosmeticary,…). There are also vintage boutiques that are well worth the detour (Foxhole, Isabelle Bajart, Gabriele vintage,…).
©Lies Engelen - Gabriele Vintage Shop
If you love vintage and Made in Belgium items, spend the rest of your afternoon in the Marolles neighbourhood. It’s quaint streets and alleys are dotted with antiques dealers and local shops (Belge une fois, L’Atelier en Ville, Les Pieds de biche, Les Savons de Lyna,…), vintage boutiques and record stores. On top of all that, the daily flea market on place du Jeu de Balle is the heart and soul of this district of a thousand secrets. The Marolles’ walls are also home to numerous murals that feature on the Comic Strip Trail, as well as countless examples of street art. Before heading back to your hotel, make a stop at the Jewish Museum of Belgium or, if you’re feeling curious, the Museum of Erotics and mythology.
Day 2: Stroll through the city’s parks and remarkable architecture
The first day was packed with activities, so we propose a quieter second day to discover spent discovering the capital’s architectural gems and green spaces between Ixelles and Uccle.
Start your day with a delicious takeaway coffee. Brussels is overflowing with places dedicated to quality coffee, so there’s bound to be one near your hotel. Then, once you're up and ready for the day, set off to discover two trendy neighbourhoods of Ixelles where Art Nouveau reigns supreme: the Châtelain and Flagey. If you’re not familiar with Art Nouveau, book a visit of the Horta Museum in the Châtelain neighbourhood. This museum, the perfectly preserved home and studio of architect Victor Horta, will teach you the very essence of this architectural movement. Follow your visit with a stroll through the surrounding area, as you seek out well-known masterpieces like Ciamberlani House, Solvay House and Otlet House.
A. Ciamberlani House
Next, make your way to the Flagey neighbourhood. Art Nouveau gems abound around the Ixelles ponds. Flagey is also a great place for a spot of lunch (My Tannour, Cocina, Monella, La Meute,…). Pick up your meals and enjoy them in the beautiful gardens of La Cambre Abbey.
La Cambre Abbey
After lunch, take the number 71 or 366 bus or the number 93 tram to one of Brussels’ Art Deco architectural treasures: Villa Empain – The Boghossian Foundation. Today, this exquisitely renovated villa is a centre for art and dialogue between the cultures of East and West. Go for a romantic walk along the bucolic paths of Bois de la Cambre and stop for a snack at the Kiosque du bois de la Cambre or the Woodpecker (takeaway snacks). If after all this your legs can still carry you, round off your couple’s break with a visit to another Art Deco jewel, the Van Buuren Museum, with its romantic Rose garden and Heart garden.
Where should you stay? We have selected a few high-quality romantic hotels especially for the lovebirds among you. You can book them with complete peace of mind, as they are all holders of the Brussels Health Safety Label: