If you are travelling to Brussels in Belgium and the budget is tight, here are a few free things you can do and still come away enriched by the culture and vibrancy of this cosmopolitan place.
- Admire art on the comics strip route – images from various famous Belgian comic book series such as Tintin, Smurfs, Lucky Luke and many others. The Belgians really love their comic strips and so do we!
- Chill out and hide from the hectic city pace in one of the city’s parks – Botanical Garden, Royal Park (also known as Brussels Park) or others.
- Admire flower displays in Grand Place, if you are so lucky as to visit when such a festival is on. The day before I left I caught a glimpse of what the Grand Place will look like for the following four days of floral celebrations. Needless to say, I felt my timing was all off.
- Hang around Grand Place and admire the jewels of Flemish architecture – the lavishly decorated guildhalls and the Town Hall, their style is different from what you’ll see in many European capitals. Before visiting Brussels I read all sorts of guides extoling the beauty of Grand Place architecture, and with all that excitement one starts wondering if this is a bit of an exaggeration. But actually it’s not. It really is an impressive backdrop for your pictures and excursions.
- Visit a museum – Brussels is a place with many. And the best news – there are many museums that are always free and some are free on certain days. For an exhaustive list, click here.
- Go window shopping in the oldest covered shopping arcade in Europe – Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert. Admire some inspiring art and jewellery, chocolate shops and luxury goods.
- Persuade your fellow travelers to participate in some street activities, like playing pétanque or table tennis. If you are traveling on your own, it might be a good place to strike up a conversation with people enjoying themselves and join in the fun.
- Have fun taking pictures of sculptures and other art in the city – there are many surprises lurking around the corners of this creative space.
- Pop into a church or a cathedral. Chances are you’ll discover some really interesting historic, architectural and artistic gems. Besides, it’s a perfect hide away from the sun or, more importantly, from the rain, which is frequent in Belgium, I’ve heard.
- Practise your French (I know, it’s not exactly for everyone, but…), after all, it’s a francophone country.