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BELGIUM

Guide of places to travel

Ancla 1

    Brussels

It is the capital of Belgium,​ and the main administrative seat of the European Union. It is a municipality located in the administrative region "Brussels-Capital" which is one of the three regions of Belgium, with the Walloon Region and the Flemish Region. As the state capital, Brussels is the seat of government and the  Parliament . It also houses the  Laeken Castle  the residence of his majesty the king  Philip of Belgium  and the Belgian royal family.

belgium

How to get there and get around  by the city

Plane: there are many airlines that fly to both airports. T he Zaventem or National Brussels that  is located in the Flemish town of Zaventem, 12 km northeast of Brussels. It is the main airport in the country and where the main world airlines operate. To get to the city the train is the best option and  delay  20 minutes; there are other transfer options, such as  cab  or the  urban bus service (lines 12 and 21) .

The other airport is Brussels South, also known as Charleroi airport, which is located 46 km south of Brussels and to go to the city the bus is the best option.

 

Train: the best option is to go first to Paris and then connect with Brussels and take a high-speed line between Paris and Brussels.

Metro: connects with all tourist attractions and its use  it is simple and efficient. In addition, it is particularly necessary to visit the points of interest further away from the center.

Tram : it is a widely used means of transport  which covers much of the areas that do not have a metro.  Is the best option  On the way, it connects many points of interest in the historic center with its 17 lines.

Bus: covers all areas of Brussels. They are very punctual and are also an excellent option to reach those parts of the city that are not connected by the metro. There are 50 lines that cover the entire city.

Taxis:  They are among the most expensive in Europe. It is difficult to hail a free taxi on the street except in the center.

Brussels Card is a tourist card that includes free access to more than 30 museums, has various discounts in restaurants and use  unlimited public transport.

What to see in Brussels

Grand Place

The historic center and the city revolve around the Grand Place. A UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998, it stands out for the buildings of different styles, especially Baroque and Gothic, that surround it, the Town Hall, dating from 1455, the Maison du Roi, which today is the City Museum, the Maison des Ducs de Brabant or  Le Piegeon where the novelist Victor Hugo stayed during his exile.

Saint-Hubert Galleries

Completed in 1948, they are considered the oldest in Europe that have been kept in their original state, full of luxury and elegance. Its magnificent glass vaults mixed with the cast iron that support them give a special charm to its more than 200 meters of route. They are made up of  the King's Gallery, the Queen's Gallery and the Princes' Gallery, and can be accessed through 3 different streets.

Brussels Cathedral

The Cathedral of Saint Michael and Saint Gúdula, considered the main Catholic church in the country, is located near the Central Station of the city and belongs to the Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels. It began to be built in the Gothic style in the 13th century. Inside, precious stained glass windows stand out, some of them original,  the carved wooden baroque pulpit and a large organ.

courthouse

From the outside it is an amazing building for its uptown location and sheer size at 52,464m2, but inside it is even more so when you look up into the 100m lobby. Tall. When they built it between 1866 and 1883, they had to demolish more than 3,000 houses to be able to locate it on this site.

Notre Dame du Sablon

Its construction was completed in the fifteenth century and is in the late Gothic style, with Brabantine influences. (variant  of Gothic architecture).  

on its facade  and with a much simpler interior, its enormous 15 m stained glass windows stand out. high and the carved wooden pulpit from the year 1697 that give its interior a special atmosphere, as well as the pinnacles typical of the Gothic.

Manneken Pis statue

Near the Grand Place is located from the  year 1388   a small bronze statue measuring 50 centimeters of a boy urinating in a fountain. She is always surrounded by a crowd of tourists taking  photos from everywhere. close is  the sculpture of Jeanneke Pis, the female version of the Manneken Pis. There is also the  dog version, the Zinneke Pis.

comic book route

Brussels and comic characters have a relationship of years, since great comic authors  They were born in Brussels. The Comic Museum next to the Comic Route  it's a  walk that will take you through more than 50 comic murals scattered around different areas of the city. exist  three Comic Strip Routes where you can stroll and be surprised to see the facades painted with murals of the most famous Belgian comics.

European Quarter

Brussels is the capital of Europe.  In this neighborhood is the European Parliament and most of the buildings and institutions of the European Union  What   the Belayrmont building, official headquarters of the European Commission (of  240,000 square meters and 3,000 employees who  they work on it); the Justus Lipsius, seat of the Council of the European Union; the space and the Leopold park and the Cinquantenaire Park and Palace.  Is  a bit out of the center but easily accessible by metro.

The Sacred Heart Basilica

Located a little away from the center in the Koekelberg neighborhood, it is another place to visit in Brussels. This Art Deco jewel is the fifth largest church in the world at 167 meters long and 89 meters high. Built in 1905 by order of King Leopold II, it stands out for its large green dome and two circular towers. Inside, its stained glass windows are impressive and you can go up to the terrace to enjoy one of the best views of Brussels

Delirium Cafe

Tucked away near the Grand Place in the narrow Fidelity-Impasse de la Fidélité alley is a brewer's paradise. In that place, in 2003, it opened its doors and it took just over 10 years to become an emblem of the city of Brussels, winning the Guinness World Records with its more than 2,000 varieties of beer, currently having  more than 3,000 types of beer from all over the world.

The Royal Palace

It was for a long time the residence of the Belgian kings who today live in the Castle of Laeken.  It is currently the seat of the offices of the Belgian monarchy;  Inside the palace, the great white marble staircase and several rooms stand out, such as the Goya room, the Mirror room or the Throne room. It was built by King William XIX, but has undergone many renovations, until it has its current appearance. .

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Gastronomy  from Brussels

Carbonade: beef stew in a beer and vegetable sauce. The veal is braised with dark beer, which precisely thanks to it has a very tender texture and a unique flavor, more  onion and sugar.

Mussels: an easily accessible food in Brussels and they have a very curious way of serving them and eating them with French fries. Although at first the mixture of moules-frites may seem strange to you, this typical Belgian food is a tradition there. There are a multitude of bars and restaurants that offer this dish, so you will have no problem finding it anywhere in Brussels.

Mitraillette: or submachine gun, it's a fast food type snack  with meat ,  French fries , the eventual salad and the sauce on half a baguette . It is easy to find in fast food places and cafes .

Stoemp: Potato and carrot salad, or potato and Brussels sprout salad, or with spinach, chicory, or onions, or a combination of several. It is usually served accompanied by the classic sausages that are eaten everywhere there, or even with any type of meat in sauce.

Brussels sprouts: star food in Brussels  sautéed, brochettes, roasted, in salad. Their small size makes them a very versatile ingredient in typical Belgian dishes .

Waffles or Belgian Waffles:  they can be found almost everywhere in the old town. While waffles can have all kinds of toppings, strawberries, bananas, chocolate and more chocolate, the original waffle is just icing sugar.  above.

Belgian chocolate : between  sweets Belgian chocolate is the king, because what the sweet tooth will make their mouths water when they see the beautiful shop windows of the chocolate shops that are distributed almost in any street of the city: Leónidas, Guylian, Neuhaus or Jeff de Bruges -inventor of the chocolate- are some of the most famous.

Carbonada
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      witches

Ancla 2

Or Bruges. It is the capital of the province of  West Flanders . Located in the northwestern corner of  Belgium  it is 90 km from Brussels . Its name comes from  Dutch , «brug» which means bridge and that this city boasts  the plural of this word, due to the large number of bridges that exist in it. The biggest attraction of Bruges is its  historic center , declared  World Heritage  by  unesco  at  2000 .

bruges

How to get there and get around the city

Plane: the most common and fastest way is to take the plane from any city in Europe to the  Brussels city airport and from there by train to  witches

From the airport there  buses that go to Brussels or  train to Estación del Norte, which takes about 15 minutes.

 

Train:  is  the easiest way to get to Bruges from Brussels. Inter-City trains depart from there  from the three main stations of the Belgian capital, Bruxelles-Midi, Brussels-Centre and Brussels-Noord.  Another option  more complicated is  get to Bruges from Charleroi Airport. When you get off the plane you have to  take a train to Brussels South Station, from there take a direct train to Bruges. The time of this journey can take us about 2 hours and 30 minutes.

One more option is  go to the airport which is located in the city of Ostend. This is Bruges Ostend Airport which is about 33 kms. west of Bruges where TUI fly Belgium operates. For  move you  between Ostend Bruges Airport to the city of Bruges you can use public transport

 

Car: From the rest of Belgium, Bruges is also easily accessible by car. Belgian roads are fast and very well maintained and illuminated at night. Bruges is an hour's drive from Brussels or Antwerp.

 

bus: is  the best option to visit Bruges. In addition to the regional buses that connect with other cities in Flanders, the service managed by the company De Lijn has several lines that connect the points of interest in the city.

Taxis: Although taxis can be hailed on any street in the city, the main stops are in Plaza Mayor and Stationsplein. As in Brussels, the price of the flag drop is €2.40, to which is added €1.35 per kilometer and €25 per waiting hour. There is no extra charge for carrying luggage and the driver is usually tipped.

 

What to see in Bruges

Grote Markt

Or the Plaza Mayor or Plaza del Mercado, is the nerve center of the city and proof of this is its incessant activity from tourist carriages, restaurants, cars, bicycles to  small markets. At night it is especially beautiful due to its careful lighting. It is surrounded by medieval buildings with picturesque facades.

grote mark

Belfort Bell Tower

It is the most imposing building on the Grote Markt. It is more than 83 meters high. From this 13th century Gothic style tower where the famous 47 bells of the carillon are located and going up  366 steps you will enjoy fantastic views of the historic center and the city.  In the center of the square is a statue honoring local heroes Jan Breydel and Pieter De Koninck.

torre campanario

Burg Square

Very close to the Grote Markt is the beautiful Burg Square . It stands out for the facades of the main buildings that surround it, such as the Gothic-style Stadhuis (Town Hall), the Basilica of the Holy Blood (a double chapel on two floors, in Romanesque and Neo-Gothic styles respectively) and the Brugse Vrije (Franconate of Bruges). ), where the old Courts of Justice were located.

plaza burg

City Hall

Also called  Stadhuis is from the 14th century and is considered one of the oldest in Europe. It stands out for its Gothic-style exterior with a beautiful façade built in 1376 and for its two interior rooms: the Gothic Hall and the Historical or Judgment Hall. The sculptures are very current, from just 1989, since the originals were destroyed at the time of the French Revolution.

Bruges_Town_Hall

Basilica of the Holy Blood

Dating from the 12th century, it is made up of two churches, one on each floor. In the upper floor, a vial is kept as a relic that they say contains a few drops of Christ's blood. The chapel on the top floor, built in the Gothic style in the 15th century. is from one  great architectural wealth.

santa-sangre

courthouse

It is a manor house from the 18th century with golden statuettes and red windows, it is an example of early baroque. The Brugse Vrije currently houses the municipal archives, making it a good place to learn about the history of the city of Bruges. Part of the building is, moreover, on a small alley that communicates with the Markt square, forming a beautiful arcade.

courthouse-in-bruges

Begijnhof

Or also called Beguinage, it is near Minnewater Park and was built by the Countess of Flanders in 1245 so that orphaned or widowed women could have a decent home. There is a small museum, the Casa de Beguina ,  in which  the history and way of life of the Beguines during the 17th century is explained.

minnewater park

O Lake of Love, is one of the most romantic places in Bruges. Located south of the historic center, it is a  park with a nice lake full of swans. on your journey  you can see several interesting buildings such as the Château de la Faille, an old hospital or an ammunition depot

walk through the canals

Known as "the Venice of the North", it is interesting to take a boat ride through several of its canals. Small boats leave from five piers that are filled with tourists to pass, for example  under the beautiful stone bridge of San Boniface, see the Jan van Eyck square, the inner courtyards of the houses, navigate the Dijver canal until you reach the Lake of Love.

Church of Our Lady

Or also known as Onze-Lieve Vrouwekerk  It is a sober 13th-century Gothic-style church with a brick tower over 120 meters high. It houses a marble statue of the Virgin and Child by Michelangelo, as well as several polychrome tombs of great beauty. Its tower, over 115m high, is said to be the tallest in Europe

Cathedral of San Salvador

It is the oldest religious building in Bruges. It has a 100-meter-high tower from the 12th century crowned by a Gothic spire. Inside there are medieval tombs, its great organ and the collection of paintings by Flemish primitives from the 14th century.

Beer Museum

The interactivity, the innovative technologies and, of course, the beer, make this  Museum something more than a museum. It is the place  to enjoy a unique experience, get to know the different facets of beer and  learning what ingredients they are made of, enjoying  of no less than 16 draft beers savoring them in a terrace bar overlooking the main square.

chocolate shops

If you are passionate about chocolates, Bruges is your city. On your walk through its streets you will find more than 50 boutique chocolatiers with very attractive shop windows where you will see a wide variety of bonbons and chocolates. Chocolate is one of the gastronomic traditions of Belgium, and of course in Bruges you have the best samples.

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cathedral san salvador
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chocolate-line

Bruges gastronomy

Flemish carbonade:  It is a beef stew with a beer chocolate sauce, two of Belgium's star products. You can find it prepared in different ways. Depending on the restaurant, they make it with a certain beer, it is accompanied by fried, roasted or mashed potatoes.

Endives with cheese and ham: it is one of the star vegetables of Belgium. They prepare it with a bechamel sauce and wrap them in cheese and ham. They are cooked au gratin in the oven.

Knuckle with mustard: typical German dish but very present in the menus of Belgian restaurants. It is usually prepared with mustard sauce accompanied by a baked potato and salad. It can also be found prepared with plum although it is less common.

Rabbit with cherry: well known in Brussels and Bruges, it is the rabbit prepared with cherry or plum. It is usually accompanied by apple puree. A sweet dish that is also usually served with French fries.

Mussels:  In cities like Bruges mussels are very typical, more so than in Brussels. All mussels come from the North Sea, located less than 20 km from Bruges.  They are served in a pot  steamed with a sauce of white wine, celery and onion served with French fries

Waffle –Wafel: can be eaten as a dessert after lunch, as a mid-afternoon snack or as part of breakfast. It is always a good time for a waffle, whose origin is in the Middle Ages.

Belgian Beer: While in Germany and the Czech Republic they pride themselves on the purity that regulates the ingredients that can be used in the manufacture, the Belgians enjoy complete freedom. Belgium has enjoyed an unrivaled reputation for its specialty beers since the Middle Ages, being the most popular  Lambic, which is produced in a small area of Belgium, apart from many other  varieties. On  In the Flanders region, where there is a great brewing tradition, more than 500 types are made, each one designed to enjoy its flavor and aroma to the best of its ability.

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