Venture into Brussels, the capital city of Belgium, and discover a cosmopolitan metropolis where French and Flemish cultures live side by side. Where else can you find the central market decorated with a carpet of flowers? Or seafood restaurants along a river that's no longer there?
Ste. Catherine was the city's port area for 900 years until the 1870s, when it was land-filled. But the restaurants here still serve the famous mussels in the "marinière" style, as well as other seafoods.
Standing out among the medieval buildings and looking like a giant molecule is the Atomium. Designed by Belgian engineer Andre Waterkeyn in 1958, this structure stands some 108 metres high and has nine spheres which house exhibit halls. Escalators and a lift provide visitors easy access, and you'll be treated to a panoramic view of Brussels at the top.
The Grand Place is Brussels’ central market. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has charmed notable personalities such as Victor Hugo and the Archduchess Isabella. The Town Hall with its gothic tower in the middle is an ideal place to enjoy Belgian beer, watch concerts, and take in the scenery. Time your visit to witness the display of begonias in the square during the “flower carpet” event, which happens in the middle of August every two years.
Don’t let your Brussels holiday end without sampling its exquisite beers. Try any of the 450 varieties, including raspberry beer, chocolate beer, and the famous Lambic beer. Don’t miss the beer festivals: Special Beer Festival, a three-day event in February; Beer Collectors and Exchange Market, which happens in May; and The Festival of 100 Beers in August, which includes beer games and races.