At the peak of summer season as a resident of any city which regularly sees temperatures upward of 35 degrees Celsius, the thought of taking a summer vacation is bound to cross our heads. At least for the first 20 years of our lives, summer season is always associated with breaks and holidays, so its a habit that’s hard to get rid of for anyone under 30 years of age. While scouting for flight deals and cheap holidays is one way to plan a vacation it always pays in the long run to do something more adventurous.
Traveling across Europe as a youth is surely among the most amazing things one can do. Even if its difficult to manage a backpacking trip, visiting as many countries as possible across the continent is rated as one of the most fulfilling travel experiences possible. In this feature we explore such a European city, which is the headquarters of the European Union and also the land of chocolates, beer and comics
Country: Capital Of Belgium. Brussels is pronounced as Bruxelles in French.
National Carrier: Brussels Airlines, flying your way.
Local Language: Brussels is officially bilingual, French, and Dutch, although French, mother tongue of the majority of the population, is the lingua franca and the most widely used language in Brussels.
Time Zone: Like the Netherlands operates a winter and summer time. In the winter it is 1 hour ahead of GMT (i.e 4.5 hours behind IST) and in the summer it is 2 hours ahead (i.e 3.5 hours behind IST)
Best Time To Visit: The best time to visit Brussels is from May to October. Weekends and holidays have the best entertaining events. The weather can be unpredictable but the temperatures are mostly mild (Between 10Â°C to 25Â°C). Shops are closed on Sundayâ€™s: this will be your best moment to stroll around the old city or to enjoy the beautiful parks.
Best Place To Stay For Youths:
Youth Hostel Van Gogh(CHAB), near Brussels North Station is one of the best youth hostels in the city. It has a very lively and relaxed atmosphere and is famously known as the place where the great artist Vincent Van Gogh used to work.
The Sleep Well Youth Hostel also located centrally very close to the famous Grand Place is a very clean hostel with cheap rooms and good facilities. It however doesn’t have too much of an atmosphere and is too silent a place for a youth hostel.
“Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.“
So goes the line from the poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Well, if you’re in Brussels the capital of Belgium and the European Union, this famous rhyme would go something like this:
“Beer, beer, everywhere,
And not a smell of stink;
More than 2000 types of beer,
What on earth should I drink.“
Belgium is to beer what France is to wine: it is home to one of the greatest beer traditions in the world (Austria and Germany being a few of the others), and Brussels is a great place to sample some of the vast variety on offer. A special drink only found in Brussels is the so-called “half-en-half” (“half and half”). It’s a mixture of white wine and champagne.
Right after beer comes comes chocolates. Brussels is chock full of chocolates and is a place where you can taste some of the best chocolates in the world. Other than beer and chocolates, Brussels is home to some magnificent architecture with grand place being it’s major tourist attraction.
Must See: Brussels has some amazing places which are definitely worth checking out, the most popular amongst these are:
- Grand Place: The Grand Place was named by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1998. It is actually the central market square of Brussels. It is surrounded by guild houses, the city’s spectacular Town Hall and the Breadhouse. The square is the most important tourist destination and most memorable landmark in Brussels next to the Atomium. (Check it out in our video below.)
- Atomium:The Atomium was built for the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair (Expo ’58). The 103-metre (335-foot) tall Atomium monument represents a unit cell of an iron crystal (body-centred cubic), magnified 165 billion times. Nine steel spheres 18 metres in diameter connect via tubes with escalators as long as 35 m, among the longest in Europe. Windows in the top sphere provide a panoramic view of Brussels. Other spheres have 1950s exhibitions. The structure was closed to public in 2004 and 2005, and reopened in February, 2006 after a massive renovation.
- The Waterloo Battlefield: Famously known as Napolean’s last battle, this battlefield lies about 12 kilometres SSE of Brussels, and 2 kilometres from the town of Waterloo. One can see the battlefield exactly like it was on June the 18th of 1815 when Wellington faced Napoleon for an ultimate battle that changed Europe’s face forever. Visit the Lion Hamlet and experience the new animation: Battlefield Tour.
Must Do: No visit to Brussels is complete without a taste of it’s wide variety of beer. “Wide Variety“, what kinda of count classifies a variety as being wide, you might ask. Well how about 2000, that’s right 2000 different kinds of beer and all of these are available at one place in Brussels. A place called the Delirium Cafe. This place has a 500 page drinks menu that is only given on special request, it has over 2000 different kinds of beer and the menu contains beers from more than 50 countries. You can also taste the beer in different kinds of glasses which are displayed all over the place. And don’t worry about being a non-alcoholic, some of the beers like the floris strawberry beer don’t taste like beer at all. A few drinks at the delirium cafe and you would realize how pathetic the quality of beer is in India, it’s amazing how Vijay Mallaya makes so much money selling a beer like Kingfisher.
Also don’t forget to try the Belgian waffle topped with chocolate sauce at anyone of the shops at the grand place. While on your way back do remember do buy loads of amazing chocolates from shops like Leonidas, Passion Chocolat, Pierre Marcolini and Wittamer.
Brussels in Pictures: Catch our exclusive video of this amazing city below.