Goblets of Belgian beer, grand Baroque architecture and one of Europe’s most handsome squares are on the cards on holidays to Brussels.

Picture-perfect Pentagon

Think of Brussels as a dartboard, and the historic centre would be its bullseye. Except in this case the red target would be a little different, as the Belgian capital’s five-sided heart is nicknamed the Pentagon. It’s here that you’ll find all the best bits rolled into a handy bundle – we’re talking mega museums, a bevy of bars and a famous flower-flecked square.

Best-in-class buildings

Art Nouveau, Baroque, Neoclassical – the architecture scene in Brussels is like a who’s who of iconic styles. What they all have in common is a sense of grandeur. The main square, Grand Place, is home to an ornate town hall, plus a fringe of easy-on-the-eye buildings that line its edges. The paved centre gets its moment in the spotlight once a year, too, when a flower carpet is carefully laid to bring a burst of colour. Things are just as impressive as you widen the lens – the Royal Palace of Brussels is partnered with Brussels Park beside the centre, and the cheeky Manneken Pis fountain is a bit of a crowd magnet on the corner of Rue de l’Etuve.

Tempting tipples

Beer drinking is barely a choice in Brussels – when it comes to alcohol it’s a way of life here. There are places that serve beer cocktails, plus little cafés called ‘estaminets’, which are designed as little snackeries where you can grab a beer. For the best selection, those in the know make tracks for the Delirium Café – it’s bigger than the name suggests, and stocks around 2,000 different brews. On the food front, bite-sized bits are the best accompaniment to a nice drop – fruit-stacked waffles, meat croquettes called bitterballen, and hearty mitraillette sarnies are local faves.

Museum medley

There’s plenty of culture to be had if you start delving into Brussels’ backlog of museums. Tintin is one of the country’s cartoon celebs, and the Belgian Comic Strip Center shows off his origin story. Learn about the city’s past at the Museum of the City of Brussels, which is right on Grand Place. Or go all-out for art at the Magritte Museum and the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium.

At a Glance

  • Tick off the Royal Palace of Brussels
  • Sup on tasty Trappist beers
  • Snap pictures of the historic Grand Place