I just got back from Europe on Saturday and am excited to share a little peek into our time in Belgium. Although I’ve been to Europe before, this trip was an extra special one because it was my little sister’s first time traveling internationally. We had the best time exploring two new countries and spending time catching up (my sister got engaged recently and it was my first time seeing her since!).
While our trip was overall a pretty short one in the grand scheme of international travel, we were on a mission to make the most of our time in Brussels and hit the ground running as soon as we got in from taking the train from Amsterdam. Uber was our true sidekick throughout the trip, allowing us to easily see everything on our to do list without the stress of navigating foreign transit or the hassle of lugging around our luggage from the train station. I always use Uber a lot while traveling internationally (it’s available in 600+ cities!), especially when there’s a language barrier involved, to ensure I’m able to easily get to my intended destination AND be able to get a read on my fare estimate to keep tabs on my travel costs.
As an added bonus, Uber gave me big sister peace of mind when it was time for Elise and I to part ways at the end of our trip with different flight times – knowing she was able to get a safe ride to the airport from our apartment, being able to track her trip status the entire way, and not having to worry about her having enough Euros for the fare gave me total peace of mind (and seriously saved me from changing my flight to be able to take her to BRU airport myself!).
Let’s talk Brussels, shall we? Some of our favorites from our time in Belgium:
To Stay: If you’ve been following any of my past travels you know that I love to travel like a local and stay in anapartment versus a hotel. We had an amazing Airbnb in Brussels that was really centrally located and just so darn cute. My main tip for renting apartments while traveling internationally? Read the reviews, paying close attention to any mentions of location and only stay with Super Hosts to ensure you’ll have a great experience.
To Eat & Drink: I went to Brussels with one mission: to eat as many mussels, frites and waffles as possible, and I’m proud to say that I accomplished just that. The food in Belgium was really great with obvious French influence and we hopped from one restaurant to the next cafe as we ate our way through the city, with plenty of Belgium’s famous beers involved as well. Some stand outs:
- Cafe Delirium: Best. Bar. Ever. After having several people recommend Cafe Delirium as the best spot in Brussels to get our Belgian beer fix, we stopped in a few times to grab a pint and loved the lively, eclectic atmosphere and extensive draft beer list. I had some of the best wheat beers ever while even Elise, who doesn’t really like beer, was able to find something she loved thanks to the bartender’s recommendation.
- Pasta Divina: We spent Thanksgiving in Brussels and wanted a special meal for our Thanksgiving dinner and Pasta Divina was just the spot. It’s a really small Italian spot owned by an older husband and wife duo – she makes all of the pasta fresh each afternoon while he charms each table and proudly tells each guest about his wife’s amazing creations. We had the best pasta ever and got really lucky to be squeezed into an unexpectedly open table after being told the restaurant was booked full for the evening (tip: make a reservation!)
- Choosy Juicebar: I had a bit of a cold during our trip thanks to airplane germs and was desperate for a fix to make myself feel better and the gals at Choosy Juicebar near our apartment were SO helpful. Their apple, ginger, carrot juice recommendation was really fresh and delicious and helped make me feel better immediately.
- Charli: A little bit of Paris in Brussles with amazing croissants and freshly baked bread. This hip little bakery is a perfect spot to grab a quick breakfast and a cup of coffee before heading out for a full day exploring.
- Cafe Velvet: I’m a bit of a coffee fiend, especially when jet lag is involved and Cafe Velvet had the best coffee we had in Brussels. Their Colombian coffee was really smooth and delicious, with great preparation and the cafe’s atmosphere made for the perfect spot to take a break from the cold and recharge.
- Bar Bik: Classic Belgian food in a really cozy environment! We had dinner here on our first night in Brussels and had great service and an amazing meal for a really reasonable price. Don’t miss their steak frites!
- Noordzee: Fresh seafood without the fuss! We found ourselves at Nordzee for lunch after I was on a mission to get some mussels – don’t let the seafood counter ordering and outdoor seating fool you, their fish is all so fresh and delicious. Don’t miss the crab burger and mussels, preferably paired with a glass of champagne.
To Do & See: Brussels had European charm for days and really reminded me a lot of Paris with its architecture and city structure. I really love European cities because there’s a ton to do and see, but they’re also manageable within only a few days which means you can really pack a lot into a short trip without feeling like you missed out. Our favorites:
- Grand Place: One of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen! The Grand Place is Brussels’ central square and is full of stunning architecture, including the city’s town hall. Since we were there during the start of the holiday season they had it all decked out for Christmas and I’d absolutely love to visit again one year in August when they have the flower carpet set up.
- Live Music at Le Botanique: I stumbled upon Le Botanique on accident after a show in San Francisco of a band I really like, Børns sold out before I could grab tickets and I found out they were playing in Brussels while we’d be there. Le Botanique is a really unique, intimate music venue in what previously was the National Botanic Garden of Belgium (and the acoustics in there are incredible!).
- Mannekin Pis Statue: Elise surprised me by having Mannekin Pis as her one main request for Brussels and we ended up cracking up at the silly little fountain statue of a boy peeing, with a line of tourists all wanting to snap a photo with their mouth open at just the right angle so it looked like the water was going into their mouths. While he was in all of his naked glory while we were there, the city dresses him up several times a year!
- Place des Martyrs: We stumbled upon Place des Martyrs while wandering around the city on our first evening and I was immediately taken back to Paris. After a little research and Googling we learned about the significance of this spot to the Belgian Revolution and the fierce battle that took place right where we were standing (with 400 heroes of the revolution buried below! Kind of creepy)
- Day Trip to Brugge: Although our trip was short we knew we had to take the train to Brugge after so many people recommended the city as one of their all-time favorite places in Europe, and it did not disappoint. Brugge was just an hour from Brussels and was one of the most charming places I’ve ever been, with beautiful architecture, windy cobblestone streets and really great shopping.
Have you ever been to Brussels? Stay tuned for more about our trip and time in Amsterdam!
This post was sponsored by Uber and as always, all opinions are 100% honest and my own – authenticity is a top priority and I only partner with brands I truly love. Thank you for supporting the brands that partner with Pretty & Fun!