It may be the administrative capital of the EU, but Brussels is no bureaucratic bore. With roughly two-thirds of its inhabitants originating from all corners of the globe, this uniquely multicultural melting pot offers distinct ethnic neighbourhoods, including a buzzing Chinatown and a North African quarter. If you need more reasons to travel to Brussels from Glasgow Airport, there are also over 90 world-class museums, plus fantastic shopping and impressive art nouveau buildings.
The must-see sights
The focal point of the city is the cobbled Le Grand Place (Grote Markt), which started out as a marketplace in medieval times but now features magnificent Gothic and Baroque-style buildings alongside classic cafes from which you can watch the world go by. Climb the tower of the Gothic Hôtel de Ville and enjoy a birds-eye view over the city; close by is the iconic Mannekin Pis statue, an obligatory stop on any tourist trail.
When in Brussels
If you’re after high-end brands, Avenue Louise is the equivalent of Paris’ Champs-Elysées. Place du Grand Sablon is home to some of the world’s finest chocolatiers – such as Neuhaus, the inventor of praline (Rue Lebeau 79) and Pierre Marcolini (Rue des Minimes 1), the top choice for cocoa connoisseurs. And of course we haven’t forgotten the beer. Head to Moeder Lambic (Rue de Savoie 68) to enjoy an unbeatable selection of more than 400 Belgian beers, or hang out with friendly locals at the unpretentious Daringman (37 rue de Flandre).
Tintin, trumpets and terrace bars
For a culture fix, start with the collection of art museums making up the Musees Royaux des Beaux Arts (Rue de la Régence 3). The Belgian Comic Strip Center (Rue des Sables 20) celebrates the city’s numerous artists and characters, the most famous of which has to be Tintin. The Musical Instruments Museum (Rue Montagne de la Cour 2) features over 1,000 musical instruments from around the world and a charming rooftop terrace bar.