BRUSSELS – ENJOY LIFE AT THE CENTRE OF EUROPE
Lying at the crossroads of Europe, lively Brussels unites past and present in a dynamic melting pot of cultures. Stay at the exclusive Radisson Blu EU Hotel or the elegant Radisson Blu Royal Hotel. Use them as a base to admire the Grand Place, hunt for antiques at the Grand Sablon end explore the life of Tintin. Don’t forget to enjoy crispy waffles, fresh mussles and other classics from Belgium's world-renowned cuisine!
Whether it be for a family holiday or a romantic getaway, here at Radisson Blu we have the right hotel to meet your needs. Refined, chic and contemporary, the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel is the ideal place to relax after a day of touring the attractions. Brussels is first and foremost the city of design, daring and creativity. Newly refurbished in Art Deco style, topped with a magnificent glasshouse roof, the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel ticks all of these boxes. You will find that it bears the hallmarks that Radisson Blu holds dear: spacious, comfortable rooms, flavourful food and personnel who really look after you so that you have an unforgettable stay.
A historical town
Present since the 10th century, Brussels owes its development to the boom in the serge industry and to the emergence of a trading community as early on as the 13th century. This is how the town came to be graced with opulent architecture. Then came a decline which only stopped when the industrial revolution came along. Belgium was then occupied in turn by the Austrians, the Dutch and the French, which accounts for its cultural diversity. The 19th century brought renewal for the Belgian capital, which saw its population, wealth and influence increase considerably. But Brussels was again invaded in the two world wars, a period which left it traumatised. To help heal this scarring, the town took a gamble on development, to the point of becoming the crossroads of Europe that it is today.
Getting acquainted with the capital of Europe
Brussels has turned its multiculturalism into a wealth of variety and a source of inspiration. Perhaps this is why the town is so welcoming. From one district to another, and sometimes from one street to another, a trendy atmosphere can give way to medieval façades and to the proud Art Deco-style houses of the Ixelles and Saint-Gilles districts. A walk through Brussels is a walk back in time and around the world. An extraordinary experience enjoyable for young and old alike! Open your eyes, there something interesting everywhere you look. But keep all of your senses alert, as the lunchtime market is fragrant with mint and saffron, whilst the many fried food trucks throughout the city tempt you to break for a bite to eat.
The crossroads of Europe, easy to get to by train from a number of capital cities like Paris, London and Amsterdam, Brussels is a French-speaking city located in the heart of the Flemish region. Although both languages are used, 85% of Brussels people speak French. Brussels carries this bilingualism, its European influence and the great diversity of its residents harmoniously. This mix is what gives it such authentic charm and makes it an attractive town at any time of year. Despite a relatively wet climate, you can visit Brussels all year round. Note also that the Belgian capital has good public transports links, though its user-friendly size makes it very pleasant to explore on foot.
What better way to get to know the Belgian capital than watching the sun burst out from behind the Gothic façades of the Grand-Place, before heading towards the famous Manneken-Pis? Located near the heart of the city, the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel in Brussels will allow you to start your Brussels escapade in the best possible way. Walk through the opulent labyrinthine arcades that are the Saint-Hubert royal galleries, which will take you through to the impressive cathedral. Continue east to the city park, where you can watch an entertaining performance. Enriched with a thousand influences, having inherited a history going back a thousand years and with a modern current running through it, Brussels is a wonderful city and it offers stunningly diverse architecture.
A huge choice of museums
The capital of Europe is an ode to culture and diversity, and this is reflected in its museums. Of course, we recommend that you drop in to the Mont des Arts, and in particular the Magritte Museum, to get a glimpse of the artist's surreal world. Brussels is brimming with museums, each more fascinating than the last. We also recommend, among others, the Museum of Musical Instruments, with its surprising architecture and its 1,200 rare pieces, the Horta house, the residence of the famous Belgian architect and disciple of Art Nouveau, and finally the Belgian Comic Strip centre and its superb collection of works on this, the 9th art form.
Walking in the gardens
Brussels being a city which has preserved its gardens, we suggest a walk in the heart of the parks. Start with the Jardin du Mont des Arts, a true green transition which leads towards the old town. Then move on to the square du Petit-Sablon to take in its Gothic style. Continue to the Parc de Bruxelles, ringed by the Palais du Roi, then the Parc de Laeken with its exotic plants. Finish off with the garden of the Chinese Pavilion Chinois and the Japanese Tower on the edge of the Laeken property: enchanting escapism!
A highly colourful market
Sunday morning in Brussels has to start with walk around the flea market at place du Jeu de Balle, in the heart of the Marolles district. It's a real institution! Tintin is to be found in this very place in Le Secret de la licorne. This is the place to browse, rummage, pick up bargains, and more than anything stroll between the narrow streets of the pretty square in a good-natured atmosphere. After this vintage shopping spree, get your strength back with a traditional breakfast served in one of the cafés around the edge of the market.
Brussels' gastronomy could be described as indulgent and daring. Between tradition and modernism, Brussels has managed to make a name for itself on the European culinary market, even though it is very demanding. The Radisson Blu Royal Hotel in Brussels is in keeping with this tradition, since we have not one but two excellent restaurants, including the Sea Grill, an outstanding gastronomic establishment with one Michelin star. Michelin-starred restaurants are not the only premium ones. During your stay, you will have the chance to stop in one of Brussels' gourmet bistros, serving traditional waterzooï, a dish based on fish or chicken with a fresh take on international influences. Also, don't hesitate to try the street food, for which Brussels is ranked among the world's top 10 cities. Whatever you choose, you can be sure of having a delightful taste experience.
In Brussels, brewing is raised to a fine art, and the city is brimming with temples of beer, or rather beers, so wide is the range of choices! So don't hesitate to get off the beaten track and discover new flavours of this beverage, which dates back thousands of years, in specialised bars. Two establishments (Cantillon in Anderlecht and the Senne in Molenbeek) offer guided tours of their breweries and will be at pains to show you that in Belgium, the description “artisan” is not to be taken lightly.
The Belgian capital is also about sweet offerings. In the streets of Brussels, stop to enjoy an indulgent waffle or nibble on a delicious cinnamon spéculoos from Dandoy. You will also be able to share a cramique, a kind of traditional sugar and raisin brioche. Whatever you do, don't forget to taste the famous “haute couture” chocolates from one of the town's many artisan chocolate shops. The Belgians are highly skilled at this, and every narrow street in Brussels is truly enchanting, as much for the eyes as for the taste buds.
Having long trailed behind the student town of Bruges, Brussels by night is making a comeback with a vengeance. Here, no self-respecting party starts without a “nice beer”. So head to Saint-Géry and its long-standing trendy cafés, the heights of Ixelles or Flagey, a few blocks away from the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, to surrender yourself gently to Brussels' touch of madness. Then, head on to one of the town's trendy nightclubs to get a full sense of the capital's night life
In the heart of Brussels, near the tourist attractions and the entertainment districts, your Radisson Blu Royal Hotel Brussels is also ideally located for you to explore the beautiful Flemish region outside the city. About half an hour away lies Waterloo, a small town full of history and symbolism. It is worth going the extra distance to visit Waterloo, for its wonderful museum that charts so well the history of the battle that would bring down Napoleon. As you climb up the hill, just after the museum, you will be able to gaze at the “morne plaine” (“gloomy plain”) where the history of all of Europe was determined. Note also that there are often re-enactments of the battle in June. A breathtaking show!
The pretty Flemish town of Gand
Often overlooked in favour of its neighbours Bruges and Brussels 35 minutes away, Gand is a charming town edged with canals which give it a very romantic atmosphere. Gand is an unsung city which deserves to be better known for its belfry, its château des Comtes, its medieval district of Patershol, its walks through the little pontoons or for its jazz evenings. If you come in July, don't miss the Gentse Feesten, a superb ten-day festival that combines music, performing arts and good cheer.
A trip to Tintin country
Belgium would not be Belgium without this famous comic strip character! In Louvain-la-Neuve, 30 minutes from Brussels, lies the Hergé Museum. Wonderfully designed, it will take you down narrow corridors for immersion into the enthralling world of this most singular of adventurers. You will be able to learn more about Belgium's most famous reporter through over 80 original comic strips, and also 800 photos and other documents. A must-see, for sure!
A bike ride
The Region of Brussels has redeveloped its outskirts to surround them with a green path that goes through a great many parks. Truly acting as a lung for the city and a country path for all kinds of walkers, this 60-kilometre green belt traces a ring around the capital. You will see Brussels and its surroundings in a completely different light. Don't hesitate to stop at one of the green spaces along the way for a family picnic. Several bicycle rental points in Brussels railway station will allow you to participate in the joys of cycling, the sport of sports in Belgium.