Brussels Town Hall is an intricate Gothic marvel that forms the focal point of Brussels' iconic Grand Place and is easily one of the city's most lavish civic buildings. The Town Hall was chiefly designed by two architects: the left wing by Jacques van Thienen in 1402, and the right wing by Jean van Ruysbroeck in 1445-1450. The two rear wings were added much later in 1712 but were designed in harmony with the architectural style of the original, L-shaped building. The exterior walls of the Town Hall feature numerous statues that depict saints, nobles, and other figures, each a vivid image of the people they represent. Uniting these efforts is the striking and exquisite Gothic tower at the center topped by a statue of St. Michael, the patron saint of Brussels. Inside, the elegant rooms are decorated with tapestries and paintings from the 16th, 17th and 18th Centuries. Brussels Town Hall is an arresting sight, especially when lit up at night.
With its stately facade, opulent interiors and lush, formal gardens, the Royal Palace is a fitting abode for the offices of the King and Queen of Belgium. The individual rooms are lavishly adorned with crystal chandeliers, gilded details, antique furniture, exquisite artwork, and detailed carvings. Of special note is the artwork that adorns the ceiling of the Mirror Room, composed of over a million beetle carapaces inlaid to form intricate designs. Each summer, the palace is opened to the public; a time-honored tradition that grants access to this symbol of Belgium's thriving monarchy.
Created by Engineer André Waterkeyn, and architects André and Jean Polak, for the 1958 World Exhibition, the Atomium is a landmark building inspired by the structure of an atom. To be more precise, the design is based upon the cuboid form of a unit cell of iron crystals, amplified 65 billion times to achieve a total height of 102 meters (335 feet). The nine gleaming spheres are held together by tubes, each sphere representative of one of the nine Belgian provinces. The final effect is that of a mammoth, geometric atom composed entirely of metal. The spheres are encased in stainless steel, and harbor exhibition rooms and other public spaces, while the top-most sphere hosts a restaurant with panoramic views of the city. The connecting tubes accommodate escalators, elevators, and stairways that link the individual spheres to one another.
The Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Koekelberg is the fifth largest church in the world. Situated on the Koekelberg Hill, the church, dedicated to Sacred Heart, draws its inspiration from the one in Paris. The construction of the church started in 1905 under the reign of King Léopold II, but was put on hold during the two World Wars and was not completed until 1970. The huge structure (about 100 feet tall) is made of bricks and terracotta, with two towers on each side of the entrance, and an Art Deco edifice. A sight to behold, the magnificent church is a major religious as well as architectural landmark.
Situated at a short bus ride from the town of Bornem, Kasteel d'Ursel is classic 17th Century European castle that served as the official residence for the dukes of Ursel and their families for more than four hundred years. The elegant interiors and the rooms of the castle are still intact, which one can observe while on tour. Today, this sprawling castle and it's complex has turned into a cultural institution where concerts, festivals and other events are held regularly. Looking for a splendid venue for wedding? Then one can also book the castle for rent and host a grand celebration.
Belgium is world renowned for its beers, and where better to sample them than Brussels? On the four-hour Brussels' Beer Tasting Tour, you'll get to see Brussels' historic center on foot while going between different bars and taverns. Your guide will give you all kinds of information about the history of the city, of Belgian beer and how to taste and appreciate the beers. Your tour includes eight tastes of beer, snacks and cheeses, and a visit of the Royal Puppet Theater Toone.
Stop by to see a debate session in action between EU member countries at the European Union Parliament building. The Parliament is home to the only elected body of the European Union; here, members decide important and pressing legislation that impacts the everyday lives of European Union citizens. Witness firsthand the process of lawmaking, where issues like consumer rights, transportation and civic rights take the stage! If you're interested in politics, stop by here to see how this multilateral body functions!
Erected on the Place des Palais in Brussels, the Academy Palace was commissioned for the Prince of Ornage in the 19th Century. It was later possessed by King Leopold II who transformed it into the Museum of Contemporary Art. Later, additions of the Royal Academy of Medicine and the Royal academy of Science, Humanities and Fine Arts were also made to the structure. The castle was created by Charles Vander Straeten inspired by Neo-Classical design and features many spacious halls with ornate décor. Being a popular tourist spot, guided tours of the premises are organized regularly.
Explore the famous sites of Brussels at your own pace on the Brussels Hop-On, Hop-Off bus tour. In an open-top double decker bus, see and visit sights like the grand Palais Royal or the stunning Parc du Cinquantenaire. You can hop-on and hop-off the bus as often as you want, making your time in Brussels a breeze. You can purchase tickets that are valid for either 24 or 48 hours. A full loop on the bus take about 75 minutes.
The former residence of Van Eetvelde, also called Hôtel van Eetvelde, is a beautiful townhouse that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built by Victor Horta between 1895 and 1898, this house exemplifies the Art Nouveau style that the architect helped establish. Marvel at the narrow building's use of light and curving lines that creates a unique style.
Get ready to explore Belgium on a fun sight seeing tour! You can pick from a variety of tours, including an Art Nouveau & Art Deco Tour, a Waterloo Tour, and the classic Brussels City Tour. Their multilingual guides are both friendly and knowledgeable, ensuring that you'll learn a lot while you have fun.