Top Trending Attractions in gay BRUSSELS 2020

Brussels, “Capital of Europe” – it sounds modern, thrusting and perhaps a little soulless. But Brussels is none of these things. Instead it is a city on a human and eminently manageable scale (virtually all you want to see and visit is within walking distance), in touch with its medieval origins, and tweaked by its own distinct, rough-edged character and bubbling conviviality.

1. Magritte Museum (Musée Magritte)

Belgium’s most loved surrealist, René Magritte, now has the 26,000 square foot (2,400 square meter) Musée Magritte dedicated to his works. In 1926 Magritte was a founding member of the Belgian Surrealists group. His works play with contrasts intended to shake the intellect.

The museum opened in 2009 and houses over 250 artworks and archival pieces. His trademark motifs of bowler hats, birds and the female torso appear in many favorite works including Sky Bird and Empire of Light.

An afternoon at the museum gives an interesting insight into Brussels from the 1920s to the 1960s and the cultural movements that shaped the city.

Magritte’s paintings are said to have influenced the ‘pop’ artists including Andy Warhol and later Jasper Johns.

2. Manneken Pis

The Manneken Pis, a bronze fountain statue by Jerome Duquesnoy, dates from 1619 when it replaced a stone statue from the 1400s. The residents of Brussels have embraced this diminuitive statue of a small boy urinating into a fountain as a symbol of their irreverence.

There are many stories behind the Manneken Pis with most either referring to a young boy urinating on a fire/explosive device thus saving the city from destruction by invading armies or the lost son of a nobleman who was later found urinating in a fountain.

Mannekin Pis is an inconspicous city emblem. He’s tucked away at the corner of rue de l’Étuve and rue du Chêne in Ilôt Sacré. From Grand-Place take the street to the left of the Town Hall and walk for three blocks, he is on the left. Keep an eye out as he is only 18 inches (45 centimeters) tall and if there’s not a crowd you might miss him!

3. Grand-Place

Europe’s most picturesque square, Grand-Place is surrounded by baroque and gothic guildhalls and the stunning 315 foot (96 meter) Brussels Town Hall. The stunning buildings in this UNESCO World Heritage site date mainly from the late 17th century.

Grand Place is also known in Dutch as Grote Markt as it was the large central market in Brussels. The surrounding streets still bear the names of the stalls that lined the street: Rue des Bouchers (butchers) and Peperstraat (pepper merchants).

Every second year, in August, the square is filled with an enormous flower carpet. A million begonias are used to create a stunning pattern. Concerts and music recitals are held here throughout the year.

4. Brussels Royal Palace

Although the Royal family no longer call the Royal Palace (or Palais Royal Bruxelles) home, it is where the King and Queen still have their offices and the King carries out his duties as the head of state. The building also houses state rooms where large receptions are held and also living quarters for visiting dignitaries.

The Palace was built in 1775 on the site of the former Coudenberg Palace which was built in the 11th and 12th centuries, but burnt to the ground in 1731.

Over summer the Palace is open to the public. On show are fantastic State Rooms like the Goya Room with its Goya inspired tapestries, the imposing Throne Room with bas-reliefs by Rodin and the well-preserved 18th century Large White Room. The Mirror Room is a highlight with an artwork by Jan Fabre involving the carapaces of a million Thai gem beetles stuck to the ceiling.

5. Herge Museum

Belgium has produced more comic-strip creators than any other country, and one of the world’s favorite comic characters flowed from the pen of Georges Remi, who breathed life into Tintin and his trusty terrier Snowy in 1927 under the name Hergé.

Tintin’s outlandish adventures are published in over 70 languages, and more than 200 million copies of all 24 titles have been sold around the world. Hergé is now commemorated at his own museum just outside Brussels.

The Musée Hergé is about 20 miles (30 km) southeast of Brussels in Louvain-la-Neuve and is accessible by public transport, shuttle bus or special tour. Admission is €9.50 (€7 for students and seniors), and opening hours are Tuesday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. and weekends until 6 p.m.

6. Sablon District

The Sablon District is a neighborhood in Brussels that was once home to the city’s elite. In the 15th century, the Church of Our Blessed Lady of the Sablon was rebuilt, and it later became the site of royal baptisms. The district began to expand during this time, and more nobles began to call it their home. Soon it was the richest part of the city. In the 19th century, the area was transformed when Rue de la Régence split the Sablon District into two sections. At the beginning of the 20th century, the district began to decline, but in recent years it has become hip again.

Today you can stroll through the cobbled streets of the Sablon District and soak up a little history. Antique and art lovers can enjoy the galleries during the week and find treasures at antique markets on the weekends. The district has also become the perfect place to find Belgian chocolates from names like Godiva, Wittamer, Pierre Marcolini and more. Treat yourself to a nice meal at one of many restaurants in the area, have drinks with friends in the evening, or enjoy a night of dancing.

7. Mini-Europe

If you’ve only got a few days in Brussels, make a speedy tour of the major sights of the countries in the European Union at Mini-Europe—all in miniature. Among the 350 detailed models exhibited here, the architectural highlights featured include the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, the canals of Venice and the Acropolis; they’re all there in carefully replicated models.

Mini-Europe is in the Bruparck in north-west Brussels. The metro stop is Heysel. Opening hours are 9.30am-6pm, open until 8pm in summer. The park is closed between January and mid-March.

8. Atomium

This alien-looking and vast silvery sculpture near the Bruparck was created in 1958 for the Expo 58 and represents a iron molecule magnified 165 billion times. A mesh of nine corridors leading to nine giant spheres, it was destined to be demolished after the exhibition but proved such a hit with the Bruxellois that it was reprieved and has become a national icon.

Reaching up to 335 feet (102 m) the Atomium underwent a much-needed and rigorous facelift in the early 2000s; the spheres were originally made of an aluminum skin but this has been replaced by stainless steel. An elevator shoots up the central column to the five spheres that are currently open to the public; three provide a permanent record of Expo 58 and two host temporary interactive art and science displays.

The highest sphere stands at 300 feet (92 m) above the ground and now has a glass roof, allowing 360° views across the Heysel Plain towards Brussels; on a clear day Antwerp’s cathedral spire can be spotted on the horizon. This level is also home to Atomium Restaurant, which serves brasserie-style dishes with the finest views in Belgium. At night all nine orbs are illuminated with nearly 3,000 twinkling lights.

9. Brussels Chocolate Tour

Learn about the history of Brussels and its love affair with chocolate on a 4-hour walking tour led by a guide.

Walk past the Royal Palace and Art Nouveau architecture and stop in exclusive chocolate boutiques for tastings as you go.

After sampling truffles, pralines and more, attend a chocolate-making workshop where you’ll learn the secrets behind the sweets.

Recommended Hotels in Brussels

Most of Brussels’ gay life centres around the Rue du Marché au Charbon (or Kolenmarkt – Brussels and its street names are bilingual: French and Flemish). We have chosen hotels within easy walking distance of the gay scene.

Forte Hotel Amigo
5 Star Luxury Option

Rocco Forte Hotel Amigo

Elegant rooms with designer features, on the corner of Grand Place with an award-winning restaurant in a picturesque historic setting.

Brussels – Grand Place
5 Star Readers Choice

Warwick Brussels

2-minute walk from the Grand-Place and Brussels Central Station. It features free access to the fitness centre and sauna and close to the bars.

Hotel Grand Place
4 Star Perfect Location

Hotel Grand Place

The Brussels Marriott Hotel is only 50 m from Bourse Metro Station. Rue Neuve shopping street can be found 850 m from the hotel.

Hotel Agora Brussels
3 Star Beautiful interior

Hotel Agora Brussels

Opening in April 2016, Hotel Agora Brussels Grand Placer is housed in a historical Brussels building dating from 1696

Get the Gay Travel Monthly Update!

Gay Travel Newsletter

Get the latest Gay Travel News Each Month

Brussels Apartment Deals