A Long Weekend Exploring Belgium

The evening I’m starting to write my first post of 2016, it’s Sunday 3rd January. Having just arrived home off the Euro tunnel Le Shuttle after the best Christmas break/ New Year’s trip away with my family in Belgium. We travelled on New Year’s Eve for a 3 night break in the beautiful 5* Hotel Metropole Brussels. Having visited Belgium several times through my childhood visiting family friends and visiting where my Grandparents used to live I knew what to expect and couldn’t wait to go re-visit. I hadn’t been away for New Year’s before so this was also an exciting prospect!


1 hours drive from the euro tunnel in France and we arrived for an afternoon pick me up in beautiful Brugge shown below. To my joy, all Christmas markets were still up and running so I spent a wonderful afternoon exploring the town centre buildings, shops, market stalls and cobbled streets. I fell in love with the place and was reluctant to leave after my first Belgium waffle of the trip in the “Haagen-Dazs Cafe” in the market square.

 1 more hours drive along the crazy Belgium high ways and we arrived into Brussels. Exactly how I remember it from nearly 10 years ago; beautiful big architectural buildings, cobbled streets and sparkling Christmas lights. Upon checking into the most breath taking hotel right in the centre of the city I was straight off to explore shown in the pictures below.

Still decorated so Christmassy I was glad to feel that my festivities weren’t over just yet! My entire trip was so relaxing and enjoyable, being a tourist around the city, exploring restaurants, shops and attractions. I really tried to relax on my 4 days off from the gym and enjoy the food that Belgium has to offer (chocolates, waffles and frites!? Yikes!). However, I was walking more than 15,000 steps a day minimum according to my Fit Bit and with the New Year’s celebrations what better excuse to enjoy yourself. I knew Monday I was back to work, routine and having a really busy week so this was great motivation for me to work extra hard having had 4 days off from my normal life.

It really added to the luxury of a city break staying in a great hotel. The buffet breakfast was the best I have ever experienced with smoked salmon, eggs of every kind, freshly baked breads and fruits on offer every morning! However, as a tea lover this site was the most exciting each morning:

A DIY tea station with a huge selection of teas, personal tea pots, milk jugs and the eye catching hot water dispenser.

And along side this to really feel like a high flyer I of course ordered room service (only twice). And was greeted with this:

Heavenly!

Below I have included my TOP 10 THINGS TO DO in Belgium over the Winter months with some pictures to go alongside:  

1. Stop in Brugge and visit the Christmas markets – or even better, enjoy an ice skating session in the open air rink in the market square.
2. Explore the buildings and surrounding of the Grand Place, Brussel’s City Centre and a little light shopping around the area.
3. Hand pick some Belgium chocolates from one of the thousands of chocolates shops and enjoy a waffle from a local stall or cafe!
4. Visit the iconic tourist spot of the “Atomium“. The queues are long and tickets are expensive so just to visit and admire the creation is enough. The surrounds are also beautiful, and is another great spot for a walk.
5. Visit “Mini Europe”. I didn’t know this existed until my most recent trip this year; the park is a long walk of miniature sculptures of Europe’s most famous landmarks and is simply fantastic for a 14.50EURO ticket.
6. Step out of the city to explore the Royal Museum for Central Africa; Belgium has some wonderful museums, others include the motor museum “Autoworld”, and an armed forces museum, however, the Congo is my personal favourite.
7. Just outside the museum and you are entering the beautiful Tervuren Park. Take a stroll and enjoy the amazing scenery – it’s one of my most favourite spots in Europe and the perfect place for a peaceful run.
8. Take a trip on the amazingly run tram system of the city and the metro, similar to our London underground and feel like a local. You will be impressed, it’s also a great way to see the city.
9. You cannot visit Brussels without strolling down the cobble street off the Grand Place to see the Manneken Pis! Probably best to buy a keyring/magnet of the sculpture too.
10. If you are feeling brave when ready to go out for dinner then try “Rue des Bouchers“. The battle of 20 restaurants back to back to get you to eat there is intimidating, confusing and a little annoying, but it’s all good fun! They all offer nearly the same food so once the excitement is over you are guaranteed a good meal at a good price and most importantly the biggest portion of fresh frites!
In addition to this my favourite stop of the trip was a little place easily missed off the corner of the Grand Place, “Cave de Roy” and a cave it was! I’m assuming it was once a wine cellar. Here we had our New Year’s Eve celebration meal and spent most of the evening enjoying the wonderful food and service from the loveliest waiters.

2. Blue Skies over Grand Place buildings
2. Enjoying the Grand Place on New Year’s Day
4. Atomium
3. Chocolate Shops!

5. Below some of the amazing scenes from the Mini Europe; West Minster Abbey, Brussels Square, and  a view from the entrance where you can spot the Eiffel tower.

1KG of Mussels at my favourite spot “Cave De Roy” on New Year’s eve.

IMG_0285

Final evening celebrations @ The Drug Opera.

Thanks for reading. xo

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