A Girl’s Guide to Brussels, Belgium

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With gothic architecture, delicious waffles and chocolate everything—there’s little not to like about traveling through Brussels solo. Except maybe the weight you’ll gain after a visit here (I swear I gained 5 pounds in 2 days).

Like most of modern Europe, women traveling alone through Brussels likely won’t encounter any problems when it comes to safety and there’s no dress code you need to be aware of here while exploring, though all travelers should be wary of pickpockets that turn up in the Grand Place.

Be careful with drinking here and be sure to know your limits and how you’ll get back to your hotel: the beer flows quickly and continually while in Brussels.

Here are our highlights of Brussels, Belgium and our favorite places to stay when you’re traveling Brussels solo.

See

The Mannequin Pis

It’s kind of weird that one of the main attractions in Brussels is a small bronze statue of a little kid peeing, into a fountain, but hey, it is. Located at the junction of Rue de l’Étuve/Stoofstraat and Rue du Chêne/Eikstraat, but you can probably find it just by walking through downtown and looking for where crowds are gathering.

Grand Place

It’s the city’s main attraction for good reason—a UNESCO World Heritage site and a stunning main market square with cobblestone streets and tall, stunning buildings anywhere you look. Being in the main square of Brussels is still one of my most favorite memories of Europe, and there are several cafes here for you to grab a seat and enjoy the views.

Mini-Europe

Take a whirlwind tour of Europe at Mini-Europe, which houses reproductions of monuments found throughout the European Union. In total, the park represents 80 cities and 350 monuments. It’s kind of weird, but in a good way.

Atomium

This molecule-shaped stainless steel structure has become the symbol of Brussels and though it’s a little outside of the city, it’s worth a visit for the views of the city itself.

Stay

The Hotel Brussels: A great option if you’re traveling Brussels solo. Close to downtown with clean rooms, great views and a luxe feel. Hotel has a sauna, spa and hammam and is also not very far from the airport (15 mins), which makes its location ideal.

Rocco Forte Hotel Amigo: 5-star rooms in a gorgeous building literally in the main square of Brussels, the Grand Place. If you want to be in the heart of everything, look no further!

9Hotel Sablon: 9Hotel Sablon is set in a quiet area of Brussels just over a 5-minute walk from both Grand Place and the Manneken Pis Statue. It features free WiFi and free international newspapers. Comfortable and immaculately clean, we also like this property for their Finnish sauna and whirlpool.

Eat

Neuhaus
For chocolate and pralines, look no further than Neuhaus, which started it all. Over 150 years ago this place was an apothecary that coated its medicine in chocolate to mask the taste. The chocolate became such a draw that the business model changed—now all you’ll find here is the sweet stuff.

Pro tip: If chocolate is what you’re after, take a stroll over to Sablon, where all the big chocolatiers have a shop. It’s a little less crowded than what you’ll find near the Grand Place.

Maison Dandoy
If waffles make your heart sing, head to Maison Dandoy at 4 Place Stephanie, 1050 Ixelles. It’s one of the oldest waffle houses in the country, and still uses all-natural ingredients for its yummy offerings.

Fin de Siècle
If you’re in the mood for food, check out Fin de Siècle, one of the best restaurants in Brussels. You’ll find heavy, delicious Belgian cuisine here, which is exactly what you want—you’re in Belgium, after all! Get there early, there’s always a line and they don’t take reservations.

What are your favorite things to see and do in Brussels? 

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About Author

Kelly Lewis is the founder of Go! Girl Guides, Go! Girl Adventures and creator of the Women's Travel Festival. She loves traveling and aims to inspire and empower women of all ages to get out there!

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