Picturesque Gardens and Castles in Brussels

Some of Belgium’s most stunning gardens and castles are often located in the heart of the country– the city of Brussels. Although these castles and gardens are no longer home to Belgian kings, queens, princes, and princesses, they still wear the same air of elegance that made them fit for royals.

Today, most of these gardens and castles serve as picture-perfect party venues, tourist spots, and landmarks that give Brussels a unique identity of its own.

Osseghem Park

Osseghem Park

Located near the Atomium and near the heart of the city, Osseghem Park has all the features of a stunning eco-friendly park. It has been used in the past as the venue for many events, concerts, and city presentations. Osseghem Park is perfect for visits, all year round yet, the best time to see it would be from 6:00 AM until 10:00 PM from April 1 until September 30.

Bois de la Cambre

Bois de la Cambre

Found south of Brussels, Bois de la Cambre is a park and a garden retreat that is home to trees, plants and flowers of different kinds. It is the ideal play ground for children and the perfect place to meditate and simply relax, for tourists. Visit Bois de la Cambre from 6:00 AM till 10:oo PM from April 1 to September 30. Admission to the park is free but it can easily get crowded.

Petit Sablon Square

Petite Sablon

Petit Sablon Square is different from all the other parks and gardens you can find in Brussels. It is smaller and its grounds are not only adorned with beautiful flora, ancient structures that boast intricate forms and etchings are scattered all across the park, as well. There’s so much to see in Petit Sablon Square aside from its gardens and Gothic columns.

Most Romantic Honeymoon Apartment in Brusssels

Brussels is more commonly known as a hub for international politics and commerce than a romantic destination but there are actually so many sights and locations in Brussels that would be perfect for newlyweds and couples to visit.

Aside from Brussels’ fair hotels, you could also take your fiancee or spouse to a Brussels apartment and celebrate your new life together, there. If you’re adventurous and want to see more of Brussels, go on a trip to these amazing romantic destinations found only in the heart of Belgium.

Before moving on to the good part, make sure to plan your honeymoon activities ahead. If you plan to stay at a romantic and elegant Brussels apartment, make sure to book ahead of time, preferably a month of two before the “big day”.

Some of the most romantic honeymoon destinations in Brussels include stunning apartments that offer you a picturesque view of the Brussels skyline. If you want to see how Brussels is like early in the morning and at night, reserve a Brussels apartment like ones below:

Brussels apartments

Brussels apartments

Brussels apartments

Brussels Museum of Fantastic Art

Just how fantastic is the art and culture in Brussels? Apparently, fantastic enough for the government to name one museum as the Museum of Fantastic Art.

musee art fantastiqueThe Museum of Fantastic Art was built as a testament to all things odd and mysterious. The exhibits found in this museum range from masks, mummies, alien mock-ups, paintings of monsters, witches and ghouls and other masterpieces that fall within the description of weird, odd, and unique. Located near the Horta museum and other galleries in this side of Brussels, the Museum of Fantastic Art is found in Brussels’ most artistic neighborhood.

The Museum of Fantastic Art has been hailed by many visitors and parents as a very strange attraction in such an elegant and luxurious city but for children who want to witness the odd and macabre, the Museum of Fantastic Art is the place to be. It’s a breath of fresh air and a unique change from all the other museums in Brussels. After all, the museum was founded by artist extraordinaire, Michel Dircken, a butcher by trade.

The museum is located in a small 3-storey building and while this may be an unlikely building for a museum with so much to offer, the Museum of Fantastic Art uses this small area wisely. Each level of the building presents a unique theme. For example, you can find artworks of aliens and UFO’s on one floor, skulls and monsters in another, and surreal pieces in another. Everyday seems to be Halloween when you’re inside the Museum of Fantastic Art and when you leave, you’ll be left with such fantastic memories.

Are you brave enough to come face to face with your greatest fears? Visit the Museum of Fantastic Art on weekends, from May until October 2012. Adults must pay 6 Euros to enter and 4.50 Euros for students. The Museum of Fantastic Art is not covered by the Brussels Pass but make sure to check the Brussels Pass website for changes or updates.

Museum of Fantastic Art
7 Rue Americaine 1060 Brussels
Saturdays and Sundays Only
2:00 PM – 5:00 PM

How to Choose a Brussels Apartment Rental

These eight (8) brief pointers will help you located a fairly comfortable Brussels apartment in Belgium. If you are still choosing from different Brussels apartment rental accommodations, you might land a better deal if the apartment meets any of the qualities below:

1. Not all Brussels apartments have air conditioning units, but even if you end up with an apartment without air conditioning, the weather in Brussels is often favorable and air conditioning might not be necessary. Furthermore, most apartments are equipped with good ventilation systems and fans, in case the cool natural breeze is not enough.

2. It is best to choose an apartment located uptown than it is downtown. Most commercial shops and office establishments are located uptown and it is easier to find parking spaces there than downtown.

3. If you want an apartment that’s quiet and calm and located near residential and partly-commercial areas, choose an apartment located uptown. If you want to be near the ground, or near Grand Place, go for an apartment located downtown or anywhere near the city center. You might need to spend more a downtown apartment though, than an uptown apartment.

4. Your chances of finding a 3-bedroom, 4-bedroom and even a 5-bedroom apartment is higher when you set your sights on the uptown areas of Brussels. Larger apartments located uptown are cheaper, as well.

5. It would be best to book early than to book a few days before your arrival. Apartment rentals in Brussels are highly in-demand because they are cheaper than staying at a hotel where the rates are per person, and not per night.

6. It would be ideal to find an apartment located near the metro so you can easily go to the city center or to other areas around Brussels.

7. If you are already located in Brussels or staying at a hotel with a desire to move out and transfer to an apartment, try to ask the apartment owner if you can see the property personally. It would be best to see the apartment for yourself before moving in so you can see if it is perfect for you and your family.

8. Always consider the amenities offered by the apartment owner. If the amenities are complete and if you find the rates fair, then there’s no doubt about it, you’ve found the right apartment for your stay.

5 Fun Things You Should Do in Brussels

Belgium may be a small country nestled in the heart of Europe but it has so many things to offer to tourists and adventurous people. If you are in Brussels for the first time, make sure to do the following fun activities before leaving the city. Brussels is beautiful but to make your trip more memorable, make sure to immerse yourself in extremely “Belgian” activities.

Number 5: Eat Belgian Chocolate.

Definitely a must-do. Although “Belgian” chocolates are sold in malls, confectionaries and candy shops outside of Belgium, but the best tasting Belgian chocolates you’ll ever come across come from… well, Belgium, of course!

When you get to the heart of Brussels, look for Wittamer or Pierre Marcolini. While you’re at it, make sure to head down to the Chocolate Museum to see more chocolatey creations.

Number 4: See the NATO office and the EU office.

You don’t need strong political leanings to appreciate the buildings where some of the world’s brightest minds meet to discuss international relations and other important economic issues. Make sure to drop by the NATO headquarters or the EU office for a photo-op — and for bragging rights.

Number 3: Walk around Brussels’ most beautiful gardens.

Brussels is a small city, compared to other European capitals but when it comes to gardens and wide, open green spaces, Brussels has a lot of landmarks to offer. While in Brussels, make sure to see the Botanical Gardens, smell the fresh flowers in the Gardens of Laeken, or meditate near the pond in the center of Parc de Woluwe.

Number 2: Join a tour.

If you’re alone on your trip but don’t want to explore Brussels on your own, you could always join a tour group as you go around Brussels. There are hop-on, hop-off tours in Brussels organized by the Brussels City Tours or if you have a few more Euros to spend, get a private tour guide to walk you around Brussels’ best landmarks.

Number 1: Visit the Comic Strip Museum, a building dedicated solely to Tintin, the Smurfs, and other Belgian comic book creations and characters.

Tintin and the Smurfs were both comic book characters before they were drawn and animated by Hannah-Barbera and Cartoon Network. The art of comic book story writing and drawing are two skills practiced by many talented Belgians and if you want to see more comic book creations, head down to the Comic Strip Museum or log on to http://www.cbbd.be/en/home.

There are a lot of things you can do while in Brussels but if you don’t know where to start, start with these common, yet uniquely Belgian, activities.

Events to Watch Out for in Brussels – Part I

Culinaria
31 May 2012 – 03 June 2012
86c Avenue du Port Brussels
1000, Belgium
http://www.culinariasquare.com

When you bring sixteen (16) Michelin-star restaurants and chefs together, you have one of the biggest cooking and foodie events in the world that is sure to go down in history. Culinaria is an annual event that takes place in Tour & Taxis and with popular and highly-skilled chefs as participants, spectators will surely be entertained with the epic food preparations. That’s not all, you could also enjoy gourmet meals prepared by the participating chefs after during the buffet that follows.

To join this event, you need to secure a ticket worth 11-16 Euros for Standard visitors and 75-80 Euros for the VIPs.

Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition
27 May 2012 – 1 June 2013
BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts
23 Rue Ravenstein
1000, Brussels
http://www.b-rail.be

For the music lover in all of us, the Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition that will take place starting 27 May 2012 until 1 June 2013 will surely be a breath of fresh air. This annual event is spearheaded by the BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts and will take place in Brussels Centre for Fine Arts (Palais des Beaux-Arts). This competition features several other minor competitions for pianists, singers, composers, and violinists. Since it is a year long event, you can see the presentations anytime, starting on the 27th of May until next year. The winners of this event will bag 1,500 Euros to 10,000 Euros in prizes.

Brussels Jazz Marathon
25-27 May 2012
Grand Place and over 50 participating venues
http://www.brusselsjazzmarathon.be

The month of May is all about art and expression in Brussels and this month, you may take part in a once-in-a-lifetime Jazz event that will be celebrated throughout the city of Brussels. The Brussels Jazz Marathon is an annual event that is solely dedicated to the performance, talent, and skill of Jazz players and musicians from within Brussels and all across Belgium. The event will take place primarily in Grand Place but every bar, restaurant, and cafe will be playing sweet Jazz music throughout the whole festival. The Brussels Jazz Marathon will be hard to miss so make sure to head down to the nearest restaurant or Grand Place if you want a life Jazz performance. More than 700 local and international artists will be present to play over 200 free shows.

May 19: Zinneke Parade

‘Zinneke’ is a term that holds great significance for many Belgians. Zinneke was once the local word used to describe the river that flowed through Brussels. Later on, the term was used to describe stray dogs of mixed breeds or basically, anyone of mixed heritage. Since Brussels, Belgium is a city that is inhabited by Europeans of mixed Dutch and French heritage, ‘Zinneke’ seems to be a fitting term to describe the uniquely diverse citizens of Brussels.

To commemorate and celebrate the diversity of Brussels, the Zinneke Parade held bi-annually serves as a reminder that, for a country to become prosperous, it must treat its people equally. The Zinneke Parade, which was first held in year 2000, is one event that presents the Dutch and French influences present in Belgium in such a unique way.

Everyone is invited to the Zinneke Parade, especially tourists. Not only is the Zinneke Parade full of dancing, singing, and merrymaking, exhibitions and demonstrations will be part of the celebration, as well. Art exhibitions will be held in some of Brussels’ liveliest venues, artistic performances such as dancing, miming, and singing will also be presented.

Don’t take the Zinneke Parade lightly– it attracts over 300,000 participants and that number grows gradually over the years. The Zinneke Parade may be likened to the 4th of July in the United States or the Bastille Day, in France. It is a grand event that showcases the best of Brussels’ to the rest of the world.

If you’re an artist, demonstrator, dancer, performer, or someone who simply wants to experience Brussels’ exciting and colorful side, the Zinneke Parade might just be the best venue for you to meet and greet with like-minded people.

If you want to join the fun, make sure to take note of the following time and date:

Zinneke Parade
The fun begins on 19 May 2012 at approximately 3:00 PM.

The event is free but some private events may occur on the same date as well. To be extra sure, make sure to inquire before participating in any event on the Zinneke Parade. For more information about this event, head down to http://www.zinneke.org or better yet, book a centrally-located apartment before 19 May 2012.