When we’re traveling between destinations we always look for opportunities to stay on the way. Short stopovers are a perfect opportunity to squeeze in another city on a trip. We love house sitting so that’s the mode of accommodation we opt for a lot. House sitting assignments are often in cities off the tourist trail. So, when we have a gap between assignments we coordinate our travels to include more popular tourist destinations.
We are just finishing a house sit in Belgium and have a few days before we start our next one in northern France. Our challenge is to make the most of that time and do so affordably! Brussels is on the way, so we planning an action packed stopover. We have 48 hours in Brussels.
Here is how we’ll make the most of a quick trip.
We’ll stay central with Motel One
Having only a short time in Brussels, we want to stay right in the middle of everything we want to see and do. Like most popular tourist destinations, it means staying in the center of the city.
Central hotels can be very expensive so we always look to book the places we know offer the best value for money. A hotel brand we know that offers incredible value is Motel One. We had the pleasure of staying at one of their hotels for a quick stay in Manchester. We were blown away by the location, service, and amenities they offered for such a reasonable price!
Lucky for us they have a location in central Brussels. It’s a no-brainer, that’s where we’re going to stay. Staying at Hotel Brussels Motel One will save us time and money without compromising on comfort or convenience, the most important things to save on for a quick trip.
We’ll choose tours and attractions that represent the best of Brussels
Brussels has so much to offer visitors. But, we don’t want to waste any of our limited time or money on this quick trip so we’ll see and do the things that Brussels does best. We’ve made our choices based on TripAdvisor reviews, advice from fellow travelers, and local recommendations. Our list is comprised of a mix of all the things we think best represent each destination we visit.
A food and/or drink tour– Belgium is best known for two of our favorite things, beer, and chocolate. The good news is, Brussels has a top rated tour that allows us to taste best of both and see some of the city too!
- We’ve heard The Beer and Chocolate Tour by The Brussels Journey provides guests with delicious samples of Belgium’s two national treasures. It is the #1 food and drink tour in Brussels on TripAdvisor and boasts five stars with over 200 excellent reviews.
Indulge in local customs– Eating food locals love is our favorite way to learn about a culture. We will have two of Belgium’s gastronomical specialties covered with the beer and chocolate tour but there are other tasty foods that the people of Brussels enjoy- waffles and fries… Yummmmmm.
And we will eat waffles; Belgian, French, with toppings, and without. I only hope I can find some gluten free. The other local favorite, frites (fries) cooked in beef fat will be a better pick for me. No wheat in potatoes or beef fat! This post, “21 Spots in Brussels That Will Make your Mouth Water” seems like a good place to find some great places to eat frites and waffles in Brussels.
Iconic architecture and awesome street art- Brussels has a diverse culture and that is apparent in the food, language and the city’s eclectic appearance. It is loaded with art and incredible historic architecture.
- The Grand Place, the central square of Brussels is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is considered Brussels most important tourist site and we look forward to seeing the mix of Baroque, Gothic, and Louis XIV facades it’s renowned for.
- In stark contrast, Brussels is also home to numerous modern street art installations. we are going to hunt down as many as we can during our 48 hours in Brussels!
- Then there’s the Atomium, the most unusual structure in Brussels. Built for Expo 58, the futuristic structure is the most popular attraction in Brussels so it’s a priority for us to see as well.
Visit a historic or cultural museum- There is the same diverse mix of museums as there is everything else in Brussels. We are going to concentrate on the ones that interest us most (the most fun for kids). Belgium has a rich comic book history. It is the birthplace of iconic characters like Tin Tin and the Smurfs.
- We plan to check out the Belgian Comic Strip Center to learn about the history of comics in Belgium and see what some of the masters of comic book art are creating today.
- The Museum of Natural Sciences in Brussels is home to the largest gallery of dinosaurs in Europe so we will visit this one for sure.
- And, if we have time, we really want to check out the Museum of the City of Brussels as well. It is housed in a stunning Neo-Gothic building and dedicated solely to the history of Brussels. We want to see the enormous collection of costumes for the city’s beloved Mannequin Pis statue that is preciously preserved there.
We’ll ask experts for advice and save precious time and money
We always pick our priorities before we arrive at a destination for a short stay. But, there is an incredible amount of choices for each of the things we want to experience in Brussels. Whenever we need to narrow down our list we turn to experts to help us pick the best attractions and businesses to visit. The Visit Belgium tourism site helped us learn about gastronomy in Belgium. This helped us curate the list of specialties we want to enjoy this trip. They also supplied us with a list of Brussels most impressive attractions to draw from.
The visit.brussels tourism website helped us refine our list. We also learned about the Brussels Card on their site. The card offers visitors discounts on various attractions and tours, free entry to 30 museums, and free use of Hop on Hop off buses. Our 48 Hour Brussels Cards are going to save us a lot of money during our short stay!
Taking a food tour at the beginning of our stay helps us connect with a local expert. We will ask our guide from The Brussels Journey Beer and Chocolate Tour what their favorite places are in Brussels. House sitting is also another way to tap into hidden gems. Homeowners love to share their insider knowledge with us so we’ll take their advice as well.
What are your favorite ways to make the most of a quick trip? Please share your tips and advice in the comments below.
Featured image by Dennis Jarvis via Flickr