The Brussels Journey beer & chocolate tour
Do this first! We actually saved this tour for the end of our time in Belgium and I wish I had done it when we landed in the city. Not only will it get you acquainted with the layout of the twisty town, but it will give you excellent recommendations of places to go back to. This expert walking tour starts you off visiting six delectable chocolatiers, each more intriguing than the next. You will try 100% chocolate (tasted like ash to me and I love dark chocolate), the fanciest morsels in the sweetest shops and elegant squares of delightful chocolate bites all while walking past historical sights and contemporary street art. This was a nice warm up, but the real treat is the beer portion of the tour. We began by sipping suds in the oldest tavern in the city. Imagine drinking variety of old and new beers in the tiny upstairs room of a tavern from the 1600’s! It magical! You will stop at two other locations and enjoy history and new friendships over the best Belgians and nibbles. This was hands-down the best thing we did in Brussels! Find out about all of their tours here.
Brunch at Debailleul
You will want to find a reason to linger at the Grand Place (the elaborate city center); there’s just so much to take in! Get in out of the cold and enjoy avocado toast and coffee at Debailleul. We discovered this unbelievable place on our chocolate tour. The space feels like stepping into a Wes Andersen film with a dash of Alice in Wonderland. It has billowing salmon-pink ceilings with deep green velvet chairs and gold accents. This Belgian chocolate brand was founded by a French chef and they have locations in Brussels and Japan, which makes it feel like you are sharing a whimsy secret with a select few people in this world.
Go inside the Atomium
This is the place to be on New Year’s Eve! If you can brave the cold… This international symbol of Brussels was built for the 1958 World’s Fair and remains a funky time capsule that is worth going in! The trademark spheres transport you into futuristic light shows, a museum documenting the construction of the Atomium and incredible views of the city. There is even a restaurant at the top. It may seem cheesy, but it’s worth visiting while out and about, plus it’s an epic photo op.
Sip champagne in a dome tent
Not that you need an added excuse to go to the Christmas Market one more time, but champagne can keep you surprisingly warm! No matter what your beverage of choice, there is a tent for it. Grab a beer or hot mulled wine to go along with your hot cheesy potatoes to keep you warm as you shop and stroll for the full European Christmas experience.
Stroll the Saint-Hubert Royal Galleries
This arcade of shoppes predates the better-known galleries from Italy and Russia and is a dazzling array of fine stores and chocolatiers. As a matter of fact, I decided to purchase a box of Belgian chocolates from the “Chanel of Chocolates,’ Pierre Marcolini and they almost made it the entire flight home. It is especially lovely to take in the ornate shop windows during Christmastime.