Brussels is a city that many people find disappointing, even dull. They see it as a city of fast roads and oppressive office buildings, an inhuman place of bureaucrats.
There is another side to Brussels that many people miss because they do not know where to go. This is the Brussels of small cobblestone squares, cafés decorated with mirrors and wood, intimate urban parks and inspiring little shops.
The aim of the Hidden Secrets of Brussels Walks is to show you the whole city, from the grandeur of the Cinquantenaire to the brocante shops in the Marolles. These are walks for inquiring visitors who want to get to the heart of the city.
Each of the walks takes about two hours to complete.
walk 1 the old city
This walk enable you to discover some of the tangled streets and alleys of the lower town. It explains the early history of the city and the importance of geography in shaping the city's identity. It takes you past elegant fashion boutiques and lively cafés and suggests places to eat.
walk 2 the museum quarter
This is a walk that takes you through elegant 19th century arcades and into the arts quarter conceived by Leopold II where several of the city‘s great museums are located.
walk 3 charlotte brontë in brussels
This is a specialised walk for literature lovers that takes you to the streets and buildings that Charlotte Bronte knew intimately during her two year stay in Brussels. In the course of the walk, you learn about 19th century literary life in the Belgian capital as well as Charlotte’s desperate love letters to her Belgian professor.
walk 4 the cinquantenaire park
On this walk, you visit the elegant 19th century squares and streets around the Cinquantenaire Park and learn about Leopold II’s grand projects to create a capital to rival Paris.
walk 5 secrets of the european quarter
This is a walk that explores Brussels role as the capital of Europe. It takes you on a meandering route through the quarter where the European Union institutions are located, from the Berlaymont Building to the European Parliament. This is a quarter where modern buildings sit uneasily alongside old family houses and the noise of construction is never ending. Yet there are quiet parks and interesting details to discover.
walk 6 the ixelles ponds
On this walk, you will discover the modernist architecture of Place Flagey before wandering up the former valley of the Maelbeek river. The route takes you past some striking Art Nouveau buildings before ending at an almost forgotten abbey.
walk 7 art nouveau architecture
The Art Nouveau movement was launched in Brussels in 1893 and spread to cities across Europe. On this walk in Ixelles commune, you will walk through a neighbourhood that is dotted with Art Nouveau houses, including the two houses that marked the beginning of the movement.
walk 8 discover saint gilles
The commune of Saint Gilles has some impressive buildings which we will see on this walk. Beginning at the Porte de Hal, the walk ascends to the magnificent town hall, passing Art Nouveau houses and secret parks.
walk 9 secret street art
This is a specialised walk that looks at the work of several street artists active in Brussels. Each has a different style, but they are united by an urge to bring art to the street and transform the city into a place of energy and mystery. Beginning on Place Stéphanie, the walk follows a route through the Marolles to the centre of town.
Unlike many cities, Brussels has managed to preserve a rich variety of small specialised shops in every neighbourhood. On this walk through the Sablon and central Brussels, we will pass some of the most inspiring shops in town, where you can buy anything from postcards to mushrooms.
walk 10 small and unusual shops
my favourite places to eat mussels and frites, drink a Trappist beer, sit in the sun, buy chocolate or walk in the woods,