An ode to my beloved city, Brussels.

This space is meant to be a positive and inspiring place, so I wanted to dedicate a post to Brussels, my adopted city that I have come to love so much. These past days have been heartbreaking but what’s important is to keep going: enjoy life, create, love and be there for one another.  

It’s true that a city means something different to everyone and to me it’s very interesting to rediscover Brussels through the eyes of visitors and locals – that’s why I created the hashtag #seemybrussels. But through this post I wanted to show you some of the things that made me fall in love with Brussels. Hopefully, you will feel the same way too.


The Grand Place probably needs no introduction. A beautiful Unesco World Heritage sight, it’s surrounded by 17th century guild houses and never fails to impress. If you’re lucky enough to be in Brussels when the Flower Carpet is on, make sure to visit it – it’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen!


It’s amazing how you can discover some really cool street art in the most unassuming little alleys in Brussels. Belgium has a long tradition of comics and I love the fact that even after all those years of living in Brussels, I keep stumbling upon new murals that put a smile on my face. 


The Bois de la Cambre is probably the most beautiful green space in the city. It’s the place where I had my first picnic in Brussels and one of my favourite spots on a sunny day in Brussels. The terrace of the Chalet Robinson, boat rides and non-stop laughing… it’s linked with such good memories!


Whenever I ask people about their favourite places in Brussels, they always mention the Mont des Arts. I couldn’t agree more. It’s actually one of the best spots to watch the sunset in Brussels (I mean, just look at this!) or just admire the architecture. The fact that I’ve discovered this little cafe is just icing on the cake.


When talking about Brussels’ arcades, most people think of the stunning Galeries St Hubert. I really love this one though. A bit off the beaten path, hidden only for those who know it (as is the case with most great spots in Brussels), Galerie Bortier is a dreamy little place for vintage book lovers and photographers.


This beautiful square between Mont des Arts, the Sablon and the Royal Palace is home to two of the best museums in Brussels, the Magritte (love his paintings!) and the MIM. The best way to admire the square is from the rooftop cafe of the latter – just look at how beautiful the interior and floors are!


The Cinquantenaire is one of Brussels’ best parks and a space where various events take place on a regular basis. Whenever I have visitors over, I always take them to the top of the arcades for 360 views of the city (for free, may I add!) and it’s the where I took my very first video for the blog.


Once the location of the covered fish market (hence the name), Vismet and the nearby Sainte-Catherine are two of the liveliest areas in Brussels. There are so many great spots to try here ranging from restaurants (NoordzeeLes FillesJack O’Shea Chophouse, Umamido, Ellis to name a few) and cafes (De Markten has a lovely terrace) to all sorts of shops, including Farm, Charli and Frederic Blondeel’s atelier. 


If you follow me on Instagram, you know by now that I’m slightly obsessed with Brussels’ pretty doors – so much so that I decided to share now and then my favourite ones here on the blog too. I love their diversity and all those little details that make house fronts unique. There’s literally something new to photograph in every other corner.


Villa Empain is one of those places that left me gazing in awe from the minute I stepped in. Brussels may be known for its Art nouveau heritage but there are also quite a few Art Deco gems like this lush mansion that hosts interesting art exhibitions. 


This spot is beautiful throughout the seasons as the colours of the trees change and the light meets the surface of the ponds. It’s perfect to take a walk, go running and grab a coffee at Belga, the most known cafe in Brussels that happens to have one of the biggest and sunniest terraces in town.


Right below the fancy Sablon you’ll find the Marolles, an area known for its flea market in Place du Jeu de Balle. The streets are lined with antiques stores and quirky second-hand shops, so it’s definitely a must-visit if you’re into vintage shopping. I visit the market quite often because of the lively atmosphere and since L’Atelier en Ville, one of my favourite cafes in not too far. 


Open-air markets are a vital part of life in Brussels. Every day there’s one (or more!) in a different neighbourhood where people shop, eat and have drinks until late in the evening. The Chatelain market is my personal favourite – when I first arrived in Brussels I used to live very close to the square where it takes place, so it brings back many happy memories!


Ok, you’ll probably laugh at this one but I love passing by the little waffle trucks on the streets of Brussels. They’re so cute, attract people from all ages and exude the most irresistible aroma. Sometimes it’s the little things that make all the difference! 


The Parvis of Saint Gilles is another great spot for sunbathing and people watching on a sunny day. A bit off the tourist trail, it’s a popular meeting place for locals. Apart from hosting a really nice market, it also has a lot of great spots like Cipiace, Chana, Pardon Brussels, Fernand Obb and Chouconut.


Brussels is quite flat but luckily there are a few spots where one can enjoy panoramic views of the city. And while some of them are known, like Parking 58 or Place Poelaert, I’m always excited when I unexpectedly come across such great views. This picture was taken on a warm afternoon from the top floor of the Chatelain Hotel where I took a cooking class with their chef a while ago.


Brussel’s coffee culture seems to be booming these past few years with great new cafes popping up all around town next to old-time favourites. Most of them are more modern than the one pictured here but they’re just as charming. If you’re looking for new spots to try, this list may be useful!


I had passed by the Royal Palace countless times before I got the chance to visit it (it is open for the public for a couple of months during the summer) and ever since, I’m really smitten. Located right across the Parc Royal, it hosts State receptions and it’s where fireworks show also takes place on Belgium’s National Day


Right next to the imposing Palais de Justice, the Marolles lift takes you all the way up to Place Poelaert with just the press of a button. I find very interesting how its design is in contrast with the surroundings and it’s a great spot for photography too.


The most important part of a city is its people in my view. I’m lucky enough to have met some wonderful individuals in this city – people from different countries around the world who taught me so much. Brussels has embraced us with open arms and I will always be grateful for that.

Sandy (@smarksthespots)