Cheap flights to Brussels
Famous for being the centre of the European Union, producer of some of the world’s best chocolate and home to more beer varieties than any other city in the world. Brussels is a city with rich historical offerings, world-class museums, a chic café culture, and stunning Art Nouveau architecture, and should definitely be at the top of anyone’s list when it comes to choosing that city break you’ve been after.
As any Brussels travel guide will tell you, this is a modern, cosmopolitan city at the heart of Europe. And although it is known more for being a political hub, it also has a surprisingly young vibe that makes it one of the more cutting edge cities in Europe. Whatever you’re after from a city break, trust us when we say you’ll find it in Brussels.
The annual Brussels Fine Art and Antiques Fair, on 24 January - 1 February, unites top dealers and their clients from all over Europe under one roof. Buy that surprise present or indulge yourself with an investment that can hang on the wall. Guest of honour this year will be unusual exhibits from the Royal Museum of Central Africa (Tour et Taxis, 86C Avenue du Port, brafa.be).
Expect the surreal, avant-garde and explicit at The Belgians, a stunning retrospective exhibition covering work by the Antwerp Six and the top design school at La Cambre in Brussels, the major movers and shakers of the Belgian art and fashion world over the last 60 years. Until 13 September (Bozar, Rue Ravenstein, bozar.be).
The newly reopened Museum d'Ixelles is once more showing its rich collection of Belgian painters, from Boulenger to Delvaux, Wouters and Magritte. There is also an exceptional permanent exhibition of Belle Epoque posters including the complete works of Toulouse-Lautrec (71 Rue Jean Van Volsem, museedixelles.irisnet.be).
Contemporary Portrait Photography showcases the work of 20 contemporary European photographers inspired by and contrasted with portraits painted by Renaissance artists to create a revealing dialogue between past and present. From 6 February - 17 May (Palais des Beaux-Arts, 23 Rue Ravenstein, brusselsmuseums.be).
The exhibition Sensation and Sensuality gathers together more than 150 works by Rubens. Exhibited together for the first time, the wide range of paintings loaned from museums all over Europe centre around six themes, from Lust and Love to Power and Poetry (25 September 2014 - 4 January 2015, BOZAR, 23 Rue Ravenstein, bozar.be).
Hit the beach in the city with Brussels Beach (Bruxelles les Bains) downtown with bars, music, entertainment for young and old from morning until late, and, of course, plenty of golden sand (Tuesday to Sunday until 9 August, Quai des Péniches near the Place Sainctelette).
Don't miss Mons, just an hour by train from the Belgian capital. The European City of Culture 2015 boasts more than 350 events spanning music, film, theatre and dance throughout the year. mons2015.eu
Head to the pretty university town of Leuven (30 minutes by train from Gare Central) for the Brussels Beer Challenge, when 750 beers from all over Europe will compete for prestigious gold, silver and bronze awards judged by a 60-strong panel of experts. Trips to local breweries can be arranged through the local tourist board (30 October - 2 November, brusselsbeerchallenge.com).