You'll be amazed by the striking contrast of the huge Grand Place square and the tiny cobbled streets fanning out from the central spot. Buy world-class chocolates or antiques in the smart Sablon Square, and cutting-edge style in la rue Antoine Dansaert. See some surrealism at the Magritte Museum and original Tintin drawings in the Comic Strip Museum. The locals are mad about food, so restaurant-hop from mussels and chips to French fusion.
Walkable central Brussels is split into the Lower and Upper towns and enclosed by a ring road, Le Petit Ring. The city's heart is the Grand-Place, a medieval market square lined with cafes and still home to a market to this day. Explore the surrounding streets packed with bars and restaurants. Cultural heart is the Mont des Arts, home to the Bozar complex of fine arts, and with walkways leading from museum to gallery. La Rue Antoine Dansaert hosts cutting-edge boutiques by local designers while Avenue Louise is for international labels. Out on the Heysel plateau, you'll discover the curious molecular Atomium building designed by Andr Waterkeyn for the 1958 Brussels Expo, and now renovated in gleaming splendour.
Begin at the cobbled Grand-Place and pause for a local Lambic beer. Continue onto the grand Neoclassical Royal Palace and the Magritte Museum, which houses one of the most comprehensive collections of the surrealist's works. Sample famous Belgian chocolate at the smart Wittamer boutique on Sablon Square and contrast with rival Marcolini chocolate opposite. Save some appetite for a simple but exquisite seafood meal in Sainte-Catherine, on the site of the old fish market.
Bargain hunt at Place du Jeu de Balle flea market in the Marolles district in the Upper town. Wander through Saint-Gilles, a multicultural area with a bohemian edge, to Horta Museum, an Art Nouveau treasure on rue Amricaine. Stroll Bois de la Cambre park and admire Belle Epoque architecture in the streets of Schaerbeek, or discover weird and wonderful musical instruments at MIM, where the 19th-century metal and glass building is just as lovely as the instruments inside.
Now officially called Brussels Airport (although some still refer to it as Zaventem), it is the gateway to the capital of Europe, with over 16 million passengers a year. The airport is only 12 km away from Brussels' city centre.