In Rick's guide book, he states that Brussels can be worthwhile as a quick stopover on the way from Amsterdam to London (a path I need to take). I know we'd be interested in seeing the Comics Museum (just for Tintin), the EU Parliament, and getting something "chocolate" in the Grand Place. These would obviously take more than 3h, so I'm looking for advice for people who have been to, or through, Brussels. Will it be worthwhile and a good transit break? Or too rushed and disappointing?
You could probably see the Comics Museum and the Grand Place in 3 hours, but not the EU Parliament. I enjoyed the Comics Musuem, but honestly, it's not for everyone, especially if you don't speak Dutch or French. And it's a little hard to find. The most interesting exhibit, though, was a little theater where they showed clips of Smurfs animation. Not from the familiar TV show of the 1980s, but much older black and white shorts made in Belgium. Rather surreal with a smooth jazz soundtrack you would never associate with the Smurfs!
Stacey - you could easily while away 3 hours in the Gran Platz area just having a beer and browsing chocolate shops. That would be a nice break and the Grand Place is lovely. If you are trying to do more than that it may feel stressful.
I agree with Michelle about the Grand Place. If I had only three hours I'd spend it all there and in the immediate central Brussels area. There are lots of fascinating shops, sidewalk cafes, and places to explore on foot. I certainly would not spend my very limited time indoors unless it were to see a particular Flemish artist's work I was absolutely dying to see. But that's my own taste. I'm a people-watcher and nook-and-cranny explorer.
I love Grand Place, and it is definitely worth a stop. You can easily spend two to three hours in Grand Place, and strolling the streets just around that area. Plenty of places for chocolate.
A beer and some chocolate in the Grand Place is certainly an enjoyable way to spend 3 hours, but by no means does it counts as 'going to Brussels'...but I would do it given the opportunity. Get your chocolate at Galler!
Outdoor cafe in Grand Place, chocolates, a couple of Framboise, watching the action...you won't feel rushed that way.
Thanks everyone--if we do end up with a stopover there, Grand Place relaxation it is (and maybe, maybe a quick look at the comics museum, since it's within close walking distance).
Don't know when you'll be spending your 3 hours, but this morning's arts and entertainment news announced the opening of the "Musée Magritte Museum" on June 2nd. I too like Tintin , and Milou, but apparently this museum features the paintings and the voice of Magritte "explaining" his works....Other than that, just relax at the square. (though i must go look at a map..is Brussels between Amsterdam and London?)
AKF - beer and chocolate??? Is that a Canadian thing like poutine?
And I thought the British shandy thing was a little icky :-)
"(and maybe, maybe a quick look at the comics museum, since it's within close walking distance)."
Just make sure you have a good map so that you don't waste precious time looking for it. Find a map of Brussels that labels every street in the vicinity, not just the big ones (that was the problem I ran into looking for the museum). The street signs that should point you towards the museum are not helpful.
Chani--fair enough about the beer and chocolate. No, it's not a Canadian thing...but if I had 3 hours in the Grand Place, I would just make sure to fit them both in--not necessarily together though. And you make poutine sound like it's a bad thing...poutine is awesome, although it's not nearly as good in Toronto as in Montreal....
Thank you for the map tip!
YES it is definitely worthwhile. La Grand Place is the most breathtaking square I have ever stood in. Brussels is underrated. Do yourself a favor and stop, even if you only have a few hours, and whatever you do make sure you go to La Grand Place. That place is one of my most memorable, cherished travel experiences.
On our first trip to Europe we did the EU parliament in 3 hours. We had WILD taxi rides there and back because we told the drivers we were in a hurry. They knew what "hurry" meant! On our second trip we saw the Manneken Pis and got chocolate from the Grand Place. The taxi rides weren't so wild on that trip.
Cathy My guess is that Stacey will have been back from her trip for some years now. You have reactivated a zombie from June 2009, in the last decade.