Brussels for art lovers: beauty on the surface & underneath

It is hardly a secret that Brussels is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Europe. This international multicultural city will surprise you with gorgeous nature, rich history, diverse culture and delicious food on every corner. As the de facto capital of the European Union, Brussels attracts thousands of tourists, and for that reason, has become the epicenter of endless festivals, concerts and parties. There are, though, some unusual and hidden things about the city that only a very experienced tourist could find, or only a local could reveal to you. Everybody is familiar with the popular sights of Brussels, but art lovers will be particularly spoiled. With all the beauty on the surface, there is just as much underneath!

© iStock/Leonid Andronov

Let us first take a look!

© iStock/Sean Pavone

When you visit a new place, everyone wants to enjoy its stunning views and take a bunch of gorgeous pictures and selfies. There are two perfect viewpoints to do that – Place Poelaert and the Atomium.

© Desi Krsteva

Place Poeleart is the ideal starting point of a promenade for a few reasons. It is right in the city center, so you could enjoy the historic buildings around, such as the impressive Palace of Justice (Palais de Justice) or the Royal Conservatory (Conservatoire Royal de Bruxelles). The square is situated on a hill and offers a unique overview of a big part of the city. On a clear day, you could also catch a glimpse of the Atomium. Last but not least, there is often a huge Ferris wheel that will take you even higher, allowing you to get a bird’s eye view of the city and help you pick your next destination.

Go deep!

© Desi Krsteva

Belgium leads in rankings for having the best urban and interurban public transportation. The use of public transport in Brussels is convenient and allows you to reach any point in the city quickly. And while doing that, you will be able to have a good time enjoining the beauty of the streets – the architecture, the monuments on every corner and the famous comic painted walls all over the city.

© Desi Krsteva

And if you think that using ground transport will allow you to feast your eyes on urban life, let me surprise you by telling you that under the surface, there is an entirely new world waiting for you to explore.

© Desi Krsteva

Almost every single metro station is a masterpiece and tells a different story. It is like a professional gallery down there with more than 80 artworks decorating the platforms. Different genres are represented – paintings, photographs, sculptures, contemporary metal, wood or glasswork. Each station has its own identity and brings its own atmosphere.

© Desi Krsteva

Get ready to take this unusual journey of the largest art circuit in Brussels, where some of the pieces date back to 40 years ago, created by professional designers and artists. This wonderful and creative project is a long-term collaboration between the Brussels-Capital Region and STIB (Brussels International Transport Company). What a wonderful idea!

© Desi Krsteva

Now go deeper!

© Desi Krsteva

Speaking of underground adventure, there are two key places in Brussels you should absolutely not miss – the Sewer Museum and Coudenberg Palace. While every tourist will visit Grand Place and the Atomium, not too many will visit these locations, but they are well worth it!  

The Sewer Museum is an extraordinary and unique place. It has an incredible ambiance and will show you singular sights and facts about the sewage system of Brussels. It shows a different aspect of the city and its rich history told in detail and described in the permanent exhibition. It is a very engaging and educational experience, also perfectly suitable for children.

© iStock/JByard

The above-ground part of the Coudenberg Palace is well known for its historical heritage, stunning architecture and rich exhibitions. Yet, not many tourists are aware of the existence of the authentic fortifications underneath. The medieval ruins have a lot of Brussels history to relate to those who visit. The ruins share momentous events from Brussel’s ancient history, and the detailed audio guide will not spare any details. You will love every part of it – the atmosphere will truly make you feel like Indiana Jones exploring an ancient temple. It is a whole hidden world of mystery. And there is always something interesting organized there, like an exhibition, a concert or a treasure hunt.

© Desi Krsteva

What the birds see

© iStock/ruzanna

A great finale of this promenade is a visit to the famous Atomium, perhaps Brussel’s most famous landmark. Its nine connected spheres offer permanent exhibitions, and each ball has different and unique styling. The building appears enormous and magnificent from the outside, but once you go to the top sphere and see the view from there first hand, you will remain breathless and speechless. An overview of the huge park, the USA Pavilion, the Chinese Pavilion, the Japanese Tower and Mini Europe are just a small part of the many beautiful landscapes that you will be able to enjoy from a bird’s eye view.  


A day is never enough to see everything in Brussels, a city full of surprises, art, intriguing history and beauty on the surface and underneath. Sometimes the beauty is in front of our eyes, and sometimes it is hidden, and we have to seek it. The good news is, in Brussels, there is always a lot waiting to be discovered by art lovers.


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