Do Something Unexpected in Brussels

Mariah Reicks is a student at University of Nebraska, Lincoln and an ISA Featured Blogger. Mariah is currently studying abroad with ISA in Valencia, Spain.

The Spanish Soldier

So if we’re being honest, right after I agreed to travel with my friends when they told me they were booking flights to Brussels, I panicked: “Oh, yeah… Brussels is in Germany, right?” Followed by: “There are cool things to see in Brussels, aren’t there?”

Before you go off busting me about needing a crash course in geography, which I would agree with, note that this trip was completely unplanned, that I had had no desire to go previously, and a day before the trip, I still hadn’t printed off my boarding pass. Call me reckless, I dare you.

Little did I know that Brussels, which is in Belgium by the way, would turn out to be my favorite city I had visited thus far. Try to think back to the last time you did something truly spontaneous. It’s liberating, even if it’s only a four-day excursion! Needless to say, these opportunities are hard to come by so don’t pass them up when you have the chance.

To start off, there are several things to do in Brussels. If you’re like us, and like to live on the wild, or maybe just unprepared, side, the best thing to start with is a map upon arrival; preferably one with pretty pictures and obvious landmarks like the one we used: Map.


There you have it, Brussels. Sights from Parliament to the Grand Place to the famous statue “Manneken Pis,” Brussels has it all. If you are overwhelmed with how your time could be best spent, walk into the nearest pub and strike up a conversation. Locals are the best people to talk to on attractions to see compared to those that should maybe be skipped this time around. In thirty minutes you can leave with a full-page list of the best Belgian Waffles to the strongest beer and everything in between, in addition to a new friend! Aside from that, you’ll most likely be seeing the sights that other tourists might miss, such as the best view of the city from the top floor of a parking garage. Not very glamorous, I know, but trust me it’s the little things!

The main point I want to get across is that it’s okay to have a plan, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to follow it point-blank. It may surprise you that some of a city’s best-kept secrets are uncovered when you aren’t exactly looking for them.

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