Brussels is an extremely vibrant and architecturally beautiful city. Brimming with history, culture, chocolate, beer and frites. From the historical Grand Place to the Atomium landmark, Belgium offers something for every traveler’s taste. Here are some of the popular places to visit and activities to do during your time on the IVHQ Belgium volunteer program.
IN AND AROUND BRUSSELS
LA GRAND PLACE
No trip to Brussels is complete without exploring La Grand Place and its surroundings, with plenty of cafes, chocolate, beer and frites on offer. Centred in the middle of Brussels, the enclosed cobblestone square contains beautiful historic buildings dating right back to the 17th century. It’s difficult to miss this historical world heritage site and if you get the opportunity to visit during the evening, you’ll see why it’s Brussels most fascinating and attractive landmark.
PARC DU CINQUANTENAIRE
The Parc du Cinquantenaire is a large urban park built during King Leopold II’s reign and celebrates 50 years of independence for Belgium. The parc holds impressive monuments including the Triumphal Arch, Exposition Halls and the Bordiau Halls, which is home to the prestigious Museum of Art and History. This area is a must see for volunteers who love history or even the outdoors- as it’s a great place to have a picnic, relax and take in the surroundings.
Around every corner in Brussels, you will find Belgian Chocolatiers, Frites and Waffle carts as well as a variety of different bars and cafes. With Brussels being the unofficial capital of the EU, and the fact that there are so many different ethnic groups living in Brussels, it’s no wonder there is a diverse range of food and flavours on offer. From Belgian delicacies to classic French and Dutch dishes, volunteers on the IVHQ Belgium program will always have plenty of food choices available. Brussels is also home to the Westvleteren brewery which produces a Trappist beer considered the ‘best beer in the world’.
Shiny and unique are words which describe Brussels unavoidable icon. Constructed in 1958, the 7 conjoined spheres offer visitors a beautiful panorama view of Brussels and all that it has to offer. The top of the 95 metre Atomium also boasts a Belgian themed restaurant - if you don’t want to venture inside, you could always grab a classic Belgian waffle just below.
If you’re intrigued by art and get inspired through visiting art murals and landmarks then Brussels is the perfect place for you! Street art and comic murals are seen right across Brussels and volunteers can even participate on walking tours to check out the more hidden artwork of Brussels.
Ghent, which is only a 35 minute train ride from Brussels, is considered the best kept secret in Belgium. With many hidden gems to discover, Ghent is a city you don’t want to skip as it is rich with culture, architecture and artistic flavor. You can spend a weekend exploring the museums and architecture, meandering along the canals and cafes, checking out the Gravensteen Castle and moat, walking through the Graffiti Street and so much more.
As a volunteer, you will not want to miss a visit to the fairy-tale medieval town of Bruges. Whether it’s admiring the beautiful cobbled lanes, having a drink at one of the famous medieval pubs, cruising the canals of the city in a river boat or even visiting the chocolate and art museum, Bruges has something for everyone. Bruges is just a short 1 hour train ride from Brussels and all the main attractions are in walking distance of one another. If you’re considering visiting Bruges during the summer season, it is very important to book accommodation in advance.
If you’re thinking about going further afield, you are in the best possible country to do so. The transport networks allow volunteers to travel cheaply and efficiently to most locations in Europe including Amsterdam. Amsterdam, which is known for its artistic vibes, is home to the Anne Frank House, Vincent Van Gogh museum, beautiful canals, vintage shops and awesome cycle ways. If you have a spare weekend or want to include some travel at the end of your trip, then Amsterdam is a must.
Paris is another amazing city which is easily accessible, with around 30 trains travelling from Brussels to Paris each day. If you’re considering furthering your knowledge and understanding of the French culture, then Paris is a great place to start. Eiffle Tower, Louvre, Arc De Tromphe and Notre Dame are just a few of the priceless national treasures which so many travellers have fallen in love during their time in Paris. Aside from the architectural landmarks, France is also well known for its exquisite cuisine and fine wine. Definitely a trip worth making during the weekends.
If you would like more details on any of these locations or activities, our local team in Belgium can assist you once you are registered onto the IVHQ Belgium program.
To apply for the program or explore the volunteering opportunities available in Belgium, visit our Volunteer in Belgium page.