Brussels is a modern European capital with very old roots. Established at the end of of the 10th century, there is unfortunately little evidence left of its long and storied history around the city.

When Belgium officially became a country in the 19th century, Brussels was named its capital, and many of the older buildings came down in favor of the construction of new public buildings befitting a capital city. That is not to say that there is nothing to see in Brussels. On the contrary!

Lodging in Brussels, like many other European cities, runs the gamut. There are simple hostels to mid-range hotels to luxury hotels that cater to the dignitaries of the European Union.

Located in the Cinquantenaire and Schuman section of the city, Hotel Silken Berlaymont has great rates and a lively atmosphere, even though it has somewhat of a serious look to its decor. The rooms are stylishly appointed, featuring black marble and chrome finishes, and there is an on-site spa, sauna, and fitness center. The cafe is also known to serve tasty dishes.

Le Dixseptieme is a romantic treasure in Lower Town, featuring beautiful guest rooms. The 17th century building has been lovingly restored, and they all surround an interior courtyard. Some rooms feature a view of the Grand’Place. This is a perfect place to stay for a romantic retreat or a honeymoon.

Nestled among the boutiques and shops of Upper Town, NH Hotel du Grand Sablon is an unexpected treat. The interior courtyard is a quiet respite from the sometimes noisy road just outside, and the rooms are smartly decorated and comfortable.

Located in the section of Brussels known as South of Centre, Manos Premier is an upscale lodging option. A rose garden filled with beautiful birds, dramatic terraces, and antique laden guest rooms are just some of the highlights. Make sure to take advantage of the Moroccan-inspired sauna.

To visit Brussels and not take advantage of the copious amounts of Belgian chocolate surrounding you would be utterly criminal. The ultimate place to get your chocolate fix is Place du Grand Sablon-Grote Zavel Plein, home to three outstanding chocolatiers: Neuhaus, Pierre Marcolini, and Wittamer.

Cakes, ice cream, hot chocolate, truffles, they have it all. You might not be able to tear yourself away to try any of the other wonderful dining that Brussels has to offer! La Roue d’Or has brightly colored and interesting Nouveau stylings that showcase traditional Belgian cuisine and French classics.

In ‘t Spinnekopke was a coach inn during the 18th century, and much of the architectural features from the day remain. Huge portions of warm Belgian cooking are served alongside a menu of nearly 100 artisanal beers. Come hungry! For a bit of a splurge, and a fantastic culinary experience, Comme Chez Soi can’t be beat. Chef Pierre Wynants has created an ever-evolving menu, served alongside an impressive wine selection. Plan ahead, and call a few weeks in advance for a reservation.

Brussels is a fun and lively city, with plenty of entertainment options. Cultural sights and museums abound as well. Art lovers can tour the Musee des Instruments de Musique, which showcases over 1,500 musical instruments. The Musee Magritte is a fairly new museum to the city, showcasing art by the famed surrealist.

The Grand’Place is the city’s focal point, and grand is an understatement. Featuring dramatic embellishments and grand statuary, it is a highlight of your visit.

Visit the Hotel de Ville, built in the early 15th century, the Maison de la Brasserie, the former brewer’s guild, and top your stop off with a trip through the Musee de la Ville de Bruxelles, which tells the story of Brussels’ rich history. Cafes on nearly every corner of the city serve plenty of beer, so make sure to stop by, pull up a chair, and relax.

Brussels experiences all four seasons, but never gets too cold in the winter, or too hot in the summer.

The best time to visit the city is in the spring and fall. Between March and May and September and October, you will find virtually no crowds and hotel rates are much lower.