Residents of the City of Brussels are proud to point out that their city is The Capital of Europe due to the presence of the headquarters of both the European Union and NATO. Officially bilingual, this wonderful international city reflects its central location in Europe, with a mix of languages, cultures, and traditions. With a variety of architecture reflecting medieval and modern styles, the Port of Brussels is home to more than 80 museums, an exciting nightlife, numberless delicious restaurants, and more tourist attractions than can be described here. To find details about the many things to see and do in the Port of Brussels, please visit the city's tourism website.
The Port of Brussels enjoys a moderate maritime climate, and the surrounding wetlands help maintain moderate temperatures throughout the year. The Port of Brussels has about 200 days of rain each year, spread fairly evenly with slightly more from November through January. Temperatures range from an average high of 22 °C (73 °F) in August to an average low of 0.6 °C (33 °F) in February.
Visitors to the Port of Brussels will not want to miss a trip to the central market square called Grote Markt in Dutch or Grand Place in French. Recognized by the UNESCO World Heritage List, the square lies in the center of a beautiful collection of 17th Century buildings that include guild houses, Brussel's Town Hall, and the Bread House among many others. First planned after the Town Hall was built in the Port of Brussels's commercial district, the Grote Markt was the shopping area where residents found butter, herring, cheese, coal, and other necessities. The square was heavily bombed by France's King Louis IV in 1695 and almost completely destroyed. When it was rebuilt over the following five years, the Guilds helped restore the square to make it even more grand than the original. Visitors can tour the 15th Century Gothic Town Hall or sit in one of the many expensive but delightful pubs and restaurants that allow people-watching in the busy square. It is not uncommon to see people in 15th Century dress coming to participate in parades or official markets.
Another must-see in the Port of Brussels is short walk from the Grand Place. The Manneken Pis is a small bronze statue of a boy involved in a very basic biological function. Residents are proud of this representation of the Port of Brussels's cheeky spirit, and they have created hundreds of outfits for the child.
The Atomium was built for the World Fair in 1958. This 102-meter tall structure symbolizes a until cell of an iron crystal, magnified 165 billion times its actual size. With nine 18-meter diameter spheres, visitors get magnificent views of the Port of Brussels from the windows in the top spheres. Next door is a ferris wheel almost as tall as the Atomium. Inside the Atomium is a somewhat interesting exhibit, but the real star is the structure.
The Musees Royaux des Beaux Arts de Belguque (Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium) contain an astounding collection of historical and modern art. With works from the 14th to 20th Centuries, mostly Belgian, visitors will be amazed by the skills of world-famous artists like Bosch, Cranach, Rubens, Van Dyck, Hals, and Rembrandt. The modern art section includes works by van Gogh, Chagall, Ernst, Matisse, and Miro as well as Belgians Margritte, de Braekeleer, Permeke, and Delvaux.
The Port of Brussels' canals can only accommodate river ships that dock at either Heembeekkaai or the Becodock. Both docks are within the Port of Brussels city limits, but only the Becodock is within walking distance of downtown. Ocean-going cruise ships dock in nearby Antwerp or Zeebrugge, and cruise passengers usually reach the Port of Brussels by train. There are some international cruises lines that visit the Port of Brussels. For a list of scheduled cruises, visit the Cruise Compete website.