Brussels is a charming, friendly city full of character. From the impressive Grand Place to the glistening buildings of the European Union, this city of one million inhabitants is packed full with history.
It’s also one of the most liberal European states, being the second country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage way back in 2003. If you like culture, a laid-back lifestyle and want to feel comfortable holding your partner’s hand in public, this is the city for you.
Here’s my ultimate guide to a weekend in Brussels.
Stress-free travel: Arrive Friday afternoon/early evening. If you’re from a neighbouring country, take the train or coach for a cheap, stress-free journey into the capital. The city’s two airports cater for those coming from further afield.
Peaceful night sleep: I’d recommend staying away from the noisy city centre and opting for the luxurious district of Louise, which benefits from great transport links. The Sofitel Brussels Le Louise is a good hotel option and popular choice on our website.
Delicious cuisine: Check in and head out to the trendy Saint-Gilles area for dinner and drinks. A personal favourite of mine is the gay-friendly Maison du Peuple, where hipster men and women drink, dine and dance.
Dance the night away: If you’ve planned your weekend accordingly, you’ll be able to visit the nearby La Demence at Fuse Club, one of Europe’s best gay dance parties. Full of hot guys, a variety of bars and DJ’s, plus a cruise room at the top; no wonder it has such a great reputation!
Shop till you drop: Walk off your hangover in Louise with a spot of shopping; the boulevard is home to designer brands including Burberry and Tommy Hilfiger, plus your usual international stores like H&M, Zara and Apple.
Picture perfect: Dump your shopping bags back at the hotel and head to the city centre. The Grand Place, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the big draw for tourists. You’ll find plenty of food and drink options here too, including many chocolatiers lining the main street. Belgian chocolate is the best, fact.
Fancy food: Head back to the hotel to get ready for a night out on the town. Sample fine Belgian cuisine from the many restaurants in the upmarket Grand Sablon area, then take a ten-minute walk down to the Brussels’ gay district at Rue du Marche au Charbon.
Beers and boys: The great thing about the Brussels gay area is that there are plenty of bars to choose from, each catering for different gay clientele. If you’re a young guy, Le Boys Boudoir will tick all your boxes. If you like cheesy disco music, Le Belgica is your best bet. Into bears? Le Baroque is the bar for you.
Disco time: You can continue your night going between the gay bars or head to Hunkut @ Steel Gate, another legendary gay dance party. Or you may prefer the mysterious, dark corners of Stammbar instead, Brussels’ only gay cruise club.
Breakfast fit for a Queen: A typical tradition for the majority of the population in Brussels is Sunday brunch, where locals gather to gossip over fresh, healthy bagels and artisan coffee. We recommend the delicious Chicago Café in the pretty Sainte-Catherine area.
Get hot and sweaty: Before heading back to the hotel to collect your bags, walk back to the centre to take a selfie with the famous Mannekin Pis, before sweating out last night’s drinks at nearby Sauna Macho, Brussels’ favourite gay sauna. Recently refurbished, the facilities here are delightful and the guys aren’t bad either.
Finally, a relaxing end to an enlightening few days in a city many gay travellers overlook at first, but soon fall in love with. Don’t forget, you can book hotels and see all our Brussels venues through our city page.
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