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Highlights of Belgium
The 1969 movie If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium portrayed a madcap European tour by a group of American travelers. This year, you may find yourself saying, “If it’s Sunday, this must be Antwerp.” With Brussels Airlines, it’s easy to hop the Atlantic for a long weekend to explore some of Belgium’s iconic highlights. 

Fly over on a Friday night, for example, and you can spend all day Saturday exploring Brussels. But don’t stop there: Thanks to Belgium’s compact size, other grand cities are an easy train ride away. You can easily take Sunday to discover Antwerp, then fly home on Monday. The glow induced by your whirlwind tour—and by all the amazing beer, chocolate, and mussels you’ll have enjoyed—may elicit jealousy among friends who spent the weekend running errands while you enjoyed a magnificent European vacation.  

Or take advantage of Brussels Airlines’ Stop Over program, and your weekend exploring Belgium can be an adventure en route to or from your final destination. Just book your flights on Brussels Airlines and include a stay of up to five nights in Belgium, including free access to museums and sites throughout Belgium. 

Of course, with limited time, you won’t want to waste any time. Fortunately, on Brussels Airlines, every detail—from the Art Nouveau-inspired cabins to the drinks and meals served onboard—embody Belgium’s culture and style. You’ll already be in the Belgian mind frame when you arrive, rested and ready to hit the ground running.
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    Day 1
    Fly to Belgium
    With only four days for your Belgian escape, you’ll want to start the adventure as soon as you board your flight across the Atlantic. Fortunately, Brussels Airlines embraces the country’s attitude and style in everything it does. Recently, the airline has given its entire long-haul fleet a new look, with colorful cabins inspired by Belgian Art Nouveau. The result is a flight experience that truly feels like a boutique hotel at 30,000 feet.  

    In Premium Economy Class, passengers enjoy touches that are limited to business class or higher on some other airlines. You can watch the latest movies—including recent Belgian films—on 13.3” screens and keep your devices charged with individual AC and USB power plugs. With its wider seats that recline a generous 40°, as well as the quiet atmosphere of its separate section of the aircraft, you’ll arrive in Brussels rested and ready to make the most of every minute.
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    Photo By Jay Lee
    Day 2
    If you time your Belgian trip so you’re spending a weekend night in Brussels, you can often find very good deals at the city’s hotels. As one of the capitals of the European Union, premium and business hotels are often at capacity from Monday to Thursday, but then empty out over the weekends. Many of the top choices are centrally located near the Grand Place, making them ideal for efficient sightseeing. Explore all your choices in Brussels as well as Antwerp, with Brussels Airlines’ Hotel Booking service.

    After you’re settled, head to the Grand Place, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s the symbolic heart of Brussels. The earliest market held here was in the 11th century; many of the guild halls that surround enormous square date to the early 18th century. Then jump to the 20th century with a visit to the Atomium, an iconic landmark. This 335-foot-tall structure of nine stainless-steel-clad balls, each with a diameter of 60 feet, was built for the 1958 World’s Fair and is modeled after an iron molecule. Ascend to the highest of them for panoramic views of the city. 

    No trip to Belgium is complete without trying one of the country’s signature dishes— frites, served with a variety of sauces. Maison Antoine, in the European Quarter, is a kiosk has been satisfying locals with some of the city’s best frites, as well as burgers and brochettes, since 1948. 

    After lunch, take a stroll through the nearby Leopold Park—a landscaped oasis amid the institutions of the European Union. Then choose which one of Belgium’s two famous foods you want to explore in depth: chocolate or beer. If you have a sweet tooth, make your way to the Belgian Chocolate Village. One of the world’s largest museums devoted to chocolate explains every step in transforming raw cacao beans into chocolate bars and candies. Afterwards, a visit to the Sablon district should include stops at some of Belgium’s most celebrated chocolatiers including Patrick Roger, Pierre Marcolini, and Wittamer. 

    If you’d rather sample Belgium’s world-famous beers, follow the self-guided Capital of Beer tour. Stops include the Biertempel store—where you’ll find some 650 Belgian beers—and historic bars like the Greenwich Taverne, where surrealist painter René Magritte would often go when he was in the mood for a beer.  

    Tonight, make a reservation at one of Brussels’ many celebrated restaurants. If you want to splurge (and why not?), the city is home to 18 Michelin-starred restaurants. At Seagrill, you can dine on fish and shellfish straight from the North Sea, prepared by chef Yves Mattagne. Or head to Bozar Restaurant, which serves classic French dishes in a casual, contemporary setting
  • Day 3
    This morning, board a train from Brussels to Antwerp, the country’s second-largest city, about an hour away. While Brussels is the country’s political capital, Antwerp—Europe’s second-largest port after Rotterdam—has long been Belgium’s trade center. Today it has an appealing mix of a certain creative energy and big-city buzz paired with historic and cultural highlights.  

    Spend the morning exploring MAS (the Museum aan de Stroom), a distinctive 10-story building that opened in 2011. The museum is unconventional, straddling the divide between history and art museums. Its collection of more than 500,000 works of art and artifacts includes harbor cranes, a Maori canoe, and a 19th-century puppet.  

    Opt for a light lunch, perhaps at Fiskebar, where you can order another quintessential Belgian dish: mussels. The colorful bakery Domestic sells sandwiches and salads, as well as housemade breads and pastries.  

    In the afternoon, visit two of Antwerp’s acclaimed museums. The Museum Platntin-Moretus is located in the house of a family whose printing press—and the many volumes it produced—helped change the history of the world. It’s the only museum in the world recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a must for bibliophiles. Then visit the home and studio of Peter Paul Rubens, the most famous of the many artists associated with the golden age of Antwerp in the 16th century. Rubenshuis is now a museum that houses a number of masterpieces by Rubens, as well as contemporaries like Anthony van Dyck.  

    While some may associate Antwerp with the era of Rubens, the city continues to be at the forefront of the worlds of art, design, and cuisine. This evening, book a table at the Jane, a restaurant located in a restored chapel, with a menu that reflects Antwerp’s centuries-old openness to influences from every corner of the globe.
  • Day 4
    Return Home
    Return this morning to Brussels (and drop by the Galeries Royales for any last-minute presents) to catch your flight back to the United States, or on to your next stop if you’re visiting on the Brussels Airlines Stop Over program. If your flight is later in the day, you’ll have time to squeeze in a visit to one more museum or, at the very least, enjoy a final breakfast of Belgian waffles. This trip may prove to be a bit of an amuse-bouche, a small sample of Belgium that will whet your appetite to experience more of this majestic country.  

    For now, you’ll enter your boutique hotel in the air, reveling in the space and personal service of your Premium Economy seat. Wherever you’re going, Brussels Airlines will get you there in style.