What to Buy in Brussels: 15 Ideas for Travelers
His top-of-the line product is the macaroon, two brightly colored biscuits separated from each other by a cream paste. If you’re looking for the royal treatment, pick up The Complete Collection (30 euros), a red luxury box with 25 macaroons in every imaginable bright color. Of course, it is always possible to assemble a handpicked selection, or buy one of the less expensive gift packages. Other than macaroons, you’ll find plenty of pralines, truffles and chocolates that have all been treated to the Marcolini touch.
1, Rue des Minimes
+32 (0)2 514 12 06
Open: Mon - Wed, Sun (10:00-19:00), Thu-Fr (10:00-20:00)
2. Comic Books
Of course, you will find the usual suspects here like TinTin, Asterix or Lucky Luke, but we decided to go for an artist that is extremely popular in the Franco-Belgian world. For almost thirty years, Philippe Geluck, a Brussels comedian, has been using Le Chat (The Cat) to explain the world in witty punch lines. With God Save the Cat (12, 50 euros) his drawings have been translated into English. If you want, you can also pick up at Brüsel the Le Chat merchandise, like mugs and saucers. If you get a chance to, visit a local supermarket for a box of genuine The Cat-cookies.
100, Boulevard Anspach
+32 (0)2 511 08 09
Open: Mon - Sat (10:30-18:00), Sun (12:00-18:00)
One of the oldest lacemaking families in Belgium can be found in the Galerie de la Reine, where five generations have kept alive the many local styles Belgium has to offer. Of course, there are coasters, breadbaskets and small keepsakes for sale at Manufacture Belge de Dentelles, but their framed original patterns are really works of art: unique, refined and pricey. In between the useful and the artful, there are these beautiful hand fans, available in either black or white. You can pick up the small ones for 49, 50 euros; the bigger ones will set you back 74 euros. Since Manufacture Belge de Dentelles also sells a small number of factory-produced hand fans, you can see the difference in quality for yourself.
6-8, Galerie de la Reine
+32 (0) 2511 44 77
Open: Mon - Sat (10:00-18:00), Sun (12:00-16:00)
18, Rue de l'Amazone
+32 (0)2 539 15 96
Open: Mon - Sat (10:00-18:30)
At Le Roi du Cigare (king of cigars), Nicarao is one of the premium brands for sale. For the price of a carton of cigarettes, you will only be able to afford a box of ten Nicarao Minutos (47 euros), but you can easily double that amount for a similar amount of Cubans, which Le Roi Du Cigare sells in great variety. Other than cigars, this well-established house for smokers carries wide range of pipes, cigar cutters, and lighters in its gorgeous monumental building a stone’s throw away from Brussels Central Station.
25, Rue Royale
+32 (0)2 218 37 79
Open: Mon - Fri (09:30-18:00), Sat (09:30-13:00)
You can find Jambe de Bois Triple (2,75 euros per bottle) at the small specialty beer shop Délices et Caprices, close to the Galerie de la Reine. Don’t forget to pick up one of the accompanying glasses (5 euros), and let the owner school you on Belgian’s finest, as he is a walking beer encyclopedia. For special occasions, Délices et Caprices organizes special tasting sessions for groups. If you’re in town a bit longer, don’t pass up the opportunity.
68, Rue des Bouchers
Open: Mo, Thu - Sun (14:00-20:00)
Closed: Tue - Wed
A classic cuberdon has a raspberry flavor, but these days you can find over 25 different fragrances and all the colors you can imagine. Real, artisanal cuberdons are a common sight at local markets, but there is not a lot of stores that carry them. In the Brussels center, the tiny tearoom A.M. Sweet has a candy section where you can find the original raspberry cuberdons (2,80 euros a bag). It’s also a great place to catch your breath and have a spot of lunch. It’s best to pass by at the end of your stay, since the thick syrup inside the cuberdons will lose its texture after only three weeks.
4, Rue des Chartreux
+32 (0)2 513 51 31
Open: Tue-Sat (09:30-18:30)
8. Art Objects
In its halls, more than 200 of the master surrealist’s works are on permanent display, which makes it the largest collection of Magritte’s works in the world. One of the highlights is L’Empire des Lumières (translated as ‘dominion of lights’ or ‘empire of lights’), commissioned in 1954 by the museum that now exhibits it. Magritte made no less than seventeen versions in oil paint of this work, which can be found in museums all over the world, including the MoMA in New York. L’Empire des Lumières also made quite an impact outside of the art world, as it was supposedly used as an inspiration for the iconic movie poster of The Exorcist. Not surprising, as his paintings are notorious for their eerie and unreal atmosphere. If you can’t get enough of Magritte, take him home with you! The nearby Magritte Gallery sells a good selection of reproductions of his most famous works, including high-quality prints of L’Empire des Lumières (200 euros). The small gallery also has an assortment of books and postcards on display.
9. Interior Decoration
MGX started using this ‘rapid prototyping technique’ for the medical and automotive industry in the early nineties, but recently expanded their business to industrial design. At first, their creations were only available online, but last year they decided to open the world’s first 3D-printing store for consumers in Brussels. Their main collection features some truly notable items, like LILY.MGX (410 euros) from Janne Kyttanen, a small table lamp that has expandable leaves to adjust light strength. In 2005, it won a Red Dot Design Award and has already been added to the collection of several design museums. Materialise even lets you upload and print your own designs in a special part of their online store. This also explains the .MGX acronym, representing the file type of the propriety software used to create the objects. And if you happen to break your lamp, you’ll at least know where to find it again!
31, Rue Joseph Stevens
+32 (0)2 512 29 55
Open: Tue (14:00-18:30), Wed - Sun (10:00-18:30)
Only 25.000 bottles are produced each year, which makes the small distillery highly sought-after. At Mig’s World Wine, not far from Avenue Louise, if lucky, you can find a few bottles in stock or else wait until a fresh batch comes in. If you find yourself shorthanded, explore the wide range of unusual liquors from local distillery Distillerie de Biercée. Not only do they make a genuine chocolate liquor, Noire d’Ivoire (70 cl for 17,80 euros), but also carry an actual beer-flavored eau de vie, called B de Biercée (70 cl for 24 euros).
43, Chaussée de Charleroi
+32 (0)2 534 77 03
Open: Mon-Sat (11:00-19:00)
You can find Val Saint Lambert vases, bowls and decorative items in over forty countries, but the Brussels flagship store really focuses on its Belgian heritage. Among such items is a beautiful bowl (195 euros) from the Kaleido-collection, crafted by Brussels designer Charles Kaisin. This bowl makes a perfect gift from Brussels also because it fits snugly into a suitcase. There are plenty other of frail beauties to be found over at the Galeries Royal Saint-Hubert, close to the Grand Place. Make sure to ask to triple-wrap your purchase, for this is not the kind of glassware you would want to break on your way back home.
At Serneels Jeux et Jouets, one of the more high-profile toy stores of this kind, you can find a big fluffy rattler, who goes by the name of Roméo (39,50 euros). The little ball in its mouth is a removable rattle on a string and the soft frog makes an excellent baby pillow. Besides Roméo, produced by the Belgian company Liliputiens, you can find a large number of their other products, including human-sized stuffed animals. Serneels also carries an impressive amount of doll houses, chess sets, board games and dolls, lots of dolls. So if you feel like taking a trip down memory lane, or want to give your kids something more tangible for once, pay a visit to this store.
13. Wellness Products
If you don’t want to make a detour, the only place in Brussels where you can find Ginger Love is L’Herboristerie Moderne, a small and cozy store close to Bourse. In the French-speaking world, an herboristerie is an ancient equivalent to a pharmacy, where herbal medicine is sold instead of chemicals. Besides Ginger Love (10,50 euros a box) you can find a wide range of medicinal or aromatic spices at L’Herboristerie Moderne, including health products, like essential oils, teas and massage oils.
Kolenmarkt 87/Rue du Marché au Charbon 87, 1000 Brussel
87, Rue du Marché au Charbon 87
+32 (0)2 503 55 95
Open: Tue - Sat (10:30-13:30/ 14:30-18:30), Sun (12:30-14:00/ 14:30-18:30)
49, Marché aux Poulets
Tel : (+32) 2 511 88 52
Open: Tue – Sat (10:00-18:00)
Closed: Sun – Mon
Other Interesting Souvenirs from Belgium
If traveling to Belgium is not on your immediate agenda, or you simply can't afford an extra space in your luggage, fortunately, these days, you can find a wide selection of authentic and truly interesting Belgian souvenirs online. Presented here are some of the Belgian products sought by foreign visitors, now available online for your convenience.
2. Authentic Belgian Snacks - Authentic, all-butter waffle and other cookies, some coated in chocolate, some not, made in the best tradition of Belgian craftsmanship. Renowned for their unique flavor and delectable crunchiness, these are Europe’s top coffee break favorites. A perfect treat for a well-deserved timeout, especially if coupled with the right drink.
3. Eggwhite Soap - Fresh from the Belgian countryside, soap made of pure egg-whites, whose lather, if sit on your face or neck for 5 minutes, will easily draw impurities from your pores, leaving the skin glowing with freshness, soothed, and soft to touch.
4. Hand Painted Christmas Ball - Hand-blown glass Christmas balls, hand-painted in Belgium, make a wonderful gift for someone special. Each ornament is painted individually, and is thus unique with minor variations to each item. Excellent gift for collectors.
Walking Tours in Brussels, Belgium
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.5 Km or 2.2 Miles
Start your journey by traveling towards the old part of the city, where you’ll find the BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts, greatly admired... view more
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.0 Km or 0.6 Miles
Planète Chocolat’s chocolate-making demonstration make a... view more
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 Km or 0.9 Miles