Option 4: Brussels
Day 1: Brussels
Belgium’s capital is a city of contrasts with enormous diversity and places of interest. Grand Place, Brussels’ principal square, is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is considered to be one of Europe’s most beautiful central plazas. Lined with ornate baroque and gothic guild houses, the Grand Place’s most notable features are the impressive Town Hall, which dates back to the 13th century. In close proximity is Manneken Pis, the famous bronze sculpture of a boy peeing in a fountain! Not to be missed is the Chocolate Museum located in a 17th century merchant’s house, where you will learn about chocolate making techniques and sample world class Belgian truffles! Another unique attraction is the Coudenberg Palace and archeological site. The former palace of Emperor Charles V was the most magnificent royal building in Europe. Tragically destroyed by fire in 1731, Coudenberg was never rebuilt and the site was gradually transformed into the city’s Place Royale and forgotten until the 1980s. Today, visitors can walk through the former royal cellars, stroll along the Rue Isabella, and visit the Hoogstraeten House -- all underground the bustling modern city and park above! Entrance to the Coudenberg Palace is via BelVue, a small museum presenting the history of Belgium from the 1830 revolution through the colonization of Congo to the modern era.
Sites visited: Walking tour, Chocolate Museum, Coudenberg Palace, BelVue Museum
Day 2: Brussels (NATO)
This morning, take a guided tour of NATO headquarters courtesy of the Canadian Mission to NATO. This afternoon, take the Metro system and ascend the Atomium. Built in 1958 for the the World’s Fair, the Atomium is both sculpture, architecture, and museum all rolled into one amazing landmark. Modelled after a crystallized molecule of iron magnified 150 thousand million times, escalators whisk you to the various exposition spheres offering spectacular views of the city. Below the Atomium is “Mini-Europe”, a park that recreates in miniature the most beautiful towns and sites on the continent.
Sites visited: NATO Headquarters, Atomium
Day 3: Brussels Departure
Depart Brussels for Canada or Ypres.