The Brussels Marathon has been going strong since it was first laid out in 2004. The race is run through the downtown area with spectators cheering the racers to the finish line. But, the reason that many marathon enthusiasts choose the Brussels Marathon is that they come for the race, and they stay for the fun. Typically a race that is run by destination seekers, the quainter feel of Brussels, when compared to other European cities, comes alive with excitement. To those who live in Brussels, the marathon isn’t just a race; it is an entire event.
If you are coming for the Brussels Marathon, you simply must make it to the Grand-Place. The Grand-Place is the square that marches around the downtown center. Although you will see it on race day, it is also somewhere you will want to better appreciate once the rails for the marathon have been taken down. In the heart of the city, it is within a stone’s throw from all the other amazing sites you will want to get a glimpse of around the city. The city center comes alive with street performances and festivals galore, and there is never a shortage of things to witness and enjoy.
The St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral is one of the most amazing religious architectural feats in Europe. A Gothic church like nowhere else in the world, it was created for the Royals of Belgium and where all the grand Royal weddings took place. Constructed in the 13th century, you can’t walk in without being awe-struck at the sheer intricacies of the build and design.
The Atomium is considered to be the heart and soul, as well as the symbol, of Brussels and the entire country of Belgium. It was originally constructed for the 1958 World’s Fair, but because the town loved it so much, it ended up not making it and staying put at home. Just something to see, once and done, it is one of those icons that you can check off your bucket list.
For the music lover, there is nothing more fascinating than the Musical Instruments Museum. The extensive nature of the musical instrument collection has different musical contraptions from all around the globe. Even for those who aren’t that into instruments, it makes for a fun “pop in,” and while there, you will want to take a stop by the cafe, which provides tourists one of the best views of Brussels.
Because a marathon isn’t all about being serious, sometimes you want to blow off a little steam post run, the Cantillon Brewery is a tradition in Brussels that you shouldn't miss. It is the only remaining brewery that still brews the traditional variety of beer in Brussels, Lambic beer. Whether you love it or don’t, it is something that you have to put on your to-do list just to say you did.
For those who are just in for the weekend and won’t have the opportunity to make their way around Europe, the Mini-Europe is a theme park that has all the major structures that call people to Europe to vacation, only on a much smaller scale. Not just for adults, there are many interactive things for the kids to do. So, it is a place for the whole family.
Once race day is over and you want to settle down for an elegant meal to recoup and recharge your batteries, Come chez Soi is a French restaurant that offers some of the best French cuisines that you can get. The art nouveau dining is an additional “cool” factor that makes the food taste even better. If you are more of a fish and chips type of person, then the Bia Mara is the place to be. Much more low key and casual, what the chefs can do to a simple filet of fish is simply masterful.
If you are looking for a marathon event that will challenge you to the utmost, but also a destination that has a ton to do while you are in for the weekend, or even to make it an extended vacation, then the Brussels Marathon is an event to put on your calendar. Start planning ahead of time for an awesome time, because it is right around the corner.