Brussels

For generations, Brussels has been the place to indulge a taste for some of the finer things in life: chocolate, beer, lace, and lead crystal. Brussels is also heaven for comic-book collectors, and there are lots of offbeat shops to tempt magpies. While the city may not be bursting with bargains, there are inexpensive items to be found in the markets. Value-added tax (TVA) inflates prices, but visitors from outside the EU can obtain refunds. Sales take place in January and July.

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  • 1. Artisanal Market

    The Saturday market sees stalls filled with antiques, secondhand goods, food, flowers, and plants scatter the streets of Brusselsestraat, Parijsstraat, Pensstraat, Mathieu de Layensplein, and...Read More

  • 2. Bittersweet

    An inspired local chocolaterie whose flavors range from out-there breakfast (yogurt, praline, and maple syrup) and robotski (a little robot-shape chocolate filled with ginger) chocolates...Read More

  • 3. BS40

    Lower Town

    Also known as Jitsk, this chocolaterie on rue au Buerre, which is packed with chocolate shops, is home to arguably the best macarons—soft yet flavorsome—in...Read More

  • 4. Chocolaterie Mary

    Lower Town

    A chocolatier to the royal family. The original owner, Mary Delluc, founded her shop in 1919 on rue Royale, where you'll still find a branch...Read More

  • 5. Elizabeth Chocolaterie

    A window packed with artisanal marshmallow cakes and meringues tempts visitors into this boutique sweet and chocolate shop, which also conjures traditional Flemish biscuits and...Read More

  • 6. Elsen Kaasambacht

    This excellent cheese shop specializes in raw milk, small-scale, and traditional cheeses from Belgium and France. The €12 platters are a great way to taste...Read More

  • 7. Flower Market

    Thursdays (1–6) on Brusselsestraat erupt in stalls brimming over with floral delights and bouquets. ...Read More

  • 8. Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert

    One of the oldest shopping malls in Europe, this elegant neo-Renaissance gallery first opened in 1847, and its towering columns and iron-and-glass roof make it...Read More

  • 9. Ganterie Italienne

    Lower Town

    Brussels used to be famous for its gloves, and the old tanneries on the rue des Tanneurs once produced the finest of leather. This glove...Read More

  • 10. Hunting and Collecting

    Lower Town

    This vast space dedicated to cutting-edge design in clothing, footwear, furniture, and accessories includes an art exhibition area in the basement. Its look is rarely...Read More

  • 11. Icon

    Lower Town

    Wild avant-garde fashions and timeless pieces—Dansaert's beloved store is appropriately named and rarely disappoints those willing to adopt a bold new look thanks to a...Read More

  • 12. Jeu de Bulles

    Lower Town

    Jeu de Bulles is a cult gem, home to some rare first-edition comic books, toys, and original prints from Tintin, Blake and Mortimer, Lucky Luke,...Read More

  • 13. Kure

    Upper Town

    Boulevard de Waterloo's Kure is a firm fixture on the fashionista front, with a mix of French, Belgian, and Scandinavian designers all touting everyday wear...Read More

  • 14. Laurent Gerbaud

    Upper Town

    A wonderful café and chocolate shop perfect for resting your feet between museums. Sit down with a hot chocolate and a cake, or sample one...Read More

  • 15. Mellow Concept Store

    Stylish concept store and fashion boutique offering clothes, accessories, and a few small furniture pieces from selected designers....Read More

  • 16. Monsel

    Lower Town

    Something of an old stager, this traditional umbrella shop and milliners has a wide choice of caps and hats. It has also been going for...Read More

  • 17. Mook's

    Long established on the Châtelain scene, Mook's has a slick range of women's clothes and accessories. It also has a sister store, Chouke (rue du...Read More

  • 18. Pierre Marcolini

    Upper Town

    Marcolini's talents have long since outgrown his flagship chocolate shop in Sablon. He has stores stretching all the way to Japan these days, but his...Read More

  • 19. Planète Chocolat

    Lower Town

    As well as selling delicious handmade chocolates, this store also does demonstrations in French and English (€7) and runs lessons (€100) for those who want...Read More

  • 20. Sablon Antique Market

    Upper Town

    Each weekend morning, a lively antiques market (Saturday 9–5, Sunday 9–3) takes over the upper end of the square. It isn't for bargain hunters, though....Read More

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