Tag Archives: guide

Spotted by Locals

So the nice folks over at Spotted by Locals are sharing the Brussels love this week. Their City of the Week is Brussels and to celebrate they’re offering their iPhone app guide for free until Friday (usually costs $3.99). I downloaded it yesterday and gave it a little test run. Here are the results.

SpottedbyLocals

The app is easy to use, with lists of places around Brussels sorted by categories like bars, restaurants, music, shopping, etc. You can also view the featured locations on a map or by searching nearby. Each entry has a short review from the Spotted by Locals team, address, hours and other useful info.

SpottedbyLocals app             SpottedbyLocals app

The list of bars is pretty decent and includes some popular spots like Bar Beton, Chez Franz and L’Ultime Atome. The restaurant list is okay with reviews of places like Kokuban, Ici and Toukoul but is missing some of my favorites and generally more up-scale eateries.

I like that they have a list dedicated to coffee & tea, as a good cup of coffee isn’t always easy to find. There is also a list of spots to relax around Brussels, including parks, squares and other public spaces. The shopping list is rather limited but they make up for it with the more complete overview of arts, culture and music venues.

SpottedbyLocals app            SpottedbyLocals app

Overall the app is useful and allows you to make a selection of your favorites. This week Spotted by Locals is also offering free city apps for London and Berlin so get’em while they’re hot. If you roll old-school style, you can always download the PDF version of the Brussels city guide for a reduced price of $0.89.

There are several other smartphone apps for Brussels out there, many of them for free, which I posted about here and here a little while back. This latest one is a good addition to the mix!

P.S. and be sure to also check out The Spotted by Locals list of top Brussels blogs posted yesterday. Best of Brussels made the cut!

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Brussels Newcomers

This one’s for all you newcomers to Brussels out there (and those of you who are not so new but still may need a little help navigating the city :)). I know most of us feel a bit lost and bewildered when first arriving in Brussels. I’m not sure I ever climbed up a lamp post, but there were days I definitely needed some help to find my way around this town, literally and figuratively.

There are a few good resources for new arrivals to Brussels, including guidebooks like The Bulletin’s Newcomer. I also know the American Women’s Club of Brussels holds a “Hints for Living in Belgium” course (€125 fee for six half-day sessions). However, I recently discovered a new class and guidebook for newcomers to Brussels that I thought was worth sharing.

The Brussels-Europe Liaison Office (BELO), has launched a course “Discover Brussels” to help those just moving to the city by providing information and insights over lunch. BELO is supported by the Brussels Regional government and aims to promote the image of Brussels as the capital of Europe and inform residents of the role Europe plays in the prosperity of the Brussels Region.

The 2-hour session includes a historical overview of Brussels’ development, its social-economic and demographic situation, the institutional structure and helpful information to better understand the city and find your way around more easily. Unfortunately only staff-members of the EU institutions (officials, temporary agents, contract agent, seconded national experts and their partners) can enroll for class. The November session is already sold out but I understand that they will organize another class in a couple of weeks. Check out the website for more details or email BELO at info@blbe.be

BELO has also developed a Survival Guide for Newcomers in Brussels with some useful and fun information about the city, which is freely available to everyone.

The guide is organized in a fun way with chapter headings like “Who chooses the music in the Brussels metro?”, “No, you weren’t dreaming. There really was a bright green parakeet sitting in that tree” and “Urban Myths”. Hey, these are essential things to know about this city!

If you think you already know everything there is to know about Brussels, watch this little video clip with some questions about the city and see how you do compared to others who answered.

The BELO website has other helpful information and links, and you can also follow them on Facebook or sign up for their Newsletter for latest updates and events.

Images via Brussels-Europe Liaison Office.

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