Mini-Europe picture
Nigel's Europe & beyond/Flickr

Key Info

Voetballaan 1

Details

Amusement Parks, Sightseeing Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
3.9scorecard
  • 4.0Value
  • 4.5Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

In reality, Europe is a very big place, and unless you have years to dedicate, there's no hope of seeing everything. For those with time-sensitive itineraries, there is Mini-Europe. The theme park is north of central Brussels and features scale models of Europe's biggest and best, from the Leaning Tower of Pisa and Seville's renowned bullfighting ring to London's Big Ben and many of Paris' biggest landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower and Sacre-Coeur. In just a day, you can see more than 300 of this continent's best sights. Be sure to bring your kids: many of the park's mini-attractions are interactive, such as Naples' Mount Vesuvius and the Berlin Wall. 

Many visitors agree that this is a great place to bring children. Some older travelers recall being impressed with the detail of the smaller structures, but say if you don't have little ones in tow, you can probably find better ways to spend your time in Brussels.

Mini-Europe sits right next to the Atomium and is less than a mile south from the Heysel/Heizel metro stop. The park's hours vary depending on the season; admission starts at about €14.50 EUR for adults and €10.80 EUR for children younger than 12, but you can buy combo tickets to Océade or the Atomium to save some dough. For more information, check out the official website.

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Manneken Pis
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Type
Time to Spend
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#1 Manneken Pis

This little boy has put Brussels on the tourist map; people travel to this city from all over the world just to catch a glimpse of him urinating. The legend behind the Manneken Pis (which translates to little peeing man in Dutch) varies widely depending on who you ask. One popular story is of a little boy relieving himself on a witch's doorstep. Catching the boy in the act, the witch wished to punish him by turning him into stone, forcing him into that compromising position for eternity. A local, who witnessed the entire incident, ran to the boy and replaced him with a statue in the nick of time, making the boy miss the curse entirely. Another very popular story is that of a little boy stopping Brussels from meeting its demise. Enemy forces, intent on destroying Brussels, lit a small fire with the hopes it would spread and burn the city to the ground. A wandering little boy, who apparently really needed to go to the bathroom, saw the fire and put it out with his natural resources, thus saving the city. 

While the statue itself is of a child in the nude, he has been the recipient of about 800 different costumes, a tradition that began when Maximilian II Emanuel gave him a soldier's uniform in 1698. Since then Manneken Pis has been many things, including Santa and Elvis. Those interested in learning more about Manneken Pis should take a trip to the Museum of the City of Brussels, where more than 100 of his outfits are on display. The museum also has a digital archive of every single outfit that Manneken Pis has worn for visitors to view.

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