Brussels is best described by one word: cosmopolitan. Nearly one in four city residents is an expatriate drawn there, typically by business or government ties. Brussels is not just the capital of Belgium, but also the capital of the far-reaching European Union. So when you're sipping hot chocolate at a sidewalk cafe (a delectable treat at any time of the year), you are eyeing one of the world's most diverse populations; and it is one of the wealthiest, too. At restaurants near the main square, you may be presented with at least six copies of the menu—each in a different language.

The word cosmopolitan also suggests a certain level of sophistication, something Brussels has in abundance. Visitors can delight in fine museums and Michelin-starred restaurants (the city claims more per capita than Paris), as well as some of the best classical music and opera in Europe. There are plenty of things to see, but your time is best spent soaking up the atmosphere. After you leave, one of your fondest impressions may be of how wonderfully livable this capital of Belgium is.

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