On Tintin’s Trail in Brussels

Rocco Forte Hotels

Supersized and splashed over the building facades of Brussels, Belgian comic book heroes lead us on a storytelling adventure throughout the capital. All you have to do to find them is follow a new trail laid by Belgium’s only Concierge for families.

Comic strips, or bande dessinée, are wildly popular in Belgium. Tantamount to a national hero, you’ll find Tintin and a cast of homegrown cartoon characters indelibly inked in the pages of all official Belgian passports. How’s that for a stamp of approval?

Street art safari in Brussels

But where to start on your cartoon pilgrimage in Brussels? Hotel Amigo’s family Concierge Haluk Sahin’s fondness for cartoons has led him to map out a street art treasure trail of 60 murals scattered across the capital, directing intrepid comic strip readers to discover their favourite Belgian characters.

Armed with a map, or with the help of a guide, peek around city corners and discover colourful cartoon characters from vintage Ric Hochet to more modern La Bambina Magritta, paying homage to the celebrated Brussels’ surrealist artist, René Magritte. Outrageously successful Belgian cartoon exports The Smurfs feature alongside a reporter with an immaculate blond quiff and a faithful canine companion.

Immersed in the world of Tintin

Visit Hotel Amigo’s Tintin Suite and you’ll be greeted by Snowy, Tintin’s fox terrier, standing guard outside the bedroom.

Staying at the suite is the ultimate immersive Tintin experience, as you’ll be surrounded by the cartoonist Hergé’s wonderfully adventurous illustrations. Can you spot a signed drawing by a legendary film director? Then you’re in the room used by Steven Spielberg during the 2011 release of The Adventures of Tintin.

Near-obsessive Tintin fans won’t want to miss the Hergé Museum, a modern museum half an hour’s drive from our hotel. Study original drawings up close, uncover the history of Hergé and learn all about the artist’s personality.

Favourite comic book characters

Haluk grew up watching cowboy cartoon capers such as the cult 1980’s television series Lucky Luke, which featured in the bestselling Spirou magazine. “In the golden age of Belgian comics in the 1960s, Spirou really caught my young imagination,” says Haluk. “His mural in the Marolles’ district fits in perfectly with the area’s vintage shops and laid-back brasseries.” Of course, no true Belgian comic book fan can leave Tintin et Milou off their list of favourites.

Brussels’ hot spots for comic fans 

Comic fans are in the right place as the city has two comic museums. Vying for your attention are The Comic Art Museum – The Belgian Comic Strip Center, a vast exhibition space in an Art Nouveau building and the Museum of Original Figurines (MOOF). 

With 3D Spiderman and Snowy in space, this is for you if you prefer a more three-dimensional approach as its impressive collection extends to standing figures, as well as 3D art with comic book heroes seemingly about to burst out of their canvases.

Interested in growing your library? Die-hard collectors can lose themselves among the well-stocked shelves at bookshop La Maison de La Bande Dessinée. It’s the place to go for posters, figurines and comics from Japanese manga and graphic novels to hard-to-find Tintin editions.

On your next visit to Brussels, book the Tintin Suite at Hotel Amigo and follow the route of the comic strip heroes honoured in paint on the city walls, or ask our Concierge by email concierge.amigo@roccofortehotels.com or phone +32 2547 4736 to arrange a private guide.