things to do in brussels

Last Updated on: 5th July 2024, 06:30 am

Greetings from Brussels! If you’re planning a trip to this charming city, you’re in for a treat. Brussels is a fantastic destination that offers endless possibilities and a unique blend of culture, history, and delicious gastronomy. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or returning from a previous trip, Brussels has a wealth of attractions that will keep you entertained throughout your stay.

There are plenty of options when it comes to choosing things to do in Brussels, and I’m here to help you explore the top tourist spots in the city. From iconic landmarks to hidden gems, this city has something for everyone. While exploring Brussels, don’t miss out on other Belgian cities like Ghent and Antwerp. Check out our guide on things to do in Belgium for more ideas. So, let’s dive into the top things to see and do in Brussels!

Things to do in Brussels, Belgium

1. Exploring Grand Place: A UNESCO World Heritage Site

When in Brussels, a visit to the Grand Place is an absolute must-see attraction. This historic square is steeped in culture, and surrounded by magnificently preserved buildings that date back centuries – a true testament to Belgium’s rich heritage. Take a leisurely stroll through the square, and marvel at the impressive architecture while sipping on a cup of coffee or indulging in some of the world-famous chocolate.

In the center of the Grand Place stands the impressive statue of the city’s founder, Charles of Lorraine. This beautiful bronze sculpture has become a much-loved landmark, with visitors flocking from around the world to take a selfie with the iconic figure.

For a more immersive experience, visit the Grand Place in the evening when the square is transformed into a magical wonderland adorned with spectacular lights. The majestic buildings are bathed in a warm golden glow, enhancing their beauty even further.

The Grand Place is also home to many charming cafes, restaurants, and shops. So whether you’re in the mood for a delicious meal, a refreshing drink, or some retail therapy, this iconic landmark has it all. Be sure to add the Grand Place to your list of must-see attractions in Brussels – it will leave you mesmerized.

2. Discovering Belgian Chocolate: A Sweet Delight

As a self-confessed chocolate lover, one of my favourite things to do in Brussels is to visit the numerous chocolate shops in the city. Belgian chocolate is renowned worldwide, and for good reason – it’s simply delicious! From beautifully crafted truffles to mouth-watering pralines, there’s a treat for every taste bud.

For the ultimate chocolate experience, head to the iconic Neuhaus store, which has been satisfying sweet cravings since 1857. You can’t go wrong with their signature Ballotin of assorted chocolates, which includes a selection of their most popular flavours.

If you’re looking for a more contemporary take on Belgian chocolate, check out Pierre Marcolini. This award-winning chocolatier only uses the highest quality ingredients to create innovative and delicious treats.

Belgian chocolate

Don’t forget to take some treats home as souvenirs – they make the perfect gift for family and friends. And if you want to learn more about the rich history of Belgian chocolate, visit the Belgian Chocolate Village museum. Here, you can discover the origins of cocoa, see how chocolate is made, and of course, sample some of their delicious creations.

3. Admiring the Atomium: A Futuristic Icon

The Atomium is a true representation of Brussels’ innovative culture, featuring nine interconnected spheres that tower above the city. The structure was built for the 1958 World Expo and symbolizes the power of science and technology.

Visitors can enter the Atomium and travel up to the top sphere for a stunning panoramic view of Brussels. It’s a great opportunity to appreciate the city’s skyline while learning more about the scientific advancements that have shaped our world.

Atomium in Brussels

Inside the Atomium, there are various exhibitions that showcase science and technology. It’s a fantastic way to explore educational and engaging exhibits while admiring Brussels’ unique architecture.

An Impressive Structure

The Atomium stands at a height of 102 metres and weighs around 2400 tonnes. Its futuristic design was created by André Waterkeyn and is a true engineering marvel. The structure is a popular spot for tourists and is a must-visit attraction when in Brussels.

“The Atomium is an impressive landmark that symbolizes the innovative spirit of Brussels and is a testament to the power of science and technology.”

A Great Day Out

There’s something for everyone at the Atomium, whether you’re a science enthusiast, architecture fan, or simply looking for a unique experience. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to visit this incredible landmark and learn more about Brussels’ innovative legacy.

Opening Times Admission Prices
Monday-Friday: 10am-5pm Adults: €16
Students/Seniors: €14
Children (6-11): €8
Children under 6: Free
Saturday-Sunday: 10am-6pm

Ensure you plan your visit during the opening hours and secure your tickets in advance to avoid disappointment. With its stunning architecture, fantastic exhibitions, and unique design, the Atomium is an attraction that’s guaranteed to leave an unforgettable impression for all who visit.

4. Exploring European History at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts

For art lovers, the Royal Museums of Fine Arts are a must-visit attraction in Brussels. This collection showcases more than 20,000 works that embody European art from the Middle Ages to the present day. The museum’s exhibits are housed in several buildings, each with a unique character and style.

The Royal Museums of Fine Arts display some of the most emblematic works created by world-famous Belgian artists, including Bruegel, Rubens, and Magritte. The surreal paintings of Magritte are sure to captivate even the most casual art observer.

Pro-tip: If you’re planning to make the most of your visit, consider joining one of the museum’s guided tours, or pick up an audio guide at the entrance to gain a deeper insight into the rich history and evolution of various art movements.

Royal Museums of Fine Arts

“The Royal Museums of Fine Arts in Brussels host some of the most magnificent works in the world. From Bruegel’s intricate paintings to Magritte’s surrealist masterpieces, this museum is a must-visit for any art enthusiast.”

5. Indulging in Belgian Beer: Cheers to Tradition

As a beer lover, visiting Brussels was a dream come true. Belgium’s beer culture is renowned, and there’s no better place to experience it than in Brussels. With over 180 breweries in the country, there’s always another beer to try!

One of the best ways to experience Belgian beer is to visit traditional breweries and cozy pubs. Here, you can sample a wide variety of brews, including some that are exclusive to Brussels. Don’t be shy to ask for recommendations from the bar staff – they’re always happy to help!

To truly appreciate the artistry of Belgian beer, you should try a few different varieties. Some popular types to look out for include:

  • Trappist Beer – This beer is brewed by Trappist monks and is known for its smooth, rich taste.
  • Gueuze Beer – A unique, sour beer that is fermented with wild yeast.
  • Abbey Beer – Similar to Trappist beer, but brewed by secular producers in the same style as Trappist beer.

In Brussels, there are several great places to try Belgian beer, including Cantillon Brewery, Moeder Lambic and Delirium Cafe. So raise a glass and say “Cheers!” to the local tradition.

Belgian beer and pretzel pairings

Pro tip: Belgian beer pairs perfectly with salty pretzels. Don’t be afraid to ask for a bowl to share with friends!

6. Wandering through the Royal Palace: Regal Splendor

If you’re looking for a taste of royal life, take a stroll around the Royal Palace, the official residence of the Belgian royal family. This iconic landmark is a testament to Belgium’s rich history and royal heritage. Be sure to admire the grand architecture and beautiful gardens surrounding the palace, which are among the most beautiful Brussels landmarks.

Although you can’t enter the private quarters, exploring the public areas is still a breathtaking experience. The palace houses many art exhibitions, showcasing some of the world’s most treasured artworks. Take a sneak peek into the world of regal splendor as you wander through the magnificent halls and rooms of the palace.

The palace also serves as a platform for royal receptions and other state events, adding to its already unique and impressive reputation. A visit to the Royal Palace is a perfect way to learn about Belgian history and culture while immersing yourself in an utterly fabulous location.

7. Exploring Cinquantenaire Park: A Tranquil Escape

When the hustle and bustle of the city get too much, head to Cinquantenaire Park for a peaceful escape. This park’s sprawling green spaces offer plenty of opportunities to relax and unwind, surrounded by picturesque gardens and pathways. Take a leisurely walk or enjoy a picnic in the serene surroundings, adorned with the stunning Triumphal Arch’s magnificent architecture.

Things to do in Cinquantenaire Park

  • Visit the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History, housed in the classic Cinquantenaire Arch, to learn about the military history of Belgium and view an impressive array of tanks, planes, and other military equipment.
  • Relax in the tranquil surroundings of the park’s beautiful gardens, including a rose garden and a Japanese garden that features a peaceful koi pond.
  • Take a stroll or cycle along the park’s paved pathways, offering beautiful views of the Triumphal Arch and the park’s surrounding greenery.
  • Enjoy a picnic with friends and family on the park’s expansive lawns, surrounded by stunning architecture and lush foliage.

Whether you’re looking to enjoy a leisurely afternoon or simply escape the bustle of the city, Cinquantenaire Park is the ideal destination for a tranquil interlude in Brussels.

Conclusion

In conclusion, if you’re planning a trip to Brussels, Belgium, you definitely won’t be disappointed. There are so many things to do in Brussels, Belgium, and it’s hard to choose just a few. From exploring the iconic Grand Place and admiring the Atomium to indulging in Belgian chocolate and beer, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant city.

Make sure to prioritize these top things to see and do in Brussels to make the most of your trip. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, an art lover, or simply looking to relax in a beautiful park, Brussels has it all. So pack your bags, book your tickets, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in the heart of Europe.

If you’re planning more travels, check out the top attractions in Alanya, Turkey.

FAQ

What are some of the top attractions in Brussels?

Some of the top attractions in Brussels include the Grand Place, the Atomium, the Royal Museums of Fine Arts, and the Royal Palace.

Where can I find the best Belgian chocolate in Brussels?

Brussels is known for its delicious chocolate, and you can find the best Belgian chocolate in the many chocolate shops located throughout the city.

What can I expect to see at the Atomium?

The Atomium is a unique structure that offers panoramic views of the city. Inside, you will also find exhibitions that explore science and technology.

What famous artists are featured at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts?

The Royal Museums of Fine Arts feature works from renowned artists such as Bruegel, Rubens, and Magritte.

Where can I sample Belgian beer in Brussels?

Brussels is famous for its beer culture, and you can sample a wide variety of Belgian beers in traditional breweries and cozy pubs throughout the city.

Can I visit the private quarters of the Royal Palace?

No, the private quarters of the Royal Palace are not open to the public. However, you can still explore the public areas and admire the grand architecture and gardens.

Where can I find a peaceful escape from the city in Brussels?

Cinquantenaire Park offers a tranquil escape with its picturesque gardens and pathways. It’s the perfect place to relax and enjoy nature.