Brussels, the unassuming, easy going capital city of Belgium and the administrative hub of European Union offers the quintessential Belgian experience without the touristy hype.
Grand facades, magnificent cathedrals, some amazing and quirky museums, the unique and imposing Atomium and melt in mouth Belgian chocolates – there are a lot of places to see in Brussels that await your presence. So if you’re on a holiday, then this fascinating small city with big surprises and a glorious history will delight you.
13 Best Places To Visit In Brussels
Here is a list of the best places to visit in Brussels city that you must go through before you leave. Take a look!
- Grand Place
- Atomium & Mini Europe
- Belgian Comic Strip Centre
- Town Hall
- St. Michael And St. Gudula Cathedral
- Royal Museum Of Fine Arts
- Manneken Pis
- Jardin Du Petit Sablon
- Notre Dame Du Sablon
- Mont De Arts
- Villa Empain
- Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert
- Magritte Museum
1. Grand Place
The grand city centre oozing with history, magnificent architecture and a splendid flower-carpet (twice a year) is one of the best places to visit in Brussels to feel the vibe of the city. Probably the largest and most beautiful square in Europe, flanked by the majestic Gildehuizen (guild houses) is one of the best places in Brussels to enjoy a drink, pick a tour or simply sit and feel the pulse of this vibrant city. The ornate historical buildings surrounding the cobblestoned square displaying intricate stone-work, stunning gold decoration, baroque gables and awe-inspiring architecture give the Grand Place its unmatched grandeur and elegance. You can stroll over to breathe in the fragrance of local flower market thrice a week and be awed by its surreal beauty when it is lit up at night.
Ideal for: Architecture, History, People-watching
2. Atomium & Mini Europe
The impressive and iconic steel-aluminium wonder is to Brussels what Eiffel Tower is to Paris. It’s amazing to look up at this model of an iron atom magnified to 165 times its size and a thrilling experience to be whisked to the top of this 100m high gleaming architectural marvel.
You can combine the trip and ticket with a visit to Mini Europe which is equally riveting and exciting for kids as well as adults. With detailed models of the best European cities, interactive sections and working models this miniature wonder is a popular Brussels attraction.
Ideal For: Family time, Photography
3. Belgian Comic Strip Centre
Let the child within gaze with delight and wonder at those familiar comic strip characters that have made you laugh and filled your heart with joy. In this magnificent 19th century art deco building designed by the master architect Victor Horta, you can walk through a 3D Smurf village, visit Captain Haddock’s moon rocket and peep through Lucky Luke’s salon. With dedicated sections for Tintin, Asterix, Smurfs and many other Belgian and French comic strips, you can delve deeper into the magical world of your favourite characters. The detailed history of comic strips and the journey to their present day graphic novel form is fascinating.
Timings: 10AM to 6PM every day
Entry fee: 10 Euros/adult; 3.5 Euros/child. Concessional fee for senior citizens, students and group tickets
4. Town Hall
The most spectacular building around the Grand Place, the Town Hall has several grand rooms displaying its magnificence. With its spire towering above all other buildings, the Town Hall is considered a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. While the impressive facade adorned with numerous sculptures is a sight to behold, the opulent interiors will leave you spellbound. Rich tapestries and stunning ceiling of the Council Chamber, beautifully panelled walls, amazing artwork and murals will take your breath away. The seat if the Mayor of Brussels, the Town Hall also hosts many free concerts and looks stunningly beautiful when lit up at night.
Ideal for: Architecture, History
Suggested Read: These 12 Hostels In Brussels Will Add Comfort To Your Experience
5. St. Michael And St. Gudula Cathedral
Dedicated to the patron saints of Brussels, this majestic poetry in stone is as beautiful on the inside as it is spectacular on the outside. The magnificent preaching stand, impressive archways, pretty sculptures and the gorgeously detailed stained glass windows are a treat to the eyes. A short walk from the main station, this fantastic Gothic-style cathedral is a must-visit on your Brussels sightseeing itinerary. It is worth spending an hour here reading up on its history, architecture and spiritual significance and stealing some tranquil moments.
Ideal for: Tranquillity, Photography, Architecture
6. Royal Museum Of Fine Arts
Even though not as famous as the Louvre or Musee d’Orsay, Belgium’s Royal Museum of Fine Arts will surprise you with its amazing collection of jaw-dropping art and is one of the finest places to visit in Brussels for art aficionados. Curated into three different and interesting sections, it is one of Europe’s largest art galleries featuring the works of masters like Rubens, Van Dyke, Rembrandt, Magritte and Brueghel.
Timings: 10AM to 5PM (Mon-Fri); 10Am to 6PM (Sat-Sun)
Entry fee: 13 Euros for all three sections. Free entry on first Wednesday of every month.
7. Manneken Pis
Undoubtedly one of the most popular Brussels tourist attractions, this quirky bronze sculpture of a small boy urinating in the fountain must not be missed while in Brussels. A copy of the original one (which is now in the Brussels Museum), this landmark attraction is an embodiment of Belgian humour and rebellious spirit. Manneken Pis (literally meaning the small man) has a wardrobe of more than 900 costumes which he is dressed up in couple of times a year on special occasions.
Ideal for: Photography, History
Suggested Read: 15 Most Romantic Cities In The World
8. Jardin Du Petit Sablon
This serene oasis in the heart of the city is a great place to take a break from the hectic Brussels sightseeing and breath in the refreshing air. The charming landscaped garden with an impressive Egmont and Hornes Fountain is studded with 48 bronze sculptures depicting historical occupations. It’s the perfect spot for a truly European experience while soaking in some history on the side.
Ideal for: Relaxation, History
9. Notre Dame Du Sablon
As you stroll through the city ticking off the best places to visit in Brussels, don’t miss out on this strikingly beautiful cathedral. Displaying an elegant amalgamation of the Gothic and Renaissance styles of architecture, the church interiors are adorned with exceptional stained glass windows and an ornately carved pulpit and organ. After visiting the church you can stroll to the beautiful park nearby, sip a coffee at the local cafes and marvel at this majestic structure.
Ideal for: Architecture, Photography
10. Mont De Arts
A lovely little hill dotted with as many as 10 museums and an atmosphere that can’t be beaten, Mont De Arts is surely one of the top places to visit in Brussels for experiencing the best that this charming city has to offer. You simply sit here and enjoy the street performances, walk up to some of the interesting (Magritte Museum for art lovers, the unique Musical Instruments Museum, amongst others) or marvel at the panoramic city views. Sunset is a great time for some picture postcard-worthy shots of the city, and then witnessing the glittering spectacle as night sets in.
Ideal for: Photography, Museums, Relaxation
11. Villa Empain
Built by the famous Swiss architect, Michel Polak in 1930-1934, Villa Empain is a place that you ought to add to your list of places to visit in Brussels. It was a private house before but after its restoration in 2009-2011, it was opened for public. Villa Empain is a marvelous piece of artwork which is popular throughout Belgium due to its stunning interiors.
Ideal For: Art Lovers
12. Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert
Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert is Europe’s first covered shopping arcade and if you are a shopaholic you should totally visit this great spot in Brussels. Designed by architect Jean-Pierre Cluysenaer in the years of 1846 and 1847 and since then it attracts a lot of tourists every year. You must visit all the three galleries which are called The King’s Gallery, the Queen’s Gallery and the Prince’s Gallery on your shopping spree to make the most out of it.
Ideal For: Shopping buffs
13. Magritte Museum
Opened in 2009 to the public, Magritte Museum is one of the most frequented places to visit in Brussels. All the travelers who love art and history must pay a visit to this museum which is dedicated to the Belgian artist, René Magritte. The museum has 200 original sculptures, Magritte paintings, and drawings. You can have a look at the famous artworks like Return, Scheherazade and The Empire of Lights once you step in this museum.
There is no end to the Brussels attractions and experiences to savour in this wonderful city. At the end of a long day of sightseeing, sip some uniquely Belgian beer and let the city work its magic. And now you must plan your European vacay with TravelTriangle and enjoy a personalized itinerary and trip.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Places To Visit In Brussels
Where should I go near Brussels?
There are so many places you can visit near Brussels like:
1. Gaasbeek Castle
2. Flemish city of Ghent
3. Villers Abbey
4. Lion’s Mound
7. Sonian Forest
What is Brussels famous for?
The cuisine and gastronomy are the two things Brussels is famous for. You will find a number of historical and architectural landmarks, some of which are listed under UNESCO. Try waffles and fries when in Brussels. There is a huge variety of beer that you will find in Brussels.
Is Brussels a good tourist destination?
Yes, Brussels is absolutely amazing destination where there is so much to explore and see. From chocolate to beer, Brussels is famous for quite a things. If you like exploring medieval cities with cobbled streets, then you are going to love this place. Besides, you will find a lot of lively cafes and restaurants in Brussels.
How many days do you need in Brussels?
If you want to explore Brussels at its best, then you should spend 3-4 days otherwise a couple of days are fine if you can’t squeeze in much time.
Do they speak English in Brussels?
Most people speak French in Brussels. The english-speaking native speakers are very less but it is safe to assume that they understand Engish language.
What to pack when visiting Brussels?
Here is what you should pack for visiting Brussels:
1. Down jacket
4. Comfortable shoes
5. Refillable water bottle
Can I drink the tap water in Brussels?
Yes, it is safe to drink tap water in Brussels, unlike in other countries. It tastes pleasant.
What to visit in Brussels in 2 days?
Some of the most popular places to visit in Brussels in 2 days are:
1. Manneken Pis
2. Jeanneke Pis and Zinneke
3. Grand Place
5. Victor Horta's major townhouses
6. Villa Empain
7. Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert
8. Notre Dame du Sablon
9. Mini Europe
10. Musical Instrument Museum
How many days in Brussels is enough?
If you are planning to visit Brussels solo or with your family and friends, two days is often enough to enjoy sightseeing tours, culinary retreats, and more. If you want to enjoy slow travel and travel around the entire length of this city, we would recommend a 7-day trip to soak in the culture of this place.
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