Brussels is a vibrant and historic city with many attractions to visit. Whether you are a first-time traveler or a seasoned tourist, there are plenty of places to explore in this wonderful city. As you probably already know Brussels is the capital not only of Belgium but also of the European Union. Brussels is Belgium’s main economic and educational spot, what let to define it as a cosmopolitan city full of contrasts. Nevertheless it attracts tourists with it’s historical monuments and various world-class museums.
Interesting to mention is that the city is bilingual, all signs and the name of the streets are written in French and Dutch. The majority speaks French though, so they don’t even understand Dutch. Curious and sad at the same time, the country is divided into two parts, so many of it’s citizens can’t communicate with each other. But let’s talk about beautiful parts of Brussels because there are plenty of them!
How long do you need in Brussels
In my opinion two days in Brussels are enough to see the best of it. So ff you are planning your day trip to Brussels the best choice to start it from Brussels-Midi train station. From here you will easily reach the city centre within a walking distance. In this article, I will guide you through 10 top places to visit in Brussels.
Best time to visit Brussels
The weather in Brussels is relatively mild throughout the year, with temperatures ranging from around 0°C in winter to 24°C in summer. The best time to visit Brussels in terms of weather is during the months of April to September. But Brussels is also a popular tourist destination and can get crowded during peak tourist season, which runs from May to September. So if you’d prefer to avoid the crowds, it’s best to plan your trip during the shoulder season, which is from March to May or September to November.
I would highly recommend to purchase the Brussels Card online. It will save you money and time to discover the sights of the city of Brussels. You will get free access to some of the best museums, tourist attractions, tours, shops and more! It can be valid for 24, 48 or even 72 hours.
10 Things To Do in One Day in Brussels
1. Grand Place
The main touristic spot and Brussels attraction is the city’s main plaza Grand Place. It is the central square of Brussels and is surrounded by stunning architecture. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most visited attractions in the city. The square is lined with cafes, restaurants, and shops, making it the perfect spot for a stroll or a cup of coffee.
The square is full with magnificent architecture in barock style. Moreover it’s considered as one of the most beautiful places in the world. No wonder, the square is surrounded by outstanding buildings decorated with rich gold ornates and gables.
The most recongizible architectural masterpiece is the Town Hall, built in the 15th century. The architecture of the beautiful Grand Place reflects the diverse culture and society of Belgium, presenting the influences of different artistic styles. Here you also have a possibility to visit various museums, the prices for the tickets are mostly around 7-9€. If you need a map of the city, don’t buy it in the Info Hall, just go to the little chocolate museum and take one for free.
2. Manneken Pis
You’ve probably heard that one of the top things to see in Brussels is the famous urinating little boy of Brussels: “Manneken Pis”. I did it too. My expectations to see the symbol of the rebellious spirit of the City of Brussels were not so high, because what other country would actually use a pissing little boy as a symbol of the city? Moreover my hope to understand the meaning of Belgium’s most famous statue were immediately gone when I saw the microscopic bronze sculpture: 61cm. In nutshell: Manneken Pis is a small bronze statue of a urinating boy that has become a symbol of Brussels. The statue has several outfits that are changed regularly, and it is a popular spot for tourists to take pictures.
3. Royal Palace of Brussels
The Royal Palace of Brussels is the official residence of the Belgian royal family. It is open to the public during the summer months and offers guided tours of its opulent interior. The palace is a must-visit attraction for anyone interested in history and architecture.
4. Beer Cafe Delirium
Belgium is famous all over the world for it’s tremendous beer culture. Since the Middle Ages Belgian folk take it’s reputation seriously, they even designed customized shapes of the glasses for each beer to enhance the flavor. Belgians brew with love and passion numerous variety of beer tastes. Nevertheless if you have an affinity for beers, you should definitely visit Delirium Café in Brussels. It’s one of the main places to visit in Brussels because it has over 3.000 different brands of beer from over 60 countries. This unbelievable record found it’s place even in The Guinness Book of Records.
5. Visit Museums in Brussels
Brussels is hiding a diverse amount of historical treasures, I could write an infinite number of pages describing it’s breathtaking beauty. I will introduce you to a few, that left an impression on me. The Mont des Artes is an architecturally imposing complex of monuments with a wide gorgeous garden. From there you can enjoy a great view on the Grand Place and the historic City of Brussels. Close to this magical garden you can find the influential achievements of the great Belgian architect Victor Horta. His unique design now regarded as iconic examples of the Art Nouveau style. Horta’s architectural masterpieces with borrowed motifs from nature are even featured on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. You can also visit the Horta museum, which remains a magnificent scene of a fairytale.
If you have a bit more time definitely visit Museum of Natural Sciences.
6. Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert
In a one day tour to Brussels you can’t miss this place! Close to Grand Place you can find a famous and beautiful shopping arcade Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert. There are numerous luxury stores, lovely cafes and a theatre. It’s the perfect place to do window shopping and buy some souvenirs.
7. Comic book murals
Belgium is famous for it’s comic books and protagonists like the Smurfs, Lucky Luke, Tintin and many others. Throughout the city, you will find colourful murals dedicated to them. You can also buy a map of the city just for 1€ which will show you where all comic book murals are.
The Atomium is a unique and futuristic-looking building that was built for the 1958 World Expo. It is made up of nine giant spheres connected by tubes and offers stunning views of the city from the top. The Atomium is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Brussels.
9. Visit Parc De Brussels
If you are visiting Brussels during the summer don’t hesitate to explore the beautiful parks of Brussels. It’s a wonderful place to immerse into the peaceful vibes of the vibrant city. I would also suggest to visit Jardin Du Petit Sablon and Parc du Cinquantenaire.
10. Try Traditional Belgian Dishes
What to do in Brussels for a day? Of course try the traditional Belgian cuisine. There are two wonderful places where you can eat in Brussels that I would recommend: Mokafe and Peck 47. These are wonderful options for brunch or lunch. Mokafe will spoil you with wide range of traditional Belgian dishes on their menu. At Peck 47 you can taste savoury waffles with poached eggs.
And of course remember to taste Belgian waffles. In the city you can find a huge variety of these sugary baked goods from 1 to 10 Euros. The price doesn’t play a major role, all Belgian waffles taste delightful. It’s like Belgian chocolate, the taste will never disappoint you. You can get waffles either hot or cold and even with different toppings like fruits, chocolate, caramel, nuts and more and more of other exquisite extras.
Other beautiful cities in Belgium that you can’t miss are Bruges and Ghent.
9 thoughts on “10 Top Places to Visit in Brussels: The Perfect Itinerary for First-Time Visitors”
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Awesome share!!! We were in Belgium for a night during Christmas and I’m so sad we literally saw nothing. We went for a soccer match and flew out the next morning. We plan on going back sometime this year (probably during the Christmas markets) and I cannot wait! I’ll make sure and add some of the places you recommend but coffee and waffles were already on my list 😉
Definitely visit Belgium again and see some other lovely cities there! It’s a wonderful country to immerse into medieval fairytale! 🙂
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