Beautiful Grand Place in Brussels
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How To Spend The Best Weekend In Brussels

What comes to mind when you think of visiting Brussels? Most likely a combination of beer, waffles, chocolates, and frites I’m sure. On top of that, there are so many fun and awesome things to do in Brussels during your visit. It has it all with both a large modern city and keeping with its medieval old town vibe that makes spending a weekend in Brussels a must!

Before going, I had heard that many people didn’t care for Brussels compared to some of the other cities like Bruges, Ghent or Antwerp. I never heard of any one reason but just not a lot of positive feedback about it.

There is amazing architecture throughout the city that makes for the best weekend in Brussels
There is amazing architecture throughout Brussels to see

Personally, I really like Brussels but can see why it might not get as much love compared to the ridiculously cute and fairytale-like cities like Bruges and Ghent.

Having said that, don’t skip Brussels as it has its own unique appeal that makes it stand out and definitely worth visiting.

I would recommend spending 3 days to see many of the sights and experiences listed below. And if you are a bit jet-lagged and need to ease into your trip, add another day to spread things out.

If you are looking for the perfect long weekend getaway, then Brussels is a top choice. Get ready for your trip to Brussels and explore places to stay!

Where Is Brussels?

Brussels is the capital of Belgium and is pretty much in the center of the country. It is the largest city in Belgium and is the perfect base to start out your travels in the country.

Love walking the cobblestone streets of Brussels...
Love walking the cobblestone streets of Brussels…

Belgium is bordered by France, Luxembourg, Germany, and the Netherlands. That means that it is super easy to get to Brussels from so many cities for its central location.

It also happens to be the administrative capital of the European Union (EU), so you will see a large EU presence here.

Getting To Brussels

If you are flying into Brussels, then you will be flying into Brussels Airport (BRU) which is the international airport. The airport is about 20 – 25 minutes from the city center of the Grand Place (Grote Markt).

If you don’t have a lot of luggage, I would say to jump onto the metro and take it to one of the stops near the city center. But if you have a lot of luggage and/or too tired after flying for hours like I was, then hop into a taxi or Uber.

In planning for your trip to Brussels, explore the best flight deals today!

Accommodations In Brussels

For the most convenient access to most of the Brussels attractions, I would recommend staying near the Grand Place (Grote Markt).

That way you can rely on walking to almost everything, near all the cafes, shops and chocolatiers. Gotta be near the chocolate shops… Lol.

There is fun mural art to discover throughout Brussels
There is fun mural art to discover throughout Brussels

As another option, I stayed in the European Union (EU) district at the Courtyard Marriott Brussels EU that is about a 20-minute walk or quick metro ride to the Grand Place. A few hotels that are a close proximity to the Grand Place, are:

Hilton Brussels Grand Placeif you are coming into Brussels by train, this Hilton property is next to the Brussels Central Train Station.

Brussels Marriott Hotel Grand Place

Radisson Blu Royal Hotel Brussels

Tips For Visiting

A great way to get a feel for a city is to take a walking tour. This Brussels private walking tour with a local is an excellent way to see some of these sights listed below from a local’s perspective.

Although I encourage walking as much as you can between places to see in Brussels, consider getting a Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour Pass that takes you to the most popular attractions in Brussels that can help save on time rather than walking.

Map Of Top Attractions In Brussels

Here is a map of all the things to do in Brussels on a long weekend. This will make planning and navigating the city easier for you!

Map courtesy of Wanderlog, a trip planner

Best Things To Do In Brussels

1. Grand Place (Grote Markt)

The Grand Place or Grote Markt is the main square surrounded by the most elaborately crafted buildings. It should be one of the first things to do in Brussels upon arriving.

I have never seen so many grand and gorgeous buildings in one square like this. I can see why they consider it one of the most beautiful squares in Europe!

The Hotel de Ville or City Hall at Grand Place
The Hotel de Ville or City Hall at Grand Place
The old guildhall buildings surround Grand Place
The beautiful old guildhall buildings surround Grand Place

As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, there are many buildings in the Grand Place to take note of for the craftsmanship and architecture.

The square is kind of tucked away and you can’t really see or enjoy the beauty of it until you walk out into it. If you happen to be very limited in your time in Brussels, this is one place not to miss!

A closeup of Brussels' City Hall or Stadhius
A closeup of Brussels’ City Hall or Stadhius
The previous Gothic King's House is now the Brussels City Museum
The previous Gothic King’s House is now the Brussels City Museum

Many of the buildings in Grand Place were once the guildhalls of Brussels and are mostly in Baroque style. What are guildhalls you might ask?

Referred to as guildhall or guild house, it was a place where people of the same trade or craft could come together and meet.

The old guildhalls of Brussels line the main square, Grand Place
The old guildhalls of Brussels line the main square, Grand Place
During December there is a Christmas tree, decorations & lights in the Grand Place!
During December there is a Christmas tree, decorations & lights in the Grand Place!

Think of it as a town hall for each guild in a city. During the middle ages and up to the end of the 18th century, guilds dominated economic life in a town. Guildhalls can be seen throughout cities in Belgium.

I could admire the ornate details of the buildings in Grand Place for hours...
I could admire the ornate details of the buildings in Grand Place for hours…

The most impressive building along the Grand Place is the Hotel de Ville (also referred to as the City Hall or Stadhuis). And no, it is not a hotel like I originally thought!

It is just a fancier name for the City Hall I guess… Built in the 1400s, its tower rises high at 96 meters (315 feet) and you can even take a guided 45-minute tour of it.

Grand Place or Grote Markt is one of the prettiest town squares in Europe!
Grand Place or Grote Markt is one of the prettiest town squares in Europe!

Across from the Hotel de Ville is another spectacular Gothic building, the Maison du Roi (King’s House) that is now the Brussels City Museum.

And it seems that no king ever lived here as in its name! Known as the previous “Bread Hall” as it was the site for the bread market, it currently showcases the history of Brussels.

2. Palais Royal

The Palais Royal is also known as the Royal Palace of Brussels and is the official home to the Royal family of Belgium.

Although it is the official residence, the King and Queen mainly live right outside of Brussels at the Royal Palace of Laeken. For most of the year, you can only admire the palace from afar or on the outside.

The Royal Palace of Brussels
The Royal Palace of Brussels
This is the official residence of the Royal Family although they don't live here fulltime
This is the official residence of the Royal Family although they don’t live here fulltime

If you are lucky enough to visit in the summer months, you can visit the inside from the end of July to the beginning of September.

For the exact dates and times to visit each year, check here before you go to make sure it is open. If you ever see the Belgium flag flying up on top of the palace, that means that the king is there!

You can visit the Royal Palace during the summer!
You can visit the Royal Palace during the summer!

Even if you can’t go inside, it is a gorgeous building to see as it sits on the south side of Brussels Park.

Entering Brussels Park
Entering Brussels Park
Brussels Park is a wonderful place to take a stroll
Brussels Park is a wonderful place to take a stroll

I loved walking through the park as it is very peaceful and somewhat reminds me of a park that you might see in Paris. I would love to go during the spring when the flowers are in bloom!

3. Old England Building

From the Palais Royal, the Old England Building is just a few minutes’ walk and a wonderful example of Art Nouveau style of architecture.

At first glance, you might tilt your head and say “huh” as it is a very unusual building. But once you stand and take it in, you can see all the unique and stunning details.

The Old England Building is a beautiful example of Art Nouveau architecture
The Old England Building is a beautiful example of Art Nouveau architecture

If you can believe it, the Old England Building used to be a department store that was built in 1899.

The front of the building is black with wrought iron craftsmanship in combination with arched windows. Besides the ironwork, the front is predominately all windows and stands out from other nearby buildings.

Make your way to the rooftop cafe for views of the city!
Make your way to the rooftop cafe for views of the city!

Today the Old England Building is home to the Musical Instruments Museum (MIM). It includes exhibits that showcase the history of manufacturing instruments in Brussels. There are over 7,000 musical instruments on display from the middle ages to today.

How adorable are these buildings?
How adorable are these buildings?

It also features the history behind the birth of the saxophone by Adolphe Sax who was born in Dinant, Belgium.

To read more about the saxophone’s start, read my post 11 Fun Things To Do In Dinant. If you get hungry or need a break, head up to MIM’s rooftop terrace café for gorgeous views of Brussels.

Location: Rue Montagne de la Cour 2 (few blocks from the Royal Palace).

Hours: MIM is open from 9:30 am to 5 pm (Tuesday – Friday) and 10 am to 5 pm (Saturday & Sunday). It is closed on Mondays.

4. Mont des Arts

From the Old England Building, walk down the hill on the opposite side of the street to get an excellent view of the buildings that line it.

Right before the street begins to curve, head straight down the steps to Mont des Arts (or Kunstberg in Dutch).

Royal Library of Belgium at Mont des Arts
Royal Library of Belgium at Mont des Arts

From the top of the steps, take in a spectacular view looking down onto a manicured garden, the Royal Library of Belgium, the National Archive and various forms of art.

There are examples of both graffiti mural art, sculptures, a fountain and installations that are fun to see.

Vibrant graffiti art
Vibrant graffiti art
Mont des Arts is full of art everywhere you look
Mont des Arts is full of art everywhere you look

From the elevated viewpoint, you can clearly see the eye-catching tower of the Town Hall (Hotel de Ville) at Grand Place.

Mont des Arts is a beautiful park to walk through
Mont des Arts is a beautiful park to walk through
Wonderful views of the park and the tower at Grand Place in the distance
Wonderful views of the park and the tower at Grand Place in the distance

Make sure to walk over to the Carillon of the Mont des Arts on the right-hand side. It is a clock tower arched over the Mont des Arts street, has 24 bells and 12 figurines that mark the hours.

Carillon of the Mont des Arts
Carillon of the Mont des Arts
Get there a few minutes before the hour!
Get there a few minutes before the hour!

It was built in 1958 for the World Fair and is a very striking clock with so much detail. Each of the figurines represents someone of significance in Brussels history.

To best see and hear this clock tower in action, get there a few minutes before the hour to see the figure at the top strike the bell with his hammer.

5. Manneken Pis (Little Pissing Man)

Just 3 blocks away from the Grand Place is the incredibly famous statue of Manneken Pis. He is by far one of the most unique things to see in Brussels.

You will likely know who this figurine is before you actually see it as there are versions of him everywhere! And I mean everywhere from t-shirts, made of chocolate, mugs, small figurines and more.

The famous Manneken Pis "pissing" fountain!
The famous Manneken Pis “pissing” fountain!

Manneken Pis is a statue that looks like a cherub-like boy who is naked and pissing into a fountain.

Yep, you heard that correct. He is “pissing” water out from his package and into an enclosed fountain for hordes of people to gawk at and take many photos of! Lol.

A chocolate made Manneken Pis that is bigger than the original!
A chocolate made Manneken Pis that is bigger than the original!

Not to disappoint you, but the statue is very small and I laughed out a bit as I guess I was expecting a much larger one.

At times you might see him dressed up in costumes for various occasions. So why all the hype? I’m not 100% sure but I did hear various interesting and creative tales of his origin.

Jeanneke Pis is hidden behind the fence and hard to capture...
Jeanneke Pis is hidden behind the fence and hard to capture…

Regardless, it is one of those touristy things you can’t pass up! Oh, and there are a few other “pissers” in Brussels to see. Jeanneke Pis is another small fountain of a little girl squatting and taking you guessed it, a piss…

And although I didn’t get a chance to see it, there is even a mongrel dog called Zinneke located in the Fashion District.

Manneken Pis Location: On the corner of Rue du Chene and Rue de I’Etuve

Jeanneke Pis Location: Not too far from the Galleries Royales St. Hubert at the end of the small street of Impasse de la Fidelite (across from the Delirium Taphouse). She is enclosed behind an iron gate so easy to miss.

6. The Choco-Story

If you are in any way a lover of chocolate then head over to the Chocolate Museum or the Choco-Story.

One thing is for sure, Belgians sure know how to make the most amazing chocolate!

Before going in, I thought the museum would only feature the history and making of chocolate in Belgium.

The Choco-Story is a must for chocolate lover's!
The Choco-Story is a must for chocolate lovers!

But I was surprised to see that it was the history of chocolate throughout the world and how it eventually became so popular in Belgium.

I love how each room is full of so much interesting information on how the chocolate we know today originated.

The Choco-Story is a must for every chocolate lover!
The Choco-Story is a must for every chocolate lover!

The self-guided tour is interactive getting to smell, touch and see items that are involved with chocolate somehow.

Towards the end, you even get to eat some chocolate and watch a live demo of chocolate being made by a chocolatier. It is a great museum to visit and even better if it is a rainy day outside!

Tip: Buy your ticket to the Choco-Story Museum and avoid any lines!

Location: Rue de I’Etuve 41 and less than a half-block from Manneken Pis.

Hours: Open daily from 10 am to 6 pm. But as it will take about 1 – 1.5 hrs to go through, get there at least an hour before closing.

7. Galleries Royales St. Hubert

Located just a block away from the Grand Place (main square), is the Galleries Royale St. Hubert.

It is a long indoor passage that is covered over with glass along the top of it. Lining each side are shops, places to eat and oh so many chocolatiers!

Entrance into Galleries Royale St. Hubert
Entrance into Galleries Royale St. Hubert

It is referred to as a shopping arcade that was built in the mid-1800s and designed by the architect Jean-Pierre Cluysenar.

As you walk through, make sure to look up at the beautiful architecture and enjoy the dazzling lights if on display. I was there in December so everything was very festive in decorations.

Admiring the beautiful architecture and lights...
Admiring the beautiful architecture and lights…

Location: Enter the beautiful passage off of Rue du Marche aux Herbes and steps from Place de I’Agora. You will see a Haagen-Das ice cream store before entering.

Note: Don’t miss out on taking a stroll down Rue des Bouchers which runs through the middle of Galleries Royales. It is down off this adorable street that can see Jeanneke Pis, the “little pissing girl”.

8. Waffles At Maison Dandoy

You can’t spend a weekend in Brussels without having waffles at Maison Dandoy! It wouldn’t be complete to not indulge in the best waffles in town.

You can get the best biscuits in town too as they have a large variety to choose from. And when I say biscuits, I mean hard but very tasty cookies.

Maison Dandoy location at Galleries Royale St. Hubert
Maison Dandoy location at Galleries Royale St. Hubert

Before coming to Belgium, I knew they were known for waffles but had no idea how they differed from the ones in the United States.

There are two main styles of waffles in Belgium. There is the Brussels style and the other is from the Flanders region and called Liege style.

Brussels style waffles @ Maison Dandoy!
Brussels style waffles @ Maison Dandoy!
You will see these walking in the city but it isn't how Belgian's eat waffles...
You will see this kind but they are a tourist trap and not how Belgian’s eat waffles…

The Brussels style of waffle is closest to what I am familiar with yet so different! The Brussels style is very light, kind of crispy and is eaten sitting down.

If eating it as Belgian’s do, you eat it with some powdered sugar and maybe whipped cream. And no, you will never find maple syrup to put on it!

Maison Dandoy is an adorable cafe
Maison Dandoy is an adorable cafe

In contrast, the Liege style of waffles is smaller, served hot and can be eaten as a yummy snack as you walk.

Traditionally these do not have any toppings on them as there is caramelized sugar in them that is true perfection!

An assortment of biscuits to choose from!
An assortment of biscuits to choose from!

Of course, you will see touristy spots that pile like 10 toppings onto them, but that isn’t the Belgian way…

If in Brussels, I say stick with the Brussels style but if you are in Flanders (Bruges & Ghent) go for the Liege waffles! Oh and waffles are not eaten for breakfast but as a snack or dessert.

Don't forget to take some speculoos (spiced) biscuits home!
Don’t forget to take some speculoos (spiced) biscuits home!

Location: There are multiple Maison Dandoy locations throughout Brussels but I loved frequenting the one inside the Galleries Royale St. Hubert.

9. St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral

St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral was built between the 11th and 15th centuries in a distinctly Gothic style of architecture. Upon seeing it, it immediately reminded me of Notre Dame in Paris with a similar look and design.

The front view of St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral
The front view of St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral
The Gothic architecture reminds me of Notre Dame in Paris
The Gothic architecture reminds me of Notre Dame in Paris

Both Saint Michael and Saint Gudula are the patron saints of Brussels so it is not surprising that the Catholic cathedral would be dedicated to them. Today, the cathedral hosts royal weddings, coronations and important events.

Inside the gorgeous St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral
Inside the gorgeous St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral

Inside the cathedral is quite impressive as you walk throughout and admire the beautiful craftsmanship. Take note of the fabulous stained glass and the wooden pulpit that are magnificent pieces of art!

The wooden pulpit has spectacular craftsmanship!
The wooden pulpit has spectacular craftsmanship!
The stained glass is exquisite!
The stained glass is exquisite!

If you know you will be in Brussels on the second Saturday of the month, you can climb up the cathedral towers. To make sure that you get a spot, book in advance on their website, here.

Location: Place Sainte-Gudule. It is an 8 – 10-minute walk from Brussels Park or a 10-minute walk from Grand Place.

Hours: Open 7:30 am to 6 pm (Monday – Friday), 7:30 am to 3:30 pm (Saturday) and 2 pm to 6 pm (Sundays).

10. Cinquantenaire Park (Parc du Cinquantenaire)

For wonderful views of Brussels, visit Cinquantenaire Park that is a large park past the EU district.

If you are looking to escape the bustling city life, Cinquantenaire Park is the perfect spot.

During the reign of Leopold II, the park was built to include gardens, monuments and museums.

Early morning, Cinquantenaire Park is quiet and serene...
Early morning, Cinquantenaire Park is quiet and serene…
Cinquantenaire Park is an excellent place to take a stroll
Cinquantenaire Park is an excellent place to take a stroll

They built it in 1880 in celebration of Belgium’s 50th anniversary of independence. In the center of the park is the Royal Museum, Army Museum and triumphal arch that has a resemblance to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

It's a cold yet a lovely day to explore the park!
It’s a cold yet a lovely day to explore the park!
On both sides of the arch are museums to visit
On both sides of the arch are museums to visit

The Arch wasn’t finished until 1905 and has since been a majestic reminder of Belgium’s strong and successful independence. Notice the bronze chariot up top of the arch and the stone carvings at the base and on the pillars.

The arch was built in celebration of Belgium’s 50th anniversary of independence
The arch was built in celebration of Belgium’s 50th anniversary of independence

If you want to experience an epic view of the park and the city, you can climb to the top of the arch!

Once you walk under the arch, head to your left and enter via the Army Museum. You can just pay the fee to go to the top of the arch if you don’t want to see the whole museum.

View of Cinquantenaire Park's gardens from the top of the arch!
View of Cinquantenaire Park’s gardens from the top of the arch!
The bronze statue on top of the arch
The bronze statue on top of the arch

If climbing stairs isn’t your thing, there is a small elevator (lift) up to the second to top level. At this level, there are displays of weapons, uniforms, and info on military history that you can explore before going up a flight of stairs to the top. Make sure to walk over to the other side so that you get viewpoints on both sides.

View of the park on the opposite side of the arch
View of the park on the opposite side of the arch

Note: If you are coming from the Grand Place area of town then it is easy to jump on the metro and get off at the Schuman stop. From here it is only a few minutes’ walk to the park entrance.

11. Saint Catherine’s Church & Black Tower

On the opposite side of the Grand Place (Grote Markt) from Cinquantenaire Park is Saint Catherine’s Church.

Built in the 15th century, Saint Catherine’s Church is in a quieter neighborhood that is known for having many good seafood restaurants.

The back portion of St. Catherine's is the older section and darker in appearance
The back portion of St. Catherine’s is the older section and darker in appearance

I really enjoyed walking the entire way around the church as it is a mix of Gothic and Baroque architecture. The back portion of the church is much older but I think it hasn’t been cleaned which makes it look more aged.

You can see the contrast of the newer white against the older black portion of the church
You can see the contrast of the newer white against the older black portion

I find the contrast of the gleaming white of the front with the black both fascinating and beautiful. A random and odd fact about the church is that you can piss against its walls.

Yep, there is a urinal against the church wall on the left side! I’m not sure how it got started but if you are a guy and are looking for a bathroom near here…

Take a peek at the outdoor urinal on the side of the church!
Take a peek at the outdoor urinal on the side of the church!

After visiting Saint Catherine’s Church, walk behind it to see the Black Tower or “Tour Noire”.

This medieval Black Tower is a surviving piece of Brussels’ 13th-century walls that encircled the city. It stands out as it is now partially surrounded by a modern hotel, the Novotel Brussels Centre.

The Black Tower
The Black Tower
You can clearly see a part of the old wall from this angle
You can clearly see a part of the old wall from this angle

I like how they kept this chunk of history intact and built the hotel around it. Although I wish they had not built anything so close to it so that its fairytale-like beauty could stand out more. If you don’t know to look for it, you could easily miss it.

Location: Place Sainte-Catherine 50. If you aren’t in close walking proximity, you can take the metro (1 or 5 line) to Sainte-Catherine/Sint-Katelijne stop.

12. Atomium

In anticipation of the 1958 World Expo, the Atomium is a landmark that was built to celebrate post-WWII advancement.

The slogan for the Atomium in 1958 was “a world for a better life for mankind”. The slogan still rings true today and hopefully for a long time into the future.

The Atomium
The Atomium
The Atomium was built in 1958 for the World Fair
The Atomium was built in 1958 for the World Fair

What is the Atomium exactly? It is an architectural feat that stands 335 feet made to resemble magnified connecting iron atoms. Or put simply, a bunch of spherical metal balls connected by steel tubes.

Once you have your ticket, enter at the base of the Atomium
Once you have your ticket, enter at the base of the Atomium

If you have ever taken a chemistry class, then you will recognize this landmark immediately. In total, there are nine balls and the straight tubes connecting them are the elevators, escalators or stairs to reach the various levels.

The Atomium spheres up close
The Atomium spheres up close!

Today, the Atomium is a museum, art exhibit and a place to take in magnificent views of Brussels. There are both permanent and changing exhibits that you can see when visiting.

There is even a restaurant up top that serves dinner. Definitely book in advance if you are interested in having dinner here.

View of Brussels from the top of the Atomium
View of Brussels from the top of the Atomium
Views for days...
Views for days…

I highly recommend purchasing your Atomium ticket ahead of time to avoid the potentially long wait. I only wish I had purchased it before! It would have saved a lot of time…

Looking down from 335 feet!
Looking down from 335 feet!

Tip: Don’t waste a lot of time as I did by waiting in line just to buy your Atomium ticket. In the off-season, I waited for about 30 minutes. If you buy your ticket in advance then you can skip this part!

Location: Place de l’Atomium / Atomiumplein 1. The Atomium is a little further out of the city center of Brussels so the easiest way to get there is via the metro. Coming from the city center, take the 6 line to the Heizel/ Heysel station.

Hours: Open daily from 10 am to 6 pm. There could be closures for maintenance during the winter, so check ahead in case you are visiting then.

13. Comic Book Museum

I have never been a big comic book fan but I had heard that Belgium has a rich history in comics.

So, with my interest piqued, I decided to visit the Belgian Comic Strip Center. And I am so glad that I did! Plus, it just happened to be raining and well I wanted to do something fun inside.

Elegant Art Nouveau architecture
Elegant Art Nouveau architecture

I mentioned previously that the Old England Building is an example of Art Nouveau architecture and so is the building of the Comic Book Museum (built in 1906).

It is a gorgeous building in itself to see and the comics give a fun, playful and colorful vibe to a timeless piece of architecture.

The beloved Smurfs were created in Belgium!
The beloved Smurfs were created in Belgium!
Comics and Art Nouveau architecture are celebrated here
Comics and Art Nouveau architecture is celebrated here

The museum dedicates the exhibits to the beginnings, history, and making of comics since they first started.

The comic strip or comic book we know today became popular in the 1920s and 1930s. Did you know that Belgium has more comic strip artists per capita than any other country?

Bill & Buddy are an adorable Belgian comic strip
Bill & Buddy are an adorable Belgian comic strip
A life size Bill & Buddy comic book
A life-size Bill & Buddy comic book

They really do love and cherish their comics! The first comic that I saw and immediately recognized is the Smurfs. I had no idea that it got its start in Belgium and was one of my favorites growing up.

The very funny comic strip Boerke and is from Belgium
The very funny comic strip Boerke!

A few other famous comics from Belgium are Tintin, Spirou, Bill & Buddy, Lucky Luke and Boerke.

Although the humor is more for adults, I loved the Boerke comic strip as each one I saw made me laugh.

Comics are a very important part of Belgian culture and it shows in their celebration of comics all over Brussels.

Even if you only plan to stay the weekend in Brussels, I highly recommend squeezing in the Belgian Comic Strip Center.

Location: Rue des Sables 20. It is a 10-minute walk from the Grand Place.

Hours: Open daily from 10 am to 6 pm.

14. Bourse

The Bourse is the stock exchange in Brussels that was housed in a magnificent building and fabulous to see especially at night! It was built in 1873 and has a grand façade with columns, ornate sculptures and oozes power.

View of the Bourse building during the day
View of the Bourse building during the day
The Bourse lit up at night for the Christmas Market!
The Bourse lit up at night for the Christmas Market!

Built on the previously covered up Senne River, the neo-palladian style Bourse is worth walking by to see as it is just steps away from the Grand Place. The Bourse is no longer used as the location of the stock exchange but it is now used for various exhibits.

How To Get Around Brussels

Brussels is a very easy city to navigate and get around by walking which provides the opportunity to see sights that you might normally miss! The majority of the sights I have listed above are within walking distance of the center or Grand Place.

If you would rather not walk or save time, then consider getting the Brussels Hop-On Hop-Off Guided Bus Tour. The tour takes you to the most popular Brussels attractions where you can jump off at any time during a 24-hr or 48-hour unlimited pass.

For those that are further out, I suggest taking the metro. If you know you will be using the metro a lot, you can purchase an unlimited day or multiple days that will be a better deal. Before using the metro or train stations, be aware that there are a few names for each station.

Why? Well, the station names are in French and Flemish with a good chance of English too.

So many charming squares to wander upon...
So many charming squares to wander upon…

There are three main train stations in Brussels, they are Brussels North, Brussels Central, and Brussels South. At first, knowing which train station to go to can be confusing as there is often two different names for each station.

Catching a train is the simplest way to head to other nearby cities like Leuven, Ghent, Bruges and Antwerp.

For example, Brussels South (English) is Bruxelles-Midi (French) and Brussels-Zuidi (Flemish).

They are all the same location, just a different name depending on the language. Having said that, I hope I haven’t scared you off to using the metro and trains as they are nice and simple to use.

And if walking or taking the metro isn’t ideal, you can always book a ride with Uber. If you are spending a weekend in Brussels, you really don’t need a car and parking will only add to your costs.

When To Visit Brussels

Brussels is one of those cities you can visit year-round as it has fairly mild winters. They only seem to get one or two snowstorms a year so traveling there is pleasant even in the winter months.

I visited in December to experience the Christmas Markets and loved it. There were a number of overcast and rainy days but I was bundled up and prepared for the chilly air.

A long tree-lined esplanade through Brussels Park
A long tree-lined esplanade through Brussels Park

If you aren’t coming for the Christmas Markets in December then the spring and fall will be the most pleasant and have fewer crowds than the summer months.

More and more I try to avoid the crowds and visit during the shoulder and off-season but you can’t beat the warm summer months as a great time to visit too.

Why not explore the best flight deals to Brussels and book your flight today!

What To Eat

Belgian food did not disappoint and quite the opposite as I might have indulged in too much! I am not a big waffle fan at home but when in Belgium, I absolutely love them. As I mentioned above, there are two types of waffles, and when in Brussels try one at Maison Dandoy.

Another Belgian favorite is chocolates and they really are incredibly delicious! There are a number of top chocolatier’s that require a visit to their shop especially Mary’s and Neuhaus.

The chocolate that Belgium is famous for is the praline, so make sure to taste one of these delights. I’ll be adding a post on taking a chocolate tour to the best shops soon!

For French fry lovers, Brussels has excellent frites and even Moules Frites which is mussels with French fries. Don’t leave Belgium without experiencing mussels and fries. And what goes well with frites? Well, beer of course! The Belgian’s are known for their beer but give Trappist Beer a try.

Delicious Stoemp at Fin de Siecle in Brussels
Delicious Stoemp at Fin de Siecle in Brussels

It is beer that has been brewed by Trappist Monks and six monasteries in Belgium still brew it today. That is more than any other country in the world.

To be a Trappist Beer, it must be brewed in a Trappist Monastery by monks and be in line with the life and practices of the monks. The six Trappist breweries are Chimay, Orval, Westmalle, Rochefort, Achel and Westvleteren.

One of my favorite traditional Belgian dishes I had was Stoemp. It is a blend of mashed potatoes and vegetables like carrots, onions, or brussels sprouts and served with sausage or other meat. It is so delicious and a dish to try at least once. I had excellent Stoemp at both Fin De Siecle and ‘T Kelderke (along Grand Place).

Have a wonderful weekend in Brussels!

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Looking to travel to Europe for a great weekend getaway? Brussels is the beautiful capital of Belgium filled with so many sights to see, amazing chocolates, delicious food and spectacular architecture. Find out the best things to do and how to spend an awesome weekend in Brussels! #brussels #belgium #brusselsguide #travelbrussels #visitbrussels

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52 Comments

  1. omg I need to go to Brussels now. These pictures are gorgeous!!! It looks like a smaller version of Paris, but instead of crepes, they have delicious waffles.

    1. Brussels is an awesome city and really did have many Paris vibes about it! And yes, waffles in Brussels are so incredibly yummy! I may have had a few too many. 🙂

  2. You’ve definitely convinced me to visit Brussels! The Grand Square is beautiful, all the architecture is fascinating. And I love moules and frites, waffles, and chocolate! I can’t wait for your post on taking a chocolate tour. Your description of the Manneken Pis is hilarious. And why on earth have a urinal on the side of a church?!? Strange 🙄

    1. That’s awesome, I hope you do get to go! Yes, the food alone can keep you quite happy! Haha ya it is funny how Manneken Pis is so famous there. I don’t quite get it but it was fun to see! 🙂

  3. Brussels has been on our bucket list for so long! It looks especially beautiful decorated for Christmas! You managed to see so much in a weekend! You’ve got me itching to visit now!

    Not going to lie, the first thing I think of when I think of Brussels is chocolate! That would be my number one souvenir to bring back!

    Thanks for the great guide!

    Hannah

    1. Thanks Hannah, I am so glad you enjoyed it! Don’t worry, the thing I thought of first was chocolate and waffles. lol. It is a great city to explore and especially so at Christmas time 🙂

  4. I also liked Brussels – those waffles, chocolates, and fairytale architecture… Not that Bruges or Ghent are not pretty, but I also believe Brussels deserves more attention! I didn´t get a chance to visit Maison Dandoy though, your photos made me seriously regret it lol

    1. Yes Brussels does have so much to see and I agree should get more attention. Omg, you now have a reason to go back and try the waffles at Maison Dandoy, they are incredible! 🙂

  5. I was pleasantly surprised with Brussels! It’s such a pretty city. AND THE FOOD!!! Omg I also love praline, and was literally in heaven between the chocolate and the frites (also a frites-a-holic). All the different sauces made buying frites so fun!

    1. Haha yes, I was pretty much in love with the food too! I definitely ate too much but it was worth indulging in the frites, chocolate, and waffles! Lol. 🙂

  6. Such grand architectural designs! Lovely photos with a very informative article. Keep it up!

  7. I’m planning a weekend getaway with my boyfriend and Brussels looks like a fun city to go to! I had no idea about the smurfs and the FOOD! I can’t wait to go… Thanks for the info <3

    1. Oh how exciting, I hope you do get the chance to visit Brussels! Enjoy it all and especially the food and Smurfs! 🙂

    1. Yes, the Grand Place is such a fun and gorgeous square to see! Belgium definitely is an amazing country! 🙂

    1. That’s awesome to hear! Even though it was a bit cold, I’m so glad I visited during December to see the Christmas Markets and definitely recommend it! 🙂

  8. I would love to visit Brussels. One of the things on my couples bucket list is to eat waffles in Belgium. LOL! I will definitely save your post for when that happens 😉

    1. Oh thank you so much Tania! When the buildings are that beautiful, taking photos is so much fun! And yes, visit Brussels as it is a wonderful city to see. 🙂

  9. I’ve never been to Brussels but this post totally makes me want to go! I like the look of the Grand Place – super intricate architecture. Love your photos!

    1. Brussels is a spectacular city to explore for its history, architecture and awesome food! I hope you get the chance to visit one day. 🙂

    1. Oh that is so cool that your parents live so close to Brussels! Lucky you! A great city to have such close access to. 🙂

    1. Oh that is a bummer. Sometimes it takes a second visit to see a different side of a city. Brussels has a lot to offer and see! 🙂

  10. Brussels is great. I’ve been a few times, but always only for work. So always very limited time to explore. I’d love to go and visit the atomium. I remember how surprised I was first time I saw Mannequen Piss, I really didn’t expect it to be so small.

    1. It can be hard when you are limited to see a city if working too. But I agree, Brussels is such a great city and you will love the Atomium! 🙂 Oh and yes, I had completely expected Manneken Pis to be much larger I think because of all the hype. Lol.

  11. We also enjoyed Brussels, I love the architecture and the food is pretty tasty too (especially the frites and chocolate). We didn’t get to the Atomium unfortunately but pretty much saw everything else.

    Loved reading your post and seeing the photos too.

    1. Thanks Wendy! Ya, the Atomium is a little further out from everything else but fairly easy via the metro. You’ll have to see it on your next trip! The frites and chocolates were so so good and fun to indulge in! 🙂

  12. I believe this is one of the so much significant info for me. And I’m glad studying your article. But wanna observation on some common issues, The website taste is great, the articles are actually nice : D.
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  13. You covered a lot more ground than I did. I tried to go to the atomium but got to the train too late, thought I could buy a ticket on board, jumped on then jumped off. I then decided to give it a miss. I left that out of my blog. 😅 glad you enjoyed Brussels, I think I did now too looking back. Mostly for the street art and grand place. I thought your writing about the mannekin pis was hilarious. You walked along the edge there. 😂

    1. Thank so much John! Yes besides the chocolate, the street art and Grand Place were some of my favorites too! That is a bummer that you didn’t make to the Atomium. It definitely takes more time to get there and there was a long line to get in. I wish I would’ve bought tickets before to avoid some of the wait time. Lol. Haha, I’m glad you enjoyed my Manneken Pis section! 🙂

  14. Anyone reading this picture filled blog of yours about Brussels would fall in love with the place because I sure did dear Vanessa. I am awed by the amount of architectural monuments that have been so beautifully maintained and preserved. Every picture spoke a thousand words and your written description of your experience in this place was extraordinary. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words! If you enjoy architecture, then you will love Brussels. 🙂

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