Country: Belgium Language: Dutch & French Currency: Euro (€)
Brussels, the capital of Belgium, is a large metropolis. Its historic, zany atmosphere makes for an exciting holiday. While you must indulge in traditional chocolates, fries, waffles, and that quenching Belgian beer, you’ll also find so much to see and do! Explore the city’s biggest attractions, relive your childhood at the Belgian Center of Comic Strip Art, and relax in one of the city’s peaceful parks. Whether you spend a day in Brussels, or a week, you will not grow bored, especially as it is a central location for visiting a number of other popular Belgian cities!
CTW Must See
Grand Place is the city’s main, central square. It is surrounded by magnificent guildhalls and features the grand Town Hall, and iconic Breadhouse Building, which contains the Museum of the City of Brussels. The Grand Place is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most popular attractions in the city. It has been the place of the town square since the 12th century! Biannually, the unforgettable square features the Flower Carpet. The large carpet is made up of over 600,00 flowers!
This quirky bronze statue remains another one of Brussels’ most popular attractions. Dating back to the 17th century, this tiny statue holds great fame. Mannekin Pis has outfits for various occasions throughout the year, from Santa suits to costumes gifted to him from other countries. His costume can change several times in a week! On special occasions, the statue is hooked up to a keg of Belgian beer, where people can enjoy a cup of beer directly from the fountain!
Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert
This beautiful gallery in the heart of Brussels opened in 1847. It is full of boutique shops and chocolate shops! The rounded glass ceiling connects the two sections, spanning more than 100 meters each in length. If you are looking to shop or not, a waltz through the classic gallery is a must.
Mont des Arts
The Kunstberg, or Mont des Arts, is up the hill from Grand Place. Its name conveniently translates to ‘hill/mount of the arts’. The hill provides the perfect vantage point to see the city skyline! And it is conveniently located connecting many of Brussels’ neighborhoods. Near Mont des Arts, you will find several museums such as the Musical Instrument Museum, the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, and the Margritte Museum.
Place Royale, or Royal Square, was constructed in the 1770s, after a fire destroyed the Palace of Coudenberg. The main features of the square are the Church of St. Jacques-sur-Coudenberg, the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, and the BELvue Museum.
Around the corner from Place Royale at Place des Palais, you’ll find the Parc de Bruxelles (Park of Brussels), Coudenberg, and the Royal Palace. Coudenberg is an archaeological site and museum. The Royal Palace is the official palace of the King and Queen of the Belgians. However, this palace no longer serves as their primary residence. Its facade is 50% longer than Buckingham Palace, but its floor space is less than half in comparison. During the summer, visitor can tour the interior of the palace for free!
Notre Dame du Sablon
This beautiful church dates back to the 15th century. It features a Brabantine Gothic exterior and holds two Baroque chapels inside. Across from the church, you’ll find the Square of Petit Salon and behind that, Palais d’Egmont. Visit the church's interior, then cross the road for a wander through the small park and catch a glimpse of the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral
The Roman Catholic Cathedral was built in the 11th century, with the two towers added in the 13th century. The building size is comparable to Notre Dame in Paris. Within the cathedral, you’ll find the Treasure of the Cathedral, which holds the Brussels Cross. Also, there is a large organ, inaugurated in 2000, which contains 4300 pipes.
Belgian Center of Comic Strip Art
Tintin and the Smurfs lead visitors through the world of creativity and comic art. Belgium holds a large number of comic strip artists, so this museum, found in the Art Nouveau building, features the ever-popular art in a lifelike way. Stand beside life-size versions of your favorite characters, explore the Museum of Imagination, and visit the temporary exhibit that may be on during your visit.
Opened in 1984, Le Botanique stands as the Botanical Garden of Brussels. The current garden was made to hold collections held in a previous garden from the 1820s. The central rotunda, surrounded by glass walls, is used for many events throughout the year. While it is a bit of a walk from Place Royale, Le Botanique is a poised and peaceful part of the busy city. After visiting the rotunda, walk down the hill to the small pond, where you may find turtles swimming in the water.
Parc du Cinquantenaire
Its name translates to ‘Park of the 50th Anniversary’, so its a given that this park was built to commemorate 50 years of Belgian Independence. Sitting on the site of the former military exercise grounds, the park is made in the shape of the pentagon. The parks main feature is the giant arch with two arms. The arch houses three museums. It can also be climbed, where you will find a pleasant view of Brussels from the top.
The Comic Strip Walk
The Comic Strip Walk is a fun little walk for any comic strip lover. While it is an option, it may not be necessary to purchase a map at tourist info; You will likely wander upon many of these cartoons without trying. The art work may be new or over 70 years old! Search for Tintin, The Scorpion, Asterix, and 50 more characters while wandering the historic architectural streets of Brussels.
Atomium / Mini-Europe
The Atomium is a short train ride from Brussels city center. It is a large, modern structure and one of the city’s most popular museums. The nine spheres represent an iron crystal that has been magnified 165 billion times. Entry to Atomium allows visitors to walk through the tubes and spheres, experience panoramic views of Brussels, dine in the panoramic restaurant, and more. In front of the Atomium sits Mini-Europe. The miniature park displays many EU nations at a 1:25 scale! See many popular attractions of EU nations in one visit! Tickets are required for both the Atomium and Mini-Europe, combination tickets are available.
More Belgian Adventures...
Belgium is small so you can easily visit multiple cities in one trip! Base yourself in one city, or stay in a couple different ones. Whichever you choose, know that you can do so with ease. Check out our posts on other Belgian cities to keep your adventure going!