We had a lot of fun travelling over Europe. Belgium is a unique and diverse continent, but it is sometimes overlooked because it is sandwiched between Germany, France, and the Netherlands.
There’s a lot more to do in Brussels’ capital than eat chocolate and waffles (though that should definitely be on your list)!
Every shop window in the nation is full of hidden gems, stunning buildings, and intriguing history and architecture crammed into every cobblestone street.
Most of the more popular sights can be viewed in just three days, making it ideal for a long weekend. However, stay for a week to see some of the city’s and country’s less-known areas.
It also doesn’t matter when you go, because the Christmas markets are just as delightful as the blooming warmth of summer.
But don’t go to Brussels if you’re on a diet; we guarantee you’ll soon be stuffing your face with all the waffles, chocolate, fries, and beer you can get your hands on!
That is undoubtedly one of the Best Things to do in Brussels, among other things!
Where To Stay In Brussels
Brussels is not just the capital of Belgium, but it is also the European Union’s capital. It may appear that choosing a place to stay in Brussels will be costly, but fear not! It’s not as difficult as you may believe.
The City Centre, Saint Gery, and the Sablon or Les Marolles neighbourhoods are the best places to stay in Brussels. For many travellers, the City Centre is the natural choice due to its close access to public transportation and Brussels’ attractions. Staying in the capital, on the other hand, will be significantly more expensive.
Sablon is about a 10-minute walk from the city center, so it’s not too far. It is well-known for its lovely Gothic church and attractive architecture.
It’s also the place to go if you’re a chocolate connoisseur, as its cobblestone streets are dotted with some of Brussels’ best chocolate stores.
Furthermore, if you visit Brussels on a weekend, the Grand Sablon Plaza transforms into a lively market full of great handmade things to purchase. The Hotel Le Dixseptieme is a fantastic hotel in Sablon, and it is much more elegant.
Saint Gery is a vibrant area with several pubs and restaurants. It’s also only a few minutes walks from the main plaza, making it ideal for folks who want the convenience of being able to go to a variety of locations.
It’s also only a 15-minute walk from the main train station. In Saint Gery, the Dansaert Hotel is a fantastic place to stay.
Les Marolles is a diverse neighbourhood with a diverse population. If you want to have a truly authentic experience in Brussels, this is definitely the best spot to stay.
Local flea markets, as well as cute cafes, pubs, and restaurants may be found. It’s also one of the most affordable locations to stay, with boutique hostels like Hostel Galia offering rooms for as little as £25 per night.
There are a plethora of other fantastic locations to stay in Brussels, so be sure to look at the hotel costs in Brussels listed below!
Getting Around Brussels
Another fantastic feature of Brussels is that, like many other great European cities, it is extremely easy to navigate. The train system is fantastic.
The overground connects cities like Ghent and Bruges, while the Metro is ideal for getting around the city. Brussels’ railway ticket system is similar to London’s in that purchasing a MOBIB card is the most convenient method of moving about.
This card can be loaded with voyage credit (much like an Oyster Card) and then topped up as needed. The card itself costs €5 to purchase for the first time. However, it is then good for years, allowing you to use it again if you return to the city.
A single ticket costs €2.10, a return ticket costs €4.20, and 24-hour, 48-hour, and 72-hour tickets cost €7.50, €14.00, and €18.00, respectively.
This will also get you in and out of the airport, which is really convenient because the airport has a direct train to the city center. In addition to the railroads, the city features a good bus and tram system that will accept the MOBIB card.
The 17 Amazing Top Things to Do in Brussels Belgium
This beautiful palace, located in the heart of Brussels’ main square, is the city’s focal point. It’s almost as enjoyable to get there as it is to traverse the loveliest small streets and lanes.
The Grand Palace is a beautiful municipal hall that was built over 300 years ago. The spectacular architecture will leave you awestruck whether you visit at night or during the day, and the Grand Palace is undoubtedly one of the top things to do in Brussels.
In front of the palace, there is frequently a market, and the Brussels City Museum and the Town Hall are both in the same area.
The beautiful Grand Palace is definitely one of the best things to do in Brussels
Cathedral Of Saint Michael
The Cathedral of Saint Michael, located in the heart of Brussels, is one of the country’s greatest specimens of Gothic architecture. Built in the 13th century and dedicated to the city’s patron saints, St.
Michael and St. Gudula are some of Brussels’ most notable landmarks. Seeing the beautiful inside is one of the nicest things to do in Brussels, and the cathedral is still in use as the city’s principal Catholic church.
This cheeky little child appears frequently in images of Brussels, and you’ll almost surely see him on souvenirs and trinkets available for purchase in the city.
The Boy, Brussels’ most renowned statue, is the subject of several legends. The most famous myth is that Brussels’ enemy buried explosives throughout the city, and when a young kid named Julien discovered the ignited fuse, he peed on it! They were so grateful that they erected a statue of him, which remains proudly in the city to this day.
Whatever the case may be, the youngster is well-known, and seeing him is unquestionably one of the nicest things to do in Brussels.
Taking the right path past the city hall will lead you to him. You might even see him dressed up, depending on the time of year you visit Brussels! Throughout the year, people dress him up in various garments, and he has over 800!
This is undoubtedly one of Brussels’ more touristy attractions, but where else in the world can you view a huge atom? The 100-meter-high replica was built for the 1958 Brussels World Expo and stands at Heysel Park.
From a science center to a space center, each of the spheres has something unique to offer. Walking inside the model’s tubes is a really weird experience.
Dine at the Atomium restaurant for wonderful meals and panoramic views of the city for a truly unique experience in Brussels.
Parc Du Cinquantenaire
The Parc Du Cinquantenaire, which includes Brussels’ Arc de Triomphe, is a stunning location in the city. The park is a lovely area to explore in Brussels, located just outside the cobblestone lanes of the city center.
You can take a picnic, dine at one of the waffle booths, or visit the museum to see the fascinating artefacts on display. Regardless of the time of day, it’s a gorgeous sight. The Parc Du Cinquantenaire should be on your list of must-see attractions in Brussels.
Mini Europe is a great place to visit if you’ve ever wanted to view miniature copies of all of Europe’s famous landmarks. It’s like a little hamlet, but on a larger scale!
A little Eiffel Tower, a miniature Big Ben, and a miniature facsimile of Rome’s iconic Colosseum can all be found at the foot of the Atomium!
There are 350 models in all, some of them animated! If you’re visiting Brussels with your family, this is one of the nicest things to do.
Gorge on Waffles!
Eating delicious Belgian waffles are certainly one of the best things to do in Brussels!
If you’re planning a trip to Brussels, make sure you come with an empty stomach since you’ll be leaving with one packed with waffles! One flavour is never enough, and the variety will make your mouth water.
It’s really tempting to buy all of them, whether they’re chocolate hazelnut, banana, caramel, golden syrup, or plain cinnamon sugar! Waffles can be found in coffee shops, independent cafés, and even street vendors across the city.
So, whichever flavour you don’t taste the first time, you’ll have lots of opportunities to eat it again as you travel throughout Brussels!
Day Trip to Bruges
Taking the train to Bruges is one of the best day trips from Brussels. This beautiful city is about 40 minutes from the capital and is really easy to reach.
You’ll feel as if you’ve stepped back in time once you arrive. Bruges, a step up from Brussels in terms of winding cobblestoned lanes, historic, gorgeous buildings, and charming canals, will undoubtedly win your heart.
For the ideal day excursion from Brussels, climb the Bruges Belfry, visit San Salvator Cathedral, and cruise the canals.
Stuff Yourself with Chocolate!
It’s practically impossible to visit Belgium without indulging in copious amounts of chocolate! This is why I strongly advise against going if you’re trying to eat healthily!
Belgian chocolatiers are some of the most well-known and tastiest in the world, and they definitely know their thing when it comes to chocolate. At least, if the hundreds of nearly ancient chocolate shops strewn across Brussels’ small lanes are any indication!
Godiva’s headquarters are in Brussels, and I highly recommend paying them a visit, as well as Passion Chocolat, one of the world’s most beautiful chocolate shops.
Old England Building
Visitors come from all around to visit this old 19th-century retail store in the heart of the city. Not only because of its stunning exterior but also because of its intriguing interior!
It is now a museum with over 2,000 musical instruments on display! You can literally watch the evolution of music across time.
You’ll also be able to hear several of the antique instruments being played. When you’re done visiting, head to the museum’s beautiful rooftop café, which offers stunning views of Brussels.
Brussels Notre Dame Cathedral
This majestic Gothic building, also known as the ‘Church of Our Lady,” was built in the 15th century. This is one of the nicest things to do in Brussels, with its gorgeous stained-glass windows, strong stone columns, and complex murals.
The name comes from folklore about a statue of Our Lady of ‘t Stocxken that was said to have healing powers. A gang of robbers in a rowing boat stole the statue, but a life-size replica can still be viewed in the cathedral today.
Palais de Justice
The Palais de Justice, Brussels’ most significant law court, is one of the most beautiful buildings in the city. It’s the largest courthouse in Europe, and I’m prepared to wager it’s also the most beautiful. A truly magnificent structure with colossal stone columns, massive sculptures, and stunning architecture.
Royal Palace of Brussels
The Royal Palace, not to be confused with the Grand Palace, is Brussels’ answer to Buckingham Palace. The palace, which is the official house of the Royal Family, is open to the public during the summer months except on Mondays when it is closed. The Palace, which is located next to Brussels Park, is well worth a visit when in Brussels.
Rue des Bouches
If you’re a foodie, Rue Ded Bouches will be right up your alley! Rows of fantastic eateries along the city’s busiest food boulevard. Restaurants, cafes, ice cream and waffle shops, and pubs sell almost any type of food you can think of.
While the prices may not be as low as those found in eateries outside of the city center, the quality of the food cannot be denied. Some restaurants had lines of people waiting for a table right outside their doors!
Once you’ve found a spot, order Moules-Frites (Belgian mussels), Belgian Frites (traditional fries), or my personal favourite, Flemish stew, a hearty stew made with beef simmered in Belgian beer. The melt-in-your-mouth supper is the perfect way to end a day of touring.
Ghent is a 25-minute train ride from Brussels, much closer than Bruges. Another excellent day excursion from the capital is to Ghent, a lovely city.
Especially if you enjoy ornate castles, breathtaking city views, and gorgeous architecture. Visit Gravensteen Castle, climb to the top of the Ghent Belfry, and marvel at the magnificent Saint Bavos Cathedral.
A trip to Korenmarkt in Ghent would not be complete without sampling some delectable street cuisine and more of Belgium’s delectable waffles!
Go on a Beer Tour!
Belgium is also known for its beer, and taking a beer tour is perhaps one of the greatest things to do in Brussels. Take a stroll around some of the city’s top bars.
Learn more about beer’s history and production in one of Brussels’ many breweries. Don’t forget to sample the beers and some Belgian specialities like Duvel or Belgian Blonde.
Royal Saint-Hubert Galleries
The Royal Saint-Hubert Galleries, similar to the Galleria de Vittoria Emanuel in Milan, is a shopping center you won’t want to miss. It is certainly worth a visit to see the amazing architecture.
Even if you don’t buy anything, strolling through the marble shopping district can be fascinating in and of itself. It can also be crowded, so keep an eye out for pickpockets!
The two parallel lines of independent boutiques on either side are brimming with boutique apparel, jewellery, suits, handbags, and, of course, chocolate! So, while you’re there, why not treat yourself to something nice?
Bonus – Visit the Christmas Markets
This, of course, is dependent on the time of year you visit Brussels. However, we believe that Brussels features some of Europe’s best Christmas markets.
You might easily spend hours exploring the stalls, tasting all of the excellent cuisines and buying trinkets, homemade goods, arts and crafts, sauce jars or other consumables, and even furniture if you have room in your suitcase!
You could even substitute a dinner at a sit-down restaurant for a variety of market finds. We did this and got sausage with bacon mash and mustard, Belgian Frites in a cone, an onion-covered hot dog, and, of course, waffles for dessert! Then drink a glass of mulled wine to wash it all down. Delicious!