Things to do in

Brussels

Belgium’s capital mixes craft beer, bespoke chocolate, and waffles with a melting pot of European culture.

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Top attractions in Brussels

The Belgian capital is one of Europe's lesser-known gems, yet it's fully worth a visit. In addition to some of the best waffles and chocolates worldwide, the city boasts an amazing array of things to see and do. Not convinced? Here's a sample of highlights.

  • 1. MIM Brussels

    The Musical Instruments Museum's incredible collection features over 8,000 musical instruments, allowing visitors to discover—and listen to—the evolution of music across centuries.

  • 2. Fine Arts Museum Belgium

    This world-famous museum is actually four museums in one, with a combined collection exceeding 20,000 pieces, including many of the most renowned works of Flemish art.

  • 3. Centre for Fine Arts

    Also known as the Bozar, this center offers treasures from across the fine arts—painting, architecture, music, and much more. Enthusiasts will probably return for several visits.

  • 4. Brussels Town Hall

    A marvellous specimen of Gothic architecture, the Brussels Town Hall is just one of the many magnificent buildings that line Brussels' spectacular central square, the Grande Place.

  • 5. Mini-Europe

    One of Brussels' most popular attractions for many years now, Mini-Europe features some 350 famous landmarks from across Europe, painstakingly reproduced in miniature scale.

  • 6. Ancienne Belgique

    A world-class concert hall, Ancienne Belgique is renowned for its perfect acoustics. It's been the venue of many historic gigs, including The Cure's infamous 1982 break-up concert.

  • 7. Cinquantenaire

    The Parc du Cinquantenaire is a gorgeous historic park east of the city center, ideal for a relaxing day out, featuring stunning architecture as well as the Royal Military Museum.

  • 8. Manneken Pis

    Legend has it, a young boy's bladder once saved Brussels from destruction. Today, the boy's statue stands atop a fountain, displaying his city-saving abilities to all the world.

  • 9. Atomium

    The 102-meter-tall structure is a reproduction of an iron crystal unit cell, made of gigantic steel beams and spheres. Climb into the spheres for gorgeous views of the entire city.

Frequently asked questions about Brussels

What top attractions are a must-see in Brussels?

Planning Your Visit

  • Beer lovers rejoice

    Belgium is justly famous for its beers. Brussels is ideal for discovering the country's rich brewing history, which spans several centuries—hit up any of the city's many beer halls and discover beer like you've never tasted it before.

  • French fries? Belgian fries!

    As any Belgian will proudly tell you, they are the true inventors of the deep-fried potato. Try out the Belgian fries and decide for yourself whether the much-touted double-frying method is worth all the hype (best enjoyed together with a steaming bowl of clams, which restaurants customarily serve with a bottomless side of fries).

Good to know

  • Language
    Dutch, German and French
  • Currency
    Euro (€)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (+01:00)
  • Country Code
    +32
  • Best time to visit
    Spring and fall are the nicest times to visit Brussels, when the weather isn't too chilly, and the summer crowds are not present.

Insider tips: Planning a trip to Brussels

Jurga Rubinovaite is an avid traveler, photographer, and chief adventure planner behind the popular family travel blog Full Suitcase. On her blog, you can find more information and all the details for planning a trip to Brussels.

What should I do on my first trip to Brussels?

When visiting Brussels for the first time, don't miss the Grand Place, one of the most beautiful town squares in Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Often, you can also see a beautiful music & lights show here in the evening. Other must-sees include the iconic symbol of Brussels, Manneken Pis, and the Royal Gallery of Saint Hubert.

What are some hidden gems to see in Brussels?

Brussels is such a big city that you are bound to find many cool places and hidden gems everywhere you go. One of the nicest local areas to visit is the Sablon neighborhood. Located just a short walk from the main landmarks in the city center, Sablon is a charming area with antique shops, art galleries, quirky cafes, and some of the best chocolate shops in town. On the weekends, check out the Sablon Antiques Market, which is the place to be for quality antiques and some truly unique finds.

How much time should I spend in Brussels?

You can easily see the main highlights of Brussels in a day. However, if you want to explore the city deeper, check out several different areas (including the EU headquarters), visit one or two museums, or do some shopping, you’ll need at least 2-3 days.

What food is Brussels known for?

Brussels is a great place to try all kinds of Belgian food, including Belgian chocolates, Brussels waffles, and hundreds of types of different Belgian beers. But if you try just one traditional dish in Brussels, make it moules-frites (mussels and fries), which is said to have originated in Belgium. There are many restaurants serving moules-frites in Brussels, but for the most authentic experience, head to Chez Léon on Rue des Bouchers.

What is the best way to get around Brussels?

The best way to explore the city center of Brussels is on foot. However, there are also many landmarks and points of interest scattered all over the city, with big distances between them. The best way to see all the main areas and landmarks of Brussels in a short time is by taking a hop-on hop-off bus. The fastest way to cover bigger distances in Brussels is by metro.

What are the best months to visit Brussels?

Brussels is a year-round destination with plenty to see and do in all seasons. The months between May and September are the best weather-wise and there is always so much happening in the city in the summer.

What are the best neighborhoods for shopping?

Brussels is a real paradise for shoppers, with plenty of options for all tastes and budgets. Avenue Louise is the place to be for the most expensive luxury brands, whereas Rue Dansart is best known for boutique shops and local designers. Rue Neuve is the main and the busiest shopping street of Brussels, where you’ll find the more affordable brands such as H&M, Benetton, etc. Sablon and the Marolles are the best areas for vintage and antiques, and also for the lesser-known designer boutiques.

What are the best annual events in Brussels?

Probably one of the most popular events is the annual Brussels Christmas Market, traditionally held from the second half of November until the first weekend of January. With wonderful decorations and lighting, and hundreds of market stalls spread out through a big part of the city center, Brussels Christmas Market is one of the best in Europe. In addition, the city also offers an amazing (free) music and light show at the Grand Place, which makes a winter city trip to Brussels even more magical. Another world-famous celebration is the bi-annual Brussels Flower Carpet, which takes place in mid-August on even years.

Other Sightseeing Options in Brussels

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What people are saying about Brussels

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 8,630 reviews

The tour was perfect to see more of Brussels. While the time spent in each city is not much, it was a good overview of the cities and we will definitely return to each for a longer visit next time. Stephen was perfect on the tour and was accommodating to all. Only item I would tell other people to bring is to bring your own headphones with a 3.5mm plug. The ones provided are very uncomfortable, and when you have to have them in your ears most of the day, it can hurt.

Really worth doing, esp if you're new in the city and want to get familiar with it a little bit. Excellent guide from Scotland, Fraiser!

It was great! The guide speak very well many languages and she is so helpful during all activity.

It was very nice and great experience. Would recommend to everyone who visits Brussels

The walking tour was amazing. The guide, Mario, do an excellent job!