What to see in Brussels in a day
I have been to Brussels three times. In my opinion, one day is enough.
The center can be visited in a few hours. You can get a sense of the atmosphere of the city and the main attractions. If you have more time for traveling to Belgium, Bruges and Antwerp are much more comfortable.
Brussels Cathedral, or Saint-Michel e Güdül Cathedral, is built in the Gothic style. It resembles Prague’s St. Vitus Cathedral and Notre Dame de Paris. Inside are stained glass windows and massive columns with statues. It is worth going in to feel the power and grandeur of medieval art. Admission is free.
Brussels Park, the royal palace and royal museums are a historical part of the city. The park can be called a masterpiece of park art: there are beautiful fountains, hedges and statues. Nearby is the official residence of the Belgian King and museums: art, musical instruments, Belgian history and the surrealist painter René Magritte.
The Art Mountain is a park overlooking the city and the spire of the city hall. It is especially nice here at sunset. To the left of the Art Mountain is the Royal Library of Belgium, or Albertina. Inside is a museum of the history of books, writing, and libraries. It is open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and admission is free.
Peeing boy is a symbol of Brussels and Belgium. According to one legend, the sculpture was installed in memory of a child who, during the siege of the city, peed on an explosive fuse and put it out.
The Peeing Boy is more worth seeing for the check mark than for the experience. The famous attraction disappoints many tourists: it is very small. It is easy to walk past it if you don’t follow the markings on the map.
Comic Book Street. In Brussels, comic book characters are drawn right on the walls of houses. This genre was actively developed in Belgium in the early 20th century. It was here that many famous characters were invented, such as Smurfs and Tintin.
You can see the addresses of the houses with cartoon characters on the official Brussels website
The Stock Exchange in Brussels was founded by Napoleon. Rodin himself worked on the building – a true architectural masterpiece.
On the steps there are many locals listening to music, having lunch, meeting with friends. At the exchange, you can just sit and watch the city. To avoid getting dirty, I suggest picking up a free newspaper at any cafe.
“Delirium” is a legendary bar with 3,000 varieties of Belgian beer. It’s delicious and unusual – it’s worth trying even if you, like me, don’t like beer. There are lots of interesting flavors like mango, grapefruit, banana and chocolate. For those who prefer classic flavors, there are hundreds of light, dark, filtered and unfiltered beers. Every Thursday, the Delirium hosts live impromptu performances by local musicians.
The Great Market, or Market Square, is best visited when it’s dark: the illuminated buildings look prettier and more majestic than they do during the day. Every Christmas they put a huge Christmas tree on the square, and once every two years in mid-August a carpet of flowers appears.
The next carpet of flowers will appear on the square from August 13-16, 2020. Official website of the event
Sometimes there are concerts on the Market Square in Brussels. To appreciate their scale, watch the performance of the Belgian rapper Stromae.
European Parliament. Brussels is the capital of the European Union. The European Commission, the European Parliament and NATO headquarters are located here .
The parliament, a futuristic palace with a glass facade, is free any day of the week. There you can watch the work of parliamentarians. A visit to the parliamentary hall must be booked three months in advance. You can see the schedule and find out more on the official website of parliament.
French fries and Belgian waffles are popular dishes in Belgium. Don’t leave until you’ve tried them. They are a must on the tourist program, like the brezel in Germany or the trdelnick in the Czech Republic.
French fries began to be made in Belgium in the late 17th century. Now they are sold on every corner. Belgian fries are cooked in beef fat, not butter like McDonald’s. It’s similar to home fries, only with a crispy crust. It’s also not as salty as fast food.
An average French fry portion costs 2-4 € (150-300 R ). You can try them in Fritland, Maison Antoine, Frit Flagey cafes.
Wine. Those who don’t like beer can have wine cocktails at the bar Coupil Le Fol. It’s a very atmospheric place: the interior is decorated with things from flea markets, and a vintage jukebox plays in the hall.
What to see in Brussels in 1, 2 and 3 days. Sightseeing
The best way to combine a trip to Brussels with a visit to neighboring Bruges and Ghent, where you can go by train for an hour and 10-15 €. You can also buy a Russian-speaking tour in Bruges and Ghent for 1 day.
How to get to Brussels
Get into Brussels on the Stib and De Lijn buses for €3 – 4,5 €, or the 8,8 € train. Tickets are sold on Omio, enter Brussels (BRU) – Brussels. Direct buses from here to the capital for 5€ to 14€, or a transfer to Charleroi for 15,5€. Tickets are sold here.
Where to stay in Brussels
- Hotels: The search engine RoomGuru helps you avoid overpaying when you book. The site compares hotel prices on reservation systems and shows where to book cheaper without sacrificing comfort. Including a comparison of offers and Booking. Do not forget about CashBack, which allows you to refund 10-20%.
- Apartments: Prefer apartments, then look on Airbnb. Private lodging gives you the opportunity to cook and cut costs. You can get a good discount with coupons.
Attractions in Brussels
Here are a few links to tickets and excursions that will help you plan your vacation without wasting time on the spot.
– 25€ (30 museums + public transport pass) – 31.5€ – 12€ – 15.3€
- Sightseeing tour in Russian – € 20.
What to see in Brussels in 1 day
The best way to see Brussels on your first day is to follow a standard tourist route through the historic center. So as not to mix everything in one pile, you can divide the walk into 3 parts. For each part I wrote a separate story.
The historic center of Brussels
The first part includes the most important landmarks of Brussels and its landmarks like the Grand-Place (Market Square), the Atomium, and the Basilique du Sacré Coeur (the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus).
The Royal Palace and Park.
The second part of the itinerary is very short and is dedicated to one of the most beautiful buildings in the city: the Royal Palace. After seeing the palace it is best to go to the Brussels Park (the Royal Park) and if you want to have a bite to eat there, surrounded by greenery and fountains.
If you want to know more about the monarchy and the Belgian kings, you can take a themed tour – The Belgian Kings.
Pissing Brussels and Unusual Monuments
The third and last part is one of the most unusual, a route through the famous peeing sculptures of the historic center. The most famous is Pee Boy, followed by the lesser-known Pee Girl and for an appetizer you can find the Pee Dog.
But that’s not all of the fun sculptures. Not far from the center you can find a very funny sculpture called “Joke on a policeman”.
What to see in Brussels in 2 days
When the tourist route is finished, it is worth going to the outlying areas of Brussels. For this, we take the subway and go to the building, which is shown almost in all the news about the European Union.
It is the European Commission building, and you can also see the Parliament, the Park of the Fiftieth Anniversary, the Maelbeek metro station where the terrorist attack took place and, as a bonus, two beautiful squares nearby.
To get to all this, you have to get off at the already mentioned Schuman or Maelbeek subway station where the tragedy took place and the explosion took place. We were here only 2 months after the events, but the memorial wall still existed at this station, maybe it’s still there.
From Maelbeek station on the surface there is a 4-5km walk about the same as on the map below.
At the beginning is not the most interesting place, but if you come here and have time, why not visit two squares Marie Louise Square and Ambiorix Square.
Between the two squares you can notice many historic houses. If you look at a detailed tourist map of Brussels, near these squares there are a lot of marks. It seems that these houses have some historical significance for the city or even for the whole Belgium.
These two squares are united by a small alley and street Palmerstonlaan. Cross the road and you will see square Ambiorix.
From Ambiorix you walk straight through the Archimedesstraat to the European Commission building. It is only 200-300 meters away on foot and you can see modern Brussels again. Now every time you see the news about Brussels or the EU on TV, you will have a fit of nostalgia, and the news about this building is shown very often.
On the history of the development of the European Union with reference to the appointment of most buildings in this quarter there is a thematic tour in Russian – Political Brussels.
Park of the fiftieth anniversary
From the European Commission building we go to the Park of the Fiftieth Anniversary, founded in honor of the 50 years of independence of Belgium in 1880.
The Triumphal arch, which could be finished only in 1905. It was planned to be opened together with the park in 1880, adorns the park. It looks even more interesting and larger than the more famous Berlin Arc de Triomphe.
A big plus of the park is the almost complete absence of tourists and the opportunity to relax as on the Champ de Mars in front of the Eiffel Tower. When heading here be sure to grab a couple of sandwiches, they are very much to the point.
Part of the time in this park can be spent visiting the Belgian Museum of the Royal Army and Military History. The entrance to the museum is behind the arch on the left side.
- Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 to 17:00.
- Entrance fee: 26-65 years old – 5 €, 6-26 years old and after 65 years old – 4 €.
- Free: Every first Wednesday of the month from 13:00 to 17:00.
- Directions: Subway – lines 1 and 5, stop Schuman; Bus – 22, 27, 80 stop Merode; Tram – 61, 81 stop Merode.
European Union Parliament
After the museum there is only the European Union Parliament to visit. Go back from the park and walk about 2 km or take bus 27 or 80 to stop Luxemburg.
Parliament is not a single building, but the whole complex and it’s impossible to photograph all at once, so below are a couple of pictures.
And a sign on the wall of the building for those who doubt where it is, that it’s the European Parliament. The inscription is in many languages, including Russian.
What to see in Brussels in 3 days
If after two days you are still wondering “What to see in Brussels”, then move on. Today we are going to the suburbs of Brussels in Laeken/Laken. In the same area is Atomium, but it won’t be our target this time, and today’s Brussels sights are a bit far to it.
The first place to go will be a piece of Asia in Brussels. The Japanese Tower and the Chinese Pavilion. The easiest way to get here from the center is to take the streetcar 3, which runs through the historic center and Bruxelles Nord train station. It takes about 25 minutes by streetcar to stop De Wand . If you look at the map, you can see stops much closer to these attractions, but they do not have access to them, although they are close by.
First on the way out of the stop is the Chinese Pavilion. It was built in the early 20th century. It is a complex of building, gazebo, and Chinese garden behind the building.
During our visit, most of the garden was closed for repairs and took very few pictures, and the building itself was partially enclosed by scaffolding.
Even the gazebo was padlocked due to renovations, it was surprising that one of the entrances was open. We even had a suspicion that the entrance had simply been forgotten to be locked by the workers and we were very lucky, as the front entrance was chain-locked.
Right from the Chinese pavilion you can see the next object – Japanese Tower . But the entrance to these buildings was tightly closed, and there is no information about how to get there, and I can’t find it on the internet either. If anyone knows how to get there, then share in the comments.
After the Japanese tower will have to walk a few kilometers, because there is practically no transport, and even if it fits to the schedule, it will not help much and take only 1 stop to the Laken Palace. To get the bus you will have to go back to the streetcar stop, so it will take even longer, so I recommend to walk.
The Laken Palace is home to the royal family and is closed to the public. The only thing left to do is to take a picture of it through the fence bars under the gaze of the guards.
Opposite the palace in the center of park Laken there is a monument dedicated to the royal dynasty, more precisely to the first king Leopold I. And this is a good reason to walk around the park, which is open to the public, unlike the palace.
After walking around the column in the park we go back to the Laken Palace, near which there is a bus stop, as the drive to the next object is very far. It is the Botanical Gardens and the Column of Congress .
The closest bus to the Botanical Gardens is bus 230 or 232, get off at the Rogier stop . From the stop to the Botanical Gardens 500m.
The church L’eglise Du Gesu is very unusual-looking and has very straight lines.
Column of Congress
The last item on the program “What to see in Brussels” is the Congress Column. It is located near the Botanical Gardens. It was built in honor of the Congress, which adopted Belgium’s first constitution in 1830.
Trip to Brussels for 3 days
If you are planning a budget trip to Brussels, it is best to fly to Charleroi Airport, although it is far from Brussels, but airfare here is cheap, and if you book early, the transfer will cost 5 €.
“The Schengen fee is 0,75€ per day (10 days policy for 30,000€). (Charleroi) and Vilnius-Brussels (Charleroi) from 9 €. From 5 € for a return trip. 10 € return trip.
- 24-hour public transport pass – 7,5 € plus several single tickets for 2,1 €. from 58 € for 3 nights with a coupon for 2.
TOTALLY, a 3-day holiday in Brussels with overnight accommodation and all transfers will cost from 71€ per person for a trip of two.
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