Being the centre of European culture and institutions, Brussels is becoming more and more popular destination among tourists. Tasty food, museums (almost 90 of them!), beautiful architecture and enormous green parks – just name it and this city has it all. We could say that Brussels is the perfect mix of traditional and modern, and there is definitely everything for everyone.
NOTE: Before you start your sightseeing, it would be good to buy Brussels Card which gives you access to over 30 museums and monuments and you also get discounts in some bars and restaurants. The price of the card is 22€.
08:00 – First of all, you need to fill your batteries for the day full of activities. So, what to eat for breakfast in Brussels? If you thought Belgians eat waffles for breakfast, well, you were wrong – they are quite simple when it comes to breakfast: bread, cheese, ham and croissants combined with jam or honey are their favourite morning snacks. While sipping your coffee, try delicious speculoos cookies, although they are traditionally baked during Christmas holidays. An Vatel bakery is the most popular one among the locals, and the best thing is that it is opened 24/7 so you can get yourself chocolate croissants whenever you want! In Tonton Garby cheese and sandwich bar you can get 2 croissants, coffee and orange juice for only 3.50€.
09:30 – First on stop on our route is the famous Grand Place, the central square in Brussels and one of the biggest in Europe. The square is surrounded by the City Hall and the Breadhouse (name of the Royal House) and it is the most popular tourist attraction in the city. In 1998 Grand Place was included in UNESCO World Heritage site list as an excellent example of homogenous mixture of public and private buildings dating from the end of the 17th century. By the middle of last century the square was a city market, and what is interesting – nearby streets got their names after certain merchants, such as cheese, herring or butter merchants. Every two years, during August, the square is covered in flowers for several days – a long tradition which made the square worldly famous. Not far from Grand Place is located Manneken Pis which many consider as the symbol of the city. It is actually bronze fountain statue tall only 61 cm and even though it is not that ‘majestic’ in size, there are many legends about the boy which made it so popular.
11:30 – We all know that Belgium is known for its delicious chocolate, but have you ever been to chocolate village? Well, this is then the perfect opportunity for all chocolate lovers among you! Only 20 mins by bus/tram (lines 3,4 by tram to Rogier metro station and then by metro lines 2 or 6 to Simonis station) from the city centre takes you to reach one of the largest museums dedicated to chocolate, Belgian Chocolate Village. And the best of all is that you get to taste all of the chocolate that local chocolate artisans produce every day. Across the museum you’ll see long Elisabeth Park which will lead you to the National Basilica of the Sacred Heart, the world’s fifth largest Catholic basilica. And of course, the entrance is free.
13:30 – It’s time for lunch break. Near the basilica you’ll find Carrefour market if you want to buy something to go and save some money. Or you can check out Snack No Name which offers a great variety of burgers and sandwiches for only 3-4€.
14:30 – Next stop is the Atomium sculpture which is definitely a must-see when in Brussels. Over the years this city symbol has become even more popular than Manneken Pis. It was built in 1958 for the World Expo and since then it has been attracting the attention of tourists. The Atomium’s spheres are connected by escalators and the highest one has a restaurant which besides delicious food offers a wonderful panoramic view of the city. The entrance fee for adults is 11€ and for students/children is 8/6€.
15:30 – Probably the most interesting attraction not only in Brussels, but in whole Belgium is Mini Europe. This miniature park is located at the foot of the Atomium and shows reproductions of famous European monuments at a scale of 1:25. This is your opportunity to see the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, the Berlin Wall, all in one place. The entrance fee is 15€ – even though it may be a little bit pricey, it is worth the money.
17:00 – Only 10 minute walk from the miniature park is located the biggest nature park in Brussels called Parc de Laeken. The main monument in the park is the Royal Castle of Laeken, also known as the official residence of the King of the Belgians and the royal family. The castle is surrounded by enormous garden, protected by several kilometres long stone wall. To get back to the centre of Brussels, take bus nr. 230 at Serres Royales stop and switch to metro line 3 (check here the route)
19:00 – Now when you got back in the centre, it is perfect time to have a proper dinner. Choose between Peck 47, Belga Queen, A la Mort Subite, Rock Salt Chilli Peppers or Les Filles for a delicious meal, good atmosphere and friendly staff. If you prefer something less fancy, try Fritland’s burgers, sandwiches and of course, famous Belgian fries with a sauce of your choice.
21:00 – Finish your day in Brussels with a pint of beer in some of local bars such as Bonnefoi, Delirium Cafe, Les Gens Que J’aime, Au Brasseur or Zanzi.bar. If you are not too tired, continue your night in one of the biggest nightclubs in Brussels – Le Mirano, where they play electronic and R’n’B music. Spirito Mortini used to be an old anglic church and now it is one of the most popular clubs in the city. Whichever option you choose, you won’t be disappointed. After all, the most important thing is that you enjoy, relax and have fun after a long, tiring day. And don’t forget, this is just a tiny part of what you can see and do in Brussels, so next time you visit this wonderful city, take more time to truly feel Belgian vibe.