Welcome to the heart of Europe! Brussels, the capital of Belgium, is a city that seamlessly blends ancient charm with modern vibrancy. With its stunning architecture, world-renowned cuisine, and rich cultural heritage, Brussels offers a captivating experience for every traveller. In this comprehensive 2 days in Brussels itinerary, we will guide you through an unforgettable two-day journey, highlighting the best attractions and hidden gems that Brussels has to offer. So, whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply seeking to immerse yourself in the city’s unique atmosphere, get ready to embark on an adventure that will leave you enchanted by Brussels’ undeniable allure.
During the first day of this itinerary, we’ll be staying in the heart of the historic centre. This is the part of Brussels people fall in love with!
Have a look at all the unique sights, all of which are close together.
We won’t visit the Grand Place in the morning, we’ll save it for the evening when it’s more beautiful with the lights. But chances are good that you’ll be passing it during your daytime wanders as well.
Most of the activities on the first day are free, as they include walking around the city. If you want to visit one of the museums along the route, getting the Brussels City Card is a great idea, since the card offers admission to over 45 museums in town. This card also offers unlimited use of the hop-on-hop-of bus, for those who don’t like to walk too much. But, remember that the hop-on-hop-off bus will not take you to many of the places we mention, as they are located in smaller streets in the city.
Day 1 in Brussels - Summary
- Manneke Pis
- Stock Exchange (De Beurs)
- Le Monnaie (Muntplein)
- Brussels Waffles for lunch
- Comic book wall art
- Comic book museum
- Saint Hubertus Gallery
- Banksy Museum
- Grand Place
- Rue de Bouchers
- Having a drink in town
Day 1 in Brussels - map
Manneken Pis - Brussels' Witty Icon!
Ah, the pint-sized superstar of Brussels, Manneken Pis! This mischievous bronze sculpture of a little boy relieving himself has captured the hearts and giggles of visitors from around the globe. Nestled in a corner, this quirky symbol is both historic and hilarious, making it a must-see during your Brussels exploration.
Fun Fact: The Manneken Pis has over 1000 costumes, showcasing the city’s playful spirit. From astronauts to knights, this little guy’s wardrobe is as diverse as it gets!
Address: Rue de l’Étuve 31, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Nearest Metro Station: Bourse (lines 3 and 4) or De Brouckère (lines 1 and 5)
Ticket Price: Completely free! That’s right, you can chuckle at this famous figure without spending a cent. Swing by, say hi to this cheeky fella, and be sure to marvel at his varied wardrobe. It’s a lighthearted, must-see stop for a dash of Brussels’ whimsy and history.
The Stock Exchange (De Beurs)
The Brussels Stock Exchange, known locally as La Bourse, is an architectural jewel showcasing the city’s financial legacy. This grand edifice stands as a testament to Belgium’s economic history and is a must-visit for enthusiasts of both finance and design.
The Stock Exchange’s construction started in 1868 and was completed in 1873, symbolizing the city’s economic growth during the 19th century.
Address: Place de la Bourse 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Nearest Metro Station: Bourse (lines 3 and 4)
Ticket Price: While access to the interior might require a fee for specific exhibitions or events, admiring the exterior is completely free! Check out the impressive neoclassical facade and absorb the financial heritage of Brussels. Take a stroll, snap some photos, and appreciate the blend of history and architecture that the Stock Exchange offers.
Place de la Monnaie (De Munt)
Nestled in the heart of Brussels, Place de la Monnaie is a vibrant square brimming with artistic energy and historical allure. Surrounded by iconic landmarks and cultural institutions, this lively hub is a melting pot of history, art, and modernity, making it a magnet for visitors and locals alike.
Le Monnaie, also known as the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, stands as a cultural cornerstone in Brussels, enchanting audiences with its spellbinding operas and performances. This opulent opera house, steeped in history, offers a harmonious blend of architectural elegance and artistic brilliance.
Fun Fact: Did you know that Le Monnaie’s grand chandelier weighs a stunning 2.5 tons, adorned with over 40,000 crystal pieces? It’s a massive centerpiece enhancing the theater’s beauty.
Address: Place de la Monnaie 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Nearest Metro Station: De Brouckère (lines 1 and 5) or Bourse (lines 3 and 4)
Ticket Price: Prices vary based on performances and seating, but the experience is priceless. Whether you’re an opera aficionado or just eager to soak in the cultural vibes, a visit to Le Monnaie promises an unforgettable and melodious experience, blending artistry with architectural splendor.
Brussels Waffles for lunch
Depending how fast or slow you are, it’s around lunch time. And since we’re in Brussels, I can’t leave the Brussels Waffles out of this list.
One of the most local places to go for Brussels Waffles is at ‘Au gaufres de Bruxelles’ in the city centre, not too far from the Central Train Station.
In this area, there are tons of other places where you can get delicious waffles of a hearty pancake for lunch.
Address: Grasmarkt Straat 113, 1000 Brussel
Comic book wall art
Brussels is a paradise for comic book enthusiasts, and its streets are the canvas for a unique artistic expression – larger-than-life comic book murals. These vibrant, colorful wall paintings celebrate the city’s rich comic art heritage and pay homage to famous Belgian comic book characters, creating an outdoor museum of graphic tales. From Tintin to the Smurfs, these colorful and impressive murals are a delightful treat for comic enthusiasts and art lovers alike.
The paintings are spread all over the city, so you will pass by some of them during your walk through the inner city. Stroll through Brussels and discover these larger-than-life artworks that add a whimsical touch to the city.
The idea for these murals originated in 1991 to honor the creators of Tintin, and today, more than 50 comic book murals adorn buildings throughout the city.
Address: Various locations across Brussels, including Rue de l’Écuyer, Rue Haute, and Rue des Capucins.
Nearest Metro Station: Anneessens, Porte de Hal, or Gare Centrale, depending on the mural’s location.
Ticket Price: Absolutely free!
Comic Book Museum in Brussels - Where Comics Come to Life!
Step into the enchanting world of comics at the Comic Book Museum in Brussels, a treasure trove for enthusiasts and curious minds alike. Housed in a stunning Art Nouveau building, this museum is a celebration of Belgium’s rich comic book heritage, showcasing the evolution and cultural impact of comics across the globe.
Fun Fact: The museum is situated in a majestic building designed by Victor Horta, a renowned Art Nouveau architect, adding to the overall charm of the experience.
Address: Rue des Sables 20, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Nearest Metro Station: Porte de Hal (line 2) or Palais (lines 2 and 6)
Ticket Price: General admission is around €10 for adults, with discounts for students, seniors, and children. It’s a small price to pay to immerse yourself in the world of Tintin, the Smurfs, and other beloved comic characters. Explore exhibitions, rare collections, and interactive displays that bring comic art to life in a playful and engaging way.
Saint Hubertus Gallery
Discover the enchanting Saint Hubertus Gallery, a treasure trove for shopaholics and architecture enthusiasts. This elegant 19th-century arcade is a mecca for luxury shopping, filled with boutiques, chocolatiers, and theaters tucked under its beautifully arched glass roof.
Fun Fact: Saint Hubertus Gallery was the world’s first shopping arcade, predating Milan’s Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and Paris’ Galerie Vivienne.
Address: Galerie du Roi 5, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Nearest Metro Station: Bourse (lines 3 and 4) or Gare Centrale (lines 1 and 5)
Ticket Price: Entry to the gallery is free, allowing visitors to wander through the exquisite passageways and discover a diverse array of stores, from high-end fashion to delicious chocolate shops. It’s a perfect spot for a leisurely stroll, a shopping spree, or simply soaking in the historic charm of this architectural gem.
Banksy Museum in Brussels
Continue your journey through the captivating world of street art at the Banksy Museum in Brussels, showcasing the enigmatic and thought-provoking works of the anonymous artist, Banksy. This innovative space offers a peek into the renowned artist’s subversive creations, inviting visitors to explore the fascinating stories behind the graffiti.
The Banksy Museum boasts the largest collection of Banksy’s works in a dedicated space outside the UK, making it a must-visit for street art lovers.
Address: The museum frequently changes locations due to the nature of Banksy’s anonymity, so it’s best to check for current exhibitions or pop-up displays in Brussels.
Nearest Metro Station: Varies based on the temporary location of the museum.
Ticket Price: Prices might vary depending on the exhibition and location. Some exhibitions might be free, while others could have an entry fee. Keep an eye out for the museum’s current location and the featured displays. It’s an opportunity to witness Banksy’s artistry up close and delve into the hidden narratives behind the iconic street art.
Prepare to be enchanted by the breathtaking beauty of Grand Place, Brussels’ central square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s a feast for the eyes. Flanked by opulent guildhalls, this iconic square is the heart of the city, boasting remarkable architecture, vibrant markets, and a rich historical tapestry.
Fun Fact: Did you know that every two years in August, an enormous flower carpet covers the Grand Place, composed of nearly a million begonias? It’s a stunning sight and a testament to the city’s floral artistry.
Address: Grand Place, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Nearest Metro Station: Bourse (lines 3 and 4) or Gare Centrale (lines 1 and 5)
Ticket Price: Absolutely free! The Grand Place is a public square, open for all to marvel at its beauty, witness lively events, or simply soak in the ambiance.
Be sure to visit during the biennial flower carpet event or the Christmas markets for an extra special experience. It’s a must-see destination.
Dinner time on day 1 in Brussels
For dinner, we’d like to take you to Rue de Bouchers, a culinary haven nestled in the heart of Brussels, celebrated for its ambiance and a broad array of dining options. This cozy cobbled street lined with restaurants and cafes offers an interesting dinging experience, perfect for savoring Belgian specialties and international cuisines.
Address: Rue de Bouchers, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Nearest Metro Station: Bourse (lines 3 and 4) or De Brouckère (lines 1 and 5)
Price Range: Prices vary based on the restaurant or café of choice. Stroll down this bustling street and explore a wide range of dining options, from Belgian classics like moules-frites (mussels and fries) to international cuisines. Whether you’re a foodie seeking culinary delights or simply looking for a cozy place to enjoy a meal, Rue de Bouchers offers a gastronomic adventure in the heart of Brussels.
Having a drink in the city
After dinner, it’s time to discover the evening and night life in Brussels.
The Dansaert and Sablon areas are your go-to spots for a fantastic tipple and a lively vibe. These neighborhoods boast an array of bars, lounges, and cozy spots, ensuring an unforgettable night out in the heart of the city.
Dansaert is an artistic and trendy quarter, home to hip bars and stylish hangouts, making it perfect for those seeking a vibrant and modern atmosphere.
Sablon, on the other hand, exudes elegance and sophistication. Its charming cobblestone streets are dotted with chic bars and wine lounges, ideal for a more refined evening ambiance.
Whether you’re in the mood for craft cocktails, local brews, or a glass of fine wine, Dansaert and Sablon offer diverse options, ensuring your evening is filled with laughter, good company, and delicious drinks. So, sip on something fabulous and let the night unfold in these lively and inviting areas!
Day 2 - Let's move a little further
After a good night of sleep in your hotel, maybe one of these beautiful boutique hotels in the city, we venture out again. This time, we leave the narrow cobblestoned streets of the historic city behind and have a look at gems that might require a metro trip (or a trip on the hop-on-hop-off bus if you have a Brussels City Card).
Day 2 in Brussels - Summary
- Sint Michiels Cathedral
- Mont des Arts
- Le petit Sablon
- Royal Palace
- Museum of Fine Arts
- Museum of Nature Science
- Diner at Le Cercle de Voyageurs
Day 2 in Brussels - Map
Sint Michiels Cathedral - Towering in the Brussels' Skyline
Sint Michiels Cathedral, a towering architectural gem nestled in the heart of Brussels, captivates visitors with its Gothic splendor and centuries-old history. Majestic spires, intricate sculptures, and stunning stained glass windows make this cathedral a must-visit, exuding an air of reverence and grandeur.
It’s a spiritual and historical place, inviting visitors to enjoy its beautiful architecture and soak in the tranquil ambiance. Whether you’re drawn by faith, history, or stunning architecture, Sint Michiels Cathedral promises a serene and awe-inspiring experience in the heart of Brussels.
Fun Fact: The Cathedral is home to an awe-inspiring collection of art, including paintings, sculptures, and impressive woodwork, showcasing the city’s artistic heritage.
Address: Rue du Bois Sauvage 15, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Nearest Metro Station: Gare Centrale (lines 1 and 5) or Parc (lines 1 and 5)
Ticket Price: Entry to the Cathedral is usually free, though donations are appreciated.
Mont des Arts (Kunstberg)
Perched atop a gentle slope, Mont des Arts is a cultural hotspot that offers panoramic views. The surrounding buildings and gardens create a tapestry of architectural beauty and historical significance in the heart of Brussels.
Enjoy the stunning architecture, take in the picturesque gardens, and explore the wealth of art and culture surrounding Mont des Arts. It’s a perfect spot to immerse yourself in history, art, and stunning cityscapes all in one location.
The name “Mont des Arts” translates to “Hill of the Arts” and is an ode to the numerous museums and cultural institutions that grace the area.
Address: Mont des Arts, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Nearest Metro Station: Gare Centrale (lines 1 and 5) or Parc (lines 1 and 5)
Ticket Price: The outdoor spaces, gardens, and views at Mont des Arts are free for all to enjoy. Several museums and cultural venues in the area might have varying admission fees, so it’s advisable to check individual prices.
Église Notre-Dame des Victoires au Sablon
Set in the charming Sablon district, Église Notre-Dame des Victoires au Sablon is a beautiful church showcasing Gothic architecture and a tranquil ambiance. The church, known for its ornate design and historical significance, offers a peaceful escape and a glimpse into Brussels’ religious heritage.
Le Petit Sablon also offers a quaint escape into a picturesque garden surrounded by statues, providing a green oasis in the heart of the city. The petite but enchanting park is a nice retreat, adorned with neoclassical sculptures.
Address: Rue des Sablons 20, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Nearest Metro Station: Louise (lines 2 and 6) or Porte de Namur (lines 2 and 6)
Ticket Price: Entry to the church is generally free, welcoming visitors to admire its stunning architecture, ornate interiors, and serene atmosphere.
For our next stop, we leave the inner city of Brussels. You can walk there or take a ride on the metro. Or if you get the Brussels City Card, you can hop-on and hop-off the bus.
The Royal Palace of Brussels stands as a symbol of regal grandeur and opulence, serving as the official residence of the Belgian royal family. This architectural masterpiece, with its grand façade and chicque interiors, offers visitors a glimpse into the country’s royal history and showcases exquisite design.
Fun Fact: The palace has a facade that’s longer than the Buckingham Palace in London, making it one of the most extensive royal palaces in the world.
Address: Place des Palais, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Nearest Metro Station: Parc (lines 1 and 5) or Trône/Troon (lines 2 and 6)
Ticket Price: Entry to the palace is free during specific periods in summer, generally from late July to early September, when it opens its doors for public visits. Guided tours and access to certain areas might have a fee.
Museum of Fine Arts
The Museum of Fine Arts is optional. It boasts an extensive collection spanning centuries. The art collection in this museum showcases renowned European artists alongside local Belgian talents.
The museum houses a significant collection of Flemish and Dutch masterpieces, including works by Rubens, Bruegel, and Van Dyck, offering a peek into the Golden Age of Flemish painting.
Address: Rue de la Régence 3, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Nearest Metro Station: Trône/Troon (lines 2 and 6) or Arts-Loi/Kunst-Wet (lines 1 and 5)
Ticket Price: General admission is typically around €10 for adults, with concessions for students, seniors, and children. Some exhibitions might have additional fees.
Cinquantenaire - Jubelpark
Cinquantenaire is a beautiful park in Brussels. This expansive green space houses extraordinary monuments, as well as museums. At the same time, it offers a peaceful retreat amidst the city’s buzz.
Whether you’re admiring the impressive arch, picnicking on the lawns, or exploring the nearby museums like Autoworld and the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces, Cinquantenaire provides a perfect blend of history and relaxation for visitors of all ages.
Fun Fact: The centerpiece of the park is the monumental triumphal arch, built in 1905 for the 50th anniversary of Belgian independence, offering breathtaking panoramic views from its rooftop.
Address: Parc du Cinquantenaire 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Nearest Metro Station: Schuman (lines 1 and 5) or Mérode (lines 1 and 5)
Ticket Price: Entry to the park is free. However, there might be admission fees for specific exhibitions within the museums situated in the park.
Museum of Natural Sciences in Brussels
The Museum of Natural Sciences is a mesmerizing universe brimming with the wonders of our planet’s biodiversity, prehistoric creatures, and scientific marvels. Step into this awe-inspiring institution to discover an array of captivating exhibits, making it an enthralling experience for nature enthusiasts and curious minds alike.
While we sometimes say that museums are optional, this one is not, actually. This museum houses the largest dinosaur gallery in Europe, showcasing 30 complete Iguanodons, a rare and fascinating sight for dinosaur enthusiasts.
Explore an amazing journey through the natural world, from discovering the mysteries of ancient fossils to uncovering the secrets of the universe. The Museum of Natural Sciences offers an educational and thrilling adventure for all ages.
Address: Rue Vautier 29, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Nearest Metro Station: Schuman (lines 1 and 5) or Merode (lines 1 and 5)
Ticket Price: General admission typically ranges from €7 to €10 for adults.
Atomium - Where Science Meets Spectacle
Enter the futuristic world of Atomium, an architectural wonder that stands as a symbol of scientific progress and innovation. This colossal structure, designed for the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair, comprises interconnected spheres representing atoms of an iron crystal, offering a unique experience at the crossroads of art and science.
With its amazing design and historic significance, Atomium is also hosting exhibits. It’s not just a monument; it’s a journey through time and space, making it a must-visit when in Brussels.
The Atomium’s nine interconnected spheres are 102 meters tall and provide some breathtaking panoramic views of Brussels from the top sphere.
Address: Atomium Square, 1020 Bruxelles, Belgium
Nearest Metro Station: Heysel/Heizel (line 6)
Ticket Price: Generally around €15 for adults. However, it’s worth checking for any special exhibitions or group discounts.
Dinner at Le Cercle de Voyageurs
After a long day exploring, dinner is more than welcome. Let me take you to the Cercle de Voyageurs, a suiting name for a traveller like you!
Le Cercle des Voyageurs offers not just a meal but also a cozy setting. This eclectic eatery in Brussels invites diners on a gastronomic adventure, serving up a delightful fusion of international cuisines in a vibrant and artsy atmosphere.
The restaurant often hosts cultural events, including art exhibitions, live music, and themed evenings, adding an extra touch of flair to your dining experience.
Address: Rue des Grands Carmes 18, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Nearest Metro Station: Gare Centrale/Centraal Station (lines 1 and 5)
Price range: Prices for meals typically range from €15 to €30, but may vary based on menu selections.
More than 2 days in Brussels? Day trip ideas
If you have more than 2 days in Brussels, why not take the opportunity to explore the surrounding areas? Belgium is a country filled with charming towns, picturesque landscapes, and historical sites just waiting to be discovered. From quaint medieval towns to bustling cities, there are plenty of day trip options to choose from.
Read more about these eight captivating destinations that make for perfect day trips from Brussels. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or simply seeking a change of scenery, these day trips offer a delightful escape from the bustling capital city.
Practical information about your trip to Brussels
Planning a trip to Brussels? Get ready for an exciting journey filled with culture, history, and memorable experiences. Before you embark on your exploration of this city, it’s helpful to consider essential details for a smooth and enjoyable visit. From navigating the city’s transport options to finding the perfect accommodation and understanding how to reach the heart of Brussels, here’s a few tips to ensure your trip is seamless and unforgettable.
How to get around in Brussels
In Brussels, navigating the city is a breeze with a range of transportation options designed to cater to every traveler’s needs.
Walking: The city center is compact, making it a pedestrian-friendly delight.
Metro: The Brussels Metro system is efficient and connects major areas. It’s a quick and convenient way to move across the city, with stations located near most tourist attractions.
Hop-On-Hop-Off Buses: These double-decker buses offer a relaxed way to explore the city, allowing you to disembark and re-board at various landmarks. With engaging audio guides, they’re an excellent way to see the sights and learn about the city’s history.
The Brussels City Card gives you unlimited access to the hop-on-hop-off bus in the city.
Other Options: Taxis, trams, and buses are also readily available, offering further flexibility in traveling around Brussels.
Brussels City Card
The Brussels City Card is a tourist pass which offers a lot of extra’s for your trip to Brussels.
It’s a traveler’s dream, offering free access to numerous museums and unlimited use of the hop-on-hop-off buses. It’s a convenient and cost-effective way to enjoy the city’s attractions without worrying about individual tickets, ideal for those seeking hassle-free sightseeing.
It’s available for the duration of your stay: 24, 48, or 72 hours.
These things are included in the Brussels City Card:
- Access to over 45 museums in the city
- Discounts on other attractions and activities
- Discounts in bars, restaurants, and shops
- Use the hop-on-hop-off bus as much as you want
You can’t use the metro or regular bus system with this pass.
Where to stay in Brussels
When it comes to accommodation in Brussels, the city offers a diverse range of options to suit every traveler’s preference. From chic boutique hotels exuding unique charm to majestic castle hotels steeped in history, there’s something for everyone. If you’re seeking a more intimate and stylish lodging experience, consider exploring the vibrant array of boutique hotels in Brussels, known for their individuality and exceptional service. Check out our blog on Boutique Hotels in Brussels for a curated selection of these cozy and stylish accommodations.
For those yearning for a touch of grandeur and history, Belgium boasts enchanting castle hotels that transport guests to a bygone era. Discover more about these magnificent stays in our blog on Castle Hotels in Belgium for an extraordinary and regal experience during your Belgian escapade.
How to get to Brussels
When planning your trip to Brussels, various travel methods offer diverse experiences and ease of access to the Belgian capital. Whether you prefer the speed and convenience of air travel, the comfort and connectivity of trains, or the freedom of a road trip in your own car, multiple options cater to different preferences and needs for arriving in Brussels. Here’s a closer look at the advantages of reaching this vibrant city by flight, train, or personal vehicle.
Flying into Brussels offers convenient access to the heart of Europe. Brussels Airport (Zaventem) serves as a major hub with direct connections to various international destinations. With numerous airlines operating flights to and from this bustling airport, arriving by air is an efficient and popular choice for many travelers. Once you land, the airport provides seamless connections to the city center via train, bus, or taxi, making the transition from the terminal to your destination swift and straightforward.
For those traveling within Europe, arriving by train offers a scenic and stress-free journey into Brussels. The city is well-connected to major European cities through an extensive rail network. Brussels boasts three major train stations—Brussels South (Midi), Central (Centrale), and North (Nord)—offering convenient links to neighboring countries. High-speed trains like the Eurostar or Thalys provide comfortable and efficient travel, making the train an excellent option for those looking for a relaxed and eco-friendly way to reach the Belgian capital.
Travelers opting to arrive by car have the flexibility to explore at their own pace and convenience. Belgium has a well-maintained road network, making driving into Brussels relatively easy. The city is at the crossroads of several major European motorways, allowing smooth access from neighboring countries. Be aware of local traffic rules and parking availability, especially in the city center, which may have restricted zones or paid parking. Navigating Brussels by car can offer flexibility for exploring not only the city but also the picturesque Belgian countryside.