Brussels is the capital of Belgium and a very unique destination. It is also becoming more popular as a hub for digital businesses and startups. Brussels is home to many beautiful places including parks, museums, churches, castles, and even statues. Here are some of the best places in Brussels for you to visit.
There are many beautiful places in Brussels that are too good to miss out on! Here’s a sample of some breathtaking locations with their explanations – Grand Place: The Grand Place is one of the most important public squares in Brussels and it’s also considered as one of the most beautiful city centers worldwide; Manneken Pis: If you want to know what makes this place so special then you have to read its history which goes back to 1619 when it was created by locals who saw it as a symbol against the power and cruelty of Spain during wars; Atomium: This landmark in central Brussels has become an iconic architectural achievement since it was opened on.
Intrigued? Here we have made a list of 39 things to do in Brussels, Belgium:
- 1. Grand Place in Brussels
- 2. Old England Building in Brussels
- 3. Brussel’s Notre Dame Du Sablon
- 4. Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula
- 5. Le Botanique
- 6. Brussels City Museum
- 7. BELvue Museum
- 8. Musical Instrument Museum
- 9. Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History
- 10. Brussels Gueuze Museum
- 11. Train World
- 12. Millennium Iconoclast Museum of Art
- 13. Royal Greenhouses of Laeken
- 14. Autoworld
- 15. Black Tower
- 16. Place Sainte-Catherine
- 17. Palais Royal, Brussels
- 18.Sablon Neighborhood
- 19. Manneken Pis
- 20. Parlamentarium
- 21. Coudenberg
- 22. Madame Mustache
- 23. Maison de la Bellone
- 24. Magritte Museum
- 25. Musee Royaux Des Beaux Arts
- 26. Parc Du Cinquantenaire
- 27. Mont des Arts
- 28. The Belgian Comic Strip Centre
- 29. Art Nouveau buildings
- 30. Comic Book Route
- 31. Cafe Belga
- 32. Le Cirio, Brussels
- 33. Bourse Brussels
- 34. Broodhuis Brussels
- 35. Atomium in Heysel Park
- 36. Beer Tour in Brussels
- 37. Cantillon Brewery Brussels
- 38. Maison Dandoy Brussels
- 39. Fashion & Lace Museum Brussels
Best Things to do in Brussels 1-10
1. Grand Place in Brussels
Grand Place in Brussels is a perfect destination for anyone looking for things to do in Brussels. It is well known as a place that houses a few different attractions including many shops and popular cafes. The square also features the famous Hotel De Ville which was constructed by King Léopold II. This building is often referred to as “The King’s Wedding Cake” because of its unique architecture. There are many things to do in Grand Place, but its largest features are of course its numerous shops lining the cobblestone streets.
One of the most popular attractions is Maneken Pis. This is a small statue that has stood in this spot for hundreds of years. It is often called “The Little Drunkenness” and locals love to take pictures with it. It is a great thing to do in Brussels because it will bring lots of memories. The square also has two popular cathedrals that visitors enjoy exploring.
It is a great place to go for some amazing food. There are many nice restaurants on the square that serve fresh, delicious meals at very affordable prices.
It’s not necessary to spend a bunch of money when visiting Grand Place. This beautiful square offers up some truly unique experiences, while still staying within budget. It is located near other popular attractions such as the Royal Palace of Brussels and the Atomium.
In conclusion, Grand Place in Brussels is a great place to visit for anyone looking for things to do in Europe. Its history is long and rich, but it still manages to remain modern and fun for all visitors.
2. Old England Building in Brussels
Old England Building is a part of Old England Mall. It is one of the biggest shopping centers in Europe and this impressive building was built by the architect from Belgium, Jean-Michel Jarre. It has a total area of 100,000 square meters. The mall has seven floors with over 200 boutiques located inside. There are many well-known brands you can find, such as Adidas, Burberry, Diesel, and Nike.
The architecture of the mall is unique with its own trademark. The roof looks like a sail and it is made up of 3 different parts that were constructed separately and later joined. The building has 3 entrances and one of the most eye-catching features is its glass elevator, which goes up to the 6th floor.
The mall also includes an entertainment area that offers activities such as dance lessons, a gym, and a chess club for children. There are often exhibitions going on at the Old England Building in Brussels . A good example of this is the previous exhibition on Munch’s paintings, which was opened in 2009.
The mall can get very busy at times, so it is advised that you visit during weekdays to avoid any disruptions. There are many shops in the area surrounding the mall too if you want a bit more variety.
You can reach the mall by metro, tram or car. If you are using public transport then it is advised to take bus number 18 or 21 and get off at Basilique du Sacre Coeur stop. Bus number 91 stops near Grand Place, which is also walking distance away. There are also two parking areas available in Brussels, but the rates are quite high.
3. Brussel’s Notre Dame Du Sablon
Notre Dame Du Sablon in the Belgium city of Brussels is a stunning Gothic church that was built in the 13th century and features some impressive stained-glass windows.
The interior is very beautiful with various chapels, many statues, and plenty of ornate carvings. These vary from the main entrance to all points inside where you’ll find figures such as angels, saints, apostles, and even devils.
The stained glass windows are very impressive with the blue window being particularly stunning. There is also a small chapel dedicated to St. Lambert which contains another fine example of stained-glass work.
If you have the time it’s worth walking around the church taking in all the details that are hidden away.
One of the interesting items in the church is a statue that features a life-sized figure of Christ standing on top of a defeated and crouching Satan. This was one of three statues that once stood outside the church door, however during the French Revolution they were vandalized and thrown into nearby sewer canals. This particular one was discovered again in 1847 and restored to its proper place.
Another of the interesting features of Notre Dame du Sablon is a small stone structure that resides just outside the church door. This dates from 1683 and has been called many things over the years including “The Miser’s Coffin”, “the Tallest Tombstone in the World” and “a Giant’s Coffin”.
The church is open Monday to Saturday from 9 am until 5:45 pm and on Sundays from 2:30 pm until 6:15 pm. Admission costs a small fee with free entrance on Sunday mornings for all visitors.
4. Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula
The Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula (Dutch: Sint-Michiels en Sint-Goedelekathedraal), abbreviated as St. Michiels, is a Roman Catholic church in central Brussels, Belgium. The church was given cathedral status in 1962 and has since been the co-cathedral of the Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels, together with St. Rumbold’s Cathedral in Mechelen.
The cathedral is considered to be one of the most important Gothic buildings in Belgium, along with St. Vitus Cathedral and Sint-Guido-in-‘t-Westen Church.
The cathedral is located in the “Groenplaats” (green place), where there were once beguinages, open to the public only one day a year. The square is edged by shops and restaurants whose rents contribute significantly to the cathedral’s maintenance budget. The tradition of blessing the animals at the cathedral dates from the century after his death.
The church was built in an area that had previously been settled by beguines, who were not confined to a cloister like enclosed nuns; they did not profess religious vows. The sandstone from which it is built was donated by Peter of Alost, work began under the direction of Norbert de Lalaing, steward to the countess of Hainaut.
The first architect whose name has been preserved in an inscription on one of the pillars is Jean d’Oisy. A new choir, with a rose window in the transept, was built at the start of the 15th century under Henry von Stein, on whose orders some fragments from older buildings were re-used in the construction of this church.
In 1507 a late gothic portal, the “Lionsdoor”, was placed on the north side of the church. The portals are decorated with four statues each sitting on a lion, which represent John the Baptist, John the Evangelist, Saint Peter and Saint Paul. The portal was made by English masons who were then at work in Brussels. One of these masons may have been Nicholas of Canterbury.
The exterior, designed to defend against besieging forces, is decorated by eleven statues of defensive characters: a soldier and ten citizens adorned with shields and crossbows.
From 1604 to 1618 the painter Peter Paul Rubens designed and painted the altarpiece representing “The Assumption of Mary” and the “Descent from The Cross“, both of which can be seen today. As was common practice in those days, he also provided cartoons for other artists to copy into their own works.
In the early 18th century a new main altar made of marble had been installed in the cathedral by Jerôme Duquesnoy, Jr., who also added an image of Saint Anne and a work of his own composition, “The Holy Family“. In 1724 this was followed with an altarpiece of Saint Paul.
The “Golden Gate” was made with bronze taken from the melted-down statues of Maarten van Rossem looted during the French Revolution . It is believed that this gate came to Mechelen in 1695, but its documentation has not survived. The choir organ dates back to 1556 and was built by Roelof Dommers, an organist in Antwerp.
It was renovated twice in the second half of the 18th century. The first intervention dates to 1776 and was carried out by L. Fayd’herbe for one thousand guilders, while the second occasion happened between 1788-1789 after Charles Alexander of Lorraine, the bishop, had placed an order with his organist Nicolas Schyven.
The cathedral has four bells, but they are no longer in use because they have been replaced by electric carillons. The two smallest bells were cast in 1573 and 1643 respectively; the largest bell was made in 1758 and weighs 11,500 kg.
In the 18th century a new organ from Ghent was fitted into the cathedral by L. Fayd’herbe and B. Van Hoeck who added a pedalboard to it in 1781. In 1999 this instrument was thoroughly restored after a fire had damaged it severely during the Second World War.
In 2010 the cathedral was the site of the marriage of Philippe, Duke of Brabant and Mathilde d’Udekem d’Acoz. A total of 2,000 people were invited to attend this event in the cathedral.
For its part in history, it is registered on Belgium’s Heritage list.
5. Le Botanique
Le Botanique is a non-profit arts center in Brussels, located on Rue Royale 236. The building originally started as a greenhouse for plants. It was first opened from 1897 to 1936 and then from 1956 to 1997 it housed the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences. In 1977 the city of Brussels bought the building and transformed into an interdisciplinary center for music, theater, cinema, and visual arts.
Le Botanique is an excellent place to go for art and music lovers. It has a wide range of activities every month, ranging from classical music concerts to contemporary dance shows or even theatrical plays. Le Botanique hosts over five hundred events every year that cater to all ages, preferences, interests etc…
Le Botanique also hosts a large collection of avant-garde art. It has around 3,500 works in the gallery and several pieces in its permanent exhibition. It hosts temporary exhibitions that change every couple of months when the season starts again. Events such as the theater festival Nuits de la Marionnette or the film festival Cinéma au Coeur du Monde are organized in Le Botanique.
Le Botanique’s café is also an excellent place to enjoy the lovely art pieces displayed on its walls, like paintings by Pieter Mondriaan or sculptures by Edgard Tytgat. The items in the menu are very reasonably priced and it is a nice place to go for lunch or dinner.
Their website has a list of current and upcoming art events that can vary from classical music concerts or contemporary dance shows to theater plays or exhibitions. It also features the history of the building, where it started as greenhouses. It is an excellent resource on Le Botanique’s past and present.
6. Brussels City Museum
Brussels City Museum is located in the heart of Brussels and is a celebration of the city’s artistic and cultural heritage. It focuses heavily on history and scientific research, as well as archaeology. They boast an impressive array of materials that allow visitors to see, feel, listen and even smell what life was like in this beautiful city over the centuries.
The museum houses several permanent exhibitions, as well as hosts many temporary ones throughout the year. The Archaeology and Numismatics collections are open to all visitors at any time and can be found on the second and third floors of the museum.
The Decorative Arts collection is also available for public viewing; it features a variety of objects from around the world that reflect various types of ornamental decoration.
The exhibition of the costumes is located in one of Brussels’ most beautiful buildings, which used to house the ‘Conciergerie’ for over four centuries. This building has played host to countless historical figures throughout its existence and now it provides a rich source of information about fashion through the ages.
The Fine Arts collection is extremely large and features many different genres; however, there are four, in particular, that merit special mention. The “Rubens” collection includes works by the Flemish painter, Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640).
The French painting section consists mainly of works by 17th-century painters who also worked in France such as Nicolas Poussin (1594–1665) and Claude Lorrain (1600-1682).
The collection of paintings by Belgian artists is mainly composed of works from the 17th century by Flemish painters such as Jacob Jordaens (1593–1678) and David Teniers (1610–1690), as well as work by Georges de la Tour (1593–1652), who was active in France.
The sculpture and applied arts collections consist mainly of works from Brussels, which were made to be exported in the 19th century. One of the most notable objects in this collection is a replica of Michelangelo’s “Pietà” created by Belgian sculptor Guillaume Geefs (1805–1883).
The museum is open every day except Mondays and certain holidays. It also offers special tours for groups with prior reservations.
7. BELvue Museum
Since the 1800s, Brussels has been a major European capital and it should come as no surprise that there are many museums and other points of interest in the city. Among them is the BELvue Museum, which is housed inside one of the grandest buildings in the city, formerly home to the Belgian government. Highlights here include an extensive collection of Belgian art, with works by painters such as Magritte and Delvaux, while some of the rooms are worth admiring simply for their fine architecture.
The BELvue Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm.
8. Musical Instrument Museum
The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM), located in the heart of the city center of Brussels, is one of the world’s leading museums in terms of information and exhibition. Its collection consists mainly, but not exclusively, in musical instruments from Europe and South-East Asia. This museum has its own important place in this part of Europe. It is not only the biggest collection of world instruments, but it also reflects the history of music for centuries through its entire organization.
Two buildings are parts of this museum, both located very close to each other in downtown Brussels. One building is dedicated to permanent exhibitions and special exhibitions, while the other one holds temporary exhibition halls. The first museum of its kind, it appeared as a consequence of the initiative of Baron Kervyn de Lettenhove and Claude Dubois, who were owners of a very important collection. The main objective was to advance research into musical instruments from all cultures, by proposing a different perspective on music through the eyes of different civilizations.
The first building is the Old England, located at Rue Montagne de la Cour 2. This building of the museum is a must-see! From its inscription “Musica Mundana” it is deduced that this place belongs to music.
The second building is a former military hospital, which becomes a museum in 1934 and was donated by Józef Haller. The Museum of Musical Instruments was placed in the building at Rue Montagne de la Cour 12.
In 1979, UNESCO added this museum to the list of the most important international institutions specialized in this area. In 1998, major renovation work began which was completed two years later. In 2006, a new permanent exhibition opened its doors under the title “a journey to the origins of music”.
9. Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History
Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History is a military and strategic museum about the Belgian Army and Military history in general located next to Cinquantenaire Park in Brussels [ˈbʁyː.zəl] . It has a large collection of historical weapons and vehicles, most dating from the two World Wars, but also including more recent armaments.
Listed by Newsweek as one of the ten most beautiful in Europe, it is one of the largest museums in the country.
The museum was founded in 1830 with the weapons used during the Belgian revolution. The collection became larger after Belgium’s independence in 1830 and later acquisitions of territories formerly ruled by sultans of the Ottoman Empire meant that weapons from these areas were sent to Brussels as war trophies, illustrating Belgian colonial history. The exhibits are divided into three sections – the first section is dedicated to military history, the second displays civil wars and internal conflicts in Belgium since 1830, while the third part contains equipment from World War I.
The museum also has an important collection of captured tanks and other armoured vehicles, many dating from World War II – one French tank called “B1 Bis” that was never used again after the war because the cannon was too damaged, it is on display with a special monument.
10. Brussels Gueuze Museum
The Gueuze Museum is a place for beer lovers to experience the flavors of traditional gueuzes. The tour starts with visitors choosing between three different gueuzes – lambic, faro, or kriek.
Then it goes into finding out the history of gueuze, how it is made, and the different varieties. The tour ends with the visitors trying out both gueuzes. Alternatively, one can choose to visit an exhibition on beer glasses dedicated to traditional Belgian brewers or to buy a souvenir from the museum shop.
The Gueuze Museum is situated in the city of Brussels at Avenue Jules Bordet 29, 1070 Brussels, Belgium
Best Things to do in Brussels 11-20
11. Train World
Train World is a railway museum in the King Baudouin Foundation, Brussels. It is one of the biggest model train displays in Europe and has 150 model trains as well as dioramas and master models displayed.
Train World houses the largest electric model railroad system in Europe with more than 450 trains running on a track circuit. The garden railroads, built to a scale of 1:20, include a mountain line featuring a cable car and the beautiful Flemish seaside. The garden railways are hand-built by volunteers from all over Europe showing every detail in its proper place – including houses, churches, windmills, and farms.
Train World also houses a large collection of model trains displayed in several themes, along with old toy trains.
The museum is open every day except Monday, from 10 AM to 6 PM. It is located at the King Baudouin Foundation campus in Heysel – not far away from Brussel Central Station. Group visits are only possible on weekdays by prior appointment.
Train World was opened in 1994 and has become a must-see for all families especially those who are fond of trains.
Location: 11, avenue du Centenaire, B – 1020 Brussels, Belgium
12. Millennium Iconoclast Museum of Art
Millennium Iconoclast Museum of Art (MIMOA) is an art museum located in Brussels, Belgium. MIMOA was founded by artist Tom Schamp to offer artists the opportunity of exhibiting their work outside the traditional spaces of galleries and museums. The MIMOA collection includes works by more than 2,000 different artists including Banksy and Ron English. Each year they organize around 250 solo and group exhibitions that are free to the public.
Their permanent collection is composed of original works that are for sale.
Exhibitions at Millennium Iconoclast Museum Of Art are curated by Tom Schamp, Monique Snoeck and Luc Parmentier. Based in Ixelles, Belgium, MIMOA organizes 3 to 4 exhibitions a year. Since 2000, MIMOA has been exhibiting works by over 1800 artists from more than 70 countries including Russia, the United States, Japan and China. The museum is open to all forms of creative expression including painting, sculpture, photography, film, printmaking, and installations.
Since its inauguration in November 2000 MIMOA has become an international reference point for critical artistic practices.
But the museum is more than just that, it is also an art class for everyone to come and, but MIMOA also provides classes in painting or textile dyeing for both adults and children.
13. Royal Greenhouses of Laeken
Located in the northwest corner of Brussels, Belgium, the Royal Greenhouses of Laeken (Jardins du Palais de Laeken) were built by King Leopold II between 1889 and 1891. The greenhouse complex consists of thirty major greenhouses measuring roughly sixty-five feet tall and five hundred feet long stretching along a quarter-mile of the canal, the Serres du Rucher (the Hives).
The greenhouses were built to provide cut flowers and fruit trees for the palace. Unfortunately, King Leopold died before the project was completed and his son, King Leopold III took over construction and used only a few buildings in the complex. All thirty major greenhouses were built to be heated, a feat that required a massive amount of coal each day.
The greenhouses fell into disuse and eventually became neglected and abandoned. In the early 1980s, the Belgian government bought the royal family’s property which included the thirty greenhouses. Two buildings were restored for use as a tropical museum and today all buildings have been restored and are used for various exhibits.
The complex is open to the public and visiting tourists can see many exotic plants not typically seen in northern climates like the fiddle-leaf fig, banana trees, palms, flowering vines, cacti and succulents, a desert garden complete with a saguaro cactus forest, and a few greenhouses that are filled with tropical plants.
Autoworld is a car museum that has a wide range of exhibits from cars to bicycles. There are several collections, which include the D collection and the C collection. The D collection contains vehicles from German manufacturers such as Mercedes Benz, Opel, Volkswagen, and Porsche. In addition, there is an American collection containing vehicles from brands such as Ford and Chevrolet. The C collection contains Citroën cars.
There are also sections of the museum that display racing cars and motorcycles. The museum’s restaurant is called V8 Grill, which serves a range of dishes including steaks, burgers, and salads.
Autoworld is situated in Heysel, near the King Baudouin Stadium.
15. Black Tower
Black Tower is the tallest building in Brussels. It is named after its black color and holds offices of several companies including Microsoft. It can be seen from many parts of Brussels because it stands above lower buildings. There are only three towers that are taller than this one in the whole world; however, they do not reside in Europe like Black Tower. This is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Belgium.
16. Place Sainte-Catherine
Place Sainte-Catherine is a large pedestrian shopping area in Brussels, Belgium. It is located close to the central station and next to the City 2 shopping center.
There are two entrances: one on Avenue de Roosebeke and another on Rue aux Herbes Potagères/Grasmarkt. The “Postkantoor” (Post Office), built in 1898 by architect Max Roses, stands at the corner of the Grasmarkt entrance.
In 2014 a major renovation was set in motion to improve pedestrian access and increase safety, but also to lift up the tourist attractiveness thanks to a special lighting design that uses LED lights with filters giving beautiful colors depending on seasons or events. There are also plans to make the pedestrian zone “car-free”.
The renovation has been completed in 2017. Today, Place Sainte-Catherine is an attraction not only for shopping but also for its nightlife thanks to its many restaurants and bars, including cafes situated around a central square with fountains. The atmosphere of the place is cozy.
17. Palais Royal, Brussels
Palais Royal is an attraction owned by the French government located in the center of Brussels, Belgium. It is used for official events and also holds exhibitions. The building was originally built to be owned by King Leopold II who died before it was completed. Since then it has been hosted as a post office, courthouse, and congress hall. Today it is mostly used as a cultural area. The main attraction of the Palais Royal is a hall that contains collections from artists who have been honored by the French government, due to their influence on art or culture.
In 2005 Dutch artist Jan Fabre decorated the outside walls of the building with large drawings and paintings depicting different insect species that are native to Brussels.
The Palais Royal is one of the best and most popular attractions in Brussels. It features a permanent exhibition called “L’Art de Vivre” or “Living Art”. The exhibition displays works from Belgian and French artists who have been honored by the French government, due to their influence on art or culture. Artists include Luc Tuymans, Marcel Broodthaers, and others. The Palais Royal is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 AM until 4:30 PM (except for between 12:00 and 2:00).
The Palais Royal also hosts exhibitions and offers guided tours. Brussels by Night (offered in English or French) is a great way to get an introduction to Brussels’ history, museums, and architecture. It starts at 6:00 PM (no later than the hour) every evening. The Palais Royal is centrally located between Grand Place in the heart of the old town and Ste Catherine in the Sablon area.
With a variety of exhibitions held constantly over the year, Palais Royal is a frequently visited attraction.
In 2010, the Palais Royal celebrated its 130th anniversary by exhibiting work from over 400 French artists. In 2015, BXine arts hosted an exhibition entitled ‘Rage de Vivre’. The exhibition displays collections from 16 contemporary Belgian sculptors and is on display until August 22nd.
Palais Royal is a national monument and a historic landmark open to the public for exhibitions, events, and other activities. The Palais also features three terraces from which you can get a fantastic view of Brussels.
The Sablon neighbourhood in Brussels is known for its antiques and antique dealers. The area has always been a place where artisans such as jewelers, gilders, bookbinders and upholsterers have set up shop. Today, it is home to design galleries hosting the work of modern designers. The Sablon is also home to fashion boutiques, art galleries and many restaurants. A weekly market on Wednesday mornings sells leaves, flowers, vegetables and fruit.
19. Manneken Pis
Manneken Pis is one of the most famous attractions in Brussels, Belgium. It is a small bronze fountain sculpture depicting a naked little boy urinating into the fountain’s basin. The statue was designed by Jerome Duquesnoy and erected in 1619.
Manneken Pis can be found on Rue de l’Etuve in the center of Brussels. The statue is placed near a three step staircase and has a small wall surrounding it to prevent people from damaging the sculpture and adding graffiti.
The Manneken Pis fountain can be found within a five-minute walk up the street to Grand Place, another popular area for tourists to visit when they travel to Brussels.
Another popular route to take while walking through Brussels is the path that leads from Manneken Pis to Place du Grand Sablon, located on Rue du Marché au Charbon/Kolenmarkt. At the end of this road you will reach Saint Nicolas Church, where more tourists can be found admiring the architecture and visiting the flower market.
The Manneken Pis fountain is surrounded by many museums and galleries including: The Museum of Ancient Art, Royal Museums of Fine Arts, Magritte Museum, and Belgian Comic Strip Center.
Parlamentarium is a permanent exhibition center in the heart of Europe. Explore the rich history and culture of democracy through interactive exhibits, multimedia presentations, and educational workshops.
The Brussels-Capital Region is host to the remarkable Parlamentarium which provides an insight into Belgium’s political system. Visitors get a sense of what happens behind closed doors in both Belgian and EU politics.
The building was opened in 2014 and is located at the foot of Brussels’ European Parliament. It’s accessible via metro, train, or bus to Brussels National Airport just 4km away. There are also regular coach tours which visit Brussels city center before arriving at Parlamentarium.
Parlamentarium is open 7 days a week and offers tours that last approximately 75 minutes.
Best Things to do in Brussels 21-30
Coudenberg (French: Coudenberg; Dutch: Koudenberg) is the name of an artificial hill in Brussels where the Royal castle of Laken was built. The hill took its name from the nearby Koudenberg (Cold Mountain), one of the hills on which medieval Brussels was built.
The House of Capet, who were Kings of France from 987 to 1328, acquired the hill in the 11th century. They built a fort on it and two churches (Saint Gaugericus and Saint Nicolas) as well as a palace which was the official residence of their Burgundian descendants.
The castle was reconstructed by King Charles V who extended it with his own medieval styles. The death of his son, King Wenceslaus put an end to the plans of Charles to rebuild the castle completely.
The site was primarily used by the nobility until the 14th century and was abandoned in favor of the palace in Tervuren during the 15th century. The fortifications were dismantled during the 18th century and it has been occupied by military institutions since the independence of Belgium in 1830.
The hill is currently occupied by several high-level government institutes while King Albert II officially still resides at the Royal Palace. The complex however holds no official status and is used for state receptions.
Coudenberg is located in the European Quarter of Brussels, close to other famous sites such as Parc du Cinquantenaire and Brussels-Central Station.
Many administrative buildings were erected on the hill, including what is now the seat of the European Parliament since 2004 (previously it was housed in Leopold Park). Other notable offices include those of NATO and EUROCONTROL as well as that of the Council of the European Union.
Today, Coudenberg is also known for its open green areas which are home to many important monuments such as the Warandepark and other commemorative statues. The area also boasts several works of public art including Henry Moore’s sculpture, “The Three-Way Piece No. 2: The Arches” (1967).
On 4 October 2011, Coudenberg was chosen by the City of Brussels to host the Brussels Museum Night. This yearly event organized in the month of September aims at offering over 40 cultural institutions in Brussels an opportunity to show their exhibitions in a festive mood after closing time.
22. Madame Mustache
Madame Mustache is a popular Brussels attraction. The Madame Mustache is located in downtown Brussels. It’s not too far from the center of town, but it will take about 15 minutes to walk there from any major tourist spots like Grand Place or Mannekin Pis. The main attraction at Madame Mustache is its people responsible for acting as the figure of Madame Mustache.
The people who play the role of Madame Mustache are dressed in traditional Belgian clothing like fishnet stockings, short skirts, and high heels with garters. The men playing the role of Uncle Sam usually wear suits or bowties. They stand outside on the sidewalks of Brussels passing out money to members of the crowd and posing for photos.
The people who play Madame Mustache and Uncle Sam will pose for photos, dance with members of the crowd, and touch the people in the crowd. The pairings between a person dressed like Madame Mustache and someone from the crowd make up about 50% of this attraction’s photo opportunities. They also do some provocative poses, so it’s important to monitor children in your group when they go up to take a photo.
Madame Mustache is known for its positive atmosphere. Most people there are smiling and laughing, and Madame Mustache herself also seems very friendly.
23. Maison de la Bellone
Maison de la Bellone is a museum in Brussels, Belgium that depicts the private life of Louis Joseph de Bourbon, Prince of Carignan from 1709 to his death in 1740.
Louis Joseph was the son of Emmanuel Théodose de La Tour d’Auvergne and Philippine Élisabeth de Roquelaure. He married Marie-Louise de Montmorency-Luxembourg, an heiress of one of the most prestigious families in France.
The museum is more than two centuries old and was founded by Princess Clémentine de Saxe who married Louis Joseph’s great-grandson.
The beautiful home on Avenue Louise is decorated with French furniture from the 18th century, paintings from old masters, and precious porcelain.
This park is a nice place for a walk in Brussels in spring or summertime.
24. Magritte Museum
Magritte Museum is located in Brussels, Belgium. It was created to commemorate the work of Ren Magritte. The museum contains around 200 original works of art by Magritte, including paintings, photographs, and drawings. It also includes many documents, posters, and archives related to Magritte’s life and career as well as an extensive collection of books on Magritte’s work and his contemporaries.
The museum is located in the Place Royale in central Brussels, a short distance from other popular tourist attractions such as the Sablon, Place Saint-Géry, and Mont des Arts. The nearest major underground station is Gare de l’Uitbreiding.
25. Musee Royaux Des Beaux Arts
The Musee Royaux des Beaux-Arts is a museum in Brussels, Belgium. The museum holds a collection of over 8000 drawings and paintings, featuring the works of Flemish artists as well as works from Italy, France and Northern Europe.
The first part of the museum’s name gives away its purpose: “royal” indicates that it is a museum of the Kingdom of Belgium, and “beaux-arts” means “fine arts”. It was founded in 1801 by Napoleon Bonaparte and is one of the oldest museums in Belgium.
The Musee Royaux des Beaux-Arts currently occupies four different locations: A mansion at Rue de la Regence 63, one of Brussels’ oldest streets; a Gothic Revival palace built in 1883 at the corner of the Hors-Chateau and Pelgrimstraat; a former orphanage on Saint-Nicolas square (Place de Meir); and another villa on Allée Verte. The four buildings that currently house the museum range from Baroque Revival to Art Nouveau, and together they make up one of the finest ensembles of Art Nouveau in Europe.
The 4 buildings that house the museum were all built or restyled during Brussels’ Art Nouveau period (roughly 1890-1910), and therefore complement each other wonderfully.
26. Parc Du Cinquantenaire
Parc Du Cinquantenaire is a park in Brussels, Belgium. It is located in the direction of Avenue de la Joyeuse Entree and Rue de la Loi (Wetstraat or “The Waterfront”). The park has multiple statues which include ones honoring Godefroid Kurth, Leopold II of Belgium, King Albert I of Belgium, Charles Woeste, Edmond Picard, Godecharle and Emile Verhaeren.
There are multiple statues within the Parc Du Cinquantenaire. One of them includes a statue honoring Godefroid Kurth, who was a Belgian composer from Liege. This statue is made out of bronze and is a bust-type of statue. Another notable statue within the park is one honoring King Albert I of Belgium. The bronze statue of King Albert I of Belgium is located near the top of a staircase and was constructed in 1925 by Jan Olieslagers.
The “Monument aux Martyrs Belges de la Campagne 1939-1945” is another notable monument within the park. It is located close to the start of the road which leads up to the Place General Jacques and was designed by Andre Rinse and Jef van de Wiele. The monument, unveiled in 1948, is made out of black stone and includes a bronze relief symbolizing the grief Belgian people experienced during World War II.
27. Mont des Arts
Mont des Arts, or the Art Hill, is one of the most visited areas of Brussels. It is located between Rue Ravensteinstraat and Rue de l’Enseignement.
The Art Hill has many squares which are all filled with beautiful sculptures. One may travel by tram to Avenue Louise where there are shops and galleries, or take the metro to Louise station, or just walk from downtown — either way is a wonderful journey.
One of the most popular sculptures in the Art Hill is Manneken Pis. It is dressed up often with little costumes and is not only there for decoration but many people think it actually functions!
There are multiple fountains throughout Mont des Arts which are decorated with beautiful statues.
Mont des Arts is one of the nicest areas to walk around in Brussels. It offers nice views of the city and many places to eat outside during the summer months. There is also a museum for music called La Chapelle du Bon Secours that has free concerts every weekend, along with special exhibits.
The buildings surrounding Art Hill are old and beautiful as well. The area is very urban which makes it a great place to meet with friends or go on a walk. There are green spaces throughout Mont des Arts so families may also enjoy visiting this place together. It is an especially popular spot for college students who attend universities in Brussels.
28. The Belgian Comic Strip Centre
28. The Belgian Comic Strip Centre is a museum in Brussels, Belgium that is dedicated to the comic strip art form. It contains over 50,000 original drawings from 170 authors and more than 2,500 albums.
In its permanent exhibition, the Comic Strip Centre displays original drawings by some of the most celebrated Belgian comics artists such as Hergé (“The Adventures of Tintin”), Peyo (“The Smurfs”), Morris (“Lucky Luke”), Jijé (“Jerry Spring”), André Franquin (“Gaston Lagaffe”, “Marsupilami”), Willy Vandersteen, Philippe Bercovici, Jean-Michel Charlier, and Pierre Alechinsky.
It was opened by Prince Philip of Belgium in 1983.
The museum has an extensive library containing original drawings, manuscripts, and other documents related to the history of comics in Belgium. Its collection includes 22,000 comic albums, 1,900 magazines, and 3,200 newspaper comic strips illustrated by 100 different authors. The Centre set up a research department specializing in Belgian comics production. It also manages the Prince Laurent Foundation, which provides financial aid to young Belgian comics authors.
The Centre also organizes international events with the aim of promoting comic art in all its forms, including exhibitions, conventions, and cultural exchanges. It was the host for one week to a large Manga exhibition in 2008.
In 2009 the Centre underwent major renovation work in order to double its exhibition space.
29. Art Nouveau buildings
The Museum of the City of Brussels is a museum located in the Grand Sablon Square in the city center. It was founded in 1877 and includes important pieces such as paintings, statues, and other objects from the 15th to the 19th century. The main attraction, however, is its impressive architecture built between 1882 and 1893 made by Victor Horta.
The Horta Museum is located in the center of Brussels, with a view of the Royal Palace. It was originally built as an upscale apartment building for Victor Horta’s mother-in-law (1898). The building has been completely renovated and now houses one of the most important collections of Art Nouveau furniture and objects of the early 20th century (1850-1910), including unique pieces like tapestries, wallpaper, and stained glass windows.
Horta House is a former private house built in 1898 by Victor Horta for his own family which is located at 29 rue Américaine in Ixelles. The building is one of his most famous Art Nouveau buildings, finished in 1900. It has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000. Daring and innovative for its time, it is considered to be the first example of what came to be known later on as ‘Art Nouveau’.
The Magritte Museum opened in 2009 and is dedicated to the life and art of René Magritte, a famous Belgian surrealist. The museum is located in one of the 19th-century buildings that used to house the textile company led by Adolphe Stoclet.
The Royal Museum for Central Africa opened on 20 December 1898 as a place for documenting information about the Belgian Congo and the Belgian government. The museum is located in a building designed by Henri Maquet and completed by Julien Hérin, an architect from Brussels.
The Royal Palace of Brussels is not only the official residence of the King of the Belgians but also houses several cultural institutions such as Le Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium. The museum is located in two adjacent buildings: the old Ceramics Museum and the Magritte Museum. It was founded in 1801 by Napoleon Bonaparte, who donated it to his brother Louis Bonaparte, King of Holland.
The Hotel Solvay opened in 1902 and was initially meant for affluent guests visiting Brussels for its spa. It was designed by Victor Horta and is located at the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) campus, next to the forest.
30. Comic Book Route
Comic Book Route is a path in Belgium where one may find comic book-related locations. The collection of comic book shops, cafes, and bars is located in the town of Brussels.
The Comic Strip Trail stretches approximately 3km long within the downtown core of Brussels’ historic city center along Rue de la Buanderie/Wasstraat, Rue des Sables/Zandstraat, and Rue des Chapeliers/Kapucijnenberg.
Comic Book Route is a grand tour of 40 free comic book shops, 10 themed cafes and bars, artist studios, publishers’ head offices, museum exhibitions, co-working spaces, and film screenings.
One may find comic book shops in the Comic Book Route selling vintage comics, alternative comics, new arrivals, various collectibles/merchandise related to comic books. Some cafes are themed after popular superheroes such as Batman, Spiderman, Superman, and others represent pop culture themes not specific to superheroes. Bars are also themed after comic books, pop culture topics, and non-specific things related to the comic book world.
Many of these locations host a variety of events such as exhibitions, independent film screenings, workshops and various comic-related activities that go on daily during the event period.
Best Things to do in Brussels 31 and beyond
31. Cafe Belga
Cafe Belga is a restaurant located in Brussels, Belgium. Cafe Belga is known for its delicious food and drink, as well as its friendly atmosphere.
The first thing that you will notice when entering Cafe Belga is the large windows overlooking Place du Grand Sablon. The interior of the cafe consists of tables and booths along with counter seating along the window. You can easily spot Cafe Belga by looking for the large sign that says “Cafe”.
The staff at Cafe Belga are very friendly. They are always willing to suggest their favorite items on the menu but are understanding if you choose not to order what they recommend. The service is quick and efficient without feeling rushed. If you are dining alone, you will be seated at the bar.
The menu at Cafe Belga includes items such as waffles, omelets, crepes, sandwiches, and soups. There are vegetarian options available. The staff is always willing to help you choose between different options if you are not sure which item to order. They will also give you a sample if you are unsure about what the item will taste like.
If you are not in the mood for food, Cafe Belga also has an extensive drink menu that includes items such as wine, beer, cocktails, and coffee drinks. The staff at Cafe Belga will keep your drinks refilled throughout your time dining there without feeling rushed.
In addition to being a restaurant, Cafe Belga is also a bar. They have live concerts once a week that showcase local and international bands and singers. The music played at the venue varies depending on who is performing that night. You can find out more about their upcoming shows by visiting the cafe’s website.
32. Le Cirio, Brussels
Le Cirio is a cafe that serves up coffee, food, and other drinks. The ambiance of the place holds an upbeat atmosphere with music playing in the background. It also has wifi to offer customers who are on their laptops or smartphones while they enjoy their time out there too! Le Cirio’s location makes it easy for those living around this area as well because it is really close to public transport stations but still offers privacy from people outside so you won’t feel rushed at all when sipping your cup o’ joe here!
The menu consists of sweet pancakes, scones with jam & cream cheese filling, and even classic breads like Belgian waffles. Their coffees come both hot/cappuccino style or iced/milkshakes – perfect if you’re feeling hungry after breakfasting here! They also serve fresh juices (orange, mango, pineapple, or watermelon) and teas. They are open from Monday to Friday from 7 am to 10 pm and on Saturdays from 8 am to 10 pm.
There’s also a small seating area outside the shop that is decorated with wooden benches and chairs. The tables are made of glass but they are not at all heavy so you can easily move them around if you need more space!
The prices are very reasonable as well. There is no service charge here so your bill will be exactly what it shows on the menu! This cafe is perfect for those who want to have a relaxing time out with their friends or family and enjoy some drinks/food while listening to music in the background! Its location makes it easy for students too because it’s right next to the university and just beside the metro station too! So if you’re looking for a place to chill out while you’re studying, this is the perfect cafe to go to!
And, if you’re a student, don’t forget to bring your student card along because they have special discounts for students! So be sure to bring it along with you!
33. Bourse Brussels
Bourse Brussels, the city’s central market hall, is an architectural wonder. It houses Europe’s largest covered market and offers a range of events for visitors to attend throughout the year. One of these attractions is their Christmas markets which last from mid-November until December 24th with activities including caroling sessions in front of different buildings’ facades as well as performances by local choirs or street musicians performing songs such as “Silent Night.” There will also be plenty to see and do at other times during the year too!
34. Broodhuis Brussels
Broodhuis Brussels is often a site of cultural, social, and artistic life in the city. Some activities to do are:
-Shop for cheesy deals on cheese at Goudenband street market;
-Watch the birds up close while they feed from one another’s beaks at Muséum de l’Institut océanographique;
-Hear stories about migration patterns of animals through time and space with interactive installations such as “Bird Evolution” or “Animal Migration 3D”; -Enjoy your drinks inside Broodhuis Winter Garden where you can take some time out to listen to great live concerts.
-Taste a variety of beers from the “Bière du Monde” or “Bière de la Confrérie” beer festivals.
The building was designed by architect Victor Horta. It is located in the heart of Brussels, on the corner of Rue Royale and Rue des Chartreux (Rue des Dominicains). It is currently a museum which is open to the public every day, except Mondays. The museum is worth a visit because it still keeps its original interior decoration, and also because it serves as an example of Art Nouveau architecture.
35. Atomium in Heysel Park
The Atomium is a large steel structure and was built for the International Exposition in 1958. It symbolizes science, modernity, progress, and humanity’s never-ending quest to better understand our world. This iconic monument can be accessed from different angles through its huge glass panes that represent each of these themes.
The Atomium is located in Heysel Park, which is situated in the municipality of Brussels. To get there, you can either drive or take public transportation.
36. Beer Tour in Brussels
A beer tour of Brussels can be a fun and informative way to spend the day. The Belgian capital offers many different types of beers through its traditional breweries, so there is plenty to explore in one short trip! Your guide will take you from brewery to brewery, giving you a taste of each new brews unique flavors and textures along the way. You’ll find yourself saying “Mmmh” over and over again as your enjoy yet another fresh Belgium craft beer at St James Abbey Brewery or learn about how Trappist monks have been brewing their ale for hundreds years at Westvleteren abbey with an iconic tasting room attached.
A beer tour of Brussels is an activity that can be enjoyed by any age group and is a great way to get a flavor for the city’s rich history. The tour will take you past many of Brussels’ most famous landmarks, including the Grand Place, Manneken Pis, and the Royal Palace. You’ll also get to see the other side of Brussels as you explore some of its more residential neighborhoods.
If you find yourself inspired by Belgium’s brewing heritage, then why not learn how to brew your own craft beer? There are plenty of opportunities for homebrewers in Belgium, so if you’re willing to put in a little bit of effort then you could have your own Belgian-style ale before too long!
37. Cantillon Brewery Brussels
A beer brewery founded by Jean-Baptiste Joseph, Cantillon Brewery is considered one of the best breweries in Belgium. It was named after a neighborhood where it had been located for years and has continued to grow ever since. The name “cantillon” translates from French into English as “small cellar”.
The brewery’s location in the heart of Brussels makes it easy to visit and tour. In addition, Cantillon Brewery is one of only a few breweries in Belgium that brews beer using the traditional method of open fermentation. This means that you can witness the natural process of yeast and microorganisms being added to the brew as it ferments.
38. Maison Dandoy Brussels
Maison Dandoy Brussels, the luxury store located in Grand Place, is a treasure trove of Belgian design and fashion. The shop offers an array of exclusive designs from such high-quality brands as Hermès Paris and Louis Vuitton. With its mix of upmarket items for women and men – stunning dresses, bags to go with shoes, or fine purses – this lavish boutique has something that will appeal to everyone’s taste
39. Fashion & Lace Museum Brussels
The Fashion & Lace Museum Brussels is a museum that showcases the fashion of Belgium. It’s located in Rue de la Fidélité, which means “street of fidelity”. The street was named so because it ran parallel to King Leopold II Street on his order as an expression of loyalty towards him during the 19th century. Today, this colorful old building houses parts 1 and 2 collections with unique pieces like a slipper worn by Marie Antoinette or handwoven lace for evening wear created 200 years ago by Mary Louise Bramellie. The museum is open from 10 am to 5 pm.
Out of the list of the Best Things To Do in Brussels, you can pick and choose which ones you want to cover depending on your preferences and how much time you have available on hand. We’d recommend doing all of them!
Plan your trip to Brussels, and add these things to do to your itinerary to enjoy the Belgian Capital!
Note: The hours of operation, ticket prices, and admission criteria of museums, parks, etc. may change from time to time. For the most updated information, we recommend checking the official website of the attraction directly prior to your planned visit.
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