Are you arriving in Brussels for the first time and don’t know where to start visiting? We’ve put together a tailor-made weekend to help you discover the city. Get your shoes on, grab your backpack and let’s go!
Start your journey a few steps away from the hotel by visiting these splendid galleries dating from 1847. One of the oldest in Europe, they are home to luxury shops and many Belgian chocolatiers.
The Grand Place Let’s continue the visit on one of the squares considered as one of the most beautiful in the world by Victor Hugo: the Grand Place. Here you can admire the town hall, the king’s house, and many guild houses. In 1695, the cannons of the French army destroyed a large part of the buildings in the square and they were all rebuilt afterwards, except for the Hôtel-de-Ville.
Manneken Pis Walk around for a while, look up to admire the cartoon paintings on the walls, and stop at the Manneken Pis, one of the symbols of the Belgian capital. One of the legends says that the little boy put out a fire on the city by peeing on it. You will find the boy’s wardrobe a few steps away. There is also a female version, called Jeanneke Pis, in one of the neighbouring streets.
Lunch Time for a lunch break. There are many small restaurants in the vicinity. For more information on Belgian specialities, go here. You can also stop by Maison Dandoy for a Belgian waffle.
Cathedral Saint Michel et Gudule One of the city’s most emblematic monuments, this Gothic-style cathedral is Belgium’s main Catholic church. Originally called Saint Michael’s, it was renamed in 147 when the relics of Saint Gudula were deposited there.
Mont des Arts We will now continue our visit by gaining height. Climb the steps of the Mont des Arts, walk through the garden, listen to the sound of the carillon, and then take a moment to admire the view of the Grand Place and the historic centre.
Square du Petit Sablon Take a walk through this charming little garden, one of the city’s most historic neoclassical gardens. Here you can admire statues of high Belgian figures and a fountain statue in homage to the Counts of Egmont and Hornes.
Louise district Continue to climb to the heights of Brussels, to reach Avenue Louise and Boulevard Waterloo. Welcome to the city’s most chic and upmarket district. Compared to the Champs Elysees, you will find many luxury shops.
The Courthouse At the end of the Avenue Louise, you will find the courthouse next to the Place Poelaert. From this square you can enjoy a panoramic view of Brussels, including the Atomium. This courthouse is the largest in the world today. It was built on the Mount of Gallows where convicts were executed in the Middle Ages. Legend has it that in the 16th century, the famous doctor Vesalius went there to steal corpses at night to study the human body.
Marolles district Opposite you is a lift that you can use to go to the Marolles district, where you will find the oldest estaminets in the city, many antique shops and historic breweries. This is also where you will find many comic book illustrations on the walls.
Dinner The first day ends. You have earned it! For dinner, we welcome you to Sentro Restaurant in a bright and elegant setting offering a menu with Belgian vibes and creative dishes inspired by local artists who exhibits their artworks. To know more about Sentro, visit the website.
Ready for your second day of discovery? Let’s get started!
Royal Palace Let’s start by heading towards the royal palace. Although the kings have not lived here for over a century, this impressive building remains emblematic and is still the seat of the Belgian constitutional monarchy. Every summer, the palace opens its doors to the public.
Brussels Park Walk through the park next to the palace, formerly called “Royal Park”, which is the oldest park in the city. Built on the ruins of the park of the Dukes of Burgundy and the governors of the Netherlands, this park is the witness of the violent fights of the inhabitants of Brussels during the revolution of 1830. You will find statues of Greek mythology, and a guinguette spirit in the middle of fountains and bandstand.
European Quarter Go straight on to cross the European quarter. You will see the European Parliament, the Berlaymont which is the seat of the European Commission, and the seat of the European Council and the Council of the European Union which is called Europa. Inside the Leopold Park, you can find the House of European History, to learn more about the history of Europe.
Eat fries Before heading towards the Cinquantenaire park, which you can see in the distance, make a stop at Place Jourdan. It’s time to eat a mythical Belgian meal: the fries at Maison Antoine, well known and appreciated by the people of Brussels.
Cinquantenaire Park After this well-deserved break, head for the Cinquantenaire Park. The second most important park in the city, take a pose in front of the impressive Cinquantenaire Arch. The park is also home to several museums such as the Automobile Museum and the Army and Military History Museum. To find out more about the city’s museums, click here.
Atomium Finally, take the tram or metro to the city’s most popular attraction. Built for the first post-war World’s Fair Expo 58 to embody the belief in science and progress, it also houses many exhibitions. In the upper sphere of the building, you can admire Brussels with a 360° panoramic view, the most beautiful view of the city!
Well done! We hope that you enjoyed your getaway in Brussels and to welcome you again soon…
Do you need help organizing your day in Brussels? Feel free to reach our dedicated team by email or phone (+32 2 548 42 11)
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