Brussels is a well-known city but not many tourists see it from a touristic perspective. The city is sandwiched between popular tourist destinations like Amsterdam & Paris. Even other towns of Belgium, like Bruges & Ghent, are more popular among tourists than Brussels.
We had a similar thought but after spending 2 days in the capital of Belgium, we were pleasantly surprised. There are so many things to do in Brussels & you need to keep at least 2 days to explore its attractions & gulp down all the Belgian beers.
So what are the best things to do in Brussels?
1. Grand Place
Grand Place is the central part of the city where no vehicles are permitted. You can walk up to the Grand Place and get in the awe of its architecture. The city hall & other guild halls in the center are beautiful. During important days, there are special light & sound shows on the structures & according to the theme of the festival, you will also find decorations, stalls & many more things in the Grand Place.
Grand Place is definitely one of the best things to do in Brussels, especially during festivals.
2. Mannekin Pis
When we heard of Mannekin Pis as one of the best things to do in Brussels, we started laughing but we were intrigued as well. Mannekin Pis is a really small statue of a kid peeing. You will not be able to spot it from far but a lot of crowd near the statue is guaranteed. Don’t just go there & see it because that way, it is not fun. Get a guide who can talk about all the stories about the peeing boy because they are a lot more fun.
Mannekin Pis is not just a naked kid. His attires are changed according to the seasons, festivals & sometimes, even with world events. There is a shop near the statue which is dedicated to only making clothes for Mannekin Pis. Interesting, isn’t it? 😀
3. Belgian Comic Strip Center
This was one of my most favorite things to do in Brussels. If you love comic books or comic strips, this is the place that you must visit. Belgian Comic Strip Center is one of the most detailed museums that I’ve seen in my life. Right from the first comic strip, they have everything in the center. Their dedication in maintaining this art & its history is commendable. Belgium’s contribution to the comic world is immense & that is also a reason to visit the Belgian Comic Strip Center.
If you love buying or collecting comics, there is a shop inside the center where you can read & buy many comics (some rare ones as well).
Mini Europe was literally the first thing we visited in Brussels & that was so much fun. Mini-Europe is a park where miniatures of many European monuments are located. Right from Big Ben, Eiffel Tower, Acropolis, Grand Place to Doge’s Palace, Sacré-Cœur, Berlin Wall & many more monuments from most of the European countries can be visited in the park. For kids, this is a wonderful learning activity. Towards the evening, all the monuments are lit up & they look mesmerizing. The amount of detailing in every monument is simply mind-blowing.
If you get hungry while exploring the park, you can visit their restaurant as well. A must when in Brussels.
Just outside Mini-Europe, you will find Atomium – the most recognizable monument of Brussels. In all ‘things to do in Brussels’ lists, you will find Atomium at the top spot because it is beautiful & a man-made marvel. You can get the best panoramic views of Brussels from the Atomium. There are many temporary & permanent exhibits that can be visited inside the Atomium. One of the romantic things to do in Brussels should include a dinner at the panoramic restaurant inside the Atomium.
You can get a combined ticket of Mini-Europe, Atomium & Oceade (Waterpark) at a discounted rate.
If there is one thing that you might not find anywhere else in the world other than Brussels, then it has to be Autoworld. It is a vintage car museum which has one of the largest collection of cars IN THE WORLD. From ancient cars to the latest sports cars, they have everything under one big giant roof. Autoworld is a treat for kids & adults alike because everybody loves cars!
If you are an ardent automobile lover, you will require an entire day to go through Autoworld’s collection because it is giant. Don’t miss this for anything.
7. Parc du Cinquantenaire
Just outside Autoworld, you will find one more attraction of Brussels – Parc du Cinquantenaire. It is a large public park with fountains. It is a great place to relax, especially during the Summertime. If you want to make some great memories in Brussels, then take pictures in Parc du Cinquantenaire because it is simply beautiful.
8. Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert
Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert are almost 170 years old shopping arcade in the center of Brussels. It gets its place in the list because these galleries, these lanes are royal. Even if you are just roaming around, it is an experience. Along with the popular global brands, you will find so many local stores here. From restaurants, cafes, bakeries to art galleries & theatres can be found inside Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert.
9. Chocolate & Beer Tour
Belgium is known for its beers, chocolates, and waffles. Brussels being the capital, it has everything that the country has to offer. But too many choices can lead to confusion & that’s why we really recommend that you take one of the Beer & Chocolates Tour in Brussels. We took the beer & chocolate tour with the Brussels Journey & we had a great time!
There are many more things to do in Brussels but we only had 2 days. If you have been to Brussels & know more places, let us know in the comments below! 🙂
Where to stay in Brussels?
Brussels has many accommodation options ranging from hostels to apartments to luxury hotels. During our visit, we stayed at this beautiful hostel called Sleep Well Youth Hostel.
This is how I explored Brussels!
Photos: Awara Diaries