Home to majestic tourist attractions like the Brussels Grand Place and Parc du Cinquantenaire, Brussels is a captivating capital that is best known for its local beer, chocolates and waffles.

It’s a city that speaks both French and Flemish. Deeply intertwined with the histories of both France and the Netherlands, Brussels is home to a melting pot of diverse cultures – Orthodox Jews and stylish hipsters can be seen scurrying past each other along Brussels’ quaint cobblestone streets. This vibrant metropolis is also the de facto capital of the European Union and hosts the European Parliament, European Commission, and the Council of the European Union.

And there’s lots to see and do in Brussels! You might fancy snapping selfies at iconic landmarks like the Atomium, Royal Saint-Hubert Galleries, Royal Palace and Town Hall. Art lovers will be enthralled by Brussels’ Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium and the city’s provocative street murals, while architecture enthusiasts will enjoy visiting attractions like the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula, and Brussels’ many Art Noveau-style houses. This is why we included Brussels in our recent list of top destinations you should check out this year!

If you’d like to indulge in the best Belgian beer, admire quintessential Belgian art and take in the best sights that this eclectic city has to offer, look no further than this list of the top best things to do in Brussels.

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1. Visit the Grand-Place of Brussels

Located near Brussels’ central train station, this UNESCO-listed Gothic building was first built around the 12th century. Having been repaired and restored after several fires and bombings, Grand Place has become the foremost symbol of Brussels – the Eiffel Tower or Taj Mahal of Brussels, if you will.

Grand-Place’s name translates to ‘big square’ and is the site of the Flower Carpet festival, which is held every two years in mid-August.

In and around this famous square, you’ll find several other landmarks like the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula, King’s House, Palace of Justice and Royal Palace. You’ll also come across another enduring symbol of Brussels – the statue of a boy urinating called Manneken Pis.

Foodies can savour local delicacies at the outdoor cafes, while history buffs can delve into Brussels' history at the Brussels City Museum or take a guided tour to learn about the square's fascinating past. Evenings come alive with illuminations and occasional events, making the Grand Place a vibrant hub to soak in the atmosphere of Brussels.

2. Be inspired by beautiful art galleries

Don’t miss Bozar (Rue Ravenstein 23), which is the foremost arts and culture venue of Brussels and hosts a variety of exhibitions. Designed by prominent Belgian architect Victor Horta, Bozar organises many concerts and film screenings around the year. If you get the Brussels card, you can get into Bozar for free.

The Brussels card gets you into many museums for free, including some of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium. This collective of museums comprises the Oldmasters Museum, Modern Museum, Meunier Museum, Wiertz Museum, Magritte Museum and the Fin-de-Siècle Museum. You’ll also get unlimited travel on the STIB public transportation network, free maps and discounts to a variety of shops, restaurants and bars with the Brussels card. 

If you have time, be sure to visit modernist museums like the Millennium Iconoclast Museum of Art (Quai du Hainaut 41), World of Mind (Tour & Taxis, Shed 4 bis) and the BELvue Museum (Place des Palais 7). Brussels has also lovingly nurtured a teeming street art scene, which you can discover by ambling around this colourful city.

3. Savour Belgian waffles

Speaking of Manneken Pis, there’s a waffle shop nearby named after this jocular landmark, where you can taste authentic Belgian waffles.

What are Belgian waffles? Belgian waffles are distinguished by much deeper square pockets than other types of waffles, and these pockets can be filled with condiments like maple syrup, jam, butter, jam, whipped cream or whatever you fancy – feel free to express your creativity when flavouring your Belgian waffles!

Waffles and pancakes are a popular type of food in Northwestern Europe. Other permutations that can be found in Brussels include stroopwafels (hard waffle cookies covered in syrup), crepes (folded flat pancakes) and galettes (flat cakes with sweet or savoury condiments).

The most famous waffle cafés in Brussels are Maison Dandoy (there are three outlets surrounding Grand-Place), Galet (Nieuwstraat 27/29), Los Churros & Waffle (Rue du Marché aux Herbes 87 and Rue de Tabora 4), and La Funambule (Rue de la Colline 16 and Rue de Tabora 9). 

However, most waffle shops in Brussels make delicious authentic Belgian waffles, so feel free to pop into any waffle shop you fancy.

4. Enjoy Belgian chocolates and bring some home as souvenirs

Belgium’s other famous food export is its chocolates, which incorporate a wide array of different flavours and condiments.

Popular chocolatier chains that have outlets across central Brussels and they’re impossible to miss, including Mary Chocolatier, Elisabeth Chocolatier, Corné Port-Royal, Neuhaus, Pierre Marcolini and the world-famous Belgian brand Godiva.

While each shop offers a unique selection, expect to find decadent pralines, truffles bursting with creamy fillings, and delightful ganaches in a variety of flavours. Mary Chocolatier is known for its signature sea salt caramels, while Elisabeth Chocolatier offers an artistic flair with chocolates moulded into whimsical shapes. Corné Port-Royal is famous for its gianduja (a nut-based chocolate spread) and pralines, Neuhaus is credited with inventing the ballotin (a box for chocolates), and Pierre Marcolini is known for his luxurious creations. Godiva, on the other hand, offers a wide selection of truffles, pralines, and chocolate bars, perfect for satisfying any chocolate craving.

If you’d like to sample Belgian chocolates and beers across Brussels while discovering the culture and history of this ancient city, check out the many walking tours available, such as the Hungry Mary’s Beer and Chocolate Tour.

5. Toast with Belgian beer

Wash all that food down with delicious Belgian beer! In this region, people stand and say “santé” when they make a toast, which means ‘to good health’.

Belgium used to serve mainly Belgian-style ales, which include Trappist beers, Flemish ales and witbier (white beer). However, the global attention that Belgian beer has received has spurred the Belgians to diversify their offerings. Today, Brussels is a craft beer haven that entices imbibers with a huge assortment of beers. Even IPAs and Irish-style stouts can be found around the city centre.

Take your pick from acclaimed establishments like La Porte Noire (Rue des Alexiens 67), Little Delirium (Rue du Marché aux Fromages 9), Moeder Lambic (Place Fontainas 8) and Brasserie de la Mule (95 Rue Rubens).

La Porte Noire boasts over 100 beers on tap, including local favourites and international selections. Little Delirium, a branch of the iconic Delirium Café, offers a mind-boggling array of over 2,000 beers, perfect for adventurous palates. For a taste of Brussels' unique lambic beers, head to Moeder Lambic, known for its extensive selection and relaxed atmosphere. Finally, Brasserie de la Mule, a Brussels staple, serves its own brewed beers alongside a wide range of guest taps, offering a chance to sample the diverse flavours of the Belgian brewing scene.

Booking a beer tour is another way of sampling beer from several of Belgium’s most popular bars. Beer nerds can also consider booking a brewery tour by one of the many breweries located around Brussels.

6. Experience a Belgian music festival

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Brussels has a teeming music scene too and many global music festivals like Tomorrowland, Graspop and Pukkelpop are held in Belgium near Brussels. In fact, Brussels hosts a litany of festivals all year round. Ghent is a popular tourist destination where many people flock to to attend the many festivals around the year. You can easily make a day trip there from Brussels. 

A charming medieval city located just 55.1 km away from Brussels, you can get to Ghent by car in less than one hour. Explore its rich history and beautifully preserved classic architecture on a canal tour or walking tour, marvel at the Gravensteen Castle, witness the Ghent Altarpiece's artistic mastery, and climb the Belfry for panoramic views. Stroll the Graslei and Korenlei quays, savour Cuberdons (cone-shaped Belgian candies originated from Ghent), and soak up the vibrant street art scene. Ghent's compact size makes it perfect for exploring on foot, promising a delightful day trip from Brussels.

7. Explore the city’s street murals and Art Noveau architecture

If you’re a fan of classic architecture, book a tour of an intricate Art Nouveau house. Brussels holds the distinction of being the birthplace of Art Nouveau. In 1893, Belgian architect Victor Horta designed Hôtel Tassel, which was considered the founding work of the movement. This building's unique features, including an open floor plan, extensive use of light-welcoming glass and iron, and incorporation of curved lines and floral motifs, became a defining characteristic of Art Nouveau.

Other iconic Art Nouveau houses you should visit include the Cauchie House designed by Paul Cauchie, Autrique House and Solvay House both designed by Victor Horta, and Hannon House designed by Jules Brunfaut.

Horta’s former house too is worth visiting. It is now the Horta Museum, which serves as a shrine to Horta and the Art Noveau movement. You’ll get to see Original furniture and decorative elements designed by Horta, as well as Exhibits exploring the development of Art Nouveau and Horta's influential role. There’s also a restored winter garden with an iron and glass roof, a hallmark of Art Nouveau architecture.

8. Climb the Atomium

This attention-grabbing structure is what an iron crystal looks like, but magnified 165 billion times. Visiting the Atomium (Place de l'Atomium 1) is free too for Brussels card holders.

Built for the 1958 World’s Fair, its spheres host different exhibitions and are interconnected by escalators. Visit the permanent exhibition chronicling the Atomium's construction and the 1958 World Fair it represented or delve into the world of digital and contemporary art at the temporary exhibitions. 

Be sure to ascend to the Atomium’s highest sphere, because this 92-metre-high loft offers a panoramic view of Brussels. Afterwards, fuel up in the Atomium Restaurant or head to Adamuseum next door, which showcases the history and evolution of design.

Whether you're a history buff, an art enthusiast, or simply seeking a unique perspective of the city, the Atomium promises an unforgettable experience in the heart of Brussels.

9. Go thrift shopping at the Jeu de Balle flea market


If you’re looking for a unique souvenir to bring home from Brussels, take a train or bus to the Jeu de Balle flea market (Place Jeu de Balle), which is a sprawling outdoor market located in the artsy district of Marolles. Also known as the Vossenplein market, it is one of the oldest flea markets in Brussels.

This lively market is a paradise for treasure hunters and vintage enthusiasts.Its wide array of wares range from handmade furniture and art, second-hand clothing, to unique cutlery and eye-catching homeware. Hone your bargaining skills and unearth one-of-a-kind pieces, from quirky souvenirs to forgotten gems. Beyond shopping, soak up the bustling atmosphere, chat with friendly vendors, and immerse yourself in Brussels' rich history at this iconic market. 

Take note that vendors start displaying their goods around 7:00am and most of them close around 3:00pm in the afternoon. 


What we’re trying to say is, you’ll never run out of new things to do in eclectic Brussels! Gearheads will love Autoworld (Parc du Cinquantenaire 11) and history buffs will be wowed by the Institute of Natural Sciences (Rue Vautier 29).

If you’d like to enjoy an appetiser before visiting Brussels, here are some local chocolatiers that are worth the calories. And if you’re considering visiting nearby Amsterdam, here’s a list of the coolest places to visit in the Dutch capital. When you arrive in Brussels, you can exchange your currency for Euros in Brussels Airport and a half-hour train ride will bring you straight to Brussels’ central station. 


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