Top 20 Things To Do In Brussels, Belgium - Updated 2024

things to do in brussels
Hannah
Hannah 
Contributing Writer
Updated
| 5 min read

The Belgian capital of Brussels is often overlooked as a destination for those visiting Europe, in favor of more well-known European cities like Paris, Amsterdam, or Barcelona. Though the country and the city of Brussels are small, it offers plenty to do for travelers looking to experience European food, culture, and history. There are so many places to go and sights to see in Brussels, and most of these can be accessed from the hostels and vacation rentals that pop up throughout the area. However, travelers looking to spend some time in the capital of Belgium should make sure to add these to-dos to their Belgium checklist, of course, apart from choosing where to stay. If you have plans to visit this part of Europe, check out our list of top things to do in Brussels, Belgium, that you won’t want to miss!

Tip from Content Creator

Church of Our Lady of Victories at the Sablon Brussels Town Hall Botanical Garden

Here are some other attractions in Brussels that should be on your checklist:

- Saint Jacques-sur-Coudenberg Catholic Church

- Royal Palace of Brussels

- Church of Our Lady of Victories at the Sablon

- Statue of Counts Egmont and Hoorn

- Brussels Town Hall

- Botanical Garden

1. Enjoy a decadent mix of beer and chocolates (from USD 99.0)

Brussels is best known for its uniquely crafted beers and delightful chocolates. But what happens if you mix both at the same time? The answer: a match made in heaven! If you’re looking for something unique to try in Brussels, this food tour is perfect, as it lets you taste a wide range of samples of chocolates on offer from the city’s renowned chocolatiers. There is an amalgamation of beers in the traditional breweries that line up the Grand Place available, too. You can also indulge in some cured meat, fries, and cheese in the breweries.

Along the way, you’ll also pass by iconic landmarks that have been around for centuries, including the Manneken Pis, which has been dressed up in various outfits on several occasions.

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Brussels: Beer and Chocolate Half-Day Walking and Tasting Tour

Duration: 4 to 5 hours

1549 reviews

2. Stroll through Brussels's iconic buildings and structures (from USD 32.0)

Are you a history buff or someone who has no clue about what to do in Brussels, Belgium, on your first visit? This tour across the city’s legendary monuments is worth adding to your bucket list. For over two hours, you’ll get to stroll past top attractions that add to Brussels’s illustrious charm, from the Grand Place, where significant events have taken place, to the Brussels Cathedral and its stunning Gothic architecture.

End the trip with a visit to the Royal Palace, the headquarters of Belgium’s royal family for generations. Aside from general knowledge about the city, you may also get to hear of little-known facts and anecdotes, as well as tips to expertly get around for the rest of your holiday.

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Brussels Walking Tour With Chocolate and Waffle Tasting

Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes

652 reviews

3. Wander the great plaza of Grand Place

Grand place brussels WQ3
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user [Unknown] used under CC BY-SA 3.0

It’s impossible to take a trip to Brussels without experiencing Grand Place, an iconic public square that exemplifies European culture. The buildings of the Grand Place are made up of 15th-century European architecture, complete with baroque gables, gilded statues and elaborate guild symbols. The square is a place of high importance for Brussels, both as a tourist destination and landmark, but also as a place for people to go to make their voices heard. Along with being a place for public gathering, Grand Place has a large array of shops, delicious waffle stands, and is home to the Museum of the City of Brussels.

Grand Place

Address: Brussels, Belgium

Website: Grand Place

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4. Take a tour of the European Parliament

Brussels, Belgium
Source: Photo by Flickr user Ninara used under CC BY 2.0

As the capital of the European Union, Brussels is truly the crossroads of Europe, where many different European cultures come together – nowhere is this more evident than at the EU Headquarters in downtown Brussels, where visitors can enjoy an interactive tour of the past, present and future of the EU. This is the perfect place to go to learn about how the EU formed, what political parties are currently active in it, and its role as a world superpower.

European Parliament

Address: Rue Wiertz 60, 1047 Bruxelles, Belgium

Opening Hours: 9am - 6pm (Monday - Friday), 10am - 6pm (Saturday & Sunday)

Website: Visiting The European Parliament

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5. Have a beer at Delirium

CafeDeliriumEx
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jamie Lantzy used under CC BY 3.0

With over 2,000 types of beer, Delirium is a great place to go and enjoy Belgian beer culture. Their bar is open from 10 am to 4 am, making Delirium a go-to place to sit back and spend a Saturday evening with friends, or a late night of dancing and live music on the weekends.

Delirium

Address: Impasse de la Fidélité 4, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium

Website: Delirium

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6. Try all of the different chocolates at Laurent Gerbaud Chocolatier

2015-11-14_11-20-33_ILCE-6000_DSC05255
Source: Photo by Flickr user Miguel Discart used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Belgium is famous for their decadent chocolate, and there are literally hundreds of chocolate vendors in the city, making it nearly impossible to try them all. For a fully encompassing chocolate experience, travelers should visit Laurent Gerbaud Chocolatier. This famous chocolatier has hundreds of mouthwatering chocolates to sample, and while you should definitely pick some up on your way out, the real reason to come to Laurent Gerbaud Chocolatier is for their weekly Saturday chocolate workshop, where they teach you just how to make the perfect Belgian chocolate.

Laurent Gerbaud Chocolatier

Address: Rue Ravenstein 2D, 1000 Brussel, Belgium

Website: Laurent Gerbaud Chocolatier

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7. Have a traditional Belgian waffle at Maison Dandoy

Maison Dandoy, 31 Rue du Beurre
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ion Tichy used under CC BY-SA 4.0

If you’re looking for things to do in Brussels for young adults or kids, then visiting Maison Dandoy right by Grand Place would be great. Its delectable Belgian waffles are to live for! Maison Dandoy has been making these delicious waffles since 1829 when the restaurant was merely a biscuit shop. Today, it has evolved into an attraction in and of itself, where visitors can indulge in delicious traditional Belgian baking.

Maison Dandoy

Address: 4 locations in Brussels, check website for more information

Website: Maison Dandoy

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8. Try mussels at Chez Leon


A little known fact to many tourists is that Belgium is famous for their mussels! When the country was undergoing a shortage of fish in the 1700s, the Belgians turned to the cheaper alternative of mussels, which could be conveniently imported via canals from nearby neighbor, the Netherlands. Since, mussels have become a Belgian specialty, and their take on mussels can be experienced at Chez Leon, a Belgian eatery close to Grand Place. To make the meal authentically Belgian, enjoy with a side of fries.

Chez Leon

Address: Rue des Bouchers 18, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium

Website: Chez Leon

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9. Have a picnic in Jubelpark

Brussel 042 Jubelpark
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Demeester used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The perfect spot on a sunny day to people watch, enjoy European architecture, and spend your time in Brussels basking in the wide open space of greenery, is Jubelpark. Also known in French as “Parc du Cinquantenaire”, the park was originally built in 1880 as a military exercise ground, but was renovated in 1930 and opened to the public for leisure.

The park’s most redeeming feature is the magnificent Arc du Cinquantenaire, which forms the perfect centerpiece to this gorgeous open space. This is an ideal spot for tourists looking for free things to do in Brussels, Belgium. It’s also the perfect place to go on a lazy day - be sure to grab a blanket and picnic basket full of delicious Belgian bread!

Jubelpark

Address: Brussels, Belgium

Website: Jubelpark

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10. Try fries and mayonnaise at Frit-Flagey


You’ve heard of fries and ketchup, but what about fries and mayonnaise? This Belgian specialty, called “frites” can be enjoyed everywhere in Belgium, but Frit Flagey, a food stand in Ixelles, has a reputation among locals in Brussels for being the best place to go and enjoy Belgian frites with mayonnaise.

Frit-Flagey

Address: Place Eugène Flagey, 1050 Ixelles, Belgium

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11. Go shopping through the streets of Avenue Louise


Or window-shopping, as the high-end street of Avenue Louise is home to some of the biggest European fashion labels in the world. Avenue Louise is a runway for prestigious international brands like Versace and Chanel, and while few can afford much from the shops at Avenue Louise, looking through the windows of this beloved shopping district and marveling at the Art Nouveau buildings is worth taking a look at on your next trip to the city.

Avenue Louise

Address: Brussels, Belgium

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12. Take a day trip to Ghent (from 41.11 USD)

Ghent, Belgium
Source: Pixabay

The city of Ghent is undeniably one of the most beautiful parts of Belgium. As the country’s fourth largest city, Ghent is home to a quarter of a million people, and it has become well known for its flourishing flower export trade, its pedestrian friendly town-center, its gorgeous medieval architecture, and its young people, as the city is the home of Ghent University. Just an hour outside of Brussels and an easy commute from the train, Ghent is a popular day trip for visitors looking to explore more in Belgium than just its capital. From its charming canals, to its delicious chocolate shops and more, Ghent is well-loved by travelers and Belgian locals alike.

Day Trip to Ghent from Brussels

Price: from 41.11 USD

Duration: around 5.5 hours required

Website:

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13. Visit the battleground of Waterloo (from USD 254.0)

Waterloo 18th of June
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Alta Falisa used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Just a short way south of Brussels is the town of Waterloo, where many of the families of the elite working in Brussels call home. Waterloo is lined with posh hotels, shops and restaurants, but amongst its elegant streets and renovated European homes, lies the Waterloo battleground and museum, a history lover’s dream. Though it’s been two centuries since the Battle of Waterloo, when French emperor Napoleon and his army faced off a coalition of British, Dutch and German forces in Waterloo, the site has been preserved as a European historic landmark. Visitors to the site can enter through the museum, to watch a quick informational video about the Battle of Waterloo. Afterwards, visitors are encouraged to climb Lion’s Mound – a hill leading to an observation deck, where the entire battleground of Waterloo can be viewed.

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Brussels to Waterloo Private Battlegrounds Tour with Lion Hill

Duration: 4 hours

24 reviews

14. Stop by the beautiful Mont des Arts

Contributed by Content Creator, Teema

Mont des Arts
Source: Teema

One of the most significant cultural locations in Brussels is Mont des Arts, which means “hill of the arts.” It has several great museums and a restored architectural display. There’s also a lovely city garden with flowers of different colors and a well-manicured hedge, the perfect spot for photos.

15. Explore the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

Contributed by Tour Guide, Miriam Meda

Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium
Source: Miriam Meda

Royal Museums of Fine Arts in Brussels now have a room dedicated to the Nazi looting of cultural masterpieces. In 1951, the paintings recovered in Belgium whose rightful owners could not be found were sent to the Royal Museums of Fine Arts. Some of them are now on display, fully contextualized, in room 51 of Oldmasters Museum.

Did you know the painting of the author Lovis Corinth, “Flowers”, was returned to the descendants of the couple Gustav and Emma Mayer? This family fled Germany in 1938 due to Nazi persecution and, after passing through Switzerland and Italy, the Mayers arrived in Belgium. From there they reached England, where they finally settled. They had managed to get part of their possessions out of Germany, but these remained in a warehouse in Brussels without identification during the Occupation. Thanks to archival searches and a public announcement made by the Royal Museums of Fine Arts, it has been possible to locate their provenance and return the paintings to their rightful owners.

In addition, two new thematic rooms have been opened to meet the concerns of the public following the #museuminquestions campaign held in the fall of 2022. One room is dedicated to the restitution of cultural property looted during World War II, and the other deals with colonialism and diversity by focusing on a masterpiece by Rubens that will be given a new name.

16. Visit the historic Protestant Church of Brussels

Contributed by Tour Guide, Miriam Meda

Source: Miriam Meda

In 1760, Prince Charles of Lorraine laid the foundation stone of the Protestant Church of Brussels known as the “Royal Chapel.” It started with a beautiful style Louis XV, but we also find other elements. Really surprising are the animal details in some columns by the Moretti brothers.

17. Explore Art & History Museum

Contributed by Tour Guide, Miriam Meda

Art & History Museum
Source: Miriam Meda

Whatever your favorite historical period is, Art & History Museum in Brussels has them all. Be sure to check them out when you visit it. I love the times of the Roman Empire. What about you?

18. Discover interesting pieces of history at Titanic The Artifact Exhibition in Brussels

Contributed by Tour Guide, Miriam Meda

Source: Miriam Meda

We visited Titanic The Artifact Exhibition in Brussels, and the experience was delightful. We discovered real objects and stories connected to one of the most famous historical events of the 20th century. There are more than 200 objects here recovered from the shipwreck, as well as original photos and reconstructions.

We learned that there were some Belgian immigrants on the ship looking for a better life in the USA and two first-class passengers, diamond trader Jacob Birnbaum (from Antwerp) and cabaret singer Berthe de Villiers (from Brussels). One of the passengers, Georges Aspeslagh (from Ostende), was working in the restaurant, and Georges Krins (from Liége) was playing his violin in the string orchestra. Of them, only Berthe survived.

The exhibition is open every day, except Mondays, school holidays, and public holidays, from 10 am to 4:30 pm.

All ages are welcome here. An audioguide is available in English, French, and Dutch, while the panels are only in French and Dutch.

19. Recharge and rejuvenate at La Ferme Nos Pilifs

Contributed by Tour Guide, Miriam Meda

Source: Miriam Meda

In the north of Brussels, you can find the incredible project of La Ferme Nos Pilifs. Their first value is that of inclusion in all its forms and dimensions. This non-profit association allows nearly 145 people with disabilities to live here and work to be fully integrated into the life of a work organization. They aim to provide them with valuable jobs that correspond to their life cycles and their professional and personal development.

We ate amazing food at their restaurant, along with special beer brewed by Abbaye des Rocs (one of our favorite Belgian brands, by the way), and discovered the animals, the honey production, the vegetable garden, and more. We also bought some amazing cheese.

It’s an ideal place to visit to recharge, with or without kids. Where else will you meet highland cows with such funny shaggy coats anyway?

20. Dive into the goodness of Belgian chocolate at La chocolaterie Concept Chocolate

Contributed by Tour Guide, Miriam Meda

Source: Miriam Meda

Are you a chocoholic? Then, this is the best place for you! Discover the world of Belgian chocolate up close in this unique setting. Here, you can learn from Maxime how to make your own chocolates and the importance of fair trade. You can also taste as much chocolate as you like and take your creations back home!

Brilliant Belgium

Thinking about skipping Brussels on your next trip to Europe? Think again – Brussels may not have the fame of London, Paris or Amsterdam, but this European City is full of diversity, culture, delicious food and plenty to see, and it is a must-do destination for backpackers and vacationers alike.

Frequently asked questions about the things to do in Brussels, Belgium


Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
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A story teller, jet setter, and self-proclaimed media maven -- Hannah is always planning her next adventure, as well as her next professional endeavor. Her affinity for wandering the world and...Read more

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5 Must-Visit Attractions In Brussels, Belgium

5 Must-Visit Attractions In Brussels, Belgium