I think a 2-day trip to Brussels is more than enough but of course, it depends on what type of traveller you are. If I have to suggest based on my experience, there are a few things which you should not miss and there are a few which are popular but not worth the visit. However, if you have time you can go to these place. In this post, I will try to explain the experience I had and a few tips that you might use on your trip. However, I strongly suggest you to check other posts as well because if you don’t plan well, you will end up spending most of the time in figuring out what to do, where to go, and how to go.
Must Visits Places in Brussels
There are some of the must visit places and I think you should absolutely make sure to cover them in your list.
Atomium – If you are looking for places to visit in Brussels, most probably you’ve got Atomium on your list or at least a lot of recommendations. If someone tells you it’s not so good, or not worth visiting or anything like that, they are lying. Don’t listen to them, listen to me. You will not regret the 45 minutes of your trip here. For me, it was the best 45 minutes spent in Brussels. I am sure you have seen the pictures and read reviews, I am just here to tell you, don’t miss it.
Grand Place – The reason Grand Place is on this list is – you cannot miss it even if you want to. On your trip to Brussels, you have to go to Brussels Central and if you walk for 10 minutes in any direction, you will end up at Grand Place. It’s a place, not a palace. It’s a place, not a building. Though there are other buildings here worth visiting starting with Brussels city museum, if you are a museum person. You can spend about an hour here – drink coffee, eat Belgian Waffles, buy chocolates, click photographs, observe people, and so on!
Visit Cathedral, Church or Basilica – If you want to see historical architecture and need peace, visit cathedrals. Two of the most popular and worth the visit are St Michael and St Gudula Cathedral, Brussels and National Basilica of the Sacred Heart.
Royal Gallery of Saint Hubert – It’s a shopping mall, but it’s different. And even if you don’t have any plans of shopping, you should go to this place. It’s not a modern building with lots of shops, instead it’s a huge and old building with fancy shops on both sides of the gallery. It has a lot of cafes, chocolate stores and shops that sell fancy decorative and collectible items.
Other popular places
Brussels City Museum – I wouldn’t say it’s a must visit place, but if you are into history, it’s worth the visit.
Manneken Pis & Jeanneke-Pis – Both popular but something you can miss. But the thing is, if you walk the street, you’ll pass by these statues. Stop for a bit, click a photograph and probably forget about it.
Choco Story – It’s a museum on history of chocolates. You’ll also see live chocolate making and get to taste them. You have to pay to get in, so depending on your taste and mood you may go inside and have some fun.
Waffles,Fries, Chocolates and Beer – Belgium is famous for its waffles, chocolates, fries and beers. So if you are in town, I am sure you won’t miss them. Also, don’t forget to order Belgian Special Fries when eating french fries.
Royal Palace – When I visited Brussels, it was closed for renovation, but I have seen a lot of posts on internet that says it’s a
Comic Route or Museum – While going inside the museum will cost you entry ticket, walking on the street won’t. The comic route is not a fixed path, you’ll see murals of many comics characters on the walls of the buildings in the street. It could be a good location for a few clicks.
Planetarium – I did not visit the planetarium because I read that it’s just a movie they show. If you are interested in the “knowledge” by any means, you may visit this place but in my opinion it’s not worth the visit.
Plan your travel
I strongly recommend you plan your travel that means checkout the locations on the map of every attractions or locations you are planning to visit. This way, you’ll know what all you are going to cover if you go to a city or place. I create a simple table in which I write the distance and direction of all the places I want to visit relative to my stay. For example, if I leave my hotel room and go south, I would try to cover all possible attractions that falls in that direction.
If you have an extra day, you could go to Bruges. Bruges is one of most beautiful city of Belgium and it’s also called Venice of Belgium because of its canals. It takes about 2 to 2.5 hours to travel from Brussels to Bruges.
I booked a tour on Tripadvisor and it turned out to be a good deal. Plus it was a combined Ghent and Bruges trip. I strongly recommend this.
How does the Ghent-Bruges day trip work?
In simple terms, here is what you can expect:
Reach the location – office of the tour company
They will give you an wrist band for identification and align with a tour guide.
The tour guides are usually very informative, so if you are interested in history of the place where you are going, you are in luck.
As per your schedule, the tour guide will take you to the bus and you’ll be given a device and a earphone. You need to use this on walking tours when the tour guide gives the explanation of things you get to see.
The tour starts when all the people settle down and the guide will start to explain about the important buildings and streets.
You’ll stop in Ghent for about an hour and half for a walking tour. Here, you’ll get the opportunity to have coffee and eat breakfast if you want.
The trip resumes and you’ll reach Bruges in another hour.
The guide will give a short (about 20 minutes) walking tour and then you’ll get about an hour for lunch.
After lunch there will be another walking tour of about an hour and then for the last hour the guide will let you explore the area by yourself.
Please note – you are not bound to be with the guide and you can go anywhere you want. Think of it like this – you can take the bus just for the transportation and plan your own itinerary. You just have to makes sure that you reach the meeting point at given time and this information will be given to you by the guide.
Then when the tour is over, you return to Brussels.