The capital of waffles, chocolate, beer, Belgium and also Europe is a classic of central Europe whose visit almost always convinces the traveler that the city, of boring has nothing. Moreover, the centre of Brussels is rather small because it is a country’s capital and with a three-day trip we can see its most important places and even allow ourselves a break in a nearby city in the Flanders region.
How to get to the centre of Brussels from the airport
The airport in Brussels is called Zaventem and is only about 13 kilometres from the heart of the capital. It has great public transport connections with frequent train departures – every 10 minutes – 24 hours a day. The train makes several stops in the centre and the journey takes about 40 minutes. For more information, don’t miss our article on how to get to the centre of Brussels from Zaventem airport.
On the other hand, if you are several or want to save time, you can book your transfer from the airport to your final destination through this link.
Where to stay in Brussels
The best thing to do in Brussels is to find a hotel or apartment near one of the main train stations. This way you will have a good connection to the airport, you will be able to move quickly to one of the cities of Flanders like Bruges, Mechelen, Ghent or Lovania and you will have the centre of Brussels just a few minutes away on foot.
All the monuments and must-see places in Brussels gravitate around the Grand Place so the best area, in our opinion, to look for a hotel or apartment near the Central Station. Another time we were in Brussels Midi and we were also quite close and found cheaper prices.
Last time we stayed in an apartment we wouldn’t recommend. However, if you are looking for cheap and central accommodation, the following map with the best offers in Brussels from Booking will surely help you to find the solution:
Accommodation offers in Brussels
Visit plan: Day 1 around Brussels
Rent a car with a discount of up to 15%:
During this day of visit do not miss: Hallucinate cucumbers in front of the Grand Place, especially when it gets dark Walk and contemplate the shops of the Gallery Saint Hubert Eat some mussels with fries, and if you do not like the big ones, you endure that they are just as good Zamparse a waffle in the street in front of the Manneken Pis Bathe your belly with one of the unbeatable beers of Belgium
Once we are settled in Brussels and ready for the visit, the first thing to do is to go to the Grand Place. We start at the top by visiting one of the largest and most spectacular squares in Europe. Listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, this huge space is able to compete with any Renaissance Italian square and you will be surprised by its beautiful architecture with monumental buildings such as the City Hall, the House of the Dukes of Brabant or the King’s House.
If you travel to Brussels for Christmas you will love to see the beautifully lit and colourful square with its huge Christmas tree and hundreds of eating stops along its Christmas markets.
You’ll see many arteries converging from the Grand Place. We can take the Rue Chair et Pain which becomes Petite Rue de Bouchers. We approach the statue of Jeanneke Pis, Manneken’s irreverent sister, less known but just as curious. Also, along the route we will see a lot of classic establishments such as the Delirium bar in front of the statue.
A few metres away is the Galeries Royales Saint Hubert, a real wonder of detail where you will find the most classic shops of the Belgian bourgeoisie and an ideal refuge if it rains during your visit to Brussels.
Map of the route of day 1 visiting the centre of Brussels
We then move on to the Stock Exchange building, whose neoclassical style stands out clearly on the horizon. On the way we will be able to see the most commercial areas of Brussels such as Brouckere and Grétry.
The Saint Catherine district is a little further away and closer to the river. It’s a good idea to walk around this area, which is full of great restaurants and a long walk in front of the church of the same name.
The next objective is to find the Manneken Pis and see what they’ve put on that day. Depending on the celebration he’s playing, they put one thing or another on him. Right in front of it, you have Le Funambule, one of the most famous places to try the classic Belgian waffle. There is no more tourist photo than making a selfie in front of the Manneken Pis with a good waffle in hand.
We’re heading for the last point of the day’s journey. The Mont des Arts, which encompasses the historic centre of Brussels and where you will have a great view of the centre and visit some of the most important museums of the city such as the Matritte Museum or the Belvue Museum.
Visit plan: Day 2 around Brussels
During this day of visit do not miss: Get into an atom during the visit to the Atomium Discover the good network of meters in the city Recognize the most important buildings of the continent in Mini Europe Walk through the beautiful gardens in front of the Royal Palace Let yourself be surprised with some local Belgian beer, all are great
On the second day we will move from the centre of Brussels to visit the Atomium, one of the recent (late 1950s) buildings that have become the symbol of the city. The concept of this museum is the representation of an atom in giant proportions (no more and no less than 165 billion times). During the visit you can go from one atom to another and you will also enjoy spectacular views of Brussels thanks to its height of 100 meters.
The museum is open from 10 am to 6 pm and currently the price for an adult is 14 euros.
Next to the Atomium is Mini Europe. Another ideal visit if you go with children. It is a park where the most emblematic monuments of each European country are staged. There are also games in many of them to make the visit more enjoyable. It was undoubtedly the best memory our son had of the whole weekend in Brussels.
From there we get on line 6 of the metro to get to Trône and visit the Royal Palace. A historical visit surrounded by green thanks to the extensive gardens that allow us a delicious walk if it is good. The Royal Palace was home to the Belgian kings for a long time and is now the official palace of the king. The visit is free and we can see the great marble staircase and several rooms such as Goya’s and the Throne’s. However, the visit to the interior of the Palace is only possible between the end of July and the beginning of September.
Visit plan: Day 3 around Brussels
On the third day of your visit you can choose to get on the tourist bus, discover the European Quarter – we find it a bit boring but there are free tours that interest you anyway – or you can opt for our favourite option: escape from Brussels and discover one of the beautiful cities in the Flanders region.
The train network connects Brussels easily to most charming Belgian cities: Flanders, Bruges, Mechelen or Lovania are all connected and in less than an hour you will be standing in a new city with a lot of history and secrets to discover.
In any case, if you do not have much time, we advise you to sign up for an excursion from Brussels with an English-speaking guide. This way you will save time, you will surely make some good friends and you will be able to ask all those curiosities that have come to your mind during the previous two days of travel.
Among some day trips from Brussels that I recommend you are:A trip to Bruges and Ghent, another trip to two beautiful destinations such as Louvain and Mechelen, a trip to Antwerp or even, thanks to the strategic location of Brussels, you can try to set foot in another country in the same day with a trip to Luxembourg and Dinant or even to Amsterdam.
You will never be disappointed by these escapades and that third day of the visit becomes the special culmination of an unforgettable trip to Brussels.
Where to eat in Brussels
On our various trips to the Belgian capital we have gone to several restaurants and also eaten anything on the street. We have also tried the quick, warm and tasty dishes from the Christmas markets. Among the best gastronomic memories we have of Brussels are the Grimbergen Café in Saint Catherine and the Houtsiplou, on the Place Rouppeplein with excellent dishes and good prices.
If you are looking for a good restaurant, a good tip is to have a look at the ranking of El Tenedor in Brussels where you will see the best scores and you can even book with discounts in many establishments.
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