Brussels is one of the most diverse capitals in Europe. The attractions of this city are not only historic tenement houses and medieval fortifications, but also modern districts with international seats of the most important institutions. The capital of Belgium is the heart of the entire European Union, but also a very modern place. It is associated with chocolate products, French fries and beer.
However, when it comes to monuments, places of interest and attractions, Brussels has much more to offer.
Brussels is also a city strongly associated with comics and works of art, quite expensive but interesting place. Here, next to the buildings of high-ranking institutions, you can feel freedom and ease within a few steps. Everyone can find something for themselves in the capital of Belgium, from fashionable shops, through interesting monuments, to a rich nightlife, which is also abundant here.
Tourist attractions in Brussels
Brussels can be the perfect destination for a weekend getaway. The city will appeal to sightseeing lovers, art lovers, comic book fans and beer connoisseurs. You can come to the capital of Belgium virtually all year round. Visiting Brussels is a good idea, especially for an autumn holiday.
However, if we want to avoid crowds, it is better to target spring or autumn than summer, when there are the most tourists. Then, apart from less crowded streets, we can save a bit on lower prices in the city. However, most people come to Brussels in August, when a huge floral carpet is laid on the Grand Place. Then the prices and the number of tourists increase significantly.
So let’s start exploring Brussels with our travel guide.
One weekend is enough to visit the most important monuments and attractions in Brussels. The Belgian capital is not very extensive. We can see most of the old town and interesting places just by walking.
However, to visit all the museums in Brussels, for example, we will need a bit more time. It all depends on what interests us and what we really want to see in the Belgian capital.
La Grand Place
Visiting Brussels usually starts from the main square – La Grand Place, which is the heart of the city. It is considered one of the prettiest in Europe. The architecture of this place is amazing. On the Grand Place square you can admire the guild houses, as well as the Gothic town hall and the King’s House. Interestingly, this place was entered on the UNESCO World Heritage Site List. It is here that the famous floral carpet is laid every two years.
When visiting the Grand Place, it is worth paying attention to the facades of the surrounding tenement houses, where there are decorative elements from which their name is derived. For example, the House of the Wheelbarrow, House of the Rose or House of the Fox. The former tenement houses were used by craftsmen.
However, when it comes to the town hall from 1459, it is crowned with a slightly leaning tower. This is due, firstly, to numerous modifications, and secondly, to lack of space. The tower is topped with a statue of Saint Michael fighting the devil. The whole thing is gold and is almost 5 meters high.
An interesting object on the Grand Place square is the 19th century King’s House – Maison du Roi. Currently, it houses the City Museum. Inside, we can admire, among others: collections of ceramics and silver products and disguises of the famous fountain, the peeing boy.
There are also other interesting buildings on Gran Place, such as for example House No. 9 with a statue of Éverard Serclaes, which is rubbed by tourists for good luck. Within the square there are also two eagerly visited museums – the Belgian Beer Museum and the Museum of Cocoa and Chocolate.
Royal Museums of Fine Arts
When visiting Brussels, it is also worth visiting the Royal Museums of Fine Arts. In practice, these are as many as four buildings in which a huge collection of works by representatives of Belgian art has been gathered.
See on the map of Brussels where the museum is located:
On site, you can admire over 20,000 paintings, drawings and sculptures, from the time period from the 15th to the 21st century. At the Museum of Modern Art, we will see paintings by Monet, Picasso, Salvador Dali, Chagall and Gauguin.
On the other hand, at the Museum of Early Art, we can admire the art that was created by: Van Dyck, Rubens, Memling, Brueghls and Bosch.
Another attraction in Brussels are the numerous churches.
Church of Notre-Dame du Sablon
When it comes to visiting religious buildings in Brussels, the church of Notre-Dame du Sablon is definitely worth seeing. This temple is an exquisite example of a gothic flamboyant, which means high attention to detail.
The excess of details and the reference in construction to the shape of the flames is clearly marked here. Inside the church, it is worth paying attention to the colorful stained glass windows, the statue of St. Hubert and the baroque chapels that were funded by the Thurn und Taxis family.
See on the map of Brussels where this church is located:
Sights of Brussels
The Royal Palace is one of the sights in Brussels that are definitely worth seeing. It is the official seat of the royal family, which opens to tourists for three weeks once a year. During this time (turn of July and August), the Royal Palace can be visited completely free. Inside, you can then see the Throne Room, the Imperial Room (this is where balls are held) and the Mirror Room.
Another monument on the tourist map of Brussels is undoubtedly the National Basilica of the Sacred Heart. It is a huge church (the fifth largest in the world), the construction of which took over 65 years.
The whole is inspired by the Sacré-Coeur Basilica in Paris. Inside, it is worth paying attention to the stained glass windows, sculptures, including those placed on the altar, and liturgical vessels. However, the most impressive is the external viewing gallery, located at the foot of the green, copper dome.
In Brussels, even the building of a shopping center can be a monument worthy of the UNESCO World Heritage List. We are talking about the passage of St. Hubert, which is one of the oldest in the world. It was built in 1847 as one of the first in Europe. Inside, the most famous world brands and exclusive confectioneries with famous Belgian chocolate have their stores. The Saint Hubert Passage in Brussels strongly resembles a similar covered gallery in Milan.
What other interesting places are worth visiting while in Brussels?
Cathedral of Saints Michael and Gudula
A monument that is also worth visiting in Brussels is the Cathedral of Saints Michael and Gudula. Situated on the Treurenberg hill, it is an example of Gothic architecture. The interior is also impressive. You can admire the baroque pulpit, sculptures and statues, and 16th-century stained glass windows. Inside the cathedral, it is also worth paying attention to the organ by Gerhard Grenzig.
Brussels and its attractions
One of the major tourist attractions of Brussels that we have already mentioned is laying a flower carpet on the largest square in the city (La Grand Place). This event takes place every two years on one of the August weekends. The best landscape architects and gardeners deal with the design of the pattern being laid. Everything is accompanied by fireworks displays and special concerts.
The symbol of the city and one of the biggest tourist attractions in Brussels is Manneken Pis, a fountain in the shape of a peeing boy. The present figure dates from the 17th century and is the work of Jerome Duquesnoy. Interestingly, on the occasion of various holidays and celebrations, the boy figurine is dressed in various outfits.
Then they are kept in the Municipal Museum.
It is worth mentioning here that the pissing boy was joined in 1987 by a peeing girl – Jeanneke Pis, located on the Getrouwheidsgang. In 1999, they were joined by a peeing dog – Zinneke Pis, who in turn stands on Rue des Chartreux 35.
Atomium in Brussels
Another symbol and place strongly associated with Brussels is the Atomium. The structure in the shape of an iron atom was created for the World Expo in 1958. The project of engineer Andre Waterkeyn was so liked by the authorities and residents of Brussels that it was decided not to dismantle it after the exhibition.
The entire structure is a model of the iron atom magnified 165 billion times. It is exactly 102 meters high and consists of 9 spheres connected by 20 corridors. Each of them has one of several temporary exhibitions. On the other hand, the highest of the spheres has a viewing platform for the entire city.
Interesting places in Brussels
Interesting places in Brussels include the Comic Book Museum, the Belgian Comic Book Center. Here, on three floors, you can see collections of comic book history. The museum is housed in an Art Nouveau building designed by Victor Hort.
See on the map of Brussels where the comic book museum is located:
It was opened in 1989 and to this day you can see books with characters such as The Smurfs, Lucky Luck or Tintin at temporary or permanent exhibitions.
In addition, comic-style murals and graffiti have been created throughout the city, which can be seen walking around the Belgian capital. Bookstores selling color comics (also in English) are usually located near them.
Another interesting place in Brussels is the European Parliament. The part open to tourists is called the Parlamentarium. This center provides multimedia guides in 23 languages, which present the history of the European Union and the functioning of the European Parliament.
In addition, there are interactive multimedia screens that show, among other things, the impact of the EU on our daily life.
See where it is located and how to get to the European Parliament in Brussels:
An interesting and frequently visited place in Brussels is also the Mini Europa Park. This park is located right next to the Atomium. In Mini-Europe you can see reproductions of European Union monuments, made in 1:25 scale. About 80 towns and 350 buildings are already small in size.
Here you can see, among others, the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Leaning Tower, Big Ben and of course the Grand Place from Brussels.
What’s worth seeing in Brussels?
One of the places worth seeing in Brussels is the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces. It is a free attraction, open from Tuesday to Sunday. On site you can see several exhibitions, including the Exhibition of Napoleon and his times or the Technical Gallery. Each of them presents various types of weapons, including airplanes and armored vehicles.
By the way, presenting the history of wars and their endings over time.
In Brussels, it is also worth visiting the Sablon Antique Market. It is one of the oldest marketplaces in the Belgian capital, organized since 1960. You can buy here everything – from antiques to the smallest antique knick-knacks, jewelery and ceramics. In general, this whole neighborhood is a real shopaholic’s paradise. Lots of shops, cafes and art galleries. There are also places where we can try local delicacies. The market itself takes place every Saturday and Sunday.
Also check the official website of Brussels to find out more about attractions, sights and interesting places in Brussels.
Tourist map of Brussels attractions
On the following tourist map of Brussels attractions you will find all the monuments and interesting places that are worth visiting:
What are your favorite attractions in Brussels? We look forward to the discussion in the forum!