Sights & Attractions – Your All-Inclusive Insider Guide to Brussels, Belgium

Sights & Attractions of Brussels

Grand Place

The Grand Place is the most visited place in Brussels and is a bustling central square. All around are people taking pictures, sitting on the curb eating ice cream, or tour groups hustling to their next location. The main building insight is the Town Hall (seen on the left in the picture above). The other buildings are houses of various professions (guilds) and the former house of the king of France. As you can see, the square is beautifully lit up at night, and there are a lot fewer people out. I recommend visiting both nighttime and daytime. You will also find yourself walking through this square multiple times to get to other sights/attractions in Brussels.

Royal Gallery of Saint Hubert

The Royal Gallery of Saint Hubert reminded me a lot of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan. It is full of shops and restaurants you could never afford, but is amazing to walk through. Like I said about the Grand Place, it is usually nicer to walk through here at night so you can admire the beauty of the mall. The entrance is close to the Grand Place and will seem like you’re walking through a system of tunnels, which makes it even cooler to walk through.


Atomium is one of the most interesting buildings I have ever seen. It was created for the celebration of the 1958 World Fair in Belgium, to show off the technical feats of Belgium. There are nine spheres in total, which all depict different exhibits as part of a museum. The links between the spheres are escalators to take you between them. You can buy tickets to visit the Atomium online, and if you’re planning to visit Brussels, then I strongly suggest you do it in advance. Tickets are available here. An adult ticket will cost 16 euros. You will need to take the train or tram to Atomium. Take tram line 7 or train line 6 to the last stop called Heysel. It will be a short walk from this station. Expect a longer wait time with little to no places to sit while in line, but it is all worth it. The ticket includes the entire museum as well as a panoramic view at the top. The museum has a lot of information so feel free to take your time.

Manneken Pis & Jeanneke Pis

Manneken Pis is one of the most notable symbols of Brussels. The statue is simply a little boy urinating into a pool of water. The replica statue is a short walk away from the Grand Place, but the original is kept in the Brussels City Museum which dates back to 1619. The fountain was used to distribute drinking water for one location in the city. Sometimes the statue is dressed up in various costumes for certain events. There will be a lot of people in the area trying to catch a look at the infamous fountain, but it is easy to take a quick look and continue walking. Another lesser-known statue is called the Jeanneke Pis. This statue is much smaller but depicts a little girl urinating into a fountain, it was made to make fun of/replicate the Manneken Pis. On a side note, the alley (Fidelity Alley) that Jeanneke Pis is located in has some fun bars to wander into if you’d like.

Royal Palace of Brussels

The Royal Palace of Brussels houses the royal family of Belgium, which is the family of current King Philippe. The Palace is in front of Brussels Park, which is a lovely park to walk through on a nice day anyway. It is a cool note to realize that the front of the palace is 50% longer than the infamous Buckingham Palace. If you are visiting between July 23rd and August 25th, you will have the opportunity to visit the Royal Palace of Brussels for free. It will be open every day from 10:30 am – 3:45 pm, but these dates/times are tentative to change. Make sure to check this Brussels travel website for updates about visiting the Royal Palace of Brussels.

Parc du Cinquantenaire

This park was created in 1880 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Belgian Independence, then the grand arc was finished in 1905. This area has two museums in it, the Royal Military Museum (on the left), and the Art & History Museum as well as an AutoWorld Vintage Car Museum (on the right). This park is a lovely place to visit and walk around. There is usually a Belgian Waffle truck in the park if you needed a snack.

National Basilica of Sacred Heart in Koekelberg

Also known as the Koekelberg Basilica, I believe that this church is one of the most underrated places I have ever been to. there were barely any tourists, but the church was immaculate. Construction began in 1905 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Belgian independence. Construction was completed 64 years later due to the world wars halting construction. Koekelberg Basilica in Brussels is one of the 10 largest Catholic churches in the world. The entrance fee is only 6 euros and that includes the panoramic view. There is also a small museum about Koekelberg and the history behind its construction. You can find more information about admission to the Koekelberg in Brussels on their website here.

Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula

The Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula is probably the most visited church in Brussels. It has grand steps leading up to the doors of the cathedral. The entrance is free and you can visit the archaeological site underneath the church for 1 euro. You could also see the treasury for 2 euros. Then you could book a timeslot to visit the Romanesque crypt and towers by email. More information about those can be found here. Hours are from 7 am to 6 pm on weekdays, 8 am – 3:30 pm on Saturdays and 8 am – 2 pm on Sundays.

3 – Day Itinerary for Brussels

Day 1 in Brussels: Cathedral of St. Michael & St. Gudula, Grand Place, Royal Gallery of Saint Hubert, Manneken Pis & Jeanneke Pis

Your first day in Brussels will be a perfect day to walk around and explore the wonderful sights in the center of the city. In the morning, visit the Cathedral of St. Michael & St. Gudula, but if you’d like to do the towers or Romanesque crypt then make sure you book in advance. Then take a short walk to the beautiful Grand Place, you can visit the museums here if you’d like. Afterward, go over to admire the unique statues of Manneken Pis and Jeanneke Pis while stopping at some chocolate shops on the way. Stop in one of the local bars near Jeanneke Pis for a drink before dinner. Grab dinner nearby before you take your nighttime stroll through the Royal Gallery of Saint Hubert on the walk back to your hotel or BNB.

Day 2 in Brussels: National Basilica of Sacred Heart in Koekelberg & Atomium

If attractions are further away, then I like to do them in the same day. In Brussels, both the National Basilica of Sacred Heart (Koekelberg) and the Atomium are in the same general direction. You will spend a decent amount of time at each one of these places and transportation will also take a decent amount of time. I recommend doing the Koekelberg before going to the Atomium. Make sure to walk through the picturesque park that leads up to the Koekelberg. I also recommend getting food in between the Koekelberg and the Atomium, because there is not too much for food in the area around the Atomium. At the end of the day, you can return to the Grand Place for dessert and sit in the square.

Day 3 in Brussels: Parc du Cinquantenaire, & Royal Palace of Brussels

This final day in Brussels is a pretty loose schedule in case there is anything I didn’t list here that you’d be interested in seeing. You will have to take the train to the Parc du Cinquantenaire. Stroll through the park before reaching the arch and you can visit one of the two museums located here. Once finished, you can take the train back towards the center of town to the Royal Palace of Brussels. Here, there is another beautiful park you can walk through before reaching the palace. If it is the Summer, you may want to try to visit the palace in the morning since it would be open to the public. After you visit the Royal Palace, make sure you walk up the street to the Law Courts of Brussels. If you look to your right, you will find a great view of the city.

Where to Eat in Brussels

Amadeo: All You Can Eat Spare Ribs

If you want meat, beer, a friendly staff, and excellent value for money then Amadeo is your place to eat in Brussels. It is very close to Grand Place but can often be busy on weekends. Although, the inside of the place is large and has many tables so the wait usually isn’t long. This is a must stop restaurant if you are starving for dinner.

BAOGO: Bao Bun Sandwiches

Before going here, I had never heard of a Bao Bun Burger or a Bao Bun Fried Chicken Sandwich, but I can tell you that these are amazing. If you’re in the center of Brussels, BAOGO is very close and will provide a great meal if you want to try this delicacy. The sandwiches also come with a great portion of delicious french fries. There are also rice bowls available here if you’re not so into the bao bun idea.


If you’re looking for quick “Belgian” fare, then Ballekes is the place to go. They have house made brews, meatballs and french fries. The meatballs come in a large variety of delicious sauces and are huge. It has a nice balcony on their top floor you can sit if you’d like to stay away from the chaotic ground level.

Noodle Bar of Brussels

Noodle Bar of Brussels was my first stop here and it was a good choice for some easy Thai food. It is very affordable and very nice to have a bowl of warm noodles if it’s a cold day outside. It is easy to get in and out to continue with the rest of your tourist activities for the day.

Where to Stay in Brussels

Here I attached a map with a highlighted area of the best places to stay in Brussels. For the location/price, a hotel was the best option for my 2-night stay. The best places will likely be near the train stations like Bruxelles Central so it is easy to get to and from the city. It only cost me $176 for the weekend for two to stay in a 4-star hotel in Brussels.

Transportation: How to Get Around Brussels

Here is a map of the public transportation routes around Brussels. There are obviously lots of routes that include buses, trams, and subway trains. You can get downtown using a train from Brussels Charleroi or Brussels Main Airport. One way tickets cost 8.60 euros on weekdays, 14.80 euros on weekends. You can buy tickets for public transportation at any of the major train stations. A one hour ticket costs 2.10 euros and a 24-hour ticket costs 7.50 euros. More information about the Brussels transportation system can be found here.

Currency in Brussels

Brussels uses the Euro and will be about average for tourist activities and dinner. A typical dinner for two will most likely cost around 35 euros or $40 USD.

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