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Things to do in Brussels

Things to do in  Brussels

Welcome to Brussels

Brussels, the official capital of Belgium and unofficial capital of Europe, stands out as the meeting point of Germanic and Romance cultures, boasting cross-cultural and modern charm. The duel official languages of French and Dutch give every street and place two names, and English is also widely spoken, thanks to the European Parliament and other organizations stationed here that make it an international political center. The ornate guildhalls lining the classic Grand Place stand as city centerpiece and showcase, but the Atomium also warrants a visit, a bizarre building of steel spheres created for the 1958 World's Fair that now functions as a museum featuring a prize view over the city. With Belgium seemingly locked in a confectionery competition with the Swiss, a Brussels chocolate tour delivers insight into how the industry grew here and, of course, involves plenty of samples. Visitors can continue tasting their way through town well into the evening with a beer tour, where the rich monastic heritage of Belgian beer bubbles up from the glass. Beyond the capital, Ghent and Bruges make for easy day trips, both charming towns packed with medieval architecture within just over an hour’s drive. The city's central location also makes it easy to go further out for trips to the Flemish countryside and historic battlefields, or into neighboring Luxembourg or Amsterdam (each just over two hours away).

Top 10 attractions in Brussels

#1
Grand-Place (Grote Markt)

Grand-Place (Grote Markt)

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Arguably Europe’s most beautiful square, Brussels’ Grand Place—in the heart of the historic and hip city—is surrounded by nearly 40 baroque and gothic guildhalls and the stunning Brussels Town Hall. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the large cobblestone square, also known as Grote Markt, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Belgium.More
#2
Atomium

Atomium

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One of Brussels’ most iconic structures, the futuristic Atomium is a gargantuan structure designed to resemble an iron molecule magnified 165 billion times. It was created in 1958 for the Expo 58, and though it was originally slated for demolition, it was so popular with locals that it became a permanent feature of the city’s skyline.More
#3
Manneken Pis

Manneken Pis

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The Manneken Pis—sculptor Jerome Duquesnoy’s small bronze statue of a little boy urinating into a Brussels fountain—is one of Belgium’s most beloved landmarks. Built in 1619, the boy is hailed as the capital’s oldest resident and remains a favorite of both locals and tourists, with a host of myths and legends to his name.More
#4
Autoworld

Autoworld

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A petrolhead’s dream, Autoworld showcases the evolution of motor cars through a collection of more than 250 impeccably maintained and restored vehicles. Visitors can trace the history of automotive engineering and design, from horse-drawn carriages to Italian race cars and royal limousines.More
#5
Brussels Royal Palace (Palais Royal de Bruxelles)

Brussels Royal Palace (Palais Royal de Bruxelles)

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Dating back to the 18th century and fronted by the idyllic Parc de Bruxelles (Brussels Park), the Brussels Royal Palace (Palais Royal Bruxelles) might no longer be the official residence of Belgium’s royal family, but it remains one of the capital’s most magnificent landmarks and the site of various royal and state events.More
#6
Royal Galleries of Saint Hubert (Les Galeries St-Hubert)

Royal Galleries of Saint Hubert (Les Galeries St-Hubert)

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Inaugurated in 1847, the Royal Galleries of Saint Hubert in Brussels form one of Europe’s most beautiful and oldest glass-roofed shopping arcades. Composed of three elegant, Florentine-inspired arcades, the galleries are lined with upscale shops and restaurants and draw around 6 million visitors each year.More
#7
Brussels Beer Project

Brussels Beer Project

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Founded in 2013 to showcase Belgium’s contemporary beer scene, today the Brussels Beer Project (BBP) has taprooms in both Brussels and Paris. In the Brussels location, you'll find 17 taps with a number of BBP classic brews, along with a few new beers and a handful of offerings from outside breweries.More
#8
European Parliament

European Parliament

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Brussels is the administrative heart of the European Union and is the headquarters of the European Parliament, where over 700 members convene to make important decisions about the EU on a regular basis. It's the only directly elected EU institution and is charged with EU legislation, along with the Council of the European Union.More
#9
St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral

St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral

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Named for the patron saints of Brussels, the St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral is a cocathedral of the local Catholic archdiocese and one of the most beautiful churches in the city. It stands upon the ruins of an 11th-century Romanesque chapel, the remains of which can be viewed for a nominal fee.More
#10
National Basilica of the Sacred Heart (Basilique Nationale du Sacré-Coeur)

National Basilica of the Sacred Heart (Basilique Nationale du Sacré-Coeur)

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One of the city’s most striking landmarks, the National Basilica of the Sacred Heart (Basilique Nationale du Sacré-Coeur) was built to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Belgian independence. King Leopold II laid the first stone of the Roman Catholic basilica and parish in 1905. World War I delayed construction and it took nearly 60 years to complete. Today the Art Deco style monument with its red brick and distinctive green dome holds two museums and is one of the five largest churches in the world.Visitors can marvel at the size and design of the basilica from the outside or climb the interior for some of the best views of Brussels and the Flemish Brabant countryside. Walking out onto the platform near the top of the basilica dome grants panoramic views almost 80 meters up from the ground. There are also eight bright stained glass windows depicting the life of Jesus that were designed by Belgian painter Anto Carte.More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 3 Days in Brussels

How to Spend 3 Days in Brussels

Bruges Tours from Brussels

Bruges Tours from Brussels

Top activities in Brussels

Bruges and Ghent - Belgium's Fairytale Cities - from Brussels
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Day Trip to Bruges from Brussels

Day Trip to Bruges from Brussels

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Bus day trip to Bruges & Ghent from Brussels
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Hungry Mary's Famous Beer and Chocolate Tour in Brussels
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Brussels Chocolate Workshop
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Brussels Chocolate Workshop

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Bruges Day Trip from Brussels
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Remembrance tour. The fairytale city of Bruges & the poppies of Flanders Fields
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The glory of Holland: Amsterdam and windmills galore
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Legends of Brussels - Historical Walking Tour of Brussels
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Brussels Small-Group Chocolate Appreciation Tour
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Bus day trip to Antwerp & Ghent from Brussels + Atomium stop
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Small-Group Highlights of Brussels Bike Tour
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Highlights & Hidden Gems With Locals: Best of Brussels Private Tour
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Recent reviews from experiences in Brussels

star-5
Amazing!
Angela_M, May 2022
Legends of Brussels - Historical Walking Tour of Brussels
Sancar was very knowledgeable about the history of Brussels and spoke great English.
star-5
Tasting the Best Beer in the World! Literally!
Sherry_H, Apr 2022
Brussels Chocolate Beer Waffle and Belgian Whiskey All-in-One (Small Group) Tour
It was well worth the time to see tucked away sites that we would have never found on our own.
star-5
Great tour!
Tess_B, Apr 2022
Legends of Brussels - Historical Walking Tour of Brussels
Highly recommend to see all the highlight of Brussels.
star-5
Great tour in Brussels
Beatriz_P, Dec 2021
Brussels Like a Local: Customized Private Tour
She was very friendly, knowledgeable and adapted to our pace, as we were traveling with kids.
star-5
Fantastic experience to see Brussels
Faith_N, May 2022
Small-Group Highlights of Brussels Bike Tour
Definitely the best way to see all of Brussels in a limited time.
star-5
Amazing tour with great guide.
Daniel_S, Apr 2022
Brussels Chocolate Beer Waffle and Belgian Whiskey All-in-One (Small Group) Tour
If you have limited time in Brussels, this is an amazing way to see much of the real side of the city and what is has to offer, as well as inform you of where else to go and what you can experience when you finish the tour or return to Brussels another time.
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Brugge with Buenida
Youlia_B, Apr 2022
Bus day trip to Bruges & Ghent from Brussels
Highly recommended boat trip and visit Cathedral to see Michelangelo Madonna and Mary of Burgundy tomb - for history lovers!
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Day out with a new friend
LeslieM_K, Nov 2021
Brussels Like a Local: Customized Private Tour
I wanted to see Mini Europe and we went - he for the first time!.
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Good walk with historical explanation
Dieter_V, Oct 2021
Brussels Private Walking Tour With A Professional Guide
We were not able to see everything we wanted
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Lovely day, very well cared for.
James_B, Aug 2021
Private tour : Treasures of Flanders Ghent and Bruges from Brussels Full day
A great day to get to see the highlights of both of these historically relevant and preserved Flemish cities.
star-5
Amazing
denisegonzalez1989, Feb 2020
Hungry Mary's Famous Beer and Chocolate Tour in Brussels
He gave us great tips for places to visit while we stay in Brussels!
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Best Tour I’ve Been On
Connor_B, Feb 2020
Hungry Mary's Famous Beer and Chocolate Tour in Brussels
Would recommend for anyone coming to visit.
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Antwerp Tour by Bussels City Tours
Gregory_B, Oct 2019
Antwerp: Diamonds galore, elegance, arts and stunning architecture
Great tour - the right length of time and ample opportunities to see many of the exciting features of Antwerp.
star-5
Great Tour
LAURA_O, Jul 2019
Brussels Small-Group Chocolate Appreciation Tour
The tour was a great way to see Brussels while experiencing some chocolate tastings and learning about the history of the famous chocolate makers of Belgium.
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Wonderful Experience, Do It!
Odyssey45200377510, Jul 2019
Brussels Chocolate Walking Tour and Workshop
We received not only a chocolate tour, but also an education on the city of Brussels (we were also lucky to see the start of this years Tour de France!
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Wonderful time for all
Nomad62693386594, Jul 2019
Brussels Chocolate Workshop
Anastasia waa really good with all of the different English speaking dialects.
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Such a great time!
Zainab_M, Jun 2019
Brussels Private Custom Tour with a Local Guide, Kickstart your Trip ★★★★★
We got to see the Grand Place, the royal palace, Notre Dame, and so much more!
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Get ready to walk in Antwerp
Lesli_E, Jun 2019
Brussels Super Saver: Brussels Sightseeing Tour and Antwerp Half-Day Trip
My only suggestion is that if you want to see the diamond factory do not tour on a Saturday.
star-5
Great way to see Brussels
Voyage67918065931, May 2019
Brussels Private Tours by Locals: See the City Unscripted ★★★★★
He showed us all the sights and places that one needs to see in Brussels.
star-5
I thought this was going to be so...
amyschuch, Jun 2017
Belgian Beer Tasting in Brussels
This tour made us fall in love with Brussels!
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