From its trendy urban bars and pubs to its famous Belgian chocolate, Brussels is a must-visit destination for those who consider themselves to be ‘foodies’. The beautiful city is also home to some of the most interesting and unusual museums and attractions in the country, giving you unlimited options of what to do on your Brussels short break. Here’s a handy itinerary to help you make the most out of this varied cultural hotspot.
10 AM: The weather is usually fairly warm in the mornings in Brussels, so a leisurely walk is bound to do the trick as a way of acclimatising. Enjoy a guided tour of the Grand Place and learn more about the history of the area (you can even tour via a Segway!) or make your own path and discover the gorgeous local architecture of the many churches and landmarks.
12 PM: As well as beer and chocolate, Brussels is also renowned for its delicious crispy chips and its indulgent fluffy waffles. Tadah! You have yourself a lunch for under 5 euros. With many stores selling both treats along the streets, you’ll have plenty to choose from whatever your tastes. I would definitely recommend the exemplary combination of Nutella and strawberries as a waffle topping.
1 PM: Take a walk to the Belgian Comic Strip Center and please your inner geek! Although it’s a fair trek from the city centre (around 20-25 mins) it is totally worth it. Discover how Tintin and co were created and marvel at the amazing collections on offer. If you have little ones in tow, or prefer a more commercial experience, the Moof Museum is well worth a visit. With its varied exhibitions and focus on The Smurfs, it’s a great idea for a family day out.
3:30 PM: As you make your way back towards the main square in Brussels city centre, be sure to look out for the infamous Manneken Pis (it’s smaller than you think!). Late afternoon would be a good time to visit this iconic landmark, as the hordes of people gathered around it can be quite off-putting at peak times.
4 PM: Head to the Grand Place for a shopping experience like no other. Even though some shops might be slightly out of budget (€1000 for a handbag, anyone?), the sheer elegance and luxurious atmosphere in each shop is sure to be a memorable part of your trip. Interspersed between the more fancy shops are some great clothes, souvenir and chocolate destinations too (with free samples – even better!).
6 PM: Saunter up to the restaurant quarter (located just minutes away from the main square) and choose from a huge range of eateries to enjoy a meal in. Be warned – the restaurant managers will pester you to visit their restaurant and they all say the same thing – their restaurant is the best! Don’t be fooled; trust your instinct (and your stomach) and go for somewhere where the food and the ambience looks like it might be to your liking. Most places in the area offer a fabulous 3-course meal using fresh ingredients for as little as €10 including a small glass of wine or beer! Bargain!
7:30 PM: After a busy day of exploring the many sights of Brussels, head to the famous Delirium Café for a well-deserved drink. With over 6,000 tasty and original beers, ciders and other drinks on offer, there’s something for everyone. Although I’m not much of a beer fan myself, I thoroughly enjoyed the refreshing range of fruit beers on offer (strawberry and peach are the best for a mellow and sweet tasting drink). You can even order mouth-watering Belgian chocolate truffles to tuck into with your drink!
10 AM: Not sick of chocolate yet? Good. The Chocolate Museum in Brussels City Centre is a must-visit for all those chocoholics out there who just can’t get enough of the sweet stuff. As well as it being just €6 for the whole experience, you will get a delicious biscuit or slice of pear dipped in luxurious tempered chocolate on arrival. Wander around the interesting installations and chat to the very friendly and welcoming chocolatier on the ground floor, who is happy to answer any questions you might have about the chocolate-making process. There’s also a massive array of different flavoured chocolate buttons for you to help yourself to on the first floor! (And yes, they’re unguarded!)
12 PM: Visit the smaller side streets just off from the main square and tuck into a tasty range of Greek food. Although this might seem unusual, the mix of Greek and Belgian flavours is unbelievably good and is a cheaper alternative to the chain restaurants in the area.
1 PM: Take the Metro to the world-famous Atomium and gaze at the stunning views of the city from a dizzying height. A carefully-crafted framework of elevators will take you straight to the highest point, with the opportunity to work your way down the attraction to admire some interesting arts, science and history exhibitions. If sticking safely on the ground is more your thing, take a trip to the amazing Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium.
4 PM: As a way to unwind after an exciting day exploring the local area, stroll around the city and spot as many Tintin murals as you can (there’s plenty to find!). Alternatively, enjoy the fresh air as you wander around the palatial Palace Gardens with an ice cream.
5 PM: Head to a local pub and tuck into a sumptuous array of bar snacks with a cool beer. That way you have plenty of room for pick and mix chocolate slabs or/and a large slice of cake from one of the many patisseries!
7 PM: Walk to the Grand Place for one final photo opportunity as you see the beautiful building spectacularly lit up. Sing along to the music of the street performers before making your way to all of the pubs, bars and clubs in the area that make Brussels such an exciting place to be in.
Feeling inspired to venture out to the wonderful Brussels? Let us know in the comments below!