Beautiful Brussels is a popular stop along the Eurotrip route. Read our guide to Brussels to know exactly what to get up to when visiting the city.
It’s the capital of Belgium and the European Union, but it’s also a melting pot, home to languages and cultures from all over the world. The city is filled with an old charm, jumbled with a range of 300-year-old buildings, marketplaces, and parks. And the landmarks are as unending as they are beautiful.
When is the best time to visit Brussels?
Early summer and early autumn are probably the best time to visit Brussels, when the weather is warm and mild. Summer months can be very hot and it can also become quite crowded – particularly in July and August. Brussels is also an enchanting winter destination thanks to its charming Christmas markets and sparkling lights throughout the city. So, if you don’t mind exploring the city streets in the cold, then perhaps look at visiting Brussels for Christmas!
Guide to Brussels: Things to do in Brussels
Brussels Comic Strip Route
A great way to see Brussels as you search for facades decorated with comic strip heroes. Visit the Belgian Comic Strip Center first on Rue des Sables 20, where you can also buy the book with the route and images.
Sightseeing Brussels by Segway
Explore the landmarks of Brussels on a segway tour. Guided tours last 3.5 hours and cost 90 euros.
Taste ALL the Chocolate in Brussels
Belgium chocolate is world renowned. Some of the who’s who of chocolatiers that can be found in Brussels include:
- Neuhaus – 29 Passage du Nord
- Leonidas – 49 Boulevard Max
- Godiva – 22 Grand Place
- Galler – 29 44 Rue au Beurre
- Pierre Marcolini – 39 Place du Grand Sablon
Cycle Tours in Brussels
Brussels is truly bike-friendly, car drivers are respectful towards bikes and traffic is very low compared to other main European cities. It’s also a great place to join a bicycle tour of the city.
Lovers Bike Ride in Brussels
Longing for love? If you’re in Brussels, try looking at the end of a tire. Brussels offers one of the most interesting ways to find romance- via bike. Mount that sexy Schwinn and make your way over to La Maison des Cyclistes.
Join the group as a couple or single for a three hour ride that will take each cyclist through some of the most romantic stops in town. As the tour passes through the narrow streets of this Belgian city you’ll be sure to hear sweet French anecdotes and stories fill the air. Taking a pit stop at a local café en route, riders are provided the opportunity for a more intimate encounter.
Interested? Here’s the address– Provelo, La Maison des Cyclistes, 15 Rue de Londres, 1050. The tour is eight Euros; you can bring your own bike, but if you want to rent one, it’s an extra seven. The bike ride dives into the heart of Brussels, including visits to Grand Place-Grote Market and Manneken Pis.
Red Light District
Yes, Brussels has its own red light district. You’ll find it in Rue d’Aerschot, behind the North Train Station. Ironically enough prostitution in Belgium is not legal.
Just a short stroll from the Grand Place-Grote Markt, you’ll find a small bronze child taking a, well, a ‘pis’. The statue is considered to represent the “irreverent spirit” of Brussels. One of the most interesting things about the statue is its ever-changing outfits; Belgians have created hundreds if not thousands of wears for the little guy, which all conveniently are designed with the fly zipped down.
If you were looking for a place to find some “gaufre deLiege-Luikse wafel” (Belgian Waffle with caramel), this is the place to find it. The best spots to buy these sweets are the little shops off the northeast corner of Grand Place-Grote Markt. Grab your waffle and find a seat- beautiful old buildings are often the canvass for music and light shows during the evening.
Simply enjoy the architecture of the Grand Place, especially at night. There are a lot of cool buildings there, such as the Town Hall. It’s also good to go at night because… the streets that surround it are full of restaurants, so you’ll definitely find somewhere to eat. However, try and ignore too persistent and pesky restaurant managers who try to lure you into their restaurants, make your own decision over where you want to dine.
Try the local foods
Try the traditional chips and mayo baguette in Brussels, the locals seem to love. Everyone has their own opinion on where to find the best fries in Brussels, but some popular spots include Frit Flagey, Maison Antoine, Friterie du Miroir, Friterie du Café Georgette and Friterie de la Barrière.
With so much delicious foods to try in Brussels, we actually recommend joining a food tour in the city! This private tour allows you to sample 10 of the most exquisite Belgian bites and beverages – including the famous fries and Belgium waffles!
Beer tour in Brussels
It’s no secret that Belgium is famous for its beers, and Brussels is no different. Beer drinkers visiting Brussels absolutely have to join one of the many beer tours in Brussels. This tour includes 8 beer tastings as well as a variety of Brussels cheeses, paté, and chocolates to taste – what a great way to spend an afternoon!
Top Tip: Get the Brussels Card with STIB Public Transportation, it gives you access to 49 museums in Brussels as well as discounts at a range of other kid-friendly activities in Brussels. The option with transport will give you free access to all public transport for the duration of your card (24-hour, 48-hour, or 72-hour available).
Bars in Brussels
No guide to Brussels is complete without mentioning a few bars. If you’re keen to try out the best bars in Brussels, then join a pub crawl in the city. Alternatively, the best is the roam the streets and follow the crowds. We’ve also listed some of the best Brussels bars according to our readers below.
Place du Châtelain
If you find yourself on a Wednesday in Brussels, there is no better place to have mid-week drink than Place du Châtelain.
On Wednesdays, the square comes to life with an afternoon market. The market has the classic fruit and vegetable stands but additionally it has delicious treats such as cheeses, ready to eat quiches, warm empanadas, Thai food, and everything in between.
There is a nice grassy area in between where you can make your own picnic. I’ve enjoyed picnics with feta stuffed peppers, olives, cinnamon and cumin goat cheese, and of course, wine.
The atmosphere is very festive as many people converge in this area for a mid-week drink and some goodies from the market. Most stands stay open until 7pm so it is easy to pick up a few things after work.
The choices for dinner are endless. Place du Châtelain is the home of one of my favorite restaurants, La Piola for Italian is one of my favorite restaurants in the city. In a 500m radius you can find Italian, Belgian, Thai, Lebanese, and the list goes on. For drinks, you can go to Le Châtelain and rub elbows with all the pretty people in the city (or at least the wannabes). It’s one of the best Brussels bars.
Later on go to Le Bar so you can do a little people watching. When the weather is nice, Place du Châtelain is one of liveliest places in Brussels. It’s a place to see and to be seen.
Bars in Brussels: Mort Subite
My favourite bar in all the world is bang in the centre of Brussels! It’s at the end of the Galeries St-Hubert and it has a long, wood-panelled refuge, lined with mirrors.
That was my major base when I first came to the city over twenty-five years ago. With no money, it was the ideal place to keep warm and nurse a beer, while feasting on cubes of cheese with celery salt or chewy rounds of salami.
It hasn’t changed a bit in all that time: black-aproned waiters dart to and fro, it has a decent choice of Belgian beers, and it’s always busy.
It’s altogether the perfect place to sip a gueuze – Brussels own, unique ale – or drink a Mort Subite or ‘sudden death’, after which the bar is named.
I would never dream of visiting Brussels without dropping by for a drink at Mort Subite. It’s definitely one of the best bars in Brussels.
For those traveling to Brussels with kids make sure to read our blog post for tips on the best kid-friendly activities in the city. We also highly recommend exploring more of Belgium by doing a few Belgium day trips including a day trip to Bruges from Brussels!