If you’re looking for a getaway in Europe, you won’t regret spending a weekend in Brussels.
I wasn’t planning a weekend trip to Brussels, but after looking for a reasonable price and a close place to travel during the British Bank Holiday in May, I came across this incredible European city.
Here are five main reasons why you should visit Brussels:
- Waffles. These are the best waffles I’ve ever tried! You’ll find waffle shops everywhere and you’ll get the chance to choose different toppings (strawberries, bananas, Nutella and many more!)
- Big and beautiful parks around the city. They are perfect to enjoy a picnic or escaping the crowds in spring and summer.
- Atomium. Brussels’ main attraction will steal your heart. Atomium views are one of the best in the city.
- Culture. There are over 80 museums in Brussels where you can learn anything from history to comic strips.
- Architecture. Brussels created The Art Nouveau, a movement of impressive architecture and design. Nowadays, you can find over 10 Art Noveau Buildings in Brussels including the famous The Tassel Hotel — a UNESCO World Heritage site.
If you’re asking yourself, what’s worth seeing in Brussels, keep reading to discover amazing things to do in Brussels in two days.
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How To Spend A Weekend In Brussels – The Perfect 2 Days in Brussels
Things to do in Brussels in two days
Visit the Atomium
The structure and the views are incredible. If you’ve never been to Brussels, you may think that the Atomium is somewhere in the city centre. Well, it’s not! And yes, I used to think that as well.
So how do you get there? You can take a bus or walk. My partner and I looked at a map and thought that it wouldn’t take long if we walked.
We chose to walk all the way there from the city centre and it took us ages. At least an hour. You’ll spend that time walking but it’s so worth it! On our way, we saw incredible churches, art paintings and massive gardens. If you love walking and you’ve got the time, walk!
Once you get to the Atomium, expect crowds all the time… it can be overwhelming but the views you get are breathtaking. You’ll be able to see the Mini Europe museum on one of the sides and in the front, you’ll be able to see the city from far.
TIP: If you want to have a meal with a view or simply have more time to enjoy the view, have lunch at the restaurant inside the Atomium. It’s pricey and you’ll normally have to book in advance but the quality of the food is so good!
Go to Mini Europe
This is an interesting museum because when you walk there it’s like “being in Europe.” You can see Europe’s top attractions in miniature form and find out more about its history.
The price is €15,80 and you’ll spend approximately 1 hour to 1 hour and 30 minutes there. You can get different deals that will save you money like Atomium + Mini Europe so I totally recommend having a look at their website.
Mini Europe always reminds me of this anecdote. My partner and I were walking around Mini Europe and we had a small book, which tells you more about the miniatures, and my partner said that he would take me to Venice!
Later, when we were having a romantic dinner back in the hotel – candles, relaxing music, etc. – I said that it was very nice he had been thinking of us going to Venice and when he was going to take me.
He started laughing and said he had already taken me to Venice in Mini Europe. This is something I’ll never forget (and, yes, he still needs to take me to Venice.)
Wander around Grand Place
One of the most beautiful squares I’ve seen! You can contemplate the square surrounded by impressive tall Gothic buildings such as the guild houses, the Town Hall and the Maison du Roi as well as restaurants.
Some of these restaurants look very appealing and although it may be nice to have a meal and enjoy the atmosphere in any of these restaurants, remember these places are very pricey, and pricey doesn’t always mean “traditional and quality food”.
Not far away from Grand Place, you can find Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert, a spectacular shopping arcade with boutique shops, cafes and restaurants. A must-stop for any chocolate lover is Neuhaus, a chocolate shop opened in 1857 where you can find the best pralines in Belgium.
Also, if you wonder where the flowers are in the square (like you can see in many postcards or pictures), it’s only every two years in the month of August when they set up a beautiful and huge flower carpet with more than 500.000 begonias.
Take a photo of Manneken Pis
This is the famous sculpture of a naked little boy urinating. It’s a Brussels symbol and its people believe that represents their humour.
You can find it in one of the little alleys around the city centre. I had no idea where it was until I saw many tourists taking pictures.
You’ll be surprised how small the statue is!
Fancy something sweet? You’re in the right place because you can find many waffle shops around with many options to choose from!
See the Royal Palace
The palace is next to Brussels Park and you can’t miss it because of its size!
This is the official palace of the King and Queen of the Belgians but it’s not their residence. If you’re interested in the Royal family, the Castle of Laeken is their residence. Unfortunately, you can only visit the greenhouses and studio every spring for 3 weeks.
Have a picnic at Parc de Bruxelles
It’s also known as Brussels Park and the Royal Park. It’s a great place to have a picnic on a sunny day.
This park is full of life and you’ll see fountains, kiosks, a bandstand and much more! Also, even if it’s a bit crowded you’ll still find a spot!
TIP: Check if there are any events on the dates you’re going. I didn’t do this but I was quite lucky that I was walking through the park and saw men building some stalls. Then I saw a poster announcing the event including a free concert! I saw Sigala perform.
Visit the Belgian Comic Strip Centre
The Comic Strip Centre, also known as Comics Art Museum, is an interesting museum located in the heart of Brussels.
The museum is home to some of the most famous comic strips in the world – the Smurfs, Tintin and Marsupilami among others, so it’s definitely worth visiting.
In addition to this, they host numerous permanent and temporary exhibitions, and you’ll learn a lot about the comic culture in Belgium as apparently it’s said that the country has more comic strip artists per square kilometre than any other country in the world!
Take a free walking tour
An excellent way to discover more about Brussels is taking a free walking tour with a local guide. There are different tours to suit your needs and preferences – historical tours, night tours, etc.
If you don’t want to figure out where Brussels attractions are, a walking tour will show you some of the best spots in the city.
Taste Belgian chocolate
Belgian chocolate is one of the most famous chocolates, so there is no visit to Brussels without tasting some Belgian chocolate.
There are plenty of chocolate shops that offer all sorts of chocolate: white chocolate, dark chocolate, chocolate truffles, spicy chocolate and much more. The options are endless! Taste some of them before getting a box you can take home.
Alternatively, you can go on a chocolate tour or visit Frederic Blondeel’s chocolate factory where you can learn how chocolate is made and taste some of his best chocolates.
Learn about the Parlamentarium
If you’re into politics, you don’t want to miss visiting Parlamentarium, a museum that will tell you everything about how the European Parliament works in an engaging and interactive way.
There are an interactive floor map, cinema and games to expand your knowledge of politics and the world of the European Parliament.
Entry to this museum is free and you can book your tickets online.
3 Hidden Gems in Brussels
1) Jardins du Fleuriste
If you love gardens like me, you should visit this one. It’s only a 16-minute walk from the Atomium.
You can see beautiful flowers and trees as well as balconies where you can get a different view of the garden. The best thing is that you won’t only see this garden but many others around.
2) Église Notre-Dame de Laeken
It wasn’t on my itinerary, but since my partner and I decided to walk all the way to the Atomium, we came across this stunning gothic church. Not only does it look beautiful outside but also inside.
3) Mont des Arts
Mont des Arts is a beautiful historic site in the centre of Brussels. It’s the perfect place for art lovers as you can find over 20,000 impressive paintings and sculptures at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, learn more about Belgian history at Coudenberg and much more.
The hidden gem is the Carillon of the Mont des Arts. An impressive carillon clock with 24 bells and 12 figurines that represent the famous historic and folkloric figures of Brussels.
Where to stay in Brussels for a weekend
There are plenty of hotels in the city to choose from, however, if you’re looking at where to stay in Brussels for a weekend, Pentahotel Brussels is one of the chicest and most central hotels in the city.
I stayed there and I was so glad to have found this hotel! The hotel looks completely new and modern but the best thing is that it’s a couple of minutes’ walk from the heart of the city.
Apart from its convenient location, the staff are friendly and the restaurant inside the hotel is amazing.
They used to have traditional meals on their menu, so my partner and I decided to give it a go! We ordered the Flemish stew and was delicious.
I’m aware they’ve changed the menu since I visited it. Although you can’t find traditional food, it’s still a great place to eat.
The restaurant is connected to a 24-hour cosy bar where you can enjoy amazing cocktails, play pool, and even go on the latest game consoles.
Also, on the backside of the Atomium, there are stalls where you can enjoy some street food, buy old-fashioned clothes and much more.
How to get around Brussels
The best way to travel around Brussels is by public transport and the metro, in particular, is very well-connected with different parts of the city.
The traffic in Brussels can be heavy in the city centre so avoid driving or getting a taxi.
Other alternatives include renting a bike or even walking because most attractions in Brussels are close to each other.
What to eat in Brussels
You can’t spend a weekend in Brussels without tasting its delicious traditional food.
Belgian cuisine is influenced by other cuisines from neighbour countries like France, Germany and The Netherlands. Belgian food includes key ingredients like potatoes, leeks, meat and beer.
So, what are the best traditional meals in Brussels?
Flemish Beef Stew. This is one of Brussels’ national dishes, a stew made with beef and beer and normally served with a side of fries! I don’t normally eat beef but I gave it a go and to be honest, it was delicious.
It’s a very hearty meal so you’d better be hungry!
Mussels. Brussels is well-known for its mussels. I didn’t try them because I don’t like them. But if you love this seafood, you can’t miss it!
Fries. The fries are a MUST! They’re incredibly delicious, crispy and beautiful salted.
Have you ever got a cone full of fries? If not, what are you waiting for! Going to the shop and ordering fries with different toppings and sauces is a must experience in Brussels. I highly recommend trying ketchup curry and Andalouse sauces.
Waffles. I’ve already mentioned waffles a couple of times and the reason why is because they’re the best waffles you’ll ever try.
Speculaas. Delicious spiced biscuits that are perfect with a cup of tea. You’ll find them in other countries like the Netherlands and Luxembourg as well.
Chocolate. Brussels is a chocolate paradise. You can find chocolate shops with lots of different chocolate flavours. The best thing about these chocolate shops is that you can try samples before purchasing any box.
TIP: If you don’t have any idea about what souvenir to buy, get a box of chocolates. Don’t worry if it’s hot, they wrap your box of chocolates very carefully to protect them from heat and other external factors.
The best breakfast and brunch in Brussels is Woodpecker 47 (formerly Peck 47). They have delicious and healthy meals that you would want to eat again and again. I especially loved their fresh juices and savoury waffles!
They also have a good range of vegetarian and vegan meals.
Day trips from Brussels
If you’re staying more than two days in Brussels, you want to check out these beautiful cities.
Day trip to Bruges from Brussels
At only an hour train from Brussels, Bruges is one of Brussels’ most popular day trips.
There are many things to do in this picturesque city – from taking a canal tour to wandering through the Old Town and climbing up the Belfry of Bruges.
Although it’s possible to visit Bruges’ main attractions in a day, it’s worth spending at least two days to soak up the atmosphere and beauty of this place.
Day trip to Ghent from Brussels
Another popular day trip from Brussels is Ghent. The train journey takes about 35 minutes which makes it a very easy excursion.
The town is known for its beautiful marketplaces and squares and it’s home to many famous medieval monasteries.
The activity options in Ghent are endless: visit Gravensteen Castle, go on a canal boat tour, contemplate the beautiful St. Nicholas Church, climb the Ghent Belfry and Cloth Hall, and last but not least enjoy a chocolate waffle.
📌 You can also combine both cities in one day by taking this tour from Brussels.
So, is Brussels worth visiting?
It is indeed, and you can certainly visit most attractions in a weekend in Brussels.
Brussels exceeded my expectations and something that really surprised me was seeing Smurfs figures and decorations in many places around the city centre. I didn’t know The Smurfs was written by a Belgian comic artist until I visited the city.
Although I wish I could have had more time exploring Belgium, you can definitely visit Brussels in 48 hours. If you’re staying longer, I recommend going on day trips to beautiful cities like Bruges or Ghent.
If you drive, Brussels is a strategic place to start a road trip as you can also drive easily to other countries such as France and Luxembourg.
Whether you want a city break or to start a road trip, you’ll love Brussels!
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Things to do before visiting Brussels
- Check cheap flights to Brussels with Skyscanner.
- Book the best accommodation in Brussels for you with Booking.com
- Have a look at Get Your Guide for incredible excursions and activities.
- Go on a free walking tour with Guruwalk.
- Book travel insurance, this is a must for any trip!
Basic information about Brussels
Location: Belgium, Europe.
Currency: Euro (€).
Official languages: Dutch, French and German.
National day: 21st of July.
Airports: Brussels Airport (BRU) and Brussels South Charleroi Airport (CRL).
Best time to visit Brussels
Anytime between March and May! May is a great time to visit Brussels because the weather is generally good and you’ll get the chance to attend some events.
I spent a weekend in Brussels at the beginning of May and the temperature was warm during the day! I’d say it was around 22 ºC degrees. Not too hot and lovely sunny days.
Also, travelling during early autumn (September and October) will save you some money on flights and accommodation.
Last but not least, winter in Belgium is magical! If you love all Christmas-related things, you won’t be disappointed. Don’t miss the Winter Glow festival in Bruges that takes place from the end of November to the beginning of January.
Frequently asked questions about visiting Brussels
What is Brussels best known for?
Brussels is known for being the “capital of Europe” but also for its beautiful Gothic buildings, foods like waffles and chocolate and beer.
Are two days in Brussels enough?
You can visit Brussels’ main attractions in two days, however, spending more than a weekend in Brussels is ideal if you want to explore the city at a slow pace or go on popular day trips like Ghent and Bruges.
If you’re thinking about visiting Brussels for a day, this may be only a good option if you just want to have a taste of what Brussels is like, but it isn’t if you want to see most of Brussels attractions and museums.