There are so many things to do in Brussels, especially on a shorter weekend trip. It’s one of those cities which is perfect for a long weekend, exploring all the historic sites and scoffing every all the waffles you can get your hands on.
Now, with any visit to a new city, it can often be pretty tiring trying to fit in all your plans, especially when you’re visiting one of Belgium’s most beautiful cities.
It doesn’t matter what type of year you visit, or really how long, I guarantee you’ll have the best time. Take a look at some of the very best haunts and things to do in Brussels that you can easily see and do across a weekend.
1.) Grand Place
It doesn’t matter how many times you visit Grand Place, it’s an area that is always so beautiful to visit. Dating back almost 300 years, Grand Place is too gorgeous to miss.
At certain times of the year, you’ll find a few different events, markets and art installations. Don’t forget to visit the Brussels City Museum and the Town Hall which are both perched on the square.
Best of all, after a little wander around Grand Place, you can pop straight over to Manneken Pis (about a 2-minute walk away) and the gorgeous Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert.
2.) Gorge on Waffles
Possibly one of my favourite things to do in Brussels! After all, you can’t go all the way to Brussels without having some of their famous waffles. I swear, I eat about 2-3 a day when I visit and still have no regrets about it.
Now, you’ll see waffles all over the city, with many places offering them via street stalls, independent cafes and gorgeous little coffee houses.
For some tasty waffles, head to; Maison Dandoy (who also makes the creamiest ice cream), the Waffle Factory (with all its delicious toppings) and Mokafe (who make the best banana and chocolate Waffles).
3.) See Palais de Justice
Brussels has the biggest (and possibly, the grandest) courthouse in all of Europe. Now, there is currently some restoration work ongoing but that shouldn’t stop your visit.
It is a gorgeous building.
Best of all, you’ll also have some lovely views of the city, too.
4.) Manneken Pis
Yes, he might be small, and yes he might be tinkling, but he’s a cute little guy that you have to see on your first trip to the city.
Now, you’re not going to spend a huge amount of time at Manneken Pis, a good 5 minutes is enough but it’s worth a visit when you’re in the Grand Place area. It’s one of those spots that’s great to see but doesn’t take any time at all.
Don’t forget, at certain times, Manneken Pis gets dressed up in all manner of costumes meaning a second visit will always be interesting.
Also, before arriving in Brussels, make sure to book all your tours and entry tickets (see below). This way, you can make the most of your time in Brussels without having to waste time on timed entries that don’t suit your schedule.
Built back in the 1950s, the Atomium is a little outside the city centre but a great spot to see something a little different.
Over 100 metres (330ft) tall, it’s a great place to see some views of the city.
If you’re feeling extra flush, pop into the Atomium Restaurant that’s situated in one of the spheres.
Prices are a little more expensive than other restaurants but worth it if you want a unique dining experience. It’s one of the unique things to do in Brussels.
Oh, and don’t forget to book your Atomium tickets before arriving. This way, you won’t have to queue at the ticket office on peak days.
6.) Eat at the best restaurants
Brussels has a whole heap of amazing waffles that are mouth-wateringly good. Pop into Le Chou de Bruxelles for some tasty moules or head to Fin de Siecle for some proper comfort food.
Now, for a tipple, or two, head into Delirium Monasterium. It’s perfect after a long weekend exploring Brussels.
7.) Royal Palace of Brussels
So it might no longer be used as a Royal Palace but it’s still a gorgeous spot that’s still used for official engagements. Right next to Brussels Park, it’s a great not-so-little spot to see.
If you want to head inside, make sure your visit coincides with the summer months. Just don’t visit on a Monday, when the palace is closed to the public.
Also, if you want to include a day trip to nearby Ghent and beautiful Bruge, then book this Ghent and Bruge tour that’ll take you on a day trip to these majestic cities. You can join the tour in Brussels and spend the day exploring Belgium with ease.
8.) Cinquantenaire & Triumphal Arch
If you’re looking for a little stroll outside of the cobbled streets of central Brussels, then pop over to Cinquantenaire and see the Triumphal Arch, too.
Wander around the Belliard Tunnel, pop into the Art and History Museums and take a wander to the Great Mosque of Brussels.
9.) Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences
If you’re a sucker for a little bit of history, the Natural Sciences Museum is the place to go.
Jump inside and visit The North and South Pole tunnels, see the Shell Gallery with its aquarium and the epic The Dinosaur Hall. If you’re likely to geek out over dinosaurs, you’ll love this spot.
Best of all, it’s indoors which is great if the weather takes a turn for the worse.
10.) Search for Tintin
As you wander around central Brussels, you’ll come across loads of big and smaller references to Tintin. Now, you can join a comic strip walk but they’re pretty easy to find yourself. For one of the most famous, head to Rue de l_Etuve, where you’ll easily spot Tintin.
You’ll also find loads of Tintin goodies from places like La Boutique Tintin. It’s really is one of the cooler things to do in Brussels – or at least see it on a weekend!
11.) Gorge on Belgian chocolate
Just like waffles, no visit to Brussels is complete without a belly filled with chocolate. I jest not!
For some of the best chocolatiers in Brussels, pop over to Maison Pierre Marcolini, Wittamer or Côte d’Or. You’ll love them all, I promise.
Don’t forget to visit the home of Godiva, too. After all, Brussels is where it all started.