Are you planning a trip to Brussels and wondering, what the heck is there to do in Brussels? Then this post is perfect for you as I break down my 2-day Brussels itinerary!
I have found that the beauty of this city radiates from the intricate architecture, but is more subtly felt from in the kindness and diversity of its people.
Brussels is the unofficial capital of the European Union, and this sense of importance can be felt through out the city. Walking around the streets of Brussels you will hear Dutch, French, German, and English spoken. This is a culturally diverse city which in my opinion is why the people of Belgium are so kind and accepting of others.
In this post, I am going to share the perfect 2 day itinerary for Brussels!
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- How to Get to Brussels
- The Best Time to Visit Brussels
- 2-Day Brussels Itinerary: Day 1
- 2-Day Brussels Itinerary: Day 2
- Spending More Than 2 Days in Brussels?
- Seasonal Events in Brussels Worth a Visit in 2022
How to Get to Brussels
If you are arriving into the main Brussels International airport, the fastest and most convenient way to get to the center of Brussels is by a 20-minute taxi. For a cheaper, but longer option, take the IC train directly from the airport (station: Brussels Airport – Zaventem) just two stops to the city center (station: Brussels – Centraal) for a 30 minute ride.
If you are traveling from another European city, we highly recommend taking the train to Brussels. The main station, Brussels-Centraal, is about a 5-minute walk from the Grand Place.
If you plan to come by car, there is public parking near the Grand-Place at Interparking – Parking Grand-Place, Rue Marché aux Herbes 104.
The Best Time to Visit Brussels
The best time to visit Brussels is during the shoulder seasons from March through May or September through November. Shoulder season in Europe is when hotel rooms will be cheaper and the streets less crowded. However, visiting Brussels in the summer months, you will enjoy long and warm days.
2-Day Brussels Itinerary: Day 1
Day 1 of my perfect 2-day Brussels Itinerary will keep you in walking distance of the Grand Place, the main square in Brussels. Today you will explore by foot, to get your bearings for the city of Brussels.
Be in Awe at the Grand Place
First up on the itinerary for Day 1 is what I consider a “Brussels must see”! The Grand Place in Brussels is one of Europe’s most ornate town centers that I have ever seen. I first visited here back in 2008, on a backpacking trip around Europe after graduation, and I couldn’t believe my eyes.
Let me tell you, when I visited again in 2017, I had the exact same reaction. The details and gold accents of the buildings lining the Grand Place are just exquisite. Rightfully so, in 2010, the Grand Place was voted Europe’s most beautiful city square.
The Grand Place is also the location of the bi-annual Flower Carpet in Brussels which turns the entire square into a mural made out of flowers! If you have the chance to visit, don’t pass it up!
Giggle at the Manneken Pis Fountain
There are many strange statues around the world, but this has got to be the strangest fountain I have ever seen. The Manneken Pis is a well-known landmark in Brussels only a 5 minute walk from the Grand Place located at the corner of Rue de l’Étuve and Rue du Chêne. Manneken Pis translates into little boy peeing, which is exactly what you will find here.
There is no clear explanation as to the significance of Manneken Pis, so many folktales have been told over the years to explain its history. Often during the year, you can find Manneken Pis dressed up in costumes to celebrate a holiday or event.
I am only recommending this as a stop because it is centrally located, free, and can be accomplished in 1 minute. It is something to say you have seen, but don’t get your expectations up about what you will see.
Admire the View at Mont des Arts
Mont Des Arts is an elevated vantage point of the city with a beautifully manicured public garden. Here you can also find the Royal Library of Belgium and the National Archives of Belgium.
The garden are free to enjoy so many people make this a stop along their tour of the city. On a sunny day in Brussels the Monte Des Arts is one of my favorite places to come for a picnic or simply sit on a bench and people watch.
Sample Authentic Belgian Chocolates
Whether you are interest in a demonstration of how chocolate is made, casually drinking champagne while tasting chocolate (me!), or browsing displays of structures made out of chocolate, Brussels has what you need to get your chocolate fix.
Below are suggestions of chocolatiers with rich history and long-standing status in Brussels:
Alex & Alex, Rue de la Paille 32 – Champagne & Chocolate Bar
Laurent Gerbaud Chocolatier, Rue Ravenstein 2 D – Chocolate factory workshop
Godiva, Grand Sablon-Grote Savel 47/48 – Traditional Belgian Chocolatier
Mary, Galerie de la Reine 36 – Artesian Chocolatier since 1919
Wittamer, Place du Grand Sablon 6 – Macaroon & Chocolate Boutique w/ pink tea room
Zaabär, Chaussée de Charleroi 125 – Chocolate factory workshop
Visit Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert
One of the best places to go in Brussels for shopping, resting at a café, or escaping the elements is the Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert.
The grand architecture inside will make you feel like you are in an extension of the Grand Place. Here you will find luxury stores, brasseries, trendy champagne bars, chocolate shops, a cinema and a theatre.
Come to the Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert to window-shop or relax at a café!
Have a Beer at Delirium Café Bar
One of my favorite places to stop when in Brussels is Delirium Café. Also known as Delirium Village, there are multiple rooms to explore and over 2 thousand different beers to enjoy.
This is also a great place to meet people from all over the world. While sitting an enjoying a few different types of beer we chatted with a family from Mexico and a couple from Denmark! By the time we were finished, we had spent a little more time than planned here, but it was time well spent.
Dinner at ‘T Kelderke – Belgian Restaurant
‘T Kelderke is a traditional Belgian restaurant and my favorite spot in Brussels. The atmosphere is very cozy as it is set in an original 17th underground century cellar with vaulted brick ceilings. If you have some time, I suggest grabbing a drink on their patio overlooking the Grand Place.
The menu is a bit more expensive than grabbing a waffle or fries off the street, but it is worth the splurge for some home-style Belgian cuisine. They have a variety of traditional pot roasts (Stoemps), meats, and fish dishes. We ordered the mussels in white wine and garlic sauce, which are the best mussels we have had to date!
‘T Kelderke is located right in the Grand Place square. The staff is extremely friendly and even let us bring our dog inside the restaurant (we tried to eat outside on the patio at first).
2-Day Brussels Itinerary: Day 2
Day 2 of my perfect 2-day Brussels itinerary will take you a little further out of the city center of Brussels. However, everything listed below is relatively close together. So grab one 20-minute taxi ride and you should be good to go!
Get a Real Belgian Waffle
When visiting Brussels Belgium, why not start your day with a famous Belgian waffle? There are plenty of places to stop for a famous Belgian waffle, but we really enjoyed our chocolate and strawberry waffle from Maison Dandoy near the Grand Place.
Waffles first came to American in 1962 when Walter Cleyman, a Belgian man from brussels, introduced waffles at the Seattle Century 21 Exposition. Although the recipe was simplified to appeal to American, they became known as Belgian waffles to Americans.
So if you want to try a real Belgian waffle, you just have to visit Brussels where they maintain the original recipe!
Visit the Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium
The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium holds the most important collection of fine arts in Belgium. When you visit, you will be able to see paintings, sculptures and drawings from multiple different prominent artists in Belgium.
A total of six museums make up the Royal Museum of Fine Arts with collections dating back to the 15th through the 21st century. However, if fine arts aren’t your thing, you might enjoy a visit to these other museums in Brussels:
- Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History
- Museum of Natural Sciences in Brussels
- EU Parliament Building
Get a View over Brussels at the Atomium
The Atomium is the most popular Brussels attraction with tourists. The Atomium was originally constructed for the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair and not expected to survive after that year, but now the structure serves as a museum, viewing point, and art center.
The reason that the Atomium made my list is because it is said to be the most magnificent view in Brussels. The panorama room is situated in the upper sphere of the building and with clear skies you can even see all the way to Antwerp.
The permanent exhibition at the Atomium takes you through the 60 years of history of the old pavilion of Expo58 that has now become the international symbol of Belgium and Brussels. There are also multiple temporary exhibitions, find out what you can see today.
Ticket Price: 15 EUR, purchase your Atomium tickets in advance here
Opening Hours: 10am to 6pm
Location: Pl. de l’Atomium 1, 1020 Bruxelles, Belgium
Explore the Continent of Europe at Mini-Europe in Brussels
Right next door to the Atomium you can visit Mini Europe another popular attraction in Brussels with tourists.
Mini-Europe has reproductions of monuments in the European Union and other countries within the continent of Europe on display, at a scale of 1 to 25. Roughly 80 cities and 350 buildings are represented with in the miniature park.
Ticket Price: 17 EUR (Adult), 12.10 EUR (child), purchase your tickets in advance here
Opening Hours: 10am to 6pm
Location: Av. du Football 1, 1020 Bruxelles, Belgium
Spending More Than 2 Days in Brussels?
If you have more than just two days to explore Brussels, I have a few more suggestions for you!
Day Trip to Bruges or Ghent
If you only have time for one city, I would personally chose Bruges. Bruges is well known for its well-preserved medieval architecture, cobblestone streets, and canals. Ghent is a University town that is considerably smaller than Bruges. Also known for it’s medieval architecture, however in my opinion, not as well-preserved as Bruges.
Brussels Comic Strip Center
Did you know that the Smurfs cartoon originated from Brussels? If you want to check out more of the history of comics in Belgium, the you would enjoy a visit to the Brussels Comic Strip Center. Very centrally located, this would be a good activity if you have some extra time in the morning before heading to your flight or train.
Seasonal Events in Brussels Worth a Visit in 2022
Brussels Chocolate Festival (February 2022)
The Salon du Chocolat event, supported by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is held in a new city around the world every year. However, annually Belgium puts on their own edition of the Salon du Chocolat in Brussels each February.
If you are lucky enough to be in Brussels during the festival you will be able to see chocolate demonstrations and workshops, partake in cooking and pastry classes, and watch fashion shows showcasing chocolate dresses created by chocolatiers, pastry chefs and designers.
Ticket Price: You can find ticketing information here
Location: Brussels Expo, Pl. de Belgique 1, 1020 Bruxelles, Belgium
The Royal Greenhouse of Laeken (Spring 2022)
A green oasis in Brussels, the Royal Greenhouse of Laeken, can only be visited during a three week period in the spring when the flowers are in bloom. Official opening times are announced in January, but typically the greenhouses are open to the public the last 2 weeks of April and the first week of May. This tradition has been carried out by the Belgian royals for a century.
The Royal Greenhouses of Laeken are an impressive complex of greenhouses on the Royal Domain of Laeken located just outside of the city center of Brussels.
Most impressive is that the greenhouses still contain an enormous number of rare and valuable plants and some of the plants alive today belonged to King Leopold II’s original collection.
Ticket Price: 2.50 EUR
Location: Av. du Parc Royal, 1020 Bruxelles, Belgium
Flower Carpet (August 2022)
The bi-annual Flower Carpet in Brussels will be held in Brussels in August 2022 which turns the entire Grand Place square into a mural made out of flowers! If you have the chance to visit, don’t pass it up!
Make sure to check out my post on visiting the Flower Carpet in Brussels which gives you all the tips for visiting in 2022 and includes my secret private viewpoint over the whole event.
Ticket Price: Free!
Location: Brussels Grand Place
Belgian Beer Weekend Festival (September 2022)
The Belgian Beer Weekend Festival takes place every year in Grand Place Brussels. Here you can find over 400 different Belgian beers to try from the local breweries with live music and shows.
The Belgian Beer Weekend has been an annual event for the last 20 years and is scheduled to take place next on Friday, September 2, 2022 – Sunday, September 4, 2022.
Ticket Price: Free! (But you pay for the beers!)
Location: Brussels Grand Place
Brussels Christmas Markets (November – December 2022)
Every year at the start of advent, Brussels celebrates the season with multiple christmas markets in the city. It is an amazing time to visit Europe and Brussels to celebrate the season.
You will find vendors with christmas treats, ornaments, local delicacies and more! Make sure to leave room in your suitcase to take home some Christmas goodies.
Ticket Price: Free!
Location: Brussels Grand Place, St. Catherine PLace
I hope you find the kindness and hospitality that the locals in Brussels, Belgium have showed up. If you are planning a trip to Brussels, Belgium and have any questions, drop them in the comments below!
Looking for more inspiration? You may also enjoy these Belgium related posts:
- Visiting the Flower Carpet in Brussels, incl. a Secret Viewing Spot
- A Weekend in Bruges, Belgium
- 11 Best Things to Do in Ghent
- The Perfect 2-Day Amsterdam Itinerary
- Where to Find the Best Fields of Tulips in the Netherlands