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Best things to do in Brussels

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Where in the world: Europe  /  Belgium  /  Brussels
At Grand Place, Brussels' impressive main square, you'll see many opulent buildings, including the city hall, Museum of the City of Brussels, and Brewers Museum. When in the capital of Belgium, make sure a visit to Atomium, a building resembling the structure of an atom, is on your list of things to do in Brussels. Musicians and music enthusiasts rarely miss Musical Instruments Museum, where they explore various musical traditions and peculiar music instruments. Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium remains a special treat for every art buff.

Brussels is best known for its Historic Sites, Specialty Museums, and Monuments.

Top 15 things to do in Brussels

1. Grand Place

The center of Brussels, Grand Place forms an imposing square with opulent buildings, including the city hall. Dating back to 1523, the city's main square was listed as a World Heritage Site in 1998. Take in the grand architecture of the guild halls, and a tour of city hall. The square houses the Museum of the City of Brussels and the Brewers Museum, both of which give a good impression of the essence of Brussels. Despite its relatively small size, the square attracts more visitors than any other attraction in the European capital. Also there, Hôtel de Ville de Bruxelles.
Suggested duration: 1 hour
Tours from $18 › Learn more about Grand Place

2. Atomium

A bizarrely shaped building, Atomium resembles a giant atom. Originally built for Expo 58, Brussels' World Fair in 1958, the landmark now attracts visitors for its impressive views of the capital from above. Designed in the shape of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times, the building is composed of nine huge stainless-steel spheres measuring 18 m (59 ft) in diameter and connected by steel tubes. Visit the five spheres containing exhibit halls, including one permanent exhibit dedicated to Expo 58. The top sphere offers a panoramic view of Brussels. Learn about the building's history, construction, and renovation on a guided tour.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Tours from $33 › Learn more about Atomium

3. Manneken Pis

A curiously famous landmark, Manneken Pis depicts a small bronze boy urinating into a fountain. The history behind the statue is contested, with several different legends surrounding the naked boy. Brussels artist Jerome Duquesnoy designed the sculpture in 1619, but because of many thefts over the years, the original statute today sits in the Maison du Roi/Broodhuis in Grand Place. Just a short walk from the main square, you'll know you're getting close when the souvenir shops feature larger-than-life versions of the landmark sculpture. At only 61 cm (24 in), this small sculpture has garnered huge attention, even having a chain of French-fry shops named after him. The little boy is dressed regularly in the attire of an organ builder, mayor of Brussels, and judo practitioner. Visit his female counterpart, Jeanneke Pis, squatting in a street nearby.
Suggested duration: 1 hour
Tours from $12 › Learn more about Manneken Pis

4. Belgian Beer Tasting in Brussels

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Taste why Belgium has received worldwide acclaim for its craft beer on this 2.5-hour guided tasting tour in Brussels. Your guide will fill you in on how to tell a Belgian beer from beers produced in other countries and explain what distinguishes the many types of beers — more than 1,000 — created in this small country. This tour is a great way to get a quick and tasty overview of Belgian beer.
Suggested duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
Tours from $33 › More about this tour at viator.com ›
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Best tours in Brussels

5. Mini-Europe

Mini-Europe brings Europe's major attractions together in one place at a fraction of their real size. From miniature versions of Big Ben and the Eiffel Tower to the canals of Venice and Athens' Acropolis, you can complete a whirlwind tour of the continent just by exploring the park. The landmarks even come to life, allowing you to recreate moments in history. See Vesuvius erupt, and the watch the Berlin Wall come down. Learn more about the European Union and its history, purpose, and challenges in this interactive exhibit.
Suggested duration: 3h 30 min
Tours from $5 › Learn more about Mini-Europe

6. St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral (Cathedrale St-Michel et Ste-Gudule)

Dedicated to the patron saints of Brussels, St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral (Cathedrale St-Michel et Ste-Gudule) cuts an imposing figure in the historic city center. It is co-cathedral of the Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels, along with St. Rumbold's Cathedral in Mechelen. The cathedral's two terraced spires reach 64 m (210 ft) tall and were designed by Jan van Ruysbroeck, the same architect responsible for the tower of the city's town hall. Inside, visit the mausoleums of the dukes of Brabant and Archduke Ernest of Austria. Admire the way the sunlight hits the cathedral's stained-glass windows. The cathedral contains a massive organ with 4,300 pipes.
Suggested duration: 1 hour
Tours from $3 › Learn more about St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral (Cathedrale St-Michel et Ste-Gudule)

7. Walking tours

Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
Tours from $7 › Learn more about Walking tours

8. Historical Walking Tour: Legends of Bruges

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Walk around Bruges with a local guide, explore the historic centre and travel back in time to the golden days of Bruges. Our guide will tell you interesting facts and stories of love, glory and fortune, but also of intrigue, war and conflict. He or she can also advise you on where to eat and where to drink during your stay. By the end of the tour you'll know more than a local!IMPORTANT NOTE: Our guides are volunteers who offer tours for tips. The fee only covers the cost of booking via this platform.
Suggested duration: 2 hours 15 minutes
Tours from $3 › More about this tour at viator.com ›

9. Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert

With gourmet Belgian chocolate shops housed in a 19th-century shopping arcade with a glass roof, it's hard to say what the real attraction is at Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert. The shopping center attracts both locals and tourists who want to browse the chocolate shops and clothing boutiques or enjoy a quiet moment in one of the cafes. The glass ceiling brings in sunlight while protecting you from the weather, so you can enjoy the building's beauty at any time of year. Walk along the wide corridor between matching facades, shop the luxury labels, and soak up some culture at one of the museums housed in the galleries.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Tours from $3 › Learn more about Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert

10. Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

Take in a wide range of art, including works from the Belgian masters, at Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, a collection of the country's four most important museums. Two of the museums are located in the center of Brussels in the Coudenberg neighborhood: the Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Ancient Art. The Museum of Ancient Art was built as the Palais des Beaux-Arts funded by King Leopold II and showcases the artwork in large galleries. The other two museums are a few kilometers from the city center and house the work of specific artists: the Constantin Meunier Museum and the Antoine Wiertz Museum. Reach the Meunier Museum by tram lines 23, 90, 94 and the Wiertz Museum from the Luxembourg station. These two museums are free to enter and tour. All of the museums are free on the first Wednesday of every month, and with the Brussels Card. Alternatively, buy a combo ticket for all of the museums, including the Magritte Museum, for a discount and for convenience. These tickets are available at any of the museum's reception desks.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
Tours from $12 › Learn more about Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

11. Belgian Comic Strip Center

Walk through the history of Tintin at the Belgian Comic Strip Center, which celebrates the art of the comic. The center is housed inside a former department store designed by Art Nouveau architect Victor Horta, whose great glass ceiling lets in enough natural light to illuminate the museum galleries. Exhibits showcase French, English, and Dutch comic art from its earliest days to the present. An extensive Tintin exhibit is the main attraction with the history of the artwork and its creator, and even life-size models of the characters. Browse copies of some of Europe's best-known comics and graphic novels in the reading room and library. A self-guided tour is the most popular way to explore the building and the exhibits, because information about each exhibit is available in multiple languages.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Tours from $34 › Learn more about Belgian Comic Strip Center

12. Hungry Mary's Famous Beer and Chocolate Tour in Brussels

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The #1 Food tour in Brussels on TripAdvisor! This walking tour includes highlights of the city center of Brussels (Royal Galeries, Grand Place, Manneken Pis) with chocolate tastings from the most exclusive chocolate makers in Brussels (10 tastings), followed with a beer tasting session (6 beers) with an overview of all Belgian beers styles in bars and taverns around Grand Place (+ some extra food nibbles to avoid a hungover!).Sample some of the best chocolates (no commercial brands) and the best beers (craft or traditional small breweries).Meet like minded travelers from all over the World with laid back yet organized, friendly and sometimes funny guides!You also get discounts in two chocolate shops and one beer shop.Hungry Mary"Tours for people who dont' like tours"
Suggested duration: 4 to 5 hours
Tours from $99 › More about this tour at viator.com ›

13. Historic Centre of Brugge, Bruges

Step into Old World charm in Historic Centre of Brugge. Once a medieval settlement, this quiet city center still features preserved Gothic buildings and was at one time considered to be a major commercial city, due mainly to its port. Walk the cobbled streets to find endless chocolate shops, pubs featuring doubles and triples, and a mix of architectural styles. View the historic city on a boat tour through the canals, or sit back during a carriage ride through the canal-lined streets. If you've seen the film "In Bruges," you may want to take a guided tour, which can pinpoint major locations from the film.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Tours from $3 › Learn more about Historic Centre of Brugge

14. Serres Royales De Laeken

Visit the vast collection of botanicals at Serres Royales De Laeken, or "Royal Greenhouses of Laeken." Located just outside the city of Brussels, the glass-covered greenhouses shelter thousands of species of plants and flowers, commissioned by King Leopold II as a series of all-weather pleasure gardens. You'll find a chapel in the greenhouses, nicknamed the "Iron Church." Wear comfortable shoes to tour the huge complex, which covers 2.5 hectares (6 acres). Visit the attraction's website to check the blooming dates, or visiting times, and to synchronize your arrival.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Tours from $5 › Learn more about Serres Royales De Laeken

15. Brussels Chocolate Walking Tour and Workshop

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This chocolate tour includes a chocolate workshop Learn how to make your own chocolate creationsTastings at the best chocolates shopsVenture past the best sights of BrusselsSelection of Belgian pastries
Suggested duration: 3 hours 30 minutes
Tours from $76 › More about this tour at viator.com ›

Best tours in Brussels