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Updated by Victoire Losseau on Aug 23, 2016
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What to do in Brussels, Belgium?

The best tips, stores, shops, museums, restaurants, view of Brussels in Belgium.
This list is perfect to organize your week-end in the European Capital!

1

Brussels Map - Brussels, Belgium

Brussels Map - Brussels, Belgium

Flibco - Brussels South or Charleroi Airport Shuttle

When you come to Brussels, you probably took the plane and arrived at Brussels Charleroi Airport.

Thank you Ryanair to offer us so many destination from Brussels!

Anyway Brussels Charleroi Airport is not Brussels, the capital of Belgium. So you have to take the shuttle, it is 1 hour ride.
I really recommend you to book the shuttle on Flibco in advance. It is €5 the ride vs €14. Please do not tell me you took a Ryanair to save money if you make such a mistake!

Plus the booking is available for the entire day, it is not like you miss the specific time because your plane was delayed.

Brussels map

Brussels is a small city but when you arrive to this city it is great to understand how subway works.

Main trains and airport shuttle arrive at Gare du midi or Zuidstation in dutch so you can manage your way with this map.

STIB website

Brussels has a great transport network with also tram and bus.

I suggest you to download the Citymapper application which helps you to get the shortest way. In addition this app does not stop to Brussels but all the Belgium country.

For a complete map with locals tips I recommend the one of Use-It. They have also an office close to Gare Centrale (Map)
It is principally made for a young population but it can be used for everyone.

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Grand Place

Grand Place

Must do is to go to the Grand Place of Brussels.
You can come from Gare Central or Place de Brouckère.
In the Grand Place you have on the picture the Brussels City Hall and in front the King House or Maison du Roi but it is not the Royal Palace.

Plus there WiFI is free!

Do not take a drink there it is too expensive!

You can go to the Dandoy original shop where you can taste the best speculoos ever in Rue au Beurre.

Map

3

Halles Saint Géry

Halles Saint Géry

If you want to take a drink or just chill out with your friend, Halles St Géry is the best spot for you.
All bars around and inside the Halles are pretty nice.

For the ones who love fashion, fashion or trendy pieces, every first Sunday in the month is organized the Brussels Vintage Market.

Map

4

Place Sainte Catherine

Place Sainte Catherine

Close to the Grand Place and Halles St Géry you will find Place Sainte Catherine.

Make sure to see the left of the Ste Catherine Churh, you will see urinal. Remember Manneken Pis is the symbol of Brussels!
Another affiliate symbole the Zinneken Pis. Zinneke means "bastard" in Dutch. In fact the inhabitants of Brussels are called the Zinneke because the city is both Dutch and French but also multicultural due to the European Institution, Embassies and other organizations. Like the song of the Brussels artist Stromae we are all bastards in Brussels so we are all equal an that's pretty cool.

Where to eat?

Mer du Nord Place Sainte Catherine
This Fish seller and take away is a must do on this place!
I recommend you to take the shrimp croquettes or croquettes de crevette with a glass of white wine.
Closed on Monday

Le Pré Salé
This former butcher's shop makes the best mussels ever! Also a must have to taste when you are in Belgium.
Be sure to eat it from September to April (a month included a "R")
The restaurant does not have so many places so make sure to book and to arrive early. Belgians eat at 6:00Pm so it won't be nice if they do not have anymore mussels.
Count €30 per person for dinner. Trust me it really worth it!
Closed on Monday and Tuesday

Map

Where to go out?

Madame Moustache
It is difficult to describe this place but it is like you are back in the 1920's in a circus!
The atmosphere is magical, you can check reviews on Yelp.
Music changes depending on the agenda and the entrance is around €10.

Map

Club La Vilaine
The former club Mr Wong owns now by Madame Moustache is the best spot for electronic music

Map

Where is the best view?

Parking 58
You can access to this car park even if your car is not parked there! Take directly the lift and hit the 10 button.
There you will have the best spot of Brussels with a view of the cathedral, Grand Place, Royal Palace and the Atomium.
In Summer when the weather is nice the rooftop is used by Les Jardins Suspendus and it becomes a huge green grass terrasse with a bar and chairs.

Map

Where to go shopping?

This place is where all the Belgians shop away from the avenue Louise or Rue Neuve, you will find all the trendy shops in Rue Dansaert and around.

Map

Delirium Café

Don't come to Brussels if you don't taste its beers!

Delirium is a small village inside Brussels.
The original Delirium café got the record of the most beers served in a bar with more than 3000 beers from Belgium and worldwide.
The Delirium village offers different bars for Tequila, Absinthe, Gin, Rhum, Whisky and of course beer!

Make sure to see the Jeanneke Pis, the feminine version of Manneken Pis in the background of the street.

Map

You may also be tempted to eat. Well the restaurants on Rue des Bouchers are a tourist trap so go away!

The Galerie de la Reine | Galeries royales saint Hubert

Right next to the Grand-Place, the Galerie de la Reine is home to lots of luxury boutiques, clockmakers and chocolate shops as well as all sorts of restaurants.
The Cinéma d'Art et Essai, the Galleries themselves, not to mention the Vaudeville Theatre can also be found here.

You will find there as well Meet, my favorite Vanilla Waffles from Lille and the Belgian Hermès purses: Delvaux.

Map

If you would like to take a beer, visit A La Mort Subite, this place is so Art Déco and offers the original >"Mort Subite" and "Gueuze"

Continue in rue de Marché au Herbes and you will discover great beers to buy at De Bier Tempel

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Manneken Pis

Manneken Pis

When you are in the Grand Place you can take the street on the left of the city hall Rue Charles Buls
Go straight and you will discover the Manneken Pis.
Most of the times he is not naked but during night yes.

If you feel thirsty once you are here. I recommend to go to the Poechenellekelder and do not forget to visit their basement!

Map

You may have seen before some comics like Tintin on the walls of the city. Belgian comics are very famous around the world. The capital has a Comics Art Museum dedicated for his comics authors.
But if you are a big fan of Tintin I recommend you to visit Hergé museum at Louvain-la-neuve (30 minutes from Brussels by train)

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Les Sablons

Les Sablons

If you were at the Manneken Pis, continue on Rue du Chêne and Rue de l'Escalier, you will discover a nice comic of the Manneken Pis.

To go to the Sablons take rue de Rollebeek cross the boulevard de l'empereur. This street is very charming and you will be on the place of the Sablons where all the nice Belgians Chocolate Makers are.

My favorite chocolates:
Wittamer pronounces in french "Oui Ta Mère" translated in English "Yes Your Mother!" pretty funny right?
Wittamer is the King supplier and you really understand why. This caterer offers the best quality products in Brussels.

Pierre Marcolini
If you like dark chocolate, you will taste the true Belgian fine chocolates

If you want to take a drink in a lounge atmosphere, I suggest you to go to Hortense at the Sablon.
This hidden place is difficult to find between La Case à Pain and Faiencerie de Gien, the bar is located in the basement. Their cocktails are delicious and will surprise you!
Closed on Monday and Tuesday

Map

9

Mont des Arts

Mont des Arts

A place where all the best museums to see in Brussels are reunited!

  1. Magritte Museum
    The Belgian artist, famous for his surrealism painting such the green apple used after by The Beatles, has his own museum. I advise you to take the audio guide.

  2. Royal Museum of Fine Arts Museum Of Belgium
    You can visit the different exhibitions and the Magritte Museum. Very nice if you would like to see all the Belgian art.

  3. BOZAR
    BOZAR is very great for its temporary exhibitions always surprising!

  4. MIM - Musical Instruments Museum
    Outside the building is a masterpiece of Art Déco and on the last level, the restaurant and coffee gives you a wonderful view of Brussels.

  5. Royal Library of Belgium
    When you study there you are back in time, it is very quiet. Plus on the last floor a cafeteria is extended on a rooftop, another spot to admire Brussels.

  6. BELvue
    Next to the Royal Palace, the museum is free all the first Sunday of the month. BELvue is interesting to understand the Belgian Kingdom's history.

Close to those Museums, you can chill in the Royal Park or Brussels Park and admire the Royal Palace. The palace can be visited two weeks during August when the royal family is away for Holidays.

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Louise and St Gilles

Louise and St Gilles

Place Poealart

This impressive monument and the Place Poelaert are in a small sequence of the famous Belgian Movie Dikkenek
This picture was taken from the former hotel Hilton, now The Hotel.

From this Place you have another view of Brussels.

Map

Louise district

Where to go Shopping?

  1. Luxury on Chaussée de Waterloo (Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Dior, Gucci)
  2. Avenue Louise
  3. Galerie Louise

Where to go out?

  1. Crystal Lounge
    The lounge bar and terrasse of the Sofitel Brussels Le Louise offers you the best cocktails of Belgium. In fact Raphaël, the bartender wons several awards for his cocktails.
    Map

  2. Le Spirito
    This former Church is a trendy nightclub where you listen Hip/Hop and R'n'B music.
    Even Rihanna and Drake went there!
    Map

Gare du Midi

The Sunday Morning Market close to the train station is the biggest of Brussels

If you are a fan o flea market you should go Place du Jeu de Balles in the Marolles

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Fritkot

Fritkot

Belgium is synonym of French Fries oups.. sorry I mean Belgian Fries.

In fact the fries may belong to the UNESCO Heritage.
It is due to two different temperature cooking.
One to cook the fries inside and another to make the fries crunchy.
Plus the fritkot sells more than 10 different sauce.

It is the cheapest dishes of Brussels with less than €4.

I have two good addresses:

  1. Friterie Place Flagey - Louise District/Flagey
    Map
    Closed on Monday

  2. Maison Antoine - Place Jourdan - European District
    Map

Cupcakes - LILICUP - 65 rue de Page - Horta (Tram)

I spend six months in New York but I never found those delicious cupcakes.

Lilicup offers you the best cupcakes ever! But if you are not into it, the pastry shop have also delicious cakes and cookies and also really good fresh and hot drinks.

Map

Closed on Monday and Sunday

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What to do in Brussels with children (for the little ones under 3 years old)

-Roodebeek Park (free mini zoo)

  • Poney at Etterbeek (Every Saturday, Sunday from 11am to 5pm and Wednesday from 2pm to 5pm), necessary to call 0474/55.63.93 or 0489/33.32.44)
  • Ludothèque (Avenue d'Auderghem, Wednesday form 9:30am to 12:30pm, Thursday from 9:30 to 12pm and Friday from 9:30am to 1:30pm)