Planning 2 days in Brussels?
I’m so excited for you! Brussels is a super walkable, super fun city, so you’ll have no trouble navigating the quaint streets of this charming capital.
But with all my uninformative, fluffy adjectives, you may be wondering what to do in Brussels.
Umm? Where do I start?
I don’t want this post to morph into a lame version of War and Peace.
Because in reality, there are so many fun and unusual things to do in Brussels that honestly, I doubt you’ll be able to see it all in just two days.
But That’s Okay!
You can always extend your Brussels in 2 days itinerary or just plan another trip altogether.
So strap on a pair of super comfy walking shoes because we only have 2 days in Brussels and we’re gonna make them count!
Sure, there is a lot to do in Brussels.
But after reading this Brussels travel itinerary, you’ll be able to quickly and efficiently find some of the best attractions in Brussels, eat your weight in chocolate (and waffles), and drink a ton of amazing Belgian Beers; activities that will all leave you wondering, do I really have to leave?
So Cheers to an amazing two days in Brussels!
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Day 1 (You Can Also Just Do This Itinerary and Spend 1 Day in Brussels)
I know I have a lot on this day 1 sightseeing tour. And yes, it may all seem a bit daunting and totally impossible but Brussels is a capital that is easy to walk around. Therefore, it is possible to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time.
The breakfast of champions at Jat’ Café in the Royal Quarter of Brussels; a charming, centrally located cafe that has an amazing selection of coffee, juices, bagels, omelets, and more.
They even offer live music, making this a great place to sit and relax. O-M-G! I almost forgot that they offer brunch too! My favorite meal in the entire world since I love breakfast AND the fact that you don’t have to get up insanely early; talk about a win win.
Once You’re Done with Breakfast:
Let’s mosey over to Parc de Bruxelles, the largest green space in central Brussels.
Is it the most beautiful park I’ve ever seen? No. But it is a pleasant, well-manicured park that is dotted with classical statues and that offers visitors lovely views of both the Palais Royal and the Palais de la Nation.
So take a quick walk, snap a few photos, and bounce.
We’ll walk across the street to The Grand Palace, which is open to the public for free tours, from July 21 through September of every year.
***If the palace isn’t open during your visit, then head to the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts instead. This art museum consists of two separate museums that present visitors with an assortment of classic art in the form of refined Flemish portraits (at the Musée Magritte) and modern art in the form of quirky modern masterpieces (at the Musée d’Art Moderne).***
***If art isn’t your cup of tea then you can take a half day trip to the outskirts of the city and explore both Atomium and Mini Europe. I found both attractions to be a bit touristy but it all just depends on what you’re interested in. ***
The Grand Palace is used only as the king’s administrative residence or main workplace where he receives foreign dignitaries and conducts daily administrative duties for the nation of Brussels.
But You Have to Worry About NONE of that!
You’re here to experience the amazing architecture and exquisite decor of this historic center of government. Pretend your royal AF and glide up the main staircase like the baller that you are.
Walk through the building and take in the classic, Imperial decor of the Empire Room, the oldest room in the palace.
Continue on and savor the beauty of the Goya Room, Coburg Room, Louis XVI Room, the Throne Room, the Large Gallery, the Mirror Room, and the Thinker Room.
There are a ton more rooms but it seems kind of silly to list them all here since you can read about them on the website.
Hands down though:
My favorite room in the palace is the Mirror Room. It is truly unique, with an exquisite, iridescent, green ceiling that, believe it or not, is made out of 1.5 million Jewel Beetles (the piece is known as the “Heaven of Delight”). Crazy right?
After You’ve Had Your Fill of the Palace Awesomeness:
Exit the palace and turn left, walking until you see the Old England Building on your right.
You’ll know you’re in the right place when you see a unique, art-nouveau style building that has the words, “Old England Building” emboldened on the side.
This charming building is home to one of the most extensive collections of historic, world instruments in the entire world. With over 2,000 instruments in the collection, you will be enchanted by the diversity of the high quality of instruments on display here.
Just be sure to grab a pair of headphones before entering the museum since many of the museum plaques are in French only.
(Needless to say, my pathetic ability to say things like, “Bonjour” and “Merci” helped me little in deciphering these plaques of information)
Feeling a Tad Peckish?
Then head to the tenth floor, aboard a super cool, vintage elevator, and dine at the panoramic rooftop cafe and outdoor terrace.
Sure, the view is amazing, but the restaurant also offers a divine, all you can eat, brunch buffet that is the stuff that my foodie fantasies are made of.
After you’ve got a bit of a food coma, let’s visit one of Brussels many amazing churches, Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula (Église Notre-Dame du Sablon and Saint Nicholas Church are also great but a bit out of the way),
Taking over 300 years to complete, the Cathedral of St. Michael is a stunning mix of French Gothic and Brabantine Gothic architecture (just think really pretty and really old).
Not Surprisingly Though:
The Cathedral’s central location makes the church a frequent location for important Catholic ceremonies of state like a royal marriage or state funeral.
The church interior has been lavishly decorated, with a Baroque style altar, gorgeous stained glasses windows, a massive organ, and an expansive choir, filled with an assortment of church treasures and mausoleums.
When You Feel Like You Can Look at Crucifixes No More:
Let’s lighten the mood with an exhilarating trip to the Comic Strip Museum or nerd paradise for short.
From the first sketches to the last color application, the Comic Strip Museum does an excellent job of showing visitors just how time-consuming and difficult an artform comic strip creation really is.
You get to see all these awesome comics that we all grew up with. You know, classics like The Adventures of Tin Tin and the Smurfs, making this museum one of the must do things in Brussels.
There is a really interesting and totally free, comic strip exhibition across the street that you can check out. One of the great free things to do in Brussels.
***Since we are short on time, I recommend a trip to the comic strip museum. However, Brussels also has an amazing comic strip route that you can follow through the city if you’re not a museum person. Including over fifty comic strip murals, the comic strip route is a fun and unique way to explore Brussels and become acquainted with some of the less touristy neighborhoods in the city.***
After embracing your not so inner kid for a while:
Walk over to the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert; an awe-inspiring shopping arcade that was one of the first in all of Europe, when it was built in 1847.
As you walk through this two hundred meter shopping complex, you’ll be amazed by the building’s bas-relief, beautiful chandeliers, and a stunning glass ceiling that enchantingly illuminates the entire shopping complex.
And while this shopping arcade is lovely:
Let’s admit it, you’re really here to taste some of the fine Belgium chocolate and hunger-inducing waffles that can be found all along this iconic building.
But What Should You Try and Where Can You Find the Best Food in Brussels?
Both dessert purveyors have multiple storefronts in Brussels (and Belgium in general). So if the locations in the gallery are too crowded, you can always go elsewhere.
I just like Maison Dandoy in the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert since you can sit, relax, and enjoy your waffle while watching all the shoppers as they stroll on by.
Maison Dandoy can get ridiculously crowded, so try to visit at an off time since there are a limited number of tables that offer full service (and yes, you can only get a waffle if you sit down to eat).
Also, and this is Imperative (NOT. LoL):
Do not dose your waffle in heaps of toppings that mask the taste of the waffle itself.
That’s a Belgium No No.
Instead, be a snooty waffle connoisseur and limit yourself to two toppings at most. I went with strawberries and whipped cream but clearly, the choice is up to you. LoL. But no really since less is more when it comes to waffle toppings in Belgium.
After You’re Sporting a Massive Food Baby Dujour:
We’ll visit one of the most stunning places in all of Brussels, the Grand Place.
No joke, I’ve seen a ton of awesome European architecture, but this place takes the cake, or waffle as the case may be.
Hidden within the labyrinth of streets that make up central Brussels:
This cobblestone, main square rises before you as you enter from one of the areas many side alleys.
Truth be Told:
Rue des Harengs is the best way to enter the Grand Place since you get an amazing view of the exquisite,15th-century city hall, as well as the charming guildhalls that also line the square.
Take some time to marvel at the opulence of architectural majesty that includes baroque gables, gilded statues, and elaborate guild symbols that I don’t quite understand but love all the same.
***If you have time, you can pop around the corner and take a quick picture of la bourse de Brussels, or the historic building that is home to the Brussels Stock Exchange.***
After Taking it all In (You Baller You):
It’s an easy walk to one of our last stops of the day, Manneken Pis, the rather unlikely symbol of the entire city.
As the Name Suggests:
This 61 cm (tiny) statue depicted a small boy pissing into a fountain. Yup, it’s pretty hysterical to see and a pretty random city icon if I do say so myself. Of course, New York City is known as the Big Apple so I shouldn’t judge.
Designed by Hiëronymus Duquesnoy (the Elder ) and put into place between 1618 and 1619, this little guy was replaced by a copy, in 1965, and is now dressed up in hysterical outfits for different national holidays and special events.
So obviously you must visit Brussels during a holiday, just so that you can see this little guy dressed up in all his glory.
To Find this Statue (Without getting pissed):
Head to the corner of the main square that lies in front of the turreted town hall of 1893. Or look it up on GPS, either work.
***Everyone knows about Manneken Pis but fewer people know about his sister, Jeanneke Pis. This peeing little lady is located across the street from Délirium Café, along Impasse de la Fidélité, near the Rue des Bouchers.***
Depending on How Tired or Hungry You Are:
You can check out Delirium Cafe for the Belgian Beer of your dreams (one of the best bars in Brussels).
With over 2,000 beers to choose from, just ask a friendly bartender for their advice and you’ll find a beer that suits just about any palate.
***If you love beer then check out this three hour, Belgian Beer Tasting Experience***
Don’t Wanna Drink the Night Away?
if you’re looking for something a bit more formal, I enjoyed Pasta Divina since they are known for their delicious sauces and homemade pasta. I ordered the spinach infused pasta but the Bolognese was pretty awesome too.
If you’re not Feeling Italian:
Bia Mara is a great choice for seafood lovers. I don’t eat fish but apparently, the fish and chips here are to die for.
But no matter where you dine:
Make reservations since both Brussels restaurants are popular and tend to fill up fast.
*** Looking for a nice hotel in Brussels that make your wallet bleed? Then check out Hotel des Galeries, the Dominican, Hotel Made in Louise, and Brussels Bloom. Some awesome hotels that won’t make you cry when you see the bill. ***
Day 2 of My Super Fab Brussels 2 Day Itinerary!
***If you’re looking for a quick breakfast then PAUL is a great option. This traditional Belgian patisserie offers a fantastic selection of pastries and coffees that are perfect for anyone on the go***
Hop on the metro and get off at Merode station, right outside of the beautiful Parc du Cinquantenaire.
Built during Léopold II’s reign:
This park is known for a massive triumphal arch (Arcade du Cinquantenaire), that was built in 1880 to celebrate 50 years of independence in Belgium, as well as a collection of art, history, military, and motor vehicle museums that are worth exploring.
If I had to Pick One Museum to Visit:
I would pick the Musée du Cinquantenaire, which offers visitors a beautifully dynamic collection of antiquities that range from Egyptian sarcophagi to a collection of celebratory face masks from Meso-America.
Just try and plan your visit in advance since the size of the museum can prove a bit daunting. Also be aware of the fact that most signage is not in English. Therefore, you might want to rent an English audioguide so that you can actually understand what you’re looking at.
Since You’re Probably Starving By Now:
Let’s walk over to Maison Antoine, one of the best places in Brussels to try Belgian frites. I’ve also heard their carbonnade flamande is delicious, but since this dish is a beef stew cooked in beer, I took a hard pass.
Seating can be a bit tricky to find, so fi you are eating something a little less portable than Belgian frites, you can always order a beer and sit in one of the many bars in the area.
Next, We’re Gonna Haul Ass Back on the Subway:
I know it’s annoying but kind of necessary since we have to get off at Heysel, virtually the last stop on the metro.
***If you don’t feel up to a long subway ride, you can also explore Musée Wiertz and Horta Museum. I’ve heard both are truly fascinating places that are definitely worth a visit.***
Once here, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with a stellar view of a Giant Atom that stands at a whopping, 102 meters tall! Sweet, right?
Okay, I’ll Admit it:
Atomium is rather touristy and a bit expensive, but legit, how many times in your life are you gonna see a giant atom?
Plus, it’s not like this is just any old atom. It’s actually an iron atom in it’s traditional, crystal lattice form (I sound so smart. Guess that science degree is FINALLY gonna pay off).
I didn’t go to the top because the whole place seemed uber touristy, but I did visit and thought that this enormous, space-age structure was definitely one of the more unique things to do in Brussels and pretty cool in person.
But Why a Giant Atom? I mean, this structure is almost as useful as a giant ball of string.
Believe it or not, this enormous atom was created as a symbol of postwar progress, for the 1958 World’s Fair. Since then, this structure has grown in fame and has since become one of the top things to do in Brussels.
***If you feel inspired to visit the top of Atomium, definitely book tickets in advance since the line is insanely long, especially in the summer. ***
***Walk across the street and you’ll find Mini Europe; another super touristy attraction that presents guests with miniature versions of famous EU monuments (The scale is 1:25. But that means nothing to me so do with that what you will). I didn’t visit because it looked lame but if shrunken models of 80 cities and over 350 buildings are appealing to you then, by all means, rock it out***
Once You’ve Reached Tourist Trap Overload:
Head over to La Quincallerie for a fantastic dinner of hummus, risotto, and roasted tomato and avocado carpaccio, YUM!
But It’s Not All About the Delicious Food.
This amazing restaurant has some incredible, one of a kind decor that pays homage to this restaurant’s former life as a vintage hardware store.
Between the green, wrought iron staircase, with a huge vintage clock in the center, you’ll be as entranced by the decor as you are by the food here.
Hold On, There’s More!
The walls here are also lined with vibrantly colored, vintage bottles that are brimming with decadent elixirs of adult delight; drinks that will make you feel like a kid in a very adult candy shop. ‘
So order a drink, grab a comfy couch, and savor the remnants of a fun-filled, 2 days in Brussels, Belgium.
You made it! This concludes my itinerary for 2 days in Brussels, Belgium! Could you be any happier that it’s all over? Lol.
But seriously, I’ve introduced you to some of the top attractions in Brussels, and have even thrown in some unique things to do and see in Brussels too.
Therefore, I hope you understand how to plan a perfect weekend itinerary in Brussels, Belgium. So if you’re ready to start planning your trip to Brussels, then pin this now and read it again later!