Explore the highlights of Brussels and the Waterloo battlefields on this private, 8-hour tour with an informative guide. Traveling by air-conditioned vehicle and on foot, you'll gain insight into the Belgian capital’s illustrious history as you discover famous landmarks such as the Royal Palace, the Grand Place, and the iconic Atomium sculpture. Later in the day get an inside look at one of the most significant battles in European history at the site of the legendary Battle of Waterloo. Your private guide will show you where the action took place between the French and the British and Prussians — culminating in the final defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte — as you tour the battlegrounds, discover strategic planning sites and visit memorials commemorating fallen soldiers.
Depart your Brussels hotel by private, air-conditioned vehicle for your 8-hour tour. If there’s anything you want to see more of, let your guide know: your tour is private, so the itinerary can be tailored to your interests.The morning is spent in Brussels, with the first stop being at the Grand Place, Brussels' magnificent medieval main square. Stroll by the baroque and Gothic buildings as you hear about their history, and walk to the Statue of the Peeing Boy (Manneken Pis) to learn why this quirky monument of a urinating boy was placed here in the mid-1600s.Drive to the Laeken district, home to the main residence of Belgium’s royal family. Pass St Michael’s Cathedral, the Royal Palace, Chinese Pavilion and Japanese Tower; and enjoy a photo stop at the Atomium, the stunning sculpture built for Brussels’ 1957 World’s Fair. Then, continue to the National Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Admire the art deco interior and visit the dome to absorb the bird’s-eye city views. Check out the beautiful Royal Place and Sablon Place, with its impressive Gothic church and Law Courts.Just before lunch (own expense), admire the Cinquantenaire Triumphal Arch and Park, built to mark the 50th anniversary of royal Belgium in 1880.After a 40-minute drive south, arrive in the city of Waterloo. It was here where, in the year 1815, one of the most significant battles in European history took place — the Battle of Waterloo.Listen as your guide explains the history of the battle, during which the French army fell to the Duke of Wellington’s British and Prussian forces, leaving 12,000 dead and 35,000 wounded. A pivotal point in these nations’ histories, the Battle of Waterloo led to the final defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte, ending the era of France’s domination in Europe.See where the complex battle plans were laid out at the Duke’s former headquarters and La Belle Alliance, an inn that Napoleon commandeered as his headquarters. Take in panoramic views over the battlegrounds from atop Lion Hill, a man-made hill erected as a monument to honor William II of the Netherlands.Then take a driving tour of the battlefield itself, and stop at a few significant sites to go more in depth with your guide. You’ll see where some of the bloodiest episodes took place and visit La Haye Sainte, a series of farm buildings that served as a hiding place for the Duke’s men.Commemorate fallen soldiers at the Gordon Monument and the Prussian Monument, in the now peaceful village of Plancenoit where the Prussian allies attacked Napoleon’s forces and won a key victory during the battle.After this fascinating overview of the Battle of Waterloo, hop back in your private vehicle and relax on the drive back to central Brussels.