Welcome to Brussels


Architecture

The cityscape swings from majestic to quirky to rundown and back again. Art deco facades face off against 1960s concrete developments, and regal 19th-century mansions contrast with the shimmering glass of the EU’s Gotham City. This whole maelstrom swirls out from Brussels’ medieval core, where the Grand Place is surely one of the world’s most beautiful squares. But Brussels' greatest architectural expression came at the turn of the 19th century with art nouveau, and its master builder is Horta. While restraint characterises his exteriors, the interiors are sensual symphonies of form and colour.

Art

Sometimes it seems as if every building in the city is being converted into a contemporary art gallery, from townhouses to skating rinks to the vast canal-side Citroën garage being remodelled to showcase conceptual art. With property prices lower than Paris, many commercial galleries are choosing to shift to the city. And students and young artists are opening their doors to show work at open studio weekends and event nights. Whether you prefer iconoclastic or outsider art, Magritte or the Flemish Primitives, there really is something for every art lover in Brussels.

Food & Drink

As with many other aspects of life, the people of Brussels like to eat and drink a little differently, and there are some deeply ingrained habits: delicious frites have to be double fried, and the classic waffle comes with a snowfall of icing sugar. They even have their own biscuit: the shortcrust cinnamon speculoos. In addition to the fabled beer, which many visitors focus their trip around, Brussels boasts the half-en-half, a heady mix of white wine and champagne. In recent times there has been an increasing focus on local organic cuisine, and this heavy eating city is definitely getting healthier.

The Marolles

Brussels’ once resolutely working-class Marolles quarter has partly shed its proletarian image with a clutch of intimate restaurants and funky interior-design shops along the main streets, Rue Haute and Rue Blaes. Nonetheless, pockets of original Bruxellois character can still be found, notably around the Place du Jeu-de-Balle. At a few of the enjoyable downmarket cafés here you might overhear people speaking in the earthy Bruxellois dialect, and at least one stall still sells the traditional street food: snails. Note that, despite the name, Jeu-de-Balle (aka balle-pelotte) is no longer played here.


Top experiences in Brussels

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We've pre-picked the best hotels, hostels and bed and breakfasts to make your stay as enjoyable as possible.

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Travel guides

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Brussels activities

$53.28 Day Trips & Excursions

Ghent and Bruges Full-Day Tour from Brussels

Following a morning pickup from your hotel in Brussels, meet your guide and hop aboard your air-conditioned coach for the 1-hour journey to the UNESCO World Heritage city of Ghent, widely considered among the most beautiful cities in Belgium.Begin your tour with a visit to St Bavo’s Cathedral, home of world-famous late-medieval treasures such as the painting, ‘Mystic Lamb’. Admire the cathedral’s ornate interior (optional) and learn of its impressive history from your guide.Leave St Bavo’s behind and head onward for a walking tour of Ghent. Take in top city attractions such as the belfry, St Nicholas’ Church, the Castle of the Counts of Flanders (Gravensteen) and the historic buildings and medieval port at the Graslei.Continue on to the neighboring city of Bruges — also UNESCO-listed — with your guide and wander the cobblestone streets of the romantic Minnewater (Lake of Love). Here, perhaps take time to enjoy a little lunch at a nearby café or restaurant (own expense).Afterward, begin your walking tour and discover why so many people from across the world fall in love with this beautiful Belgian city. Take in Saint John’s Hospital, Our Lady’s Church with the statue by Michelangelo (optional), City Hall, the Market Square and the medieval Chapel of the Holy Blood.At the conclusion of your walking tour, perhaps enjoy a boat tour along Bruges’ picturesque canals (own expense) and soak up the city views from a different angle.When it’s time to depart from Bruges, hop back aboard your coach for the 1.5-hour journey back to Brussels where your tour will come to an end.

$81.08 Food, Wine & Nightlife

Brussels Beer Tasting Guided 4-Hour Tour

Brussels offers an astonishing range of quality beers - sample a traditional beer or be adventurous and taste some of the fun fruity beers. Brussels in particular offers many varieties of artisan brews, each with a different but delicious and unique flavor.This beer tasting experience visits some of Brussels’ oldest and most popular cafes where you can taste a selection of eight beers, and also enjoy some fine Belgian cheese, smoked ham and delicious Belgian chocolate. Sample well-known Belgian beers like Lambic, Chimay Triple, Faro, Orval, Adelardus Brune, Malheur Blonde, Bourgogne de Flanders, IV Seasons and the delicious Trappist beers that come with a creamy white head and go down particularly well on hot summer days. During the tour, your knowledgeable guide will help you unravel some of Belgium's beer mysteries. They will explain the different varieties of beer, their tastes and unique attributes, and you will also learn the do's and don'ts of Belgian beers.

$81.08 Food, Wine & Nightlife

Brussels Chocolate 4-Hour Walking Tour with Workshop, Tastings

Brussels Chocolate Walking Tour and Workshop allows you to learn how to make the real Belgian pralines yourself through a fun workshop. Orangettes, pralines, Easter eggs... The chocolates are made with real cream or alcoholic filling, they do not keep well, but then, you weren't planning on keeping them for long anyway, were you? You will love this original and extremely delicious walking tour that looks at the authentic Brussels like no other does. You will also walk through the historic old town to Grand Place, the former market square. A short stroll away stands Manneken Pis, the iconic Brussel's statue sculpted by Jerome Duquesnoy in 1619. You'll also see Jeanneken Pis, the square of the Sablon filled with antique shops, the Royal Galleries - seat for the oldest chocolate shop Neuhaus and many more highlights.

$106.56 Day Trips & Excursions

Flanders World War I Battlefields Tour from Brussels

Start your day with a pickup from your centrally located Brussels hotel, or alternatively, meet your guide in the center of town. Leave the city by coach and travel southeast toward the town of Vladslo, your first destination of the day! Stop to see the German Military Cemetery of Vladslo, the most important German cemetery from WWI, and as you walk through the hauntingly peaceful area, look out for the Käthe Kollwitz sculptures Grieving Parents – a heartrending portrayal of how the war impacted people at a personal level. Continue to the small city of Diksmuide to visit the Trench of Death, a stretch of the Western Front (the trench lines from Belgium to the Alps) that now serves as a symbol of Belgium’s heroism and resistance. See the impressive Gate of Peace (IJser Gate) and Yser Tower (IJzertoren), and then leave the city, passing alongside the Peace Mill and the Canadian Monument in St Julien.Stop in Passchendaele, and see how this once chaotic battlefield has turned into a sleepily tranquil town. Sit down for a hearty ploughman's lunch in a local restaurant, and then travel to Tyne Cot Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery, where some 35,000 soldiers from the Commonwealth forces are laid at rest. The sheer amount of graves puts the tragic scale of WWI into a semblance of perspective. Walk around and learn about the significance of this dignified site for nations around the world, not just the Commonwealth countries.Head to the Essex Farm Field Hospital next and see the impeccably preserved bunkers where John McCrae penned his famous poem In Flanders’ Fields. Hear how the soldiers were treated in the bunkers’ narrow, darkened corridors and then visit the In Flanders’ Fields Museum to learn the story of WWI in the Flanders region from an audio-guided tour. Entry to the museum is included, but you will be required to pay for a poppy as you go inside. This payment goes toward a war veterans charity.Visit Hill 60 – home to a series of strategically significant tunnels– and then travel to Ypres for some free time for dinner (own expense). In the early evening, meet your guide to attend the Last Post Ceremony at Ypres’ Menin Gate. Taking place daily, the ceremony is a simple, yet moving, tribute to the bravery of those who died defending their town. At the end of the ceremony, return to your coach and drive back to Brussels. Your tour finishes in central Brussels around 10pm.

$28.96 Tours & Sightseeing

Brussels Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

Enjoy a hop-on hop-off tour in the heart of Europe and marvel at the best of Brussels from an open-top double-decker bus, complete with informative commentary. Hop on and off the bus at any stop, as many times as you like, to see the sights that interest you on the blue and red route. With buses departing every 30 minutes and tickets valid for 24 hours or 48 hours after first use, this is the perfect way to explore Belgium's capital.See the Itinerary section below for a list of all stops.

$68.34 Day Trips & Excursions

Luxembourg Full-Day Tour from Brussels

Meet your guide and board your comfortable coach to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, a landlocked country which dates back to the Roman Era. Follow your guide on a sightseeing tour through the city and admire top attractions such as the 17th-century Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Royal Palace of the Grand Duke and the bustling Place d’Armes (Armes Square), where you can watch the hustle and bustle of daily life unfold as it has done for thousands of years. Head to the modern side of the city — which forms part of the European Union — and the plateau of Kirchberg, where important government buildings such as the European Court of Justice and the Secretariat of the European Parliament can be found. After lunch (own expense), continue on to the historic Old Town and enjoy a little free time to explore at your own leisure. At the end of your 2-country day trip, journey back through the picturesque rolling hills of the Ardennes and stop in the picturesque town of Dinant to marvel at its 13th century Gothic cathedral and 19th century citadel. You will reach central Brussels by mid-evening. Please note: any entrance fees are at your own expense.