Domaine Royal


The Domain Royale contains a trio of palace-villas that are home to Belgium’s ruling family. All are out of bounds to tourists, but for two or three weeks each year (exact dates are announced every January), you can join the enthusiastic queues to visit the magnificent Royal Greenhouses, designed in 1873 by Alphonse Balat (Horta’s teacher). The construction was an engineering marvel of its day and the contents include many fabulous and rare tropical species.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Brussels attractions

1. Château Royal de Laeken

0.15 MILES

The official residence of the Belgian royal family, this grandly symmetrical palace was acquired by Napoleon for Josephine. It is not open to the public.

2. Royal Greenhouses

0.17 MILES

The enormous Serres Royales were built by Alphonse Balat during Léopold II's reign. Fuchsias and all sorts of tropical species thrive inside, and Belgians…

3. Villa Belvédère


A residence of the Belgian royal family, the eighteenth-century villa is not open to the public.

4. Parc de Laeken

0.31 MILES

The Parc de Laeken starts opposite the Domaine Royal and stretches to the Atomium. Dotted with chestnut and magnolia trees, its focal point is Léopold I's…

5. Tour Japonaise

0.32 MILES

On the edge of the Domaine Royal, Tour Japonaise is used for temporary Japanese art exhibitions. Closed for restoration at the time of writing.

6. Pavillon Chinois

0.37 MILES

The Pavillon Chinois is a Léopold II leftover, built after he saw similar at the 1890 Paris World's Fair. It is a gloriously glittering structure and…

7. Musées d’Extrême-Orient

0.37 MILES

Closed at the time of writing for restoration, so check in advance before visiting. A pair of East Asian pagodas form the key attractions here. Both are…

8. Château Stuyvenberg

0.51 MILES

Built in 1725, this chateau is a residence of the Belgian royal family and has been used to house visiting dignitaries. It is not open to the public.