Must-see attractions in Brussels

  • The museum of musical instruments "Old England", Brussels, Belgium

    Old England Building


    This 1899 former department store is an art nouveau showpiece with a black facade aswirl with wrought iron and arched windows. The building contains the…

  • BELGIUM - AUGUST 11: BELGIUM, BRUSSELS, The Grand Place in Brussels. (Photo by Ulrich Baumgarten via Getty Images)

    Grand Place


    Brussels’ magnificent Grand Place is one of the world’s most unforgettable urban ensembles. Oddly hidden, the enclosed cobblestone square is only revealed…

  • MIM



    Strap on a pair of headphones, then step on the automated floor panels in front of the precious instruments (including world instruments and Adolphe Sax’s…

  • Musée Horta

    Musée Horta


    The typically austere exterior doesn’t give much away, but Victor Horta’s former home (designed and built 1898–1901) is an art nouveau jewel. The…

  • St-Gilles Town Hall facade

    St-Gilles Town Hall


    One of Brussels’ overlooked architectural wonders, this splendid Napoleon III–style palace

  • BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - August 09, 2014: General view of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium in Brussels, one of the most visited museums in Belgium with its large art collection.; Shutterstock ID 586734455; Your name (First / Last): Daniel Fahey; GL account no.: 65050; Netsuite department name: Online Editorial; Full Product or Project name including edition: Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts POI

    Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts


    This prestigious museum incorporates the Musée d’Art Ancien (ancient art); the Musée d’Art Moderne (modern art), with works by surrealist Paul Delvaux and…

  • Triumphal Arch at Parc du Cinquantenaire in the EU Quarter.

    Parc du Cinquantenaire


    Parc du Cinquantenaire was built during Léopold II's reign. It's best known for its cluster of museums – art, history, military and motor vehicles – which…

  • TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY Laurent Thomet.A picture taken on July 28, 2011 shows stuffed rhinoceros at the Brussels Royal Institute for Natural Sciences Museum. It was a daring daytime robbery at the natural science museum. The two thieves snuck into the rhino gallery and ripped a stuffed head off the wall. They carried it to a restroom, opened a window, and dropped the 30-kilo trophy two-stories down to an accomplice waiting in a van. The museum had never been robbed until the July heist, when it became the latest of a rising number of science museums in Europe targetted by thieves for rhino horns, which can fetch tens of thousands of euros on the black market.  AFP PHOTO / GEORGES GOBET (Photo credit should read GEORGES GOBET/AFP/Getty Images)

    Institut des Sciences Naturelles


    Thought-provoking and highly interactive, this museum has far more than the usual selection of stuffed animals. But the undoubted highlight is a unique …

  • Lace making in Bruges, 2014. The intricate lace patterns in Belgium are unmatched in any other country. The lace trade rose during the early Renaissance. Emperor Charles V decreed that lace-making should be a compulsory skill for girls in convents and beguines throughout Flanders. Lace became fashionable on collars and cuffs for both sexes. Trade reached a peak in the 18th century. Lace makers are traditionally women. Hundreds of craftswomen still work in Bruges and Brussels, centres of bobbin lace, creating intricate work by hand, often using over 100 threads per bobbin. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

    Musée Mode & Dentelle


    Lace making has been one of Flanders’ finest crafts since the 16th century. While kloskant (bobbin lace) originated in Bruges, naaldkant (needlepoint lace…

  • Musée Art & Histoire


    This astonishingly rich collection ranges from ancient Egyptian sarcophagi and Meso-American masks to icons to wooden bicycles. Decide what you want to…

  • Our Lady of Sablon Church, Brussels, Belgium.

    Église Notre-Dame du Sablon


    The Sablon’s large, flamboyantly Gothic church started life as the 1304 archers’ guild chapel. A century later it had to be massively enlarged to cope…

  • TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY PHILIPPE SIUBERSKI .A figurine of cartoon character "Spirou" is seen in the "Centre Belge de la Bande Dessinee" (Belgian Comic Strip Center) on October 3, 2014 in Brussels, as it marks its 25th anniversary. The museum, one of the largest worldwide dedicated to comic strip art, marks its 25th anniversary with a series of special exhibitions and happenings. Spirou has been written and drawn since 1938 by a succession of artists, as Rob-Vel, Jije, Franquin, Yoann, Vehlmann, Schwartz and Bravo for comics publisher Dupuis. AFP PHOTO/ EMMANUEL DUNAND == RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE, MANDATORY CREDIT OF THE ARTIST, TO ILLUSTRATE THE EVENT AS SPECIFIED IN THE CAPTION ==        (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

    Centre Belge de la Bande Dessinée


    This centre offers a definitive and enjoyable overview of the country’s vibrant comic-strip culture. Even if you’re not excited by the ‘ninth art’, do…

  • Flagey building from across the pond



    This marvellous 1938 ‘liner’ building originally conceived as the national radio building, is now the centre of an up-and-coming nightlife area. With its…

  • Argos


    A not-for-profit gallery in a former banana warehouse, founded in 1989 to promote video art that engages with politics. In addition to changing temporary…

  • Train World


    Wonderful old engines gleam in the low light of this imaginative and beautiful museum, located in the renovated 1887 Schaerbeek station: exhibits include…

  • Kuumba Cultural Centre


    The Kuumba Cultural Centre organises tours of the district, plus excellent events featuring Congolese bands, dance workshops and food.

  • Galeries St Huber walls

    Galeries St-Hubert


    When opened in 1847 by King Léopold I, the glorious Galeries St-Hubert formed Europe’s very first shopping arcade. Many enticing shops lie behind its…

  • Parc de Bruxelles

    Parc de Bruxelles


    Brussels is well endowed with outlying forests and parklands, but in the inner city it's a different story. The largest central patch of greenery is Parc…

  • 500px Photo ID: 97140433 - The House and the Sky - Magritte Museum

    Musée Magritte


    The beautifully presented Magritte Museum holds the world’s largest collection of the surrealist pioneer’s paintings and drawings. Watch his style develop…

  • Place du Petit Sablon

    Place du Petit Sablon


    About 200m uphill from Place du Grand Sablon, this charming little garden is ringed by 48 bronze statuettes representing the medieval guilds. Standing…

  • Zinneke statue



    In the old Bruxellois dialect, zinneke means ‘a person of mixed origins’, which sums up the city’s inhabitants to this day. Hence Flemish sculptor Tom…

  • Bourse facade



    The Bourse is Belgium’s 1873 stock-exchange building. It's closed to visitors, but you can enjoy its grandiose neoclassical facade, which is brilliantly…

  • Jewish Museum

    Jewish Museum


    The Jewish Museum hosts good temporary photography exhibits and a permanent collection relating to Jewish life in Belgium and beyond, with a section on…

  • Josephine Baker Mural

    Josephine Baker Mural


    In one of the most distinctive Marolles murals, slinky chanteuse Josephine, with a leopard on a lead, shakes hands with a rotund monk. Behind, both in the…

  • Eglise du Beguinage interior

    Église St-Jean-Baptiste au Béguinage


    This soaring 1657 Flemish baroque masterpiece was designed by Luc Fayd’Herbe, a student of Rubens. It’s often cited as Belgium’s most beautiful church and…

  • La Louve facade detail

    La Louve


    The archers' guildhall features a golden phoenix rising from the ashes, which signifies the rebirth of the Grand Place after its bombardment by the French…

  • Le Cygne facade

    Le Cygne


    The lovely butchers' guildhall, featuring a carved swan above the door, hosted Karl Marx in 1847. Ironically, it’s now home to the Grand Place's finest…

  • Bibliothèque Royale, library.

    Bibliothèque Royale


    The city's striking modern library is a beautifully designed space, containing a small museum about books and printing, and a top-floor cafeteria.

  • Rue Defacqz 71

    Rue Defacqz 71


    An 1893 house was designed by prominent art nouveau architect Paul Hankar (1859–1901) as his own studio.

  • Rue Faider 83

    Rue Faider 83


    Art nouveau house boasting beautiful, gilded sgraffito design at the top.

  • Rue Paul Emile Janson 6 facade

    Hôtel Tassel


    Victor Horta’s first truly art nouveau house, built in 1893.

  • Maison du Roi


    This fanciful feast of neo-Gothic arches, verdigris statues and mini-spires is bigger, darker and nearly 200 years younger than the surrounding guildhalls…

  • Hôtel de Ville


    Laboriously built between 1444 and 1480, the splendid, slightly asymmetrical Hôtel de Ville was almost the only building on the Grand Place to escape the…

  • Africa Museum


    Due to reopen in late 2018 after five years of restoration, the revived Africa Museum looks set to be a big draw, and a world away from its earlier dusty…

  • Musée David et Alice van Buuren


    In a 1928 art deco showpiece house you’ll find this exquisite museum, where five rooms are crammed with sublime furnishings, stained glass and top-quality…

  • Église Notre-Dame de la Chapelle


    Brussels’ oldest surviving church now curiously incorporates the decapitated tower of the 1134 original as the central section of a bigger Gothic edifice…

  • Tibet & Duchâteau


    This mural very effectively depicts a life-sized figure teetering towards a trompe l’œil window.

  • Rue Africaine 92


    Art nouveau house with creamy tones, harmonious lines and a big circular window.

  • Halles St Gery interior bar

    Halles St-Géry


    In 1881 this superb neo-Renaissance brick-and-wrought-iron meat market was built around a curious pyramidal monument-fountain (itself built to replace a…

  • Musées d'extrême orient view from parc

    Musées d’Extrême-Orient


    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…