Must-see attractions in Brussels

  • Atomium, designed for the 1958 World Fair.



    The space-age Atomium looms 102m over north Brussels’ suburbia, resembling a steel alien from a '60s Hollywood movie. It consists of nine house-sized…

  • Coudenberg



    Coudenberg Hill (now Place Royale) was the site of Brussels’ original 12th-century castle. Over several centuries this was transformed into one of Europe…

  • Porte de Hal

    Porte de Hal


    For centuries Brussels was surrounded by a grand 8km fortress wall. It was partly demolished in the 1790s, then removed altogether on Napoleon’s orders in…

  • Rue des Bouchers

    Rue des Bouchers


    Uniquely colourful Rue and Petite Rue des Bouchers are a pair of narrow alleys jam-packed with pavement tables, pyramids of lemons and iced displays of…

  • Fondation Brel facade

    Fondation Jacques Brel


    Chansonnier Jacques Brel (1929–78) made his debut in 1952 at a cabaret in his native Belgium and shot to fame in Paris, where he was a contemporary of…

  • Manneken Pis

    Manneken Pis


    Rue Charles Buls – Brussels’ most unashamedly touristy shopping street, lined with chocolate and trinket shops – leads the hordes three blocks from the…

  • House of European History


    Housed in the beautifully renovated Eastman Building in Parc Léopold, this airy, elegant new museum takes you into some dark corners of European history,…

  • Broussaille mural



    Painted in 1991 by Frank Pé, Broussaille was the city's first giant mural and depicts a young couple arm in arm. This strip is located in Brussels' gay…

  • People enjoying Bois de la Cambre.

    Bois de la Cambre


    This extensive forest park forms Brussels’ green lungs. It stretches from regal Ave Louise to the Forêt de Soignes, whose soaring beech trees then extend…

  • Tour & Taxi street facade

    Tour & Taxis


    A postal sorting shed doesn’t sound like an immediate tourist draw, but the Tour & Taxis complex is an architectural masterpiece, its 21st-century revamp…

  • MIMA


    On the banks of the Brussels Canal, the engaged and engaging Millennium Iconoclast Museum of Art (MIMA) showcases contemporary art with a permanent…

  • Museum Chocolate and cocoa facade

    Musée du Cacao et du Chocolat


    Exhibits at Brussels’ museum of cocoa and chocolate give you a quick rundown of chocolate’s history in Europe, along with chocolate’s anti-aging and…

  • Musée BELvue

    Musée BELvue


    Take a chronological audio tour through the airy stuccoed interior of this former royal residence to explore Belgium’s history from independence to today,…

  • Palais Royal

    Palais Royal


    These days Belgium’s royal family lives at Laeken, but this sturdy 19th-century palace remains its ‘official’ residence. One unique room has had its…

  • EU Parliament

    EU Parliament


    Inside this decidedly dated blue-glass building (completed only just over a decade ago) political junkies can sit in on a parliamentary session in the…

  • Eglise Notre-Dame des Riches Claires facade

    Église Notre-Dame des Riches Claires


    From a public courtyard off Place St-Géry (go through the black steel gates next to the bistro La Lion St Géry), there's a view of Église Notre Dame des…

  • Recyclart



    This ‘arts laboratory’ recently moved from its old graffitied central Brussels location to Molenbeek. It hosts art installations and theatre productions,…

  • Eglise Saint-Nicolas interior

    Église St-Nicolas


    Near the Bourse, this pint-sized church is as old as Brussels itself. What really makes it notable is its virtual invisibility – the exterior is almost…

  • Pavillon Chinois from Garden

    Pavillon Chinois


    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…

  • Autoworld



    Autoworld displays one of Europe’s biggest ensembles of vintage and 20th-century cars. Among all the four-wheelers, notice the Harley Davidson the present…

  • Hôtel Hannon & Contretype Photographic Gallery

    Hôtel Hannon


    A splendid art nouveau building designed in 1902 by Jules Brunfaut and graced by stone friezes and stained glass. The house isn't open to the public, but…

  • Église Notre-Dame du Finistère

    Église Notre-Dame du Finistère


    To escape the lacklustre '70s architecture, meditate awhile in this 18th-century church whose baroque interior features a remarkable 1758 altarpiece, its…

  • Parc de Laeken

    Parc de Laeken


    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…

  • Brewery Museum Facade

    Brewery Museum


    Entry includes a beer supped amid barrels and delightfully antiquated wooden brewers’ tools: with the BrusselsCard it’s a great opportunity for a free…

  • Parc Leopold

    Parc Léopold


    Steep-sloping Parc Léopold was Brussels Zoo until 1880 and now forms an unexpectedly pleasant oasis, hidden away just behind the EU Parliament.

  • La Brouette facade detail

    La Brouette


    The grease-makers' guildhall has faint gold wheelbarrows above the door. The statue of St-Gilles (the grease-makers' patron) was added in 1912.

  • Tour Japonaise

    Tour Japonaise


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

  • Cubitus mural



    In this mural a tetchy-looking Manneken Pis gazes up at his pediment, from which he has been displaced by a grinning, peeing bear.

  • Le Sac facade

    Le Sac


    Perhaps as you'd expect, the cabinet-makers' guildhall is incredibly ornate. It takes its name from the sign above the door.

  • Square Marie Louise

    Square Marie-Louise


    You can feed the ducks in the pretty tree-lined pond surrounded by greenery and a smattering of art nouveau architecture.

  • Le Cornet facade

    Le Cornet


    The boatmen's guildhall, fittingly, has a stern-shaped gable. Its name refers to the horn on its facade.

  • Rue du Lac 6 facade

    Rue du Lac 6


    This 1904 private house has circular windows, super stained glass and a lovely 2nd-floor balcony.

  • Le Pigeon upper facade

    Le Pigeon


    Victor Hugo lived here at the artists' guildhall during a part of his exile from France in 1852.

  • Av Brugmann 55 facade

    Les Hiboux


    Features archetypal art nouveau circular window-tops and little owls over the door.

  • St-Gilles Prison

    St-Gilles Prison


    The crenellated white-stone facade of this prison imitates a Crusades-era fortress.

  • 500px Photo ID: 80514867 -



    This mural features the most famous of Belgium's fictional characters.

  • Le Renard upper facade

    Le Renard


    The haberdashers' guildhall has a statue of a fox above the door.

  • Av Brugmann 30 facade

    Ave Brugmann 30


    This building features a round-ended art deco tower apartment.