Must-see attractions in Brussels

  • Viewpoint


    Look out over the Marolles towards the old town.

  • Palais de Justice

    Palais de Justice


    Larger than St Peter’s in Rome, this 2.6-hectare complex of law courts was the world’s biggest building when it was constructed (1866–83). While the…

  • Colonne du Congrès

    Colonne du Congrès


    Brussels’ 25m-tall version of Nelson’s Column is an 1850s monolith topped by a gilded statue of King Léopold I. It commemorates the Belgian constitution…

  • Sainte Catherine church from the square

    Église Ste-Catherine


    Église Ste-Catherine must be one of the only religious buildings that positively encourages folks to urinate on its walls (there’s a ‘pissoir’ on its…

  • Musee Wiertz main hall

    Musée Antoine Wiertz


    If you're into the shocking or nasty, this museum may appeal. Antoine Wiertz (1806–65) was a Brussels artist bent on painting giant religious canvases…

  • Bruxella 1238

    Bruxella 1238


    Bruxella 1238 is the scanty remains of a Franciscan convent that was bombarded into ruins in 1695. Most of the site is visible by peeping through the…

  • Jeanneke Pis

    Jeanneke Pis


    Squatting just off Rue des Bouchers, this pigtailed female counterpart of Manneken Pis is the work of sculptor Denis Adrien Debouvrie, who installed her…

  • Eglise Ste-Marie

    Église Ste-Marie


    Looking east along Rue Royale, your gaze is unavoidably drawn to this very distinctive octagonal 19th-century church in neo-Byzantine style, replete with…

  • Audrey Hepbrun's Childhood Home

    Audrey Hepburn's Childhood Home


    In 1929, My Fair Lady screen superstar Audrey Hepburn was born to a Dutch mother in Brussels. The exterior of their home has a commemorative plaque.

  • Front view of Chateau de Laeken

    Château Royal de Laeken


    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.

  • Tour Noire from below

    Tour Noire


    Boxed in on three sides and incongruously dwarfed by the back of a Novotel Hotel, this tower is an ivy-draped remnant of Brussels’ original city wall.

  • Notre Dame de Laeken view from below

    Notre-Dame de Laeken


    Deceased Belgian royals are laid to rest in the crypt of the splendid, triple-spired stone church of Notre-Dame de Laeken.

  • Fontaine Anspach

    Anspach Fountain


    Surmounted by a tall granite tower topped by a bronze statue of St-Micheal, the fountain commemorates a former mayor.

  • Elevator



    A glass elevator leads from the Palais du Justice down to the earthy Marolles district.

  • WWII Memorial

    WWI Memorial


    An artistic though modest tribute to the dead of WWI.

  • National Basilica


    Ghastly but gigantic, this is the world’s fifth-largest church and the world’s largest art-deco building. When construction started in 1905 (to celebrate…

  • Marc Sleen Museum


    Set in a handsome mosaiced and tiled former newspaper office right opposite the Centre Belge de la Bande Dessinée, this free museum explores the work of…

  • Berlaymont Building


    The European Commission, the EU’s sprawling bureaucracy, centres on the vast, four-winged Berlaymont building. Built in 1967, it’s striking but by no…

  • Musée de la Brasserie


    Brussels’ brewery museum is authentic in the sense that it occupies the basement of the brewers’ guildhall and has some 18th-century brewing equipment…

  • Mini Europe


    Want to fool your friends that you saw all of Europe? Easy. Just photograph the dozens of 1:25-scale models of the continent’s top monuments at Mini…

  • Charlier Museum


    A lesser sight on the Horta trail, this grand private house was remodelled and extended by the architect in 1893. It displays a rather stuffy collection…

  • Chaloupe d’Or


    The dressmakers' guildhall is now a particularly splendid grand café whose upper-storey rooms (when open) offer fine views across the square.

  • Dukes of Brabant Mansion


    Six 1698 houses sit behind this single palatial facade, reworked in 1882. Had the imperial governor had his way after 1695, the whole square would have…

  • Statue of Everard 't Serclaes


    A 1902 statue of city hero Everard ’t Serclaes depicts his reclining corpse. A fairly contemporary ‘tradition’ claims that rubbing the statue will bring…

  • Château Stuyvenberg


    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.

  • Almine Rech


    There's a white space upstairs with a polished concrete floor, while downstairs sits a small art bookshop.

  • Villa Belvédère


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

  • Au Lion d'Or


    The vaulted 1811 brick, neo-Gothic Au Lion d’Or building bridges a branch of the Senne River.