Brussels, Belgium, is a wonderful European city to explore. It’s famous for its delicious cuisine, rich history, gorgeous Art Nouveau architecture, beer, and its role as Belgium’s capital.
Brussels is located in the heart of Belgium, and the European nations of France, Luxembourg, Germany, and the Netherlands surround the country of Belgium. While Brussels may not receive as much attention as other major cities such as London, Paris, or Rome, this remarkable gem deserves a spot on your bucket list.
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How to Get to Brussels, Belgium
If you are traveling from outside of a European country, the most popular way to get to the city of Brussels is by flying into the Brussels Airport. The city center of Belgium is roughly eight miles from the airport, so you will need to take the train, hop on a bus, ride in a taxi, or rent a vehicle to get to the city center.
For those traveling from another European country or exploring a different part of Belgium, the best way to get to Brussels is by taking the train. Europe is infamous for its excellent rail systems and high-speed train options. Some cities that connect to Brussels by train include Paris, Amsterdam, and Cologne, amongst many others. The primary train station in Brussels is the Brussels Central Station, otherwise known as Gare Centrale.
Best Time to Visit Brussels, Belgium
Peak Season (June-August): Summer is the peak season for tourists visiting Brussels. Europe generally sees a spectacular rise in travelers during the summer due to summer break, more people taking vacations, and warmer temperatures. This is a great time to visit Brussels for those looking to visit open-air markets, enjoy outdoor seating at restaurants and cafes, and attend summer festivals and celebrations like Ommegang, a Medieval festival celebrating Belgium’s roots and heritage.
Shoulder Season (March-May and September-November): Brussels shoulder season is during the spring and fall. Both seasons are great times to visit the city if you are interested in milder weather and fewer crowds than during the summer months. Springtime is a great season to visit if you want to see flowers bloom throughout the city, and Autumn is a fantastic time to visit if you are interested in seeing fall foliage. Shoulder season is also a great time to visit Brussels because the weather is perfect for exploring the countless parks throughout the city and the many events held during March-May and September-November.
Off-Season (December-February): The off-season for Brussels is during the winter months of December-February. You can typically expect the least amount of crowds and chillier temperatures. This is an excellent time of year to explore Brussels’s indoor activities, such as visiting museums. Brussels is a great place to visit for Christmas markets and holiday lights. Winter is the perfect season to enjoy Belgium’s delicious foods, such as hot chocolate and waffles.
Best Places To Stay In Brussels, Belgium
Due to Brussels being the capital of Belgium, there are countless phenomenal accommodation options throughout the city. Check out three of the best choices below!
Budget-Friendly: MEININGER Hotel Bruxelles City Center – This is an excellent option if you are looking for a reasonably priced hotel near countless things to see and do. This hotel is near the Canal Bruxelles-Charleroi and within walking distance to several parks. The hotel itself is known for its fantastic atmosphere and spacious rooms.
Mid-Range: Hotel NH Collection Brussels Centre – This mid-range hotel is near many great shops, restaurants, and historical landmarks. The hotel is known for its excellent location right in the heart of the city center and its modern and clean rooms.
Luxurious: Steigenberger Icon Wiltcher’s – This luxurious 5-star hotel is near several excellent restaurants, shops, and galleries. The hotel is famous for its incredible amenities, including a pool, spa, fitness center, and restaurant. Guests love the location of the Steigenberger and its beautifully decorated interior.
La Grand Place
One of the best things to do when visiting Brussels is to walk around La Grand Place, also called Grote Markt. The Grand Place is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the world’s most gorgeous city squares. It’s known for its distinct beauty and remarkable Gothic and Baroque-style architecture.
La Grand Place has many functions today. Some of its most popular functions are that it houses the city of Brussels Town Hall, and it’s a popular venue for festivals, celebrations, and performances.
The Atomium is Brussels’s most popular tourist attraction and is the Brussels and Belgium symbol. This unique landmark was originally built for the 1958 World’s Fair, but its popularity soon became one of Brussels’s most talked about features.
The Atomium website states that it is “a landmark in the Brussels skyline, a monumental structure halfway between sculpture and architecture and where the cube flirts with the sphere a remnant of the past with resolutely futuristic looks, a museum and exhibitions center: the Atomium is both an object, a space, a utopia, and a unique emblem in the world which – ultimately – escapes all form of classification.”
The Royal Gallery Of Saint Hubert
The Royal Gallery of Saint Hubert comprises three shopping arcades: the King’s Gallery, the Queen’s Gallery, and the Prince’s Gallery. Opened in 1847, it is known for its glass ceiling, intricate ironwork, and neoclassical architecture. The gallery houses a variety of high-end boutiques, chocolatiers, cafes, and theaters, making it a cultural and shopping destination in one. As one of the world’s oldest covered shopping arcades, the Royal Gallery of Saint Hubert offers a charming atmosphere for shopping and leisurely strolls.
Parc du Cinquantenaire
One of the most beautiful parks in Belgium is the Parc du Cinquantenaire, also known as Jubelpark. Built in the late 19th century to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Belgium’s independence, the park was designed with grand arches and beautiful gardens. At its center stands the impressive Triumphal Arch, a symbol of national pride. The park also houses museums like Autoworld and the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History.
The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium
Art enthusiasts must visit The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, which includes six different museums: the Old Masters Museum, the Fin-de-Siècle Museum, the Modern Museum, the Magritte Museum, the Constantin Meunier Museum, and the Antoine Wiert Museum.
Visitors can admire iconic works by artists like Pieter Bruegel the Elder, René Magritte, and Vincent van Gogh. The architectural beauty of the museum’s buildings, designed by Victor Horta, is a fitting backdrop to the exceptional art within. These museums provide a captivating journey through the evolution of European art, making them a must-visit for art lovers and cultural enthusiasts.
St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral
The Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula, situated in the heart of Brussels, is a gorgeous Medieval Roman Catholic church. This stunning cathedral dates back to the 13th century and is a testament to the city’s rich architectural heritage. Its twin towers dominate the skyline, and the intricate facade features sculptures and ornate details.
Visitors can admire the beautifully adorned chapels, intricate stained glass windows, and impressive vaulted ceilings. The cathedral has played a significant role in Belgian history, hosting royal weddings and important ceremonies.
Taste The Local Cuisine
Brussels, Belgium, is a culinary paradise for food enthusiasts and beer connoisseurs. The city is known for its iconic dishes like moules-frites (mussels and fries) and hearty stoofvlees (beef stew). Belgian chocolates are a must-try, with artisanal chocolatiers offering a wide range of flavors and textures. And let’s not forget about Belgium waffles!
However, it’s the beer culture that genuinely sets Brussels apart. With a staggering lineup of beer styles, from fruity lambics to rich and complex Trappist ales, beer lovers can go on an epic tasting journey. The city is filled with cozy cafés and historic pubs, where you can savor these brews while soaking in the local atmosphere.
Your Brussels, Belgium Vacation
Brussels, Belgium, is a place you shouldn’t miss because of its tasty cuisine, numerous historical sites, and stunning architecture. The city offers abundant activities, and visiting Brussels will surely make for a memorable vacation.
Abby and Sam Price are the founders and storytellers behind Trekking Prices, a couple's travel and outdoor adventure blog. They are passionate about sharing their travels, tips, and recommendations with others.