Bang in the middle of Western Europe, Belgium is famous for its history, castles, chocolates, beer, relaxed lifestyle and all things good in life. You can gorge on their waffles, frites(fries), chocolates, mussels and wash them down with some local spirits, all guaranteed to lift up your spirits- Bad pun alert!
We spent a day exploring the capital city of Brussels on foot and loved every bit of it. First things first, the main attractions in Brussels can be covered in a single day, so this 24 hours in Brussels itinerary is totally doable.
Here is our list of recommendations on how best to spend 24 hours in Brussels, Belgium.
HOW TO GET AROUND BRUSSELS
From Zaventem Airport to City Centre
There is a train going from Zaventem Airport to the Brussels Central Station every 10 minutes, from 5 AM until midnight. The trip takes about 20 minutes. You will need to buy a special ticket for airport lines. Buy your airport train tickets here
From Charleroi Airport to the City
There is a shuttle bus on this route that runs every half hour and is super convenient. Buy your shuttle bus tickets here
Where to buy public transport tickets
Brussels public transport system has a unified ticketing system, so the same ticket can be used for buses, trains, trams, metro or a combination of these. You can buy these tickets from Kiosks/Bootiks at major metro stations or newspaper stands. Buy the Brussels Card in case you plan to visit museums and get free public transport passes. Buy the Brussels Card here
24 HOURS IN BRUSSELS
Also known as Grote Markt, it is a town square built in the 15th century. The architecture, beyond doubt is fascinating.This is one of those places to sit back with a cup of coffee and people watch.
- If you are planning your visit in August, you will need to checkout the amazing flower carpet display here.
- This place is also one of the highly rated Christmas markets come December. Around 200 chalets, an ice rink, an epic Christmas tree and a light & sound show, transforms Grand Place to a winter wonderland
- The month of September is for beer lovers. Check out the Belgian Beer Weekend held at Grand Place.
When in Belgium, you just cannot escape the “peeing boy” aka Mannekin Pis. It is probably a good luck charm as you could find its presence pretty much everywhere. A narrow alleyway from the Grand Place, a street filled with chocolate and waffle stores leads you to the original statue, a much sought out tourist attraction. The legend behind it varies from witches to wars, but we still fail to understand its existence. Did we mention it is also a national monument of sorts. And if you did not get enough of the peeing boy, he also has a sister- Jeanneke Pis. Go figure!
LE FUNAMBULE- THE EPIC 1€ WAFFLE
Just a minute away from Mannekin Pis, the waffles here are the best we have had in Belgium. They have an amazing range of topping to go with your waffle but what we loved most were the plain 1€ waffles. They were simply out of the world and we would walk to Brussels for one of those 🙂
A museum dedicated to one of the greatest artists of the 20th century. Explore the life of the famous reporter Tintin and his sidekicks, the adorable Snowy and the mumbling Captain Haddock (Blistering Barnacles!), as they solve the most complicated mysteries of our childhood. Plan a visit on the first Sunday of the month and you enter the museum for FREE. Check out the entry ticket pricing here
When you are at the birthplace of the world’s best and exquisite chocolates, you will need to do a chocolate tour. But the chocolate tours in Brussels are quite expensive. A tour starts at a minimum of €50-€60 per person. If you are ok to shell that much on the tour, you can book here
Why not tailor make your own tour and end up tasting more chocolates for a fraction of the cost i.e € 12 per person?
Suggestions for your tailor-made chocolate tour:
- Neuhaus, Grand Place– https://goo.gl/maps/pgRSjLrZ8Meo1h8k8
- Mary Chocolatier Grand Place– https://goo.gl/maps/7yb1T9f9oy2Cvmn59
- Godiva Chocolates Grand Place– https://goo.gl/maps/agSf4xZAd9HvxSs4A
- Maison Dandoy– https://goo.gl/maps/TCVei92Xww2SPNyx9
- Elisabeth– https://g.page/elisabeth_chocolatier?share
- Le Comptoir De Mathilde– https://goo.gl/maps/zBXBEDS8uwWD3qDr5
Atomium to Brussels is like Eiffel tower to Paris minus the romantic angle. This structure replicates an atom, blown up 165 billion times of its original size. Located slightly away from the city centre ,it is easily accessible by tram. There is a beautiful park adjacent to this structure if you want to enjoy some quiet.
You can admire the Atomium from outside or visit an exhibition on the World Fair of 1958 inside the Atomium building. Book your entry tickets here
AUDREY HEPBURN’S HOME
This is not an attraction per se but if you are fan of the iconic Ms. Hepburn, you would be delighted to know that she was born in Brussels and lived a part of her childhood in this very town. A plaque honoring this actress and humanitarian has been hung at the entrance to the building. As there are people living here now, you cannot go inside the building. Why not raise a toast to this amazing human at a cafe adjacent to the building.