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Things to see in Brussels

Attractions

Atomium

Léopold II bequeathed the 202-hectare (500-acre) estate of Heysel to the city of Brussels in 1909, but it wasn’t until the 1958 World’s Fair that it received its most famous landmark, the Atomium, a giant model of an oxygen molecule. Following extensive renovation, including replacement of its metal 'skin', its highest sphere gives a panoramic view of the entire region.

Address: Boulevard du Centenaire, Square de l'Atomium, Brussels, 1020
Telephone: +32 2 475 4775.
Opening times:

Daily 1000-1800.

Website: http://www.atomium.be
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Grand-Place

A web of narrow cobbled streets suddenly opens out into the vast Grand-Place. The asymmetrical Hôtel de Ville, built in the 15th century, dominates. Its 96m (315ft) spire is topped with a gilded copper statue of St Michael. Opposite the Town Hall is the Maison du Roi, commissioned in 1515 and faithfully rebuilt in the 1890s. Sometime pied-à-terre of the Hapsburg monarchy, the building now hosts the Musée de la Ville de Bruxelles whose small collection includes tapestries and altarpieces.

Address: , Grand-Place, Brussels, 1000
Telephone:
Opening times:

Daily 24 hours.

Website:
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: Yes

Manneken-Pis (Statue of the Pissing Boy)

This allegory of irreverence and symbol of Bruxellois self-mockery - a bronze statuette of a urinating boy. If it were not for the occupation of the young child, the sculpture might resemble an angelic putto, such as the ones decorating the facade of the nearby Bourse (Stock Exchange). Jérôme Duquesnoy cast Manneken-Pis in the 1660s, perhaps as a reference to the peasant lads of legend, who extinguished fires with their urine.

Address: , Rue de l'Etuve, Brussels,
Telephone:
Opening times:

Daily 24 hours.

Website:
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

Place du Grand-Sablon

Notre-Dame du Sablon dominates the Place du Grand-Sablon, the smartest square in town. Began as a humble chapel for the guild of archers, the arrival of a statue of Mary from Antwerp in 1348, dramatically increased its popularity. The building was later expanded into an impressive gothic church. The area is a major centre for antiques dealers.

Address: , Place du Grand-Sablon, Brussels, 1000
Telephone:
Opening times:

Daily 24 hours.

Website:
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

This complex boasts three museums. The Musée Oldmasters (Museum of Old Masters) excels in its Old Masters, with works by Rubens, Bouts and Memling. The Musée d'Art Moderne (Museum of Modern Art) has a collection of Belgian Surrealist art including works by René Magritte and Paul Delvaux. Picasso, Chagall, Henry Moore and Francis Bacon are represented too. Meanwhile, the Musée Fin-de-Siècle (Museum Fin-de-Siècle) showcases visual artists such as Constantin Meunier and James Ensor, as well as highlighting Art Nouveau architecture.

Address: , Rue de la Régence 3, Brussels, 1000
Telephone: +32 2 508 3211.
Opening times:

Tue-Fri 1000-1700, Sat-Sun 1100-1800

Website: http://www.fine-arts-museum.be
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Centre Belge de la Bande Dessinée (Belgian Comic Strip Centre)

The history of the Belgian comic strip, including its links with silent movies and animation, is displayed throughout the airy and uplifting Grand Magasin Waucquez. Original drawings by early masters like André Franquin (who created accident-prone Gaston Lagaffe) and Hergé (who breathed life into Tintin) are complemented by modern-day cartoons, temporary exhibitions,children's library and a brasserie.

Address: , Rue des Sables 20, Brussels, 1000
Telephone: +32 2 219 1980.
Opening times:

Daily 1000-1800.

Website: https://www.comicscenter.net/en/home
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Musée Horta (Horta Museum)

Architect Victor Horta produced some 110 buildings, first in neo-gothic style, famously in art nouveau and latterly in sparse modernist style. Many (such as the Hôtel Solvay, Avenue Louise 224, and Hôtel Van Eetvelde at Avenue Palmerston 4) are still standing. However, the Musée Horta (the architect's former home and studio) is beautifully preserved and open to the general public.

Address: Saint-Gilles, Rue Américaine 25, Brussels, 1060
Telephone: +32 2 543 0490.
Opening times:

Tues-Sun 1400-1730.

Website: http://www.hortamuseum.be
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: Yes

Musée BELvue (BELvue Museum)

This upbeat museum is dedicated to the major periods of Belgium's history since Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo in 1815. The permanent collection is themed around the reigns of each of the country's monarchs. The building itself is located at the scene of the 1830 Belgian Revolution, which led to the establishment of an independent state.

Address: Place des Palais 7, Hôtel Bellevue, Brussels,
Telephone: +32 (0)2 500 4554
Opening times:

Mon (only for groups with reservations) 0930-1700, Tue-Fri 0930-1700, Sat-Sun 1000-1800.

Website: http://www.belvue.be
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Musée du Cacao et du Chocolat (Museum of Cocoa and Chocolate)

This delightful little museum, located in a magnificent 17th-century house on a corner of the Grand-Place, pays homage to one of Belgium's most famous products. It traces the history of chocolate from the time of the old Maya Empire, and explains the production processes involved in making the modern sweet delicacy.

Address: , Rue de la Tete d'or 9-11, Brussels, 1000
Telephone: +32 2 514 2048.
Opening times:

Mon-Sun 1000-1700

Website: http://www.mucc.be
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Muséum des Sciences Naturelles (Natural Sciences Museum)

Close to the European Parliament, and containing what is claimed to be one of the finest dinosaur collections in the world, this fascinating museum additionally features a special presentation on the Arctic and Antarctic regions. There is an extensive permanent marine mammals exhibition. All forms of wildlife, extinct and extant, plus mineralogy, are represented.

Address: , Rue Vautier 29, Brussels,
Telephone: +32 2 627 4211
Opening times:

Tues-Fri 0930-1700, Sat-Sun 1000-1800.

Website: http://www.naturalsciences.be
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Tourist Offices

BIP (Brussels Info Place)

Address: Grand-Place, Rue Royale 2-4, Brussels, 1000
Telephone: +32 2 563 6399
Opening times:

Daily 1000-1800.

Website: http://bip.brussels/en

Just a short walk from Brussels Central Station, BIP can help with everything from restaurant reservations to event listings via bike hire, attraction information and even snacks. There are also tourist offices at City Hall, Grand-Place and at Bruxelles-Midi train station.

Tourist passes

The Brussels Card (www.brusselscard.be) gives free entry to over 30 museums and unlimited travel by STIB public transport for 24, 48 or 72 hours. It also offers reduced prices in selected shops, restaurants and bars. The pass is sold at BOOTIK agencies, tourist information offices, hotels and museums.

A digital image at https://illuminoto.com

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Featured Hotels

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The Dominican

Part of the Carlton hotel group, The Dominican is the place to come if you want to be pampered while on a break in Brussels. It takes its name from the Dominican abbey which was originally built on this site in the 1400s. Its design is first rate, taking on the hushed feel of the abbey’s cloisters. Rooms are huge, the beds vast and the breakfast top notch.

Hotel Metropole Brussels

The 19th-century Hotel Metropole, with its grand art nouveau interior, is the first choice for those wishing to combine a lust for nostalgia with a need for modern comfort. A stone's throw from the Grand-Place, this palatial hotel offers a truly grand entrance hall and an Italian baroque style restaurant, L'Alban Chambon. There are 283 comfortable rooms and 15 suites, many decorated with drapes, swags and chandeliers.

Hotel Amigo Brussels

Although within short walking distance of the bustling Grand-Place, the Rocco Forte Hotel Amigo is a haven of calm and comfort. The building served as a prison in the 16th century and opened as a luxury hotel in 1957. Furnished with rich tapestries and antiques, it offers a friendly welcome and has a restaurant and cocktail bar, meeting rooms and a banqueting suite. The décor of the 176 rooms and suites blends contemporary elegance with dashes of colour and humour - Hergé characters and Magritte graphics appear here and there.

Odette En Ville

This design-led boutique hotel, in the beautiful Chatelain quarter, nods towards classic film noir sets with luxurious decor that isn’t stuffy and sleek, cosy rooms. There are even art and photography books for sale here. Guests can score a massage or treatment at Serendip Spa round the corner at a discounted rate.

Made In Louise

Located just outside the city centre, Made In Louise has earned a reputation as Brussels’ hottest boutique hotel. Family run, the attention to detail runs deep, from the individually designed bedrooms through to the excellent tips on local bars and restaurants. The breakfast is spectacular, so be sure to get up early enough for it.