The first impression when coming to Brussels, Belgium is that the trees and flowers are overflowing everywhere, giving visitors a pleasant and comfortable feeling. It seems that Brussels is separate from the hustle and bustle of other Western capitals. As one of the ancient city of culture of Europe, Brussels is famous for its long-standing, magnificent architectures such as: Grand Palace, Royal Palace, Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, and Musical Instruments Museum (MIM)… So, where to go in Brussels (where to go out in Brussels)? Let’s check out our the 12 top places to visit in Brussels including must visit places in Brussels, best places to visit in Brussels, must see places in Brussels and famous places to visit in Brussels to help you make a perfect trip to the capital of Belgieum as well as European Union.
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Best places to visit in Brussels — Grand Place
- Address: Grote Markt, 1000 Brussel, Belgium
- UNESCO World Heritage Site: 1998
- Entrance ticket: Free
Grand Place will definitely be the first place to visit that anyone will mention when talking about top tourist attractions in Brussels. This place is located right in the heart of the city and is known as a hub culture of Brussels as well as recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Grand Place was built in the 11th century with an area of 20,000 square meters. This place is ranked in the TOP of the list of the most beautiful squares in the world and the best preserved in Europe. I was truly mesmerized when I came here and witnessed the magnificence, majesty of this place. If you need a highlight to talk about the beauty of Belgium, the Grand Place is the correct example. In addition, you can find the way to the statue of a peeing boy called Manneken Pis. This is also a very famous symbol of Belgium and is only a few minutes walk from the Grand Place.
Where to go in Brussels: Atomium
- Address: Pl. de l’Atomium 1, 1020 Bruxelles, Belgium
- Opening hours: Summer 10am – 6pm (ticket counter closes at 5.30pm)
- Construction started: 1957
- Opened: 1958
- Admission: €15/Adult; Children under 17 years old and over 115cm: €8; Students, seniors (over 65 years old): €8
Brussels is also known as the “capital of museums” with a system of more than 90 large and small museums. The most famous one is the Atomium – Science and Technology Museum, a giant building designed to simulate the structure of an iron molecule and built in 1958 on the occasion of the 58 World Fair (Expo 58). It’s considered as a symbol of the modern city of Brussels and has become one of the hottest tourist attraction in Brussels today.
Located near the King Baudouin Stadium in Heysel Park, Atomium is 102m high with a weight of 2,400 tons divided into 9 crystal spheres – the atomic symbol for the crystal structure of the element iron (Fe). You can walk in each sphere, climb to the top of this sphere and then down to the top of another sphere while can enjoy the view around the construction area and have the best overview of the city.
Must visit places in Brussels: Mini-Europe
- Address: Av. du Football 1, 1020 Bruxelles, Belgium
- Admission: €15.5 or €27.5 to access both Mini-Europe + Atomium Museum
- Online ticket booking link. If you intend to come here, you should buy tickets online in advance because I saw there were quite crowded people queuing to buy tickets.
- Hours: 10AM to 6PM (last entry at 5pm)
The Mini-Europe model park is located right next to the Atomium, home to 350 miniature versions of the most famous landmarks in the European Union.
Despite called miniature model park, each model is made in 1/25 of real size, with all the same delicate details as the original versions. You can even hear Big Ben’s bells or Venice’s mandolin.
Top places to visit in Brussels: Palais de Justice (Law Courts of Brussels)
Address: Pl. Poelaert 1, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Opening hours: 9AM-5PM weekly
Entrance ticket: free
The Palais de Justice has long been one of the most popular tourist attractions in Brussels Belgium. Every year it welcomes millions of visitors from all over the world. Palais de Justice was built in nearly 20 years from 1866 to 1883 and is considered the most important building in Belgium. This place acts as a witness to the history of Brussels.
This building is a very massive architectural complex, with a dome of 104 meters high and weighing up to 24,000 tons of gold resting on huge pillars. The layout of the building is divided into 8 large courtyards, 27 large courtrooms along with 245 small court rooms and many rooms for other purposes.
To get to this place, you should take tram 92 or metro from the center to stop Louise. (tram 92 can be caught from the park or the Royal Palace).
Must see places in Brussels: St Michael and St Gudula Cathedral
- Address: Pl. Sainte-Gudule, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
- Opening hours: 7am to 6pm (Monday-Thursday)/Saturday: 8.00 am to 3.30 pm/Sunday: 2pm to 6pm
- Admission: free
St Michael and St Gudula Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church and an important historical monument of the city of Brussels. Most parts of the church that have survived to this day wass built in the 13th century in Gothic style.
However, after a great remodel and the discovery of 11th-century Roman ruins at the foot of the cathedral, the church quickly became one of the city’s most visited religious landmarks.
Before reaching the church, you will pass through a small park, often shaded by the two 64 meter high twin towers of the church. The park is a great place to stop for pictures of the surrounding area, and there are also beach-style loungers.
The interior of the church is quite empty compared to a typical Gothic style church. However, the ceiling with domes is extremely delicately decorated. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take pictures inside because I wasn’t allowed to take pictures inside. Inside the church, there are a few small exhibitions with tickets for you, the ticket price ranges from €1-2.5 only.
The Church of St. Michael’s is just a few minutes’ walk from the center of Brussels and is open daily. It can be said that this is the most beautiful and majestic church among the churches I have ever visited. If you have come to Belgium, you should not miss this Brussels tourist attraction.
Best places to visit in Brussels: Mont des Arts Garden
Address: 1000 Brussels, Belgium
This park is also very beautiful. View from above can see almost the whole city. You can go from Grand Place for about 10 minutes walk or go from St. Michael’s Church then come here and go to the park complex, Royal Palace.
Best places to visit in Brussels: Place Royale (Royal Square)
It is one of the most important historical sites in Brussels and takes a central point in your exploration of the city’s history. This area is the royal residence and occupies a large area on the hill overlooking Brussels. Today, the whole area is called Place Royale and is administered by royal offices. This Brussels tourist attraction is always in the top of the famous Belgian attractions.
At the center of the square is a statue of Godfrey of Bouillon, the first ruler of the Kingdom of Jerusalem from 1099 to 1100, on horseback, majestic in the middle of the Place Royale until 900 years after his death.
Place Royale is located in the center of Brussels and right next to the park so it’s easy to find. There is no fee to visit the square.
Where to go in Brussels: Royal Palace of Brussels
- Address: Rue Brederode 16, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
- Hours: 10:30AM–3:45PM/Monday: Closed
- Construction started: 1783
- Opened: 1934
Although the King and Queen of Belgium live in a palace to the north of central Brussels, the Royal Palace is the main workplace. Most of the year visitors can only see the palace from afar, however, in the summer, the palace is open to the public every day, except Monday, completely free of charge.
Just cross Brussels Park to the Royal Palace. The large parkland is surrounded by some of the city’s most important buildings and is the ideal location for panoramic shots of these buildings.
The Royal Palace of Brussels is located right opposite the park.
Top places to visit in Brussels: Brussels Park
- Address: 1000 Brussels, Belgium
- Hours: 6AM–10PM
Brussels Park is one of the city’s largest green spaces, covering more than 13 hectares (32 acres). Today, the park is spread out in the middle of the city center and holds an extremely important position for city residents.
Following the main road to the focal point is a large lake, with panoramic views of the Court and the Royal Palace.
To the north of the park are the Brussels Parliament Building and the Royal Palace to the south. You can walk through the park to visit these two important architectures. In short, these 3 Brussels tourist attractions are right next to each other and located right in the city center, so you can all explore on foot.
Must see places in Brussels: Parc du Cinquantenaire
- Address: Parc du Cinquantenaire 10, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
- Hours: 9:30AM–5PM
- Monday: Closed
The Brussels Jubilee Park, or Parc du Cinquantenaire, is both a national monument and an urban park. The park was built during the reign of King Leopold II, to mark 50 years of independence of the Kingdom of Belgium. The magnificent archway stands out among the wide promenade streets and lush grasslands, welcoming visitors upon entering the park. There are 3 museums within Jubilee Park.
The south part is home to Autoworld, one of Europe’s largest car museums with over 400 cars with origins dating back to 1886. In the second area in the south wing is the Art & History Museum Parc du Cinquantenaire, which includes Art zone for the visually impaired – helping people with visual disabilities to perceive art by touching.
On the north wing of the park is the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History. Here, you will have the opportunity to go through the history of the Belgian military with F-16 fighters and military relics from the 19th century.
Brussels Park is open to visitors every day. You do not need to buy tickets to the park, but each museum has its own entrance ticket. In my opinion, this is a tourist destination in Brussels that is worth visiting.
Best places to visit in Brussels: Bourse Building
Address: Pl. de la Bourse, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
The Brussels Stock Exchange Building is also known as the Bourse for short. This work has been one of the attractions in Belgium worth a visit.
The building was built at the request by Napoleon in 1801 as the largest stock exchange center in Belgium. The construction was not started until 1868 and completed in 1873.
The Bourse building was designed to blend styles of the two artistic trends of the Neo-Renaissance and the Second Empire. This unique combination is expressed from the exterior architecture to the interior decoration.
Must see places in Brussels: Manneken Pis
Address: 1000 Brussels, Belgium
Legend has it that when the Spaniards withdrew from the city of Brussels, they set fire to the city. At that time, there was a boy who dared to stand up in the middle of a fire to be a “firefighter”, extinguishing the fire by “peeing”, saving the city from being burned.
That story has covered the statue of Manneken Pis with patriotism and made it famous around the world. Manneken Pis was designed and carved in stone by François Duquesnoy in 1619. In 1817 it was replaced with a bronze statue. Coming to Brussels, visitors all feel very curious and interested in this statue. Before leaving, everyone did not forget to take a commemorative photo with “The peeing boy”.
In short, personally, there are many tourist attractions in Brussels that you should not miss. Actually, I don’t think Brussels is so beautiful and has so many attractive places to visit while the cost of travel, food or hotel is much cheaper than Amsterdam. Please refer to the article of sharing my Brussels travel guide to know about the reasonable route between these attractions. Unlike Germany or the Netherlands, most of Brussels’ tourist attractions are centrally located and within walking distance. Jubilee Park or Atomium, the Supreme Court only need to take a bus from the center or from Brussels Park.
Above are the top 12 tourist attractions in Brussels, Belgium that I feel most impressive and interesting. There are also quite a few other places such as museums, EU Parliament, Brussels Parliament Building… If you have time, you can come and try to visit. The EU Parliament is just a 5-10 minute bus ride from Jublee Park, and the stock exchange is centrally located on the main street of Brussels, about 5.7 minutes walk from the Grand place. In the summer, people often gather quite a lot on the stairs here to watch the street.
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in and from Brussels you can refer to
- Private Brussels Airport (BRU) Transfers for Brussels
- Private Charleroi Airport (CRL) Transfers for Brussels
- Bruges Day Tour from Brussels
- Brussels Hop On/Hop Off Bus Day Pass and Trip by Rail from London
- Ghent and Bruges Day Tour from Brussels
- Bruges Guided Day Tour from Paris
- Brussels City Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tours
- Brussels Card
- Brussels City Sightseeing Bus Pass