Day 1 in Brussels
Welcome to Brussels, Belgium`s capital city! Upon arrival, you will go through customs and immigration. Should you opt to purchase a transfer to your hotel; a representative will be waiting for you as you exit immigration. Arrive at your hotel, check in and do not give in to jet lag! There is so much for you to see and do.
Begin the afternoon with a pleasant lunch in any of the restaurants along rue des Bouchers or Petite rue des Bouchers, both are lined with an exceptional array of ethnic eateries. Afterwards, we recommend that you get acquainted with the city by choosing our optional tour such as `Brussels Hop-On Hop-Off Tour,` which will take you to the city`s must-see sights while you listen to informative audio commentary as you explore. Some stops include the world-famous market square, the remarkable city hall, the European Parliament buildings, and magical Halle Gate, just to name a few. You won`t be able to visit them all, but you can get a good feel for where everything is and go back to your must-see attractions.
As the night approaches, make your way to Rue Saint Boniface, these roads around the Church St. Boniface make a triangular shape that is lined with lively restaurants offering inside and outside dining and activity all around.
Day 2 in Brussels
Start the day off early with a good cup of coffee and light breakfast at the Royal Galleries of Brussels, a stunning covered shopping arcade in the center of town. While here, check out the exquisitely high-end window displays of luxury brands and top chocolate shops.
Afterward, head over to the Mont des Arts to take in the best viewpoints in Brussels. Mont des Arts is a park with some beautifully kept gardens and fountains on the lower levels. If you climb to the top though, you get an incredible view of both the gardens and the city below.
Next, make your way to the Grand Place (known as Grote Markt in Flemish) located in Central Square, it is absolutely stunning! The square is certainly crowded but the earlier you`re here, the better. Many of the buildings were built to house the powerful guilds who once controlled commerce in Brussels although the town hall, which dates back to the medieval period, is the most iconic buildings of Grand Place. This is also a fantastic area to fuel up on coffee and grab one of Brussels` favorite snacks, waffles!
Head just around the corner from the Grand Place to check out whether the Manneken Pis is wearing any clothes or not. This statue was erected in 1618 and has since been an emblem of the rebellious spirit of the city. The best thing about the Manneken Pis is his little costumes. He has a wardrobe of over 900 suits and often he`ll wear a different outfit to suit the occasion. You can come back each day to see what suit he`s wearing.
Spend your afternoon on a Brussels Chocolate Tour eating your way through the city. There are so many prestigious chocolatiers in Brussels, a great way to learn about the history of Brussels and its love affair with chocolate is by taking a tour of the exclusive chocolate boutiques for tastings as you go. Not only will you get to taste amazing chocolate, you will stroll some of Brussels prettiest streets. After sampling them all, you will be sure to have a better appreciation for the sweet treat.
Make your last stop of the day at Marché aux Poissons (Fish Market). This area offers a cluster of fine restaurants; Seafood is the specialty, as this area once was the unloading deck of daily catches.
Day 3 in Brussels
If you are here on a Sunday, start your day off with breakfast at the market in Saint Gilles, know as a village within Brussels. This charming neighborhood is full of art deco architecture and it hosts a lovely market. The Sunday market is a great place to pick up breakfast and browse the various goods here. It`s also a great place to pick up cheeses as a souvenir!
Continue your exploration of Brussels at Halle Gate. An elaborate port once stood here as part of the city gate around the city of Brussels. It dates back to 1381 and it`s incredibly impressive to admire as you stroll through the picturesque park around it. For a few euros, you can enter the port to learn about the history of Brussels as well as weapons, otherwise just walk by and enjoy the view!
If you enjoy museums, you`ll find many great ones to choose from in Brussels, we highly recommend you check out one or a few while here. The museum dedicated to the work of surrealist painter Rene Magritte is one of the most popular ones. A second Magritte Museum is set in his former home but has hardly any works on display. Architecture buffs should definitely visit the Horta Museum to discover the work of local art nouveau master Victor Horta. A tour along the surviving houses he and his disciples designed is also recommended. There`s also an excellent new railway museum called Train World. And with the House of European History the EU quarter is a must-see destination in its own right.
In the north of the city is the Atomium, a fascinating monument, and today, a museum to the World Fair. It`s hard to believe looking at it, but this futuristic building was built in 1958. At the very top is a viewing deck where you can get some 360 degree views, one of the best views in the city. If you`re wondering what the shape is about, the nine spheres represent an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. There`s also a restaurant at the very top, a great sport to enjoy lunch with a view.
Being that Brussels is home to the European Parliamant, it is very fitting that the city offers a tourist attraction dedicated to Europe. Mini-Europe is a model village showing off some of the world`s best buildings like the Colosseium in Rome and the Eieffel Tower in Paris, all just miniature versions. There are 80 cities and 350 buildings represented that offers a journey all across Europe in just a couple of hours.
Finish your afternoon with a stroll through Parc de Cinquantenair, a peaceful and relaxing way to unwind. The grounds here are beautiful and no matter where you walk you`ll be drawn to the Triumphal Arch in the middle. There are many tourists that visit this attraction in the city and it`s easy to see why.
On your last evening in Brussels visit some of city`s best bars to sample classic and unique Belgian beers with a beer tasting tour of they city. With over 400 varieties of Belgian beer, even if you`re not a beer drinker you will find something suitable for your palate amongst the many flavors to choose from. A beer-expert will guide you to sample unique and traditional Belgian brews while learning about Belgium`s beer making traditions and brewing processes.
End your evening with dinner around Place Stephanie (Stephanie Square), a lovely area offering an assortment of restaurants and shopping that proudly display their Routard guide covers on the window.
Additional Days in Brussels
Should you be able to spend additional days in Brussels be sure to experience more of the sights and sounds of the capital city. You may want to explore the world of `Tintin` to see the world through Hergé`s eyes . Whilst Hergé and Tintin are known all over the world for creating The Adventures of Tintin, the series of comic albums which are considered one of the most popular European comics of the 20th century. Be sure to visit the Herge Museum, the life-size mural of Tintin at Market Place and Stockel underground station, where the 440 ft mural featuring all 140 characters from the books was drawn by Hergé shortly before his death in 1983. End the walk at Belgian Centre of Comic Strip Art, Smurfs and Tintin are just a few of the cartoon characters here.
Alternatively, explore Belgium`s other world-class cities on a full-day excursion to Ghent and Bruges to discover the historical and cultural attractions of these beautiful cities. This is a great way to see the Belgian countryside and visit iconic city sights, such as Ghent`s St. Bavo`s Cathedral and the Basillica of the Holy Blood in medieval Bruges.
Your Last Day in Brussels
Departyour hotel for the airport for your return home. We recommend that you purchase a private transfer, if so a representative will meet you at the hotel in time to take you to the airport for your flight out.