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What is the best route to visit Brussels in one day?

What is the best route to visit Brussels in one day?
Visit Brussels in one day (c) Pixabay 1546290

Updated July 15, 2024 by pierre

Visiting Brussels in one day is possible! 

Many tourists only come to Brussels for one day, some spend a weekend there. The capital is not very large, but you can quickly lose time. This is why for visit Brussels in one day, you better be prepared. We have therefore prepared an itinerary for you to visit Brussels on foot in one day.

This itinerary makes you visit the free places. Do not hesitate to consult our other articles on

Is it possible to visit all of Brussels in one day?

Passing through Brussels for a day? Want to rediscover the Belgian capital? Indeed, visiting Brussels in 1 day is possible! Our mission today is simple: to make you discover Brussels, eat the best fries and share with you our favorite places on the route such as the best selfie spots. And this, with a minimum budget and little/no public transport.

Some will say that in a single day, it is impossible to visit Brussels. However, sometimes you have to make a compromise. If you are only in Belgium for a weekend, such as a bachelor party. Sometimes it's worth spending a whole day in Bruges and another in the center of the capital.

Put on your sneakers, we have concocted a smooth, pleasant route for you with a minimum of public transport. The route is approximately 13 km. If you're not a big fan of walking, you can easily cover the first kilometers by Villa or take electric scooters. Follow the guide, let's go!

Are you with teenagers in Brussels? Do not miss this article dedicated to young people.

Our itinerary for visiting Brussels in one day

Visit Brussels in 1 day
Visit Brussels in 1 day

🚌 If visiting all of Brussels on foot seems too fair to you in one day, try the hop-off bus, it will save you time. Also practical with small children, in case of heavy rain or heat wave

(I.e. Merode:

The starting point of your itinerary is the Arc du Cinquantenaire, which you can reach by metro. We chose to start on this side of Brussels, so the rest will be mostly uphill 🙂 Head towards the Cinquantenaire arch visible in the distance.

(I.e. Le park and the arch of the Fiftieth anniversary:

Cinquantenaire Park (c) PIerre Halleux
Cinquantenaire Park (c) PIerre Halleux

This is one of my favorite places in Brussels, it is also that of the runners. The park is made up of different areas: gardens, monuments, museums (Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History, at the Royal Museums of Art and History, Autoworld) as well as the triumphal arch with 3 arcades: the Cinquantenaire. The wide paths lead you to the "Pavilion of Human Passions" designed by the famous Victor HortaMore. Check here our article on the Horta Buildings to visit. Throughout the year, various activities take place in the park:

(I.e. The Berlaymont – Visit the European district

European District (c) photo Christian Lue unsplash
European District (c) photo Christian Lue unsplash

You will recognize it by seeing the European flags. This is a selfie spot worthy of the capital of Europe. The Berlaymont building is the seat of the European Commission. You will find it at the intersection of rue de la Loi and boulevard Charlemagne. Inside, it houses the offices of the President of the Commission as well as the European Commissioners. To visit it, you sometimes have to be a group of a certain size and book in advance. The place remains however nice to see to make a souvenir selfie of your visit to the center of Europe.

(I.e. Parc Léopold: a bit of greenery in the middle of business

Park Brussels
Parc Bruxelles: a must on your journey

Then head to Leopold Park, probably one of expats' favorite parks. This is a haven of greenery in the center of the European district. At lunchtime, its lawns are invaded by expats who work in the nearby institutions. If the weather is not good or you want to see dinosaurs, go to the Museum of Natural Sciences which is really close. If you feel hungry, you can opt for a Jourdan fries located a few steps away.

(I.e. European Parliament + Parliamentarium + Place du Luxembourg

European Commission (c) Pixabay 3595351
(c) Pixabay 3595351 – Great to visit when it's raining

If it's raining, and you're curious to know more about the European Parliament, you can visit the 'Parliamentarium' exhibition, the European Parliament's visitor center. Thanks to the many interactive screens, you will discover the history of the European institutions and European politics in a very entertaining way. Enjoy it, it's absolutely free! If you are expats (or still in Brussels on Thursday evening), take note of the name “Place Luxembourg”, it is the ideal place, the place to be, for expats' afterwork in Brussels.

(I.e. Royal Palace and Royal Park of Brussels

Royal Palace of Brussels (c) Pierre Halleux
Royal Palace of Brussels (c) Pierre Halleux

Once there, you will not doubt it, this large building is indeed the royal palace. The Palace is the administrative residence as well as the workplace of the King. He receives there the representatives of the various political institutions, his foreign guests and guests. Inside, large prestigious lounges. It is in these that, for example, round tables and receptions are organised. Do not rejoice too quickly, the interior is only visible to the public a few days a year (After the National Day from July 21 until the beginning of September). Opposite the Palace, you will find the Royal Park, one of the favorite places for runners who live in the center of Brussels.

(I.e. Place royale: Magritte and Museum of Musical Instruments

Visit the musical instrument museum in Brussels (c) Pierre Halous
MIM Musical Instrument Museum (c) Pierre Halleux

Continue on your way down towards Place Royale. You are heading towards the Mont de Arts. On your way, you will meet the MIM: Museum of Musical Instruments. You can go inside and ask for free access to the rooftop brasserie terrace. This offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the city. One of the best rooftop in Brussels for the brunch or a coffee break during your visit. A little further on is the Museum Magritte, the Coudenberg museum (former underground passages in Brussels), as well as the fine arts museum, …) If you have some time ago an unusual bar two steps away. Attention, reservation necessary in case of affluence.

(I.e. Jardin du mont des arts: a must-have on the Brussels in one day itinerary

View of Mont des Arts (c) Pierre Halleux
View of Mont des Arts (c) Pierre Halleux

Here is one of my favorite spots for taking photos! It gives a breathtaking view of the buildings of the Grand-Place seen from afar. You can also find the National Library there. This is also where one of the stages of the Brussels Summer Festival is located in August. If you are a music fan, don't miss this cultural and musical event during your visit. In July, when the weather is nice, passers-by lie in deckchairs set up by the cafés and PopUp Store, listening to the musicians who liven up the Mont de Arts.

(I.e. Saint-Michel and Gudule Cathedral

 

The cathedral stands at the crossroads of two important ancient routes (Flanders to Cologne and Antwerp to Mons via Brussels). The cathedral stands at the crossroads of two important ancient routes (Flanders to Cologne and Antwerp to Mons via Brussels). It is also an ideal selfie spot during your day trip to Brussels!

(I.e. Royal gallery of chic in case of rain! You could spend the day there!

Galleries Saint Hubert Visit Brussels
Galleries Saint Hubert Visit Brussels (c) Photo Pierre Halleux

Simply Wow! Here is a lively place for a trip out of time. Tourists and residents of Brussels come to stroll and shop there all year round. …Conceived in 1847, the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert are among the oldest in Europe. It is a place steeped in history, not to be missed during your visit to Brussels. The architecture is inspired by the Palaces Italian of the XNUMXth century. Look to the sky, the roof is covered over the entire length of a metal structure canopy. Each year, it is crossed by some six million visitors. They consist of three galleries: the Queen's Gallery, the King's Gallery and the Princes' Gallery. Ideal in case of rain during your visit to Brussels

(I.e. Don't forget to visit Jeanneken-pis & Delirium Café, to end the day

Delirium Beer (c) pierre Halous
Delirium beer

Did you know there was a Maneken Pis girl version? Her name is “Jeanneken Piss”. The statue is right in front of the Delirium Café. This is a world famous beer café. His choice is huge. Over 3.000! During your visit to Brussels, we advise you to taste the Belgian Trappists: (In Belgium, there are 12 Trappist abbeys, 6 of monks and 6 of nuns. Six have a brewery: 3 in Flanders (Westmalle, Westvleteren and Achel) and 3 in Wallonia: Chimay, Orval and Rochefort. There is only one outside Belgium, in the Netherlands, the Notre-Dame de Koningshoeven abbey with its "De Schaapskooi" brewery.) The triple Karmeliet is also very good and appreciated. To drink in moderation, all that is quite strong! If you are hungry? Think twice before eating in the Butcher Street... Some say there are a lot of tourist traps around here. We have prepared a list of suggestions for you where to eat near the Grand-Place in Brussels

(I.e. To visit day and night: the Grand-Place of Brussels:

Grand Place of Brussels (c) Pierre Halleux
Grand Place of Brussels (c) Pierre Halleux

Continue through the Queen's Gallery to head towards the Grand-Place from Brussels. If you are only in Brussels for one day to visit, here is one of the key places not to be missed. Wow. You can see it during the day but also at night! It changes the perspective quite a bit. Take a look at the town hall, the café le Roi d'Espagne is quite nice in winter with an open fire.

Once on the Grand-Place, remember to book a “free-tour” in advance. It is possible to visit Brussels for free via a tour organized by volunteers.

(I.e. At the end of the course: Brussels Stock Exchange

Rooftop in Brussels near the stock exchange (c) Hortense B
Rooftop in Brussels near the stock exchange (c) Hortense B

Pass by the Saint-Nicolas church to head towards the Brussels Stock Exchange. There are sometimes exhibitions inside the Brussels stock exchange, such as the Van Gogh exhibition. On the other hand, if you visit Brussels in one day, it may be too short for exhibitions! If you are faster than expected, at De Brouckère take the metro to visit the Brussels Atomium and the Heizel area.

(I.e. Sainte-Catherine district – to visit for ice cream! 

Best Brussels ice cream parlor Frederic blondeel
Best Glacier Brussels Frederic Blondeel (c) Photo Pierre Halleux

Go through the Sainte-Catherine Church district. There are good ice cream and pancakes at the bottom of Place Sainte-Catherine, Chez Gaston. chocolates at the chocolatier Frederic Blondeel. He makes his chocolate on the spot ! Do not hesitate to take a look at our good addresses for eat waffles in Brussels. 

(I.e. Flanders Street: Zinneke-Pis

Brussels comic book trail Palais de Justice (c) Pierre Halleux
Brussels comic book trail Palais de Justice (c) Pierre Halleux

Pass rue des Flandres. Around here, there are quite a few real people from Brussels. You will actually find that Manneken-pis also had a dog… Pissing dog: Zinneke Pis. In old Brussels (“brussellair”), Zinneke means both the little Senne (river which once bypassed Brussels) and a mongrel dog. Today, Zinneke is the symbol of the cosmopolitan and multicultural character of Brussels. If you have more time, do not hesitate to

Do not miss our article on the free comic book trail et the comic strip museum

(I.e. The covered market which alternates exhibitions & concerts: Halles St-Géry

Since 1881, the Halles-Saint Géry have stood in the historic heart of Brussels. Its architecture characteristic of the Flemish neo-renaissance style. This covered market-like building is an exhibition space with hybrid programming that alternates exhibitions, meetings, conferences, concerts...

 

(I.e. The Gay Quarter – Chez Maman

Brussels Parliament with the Rainbow pedestrian crossing (c) Pierre Halleux
Brussels Parliament with the Rainbow pedestrian crossing (c) Pierre Halleux

The gay heart of the capital beats in the rue “Marché au Charbon”, “Plattesteen” and the area around the Grand-Place! In these rainbow streets are concentrated a majority of gay places. Do not hesitate to go to Maman, the transformist cabaret, a must during your visit to Brussels.

(I.e. The emblem of the city of Brussels: Manneken Piss

Maneken Pis (c) Photo Pierre Halleux
Maneken Pis (c) Photo Pierre Halleux

Formerly in pierre, the bronze statuette depicting the urinating little boy known as the Manneken-pis is a heritage of the city of Brussels. Located between rue de l'Étuve and rue du Chêne, it embodies the rebellious spirit of Brussels.

Do not miss our article on unusual statues in Brussels

(I.e. The remains of the wall of Brussels: Villers Gate

One of the last pieces of the wall of Brussels near Place Saint-Catherine (c) Pierre Halleux
One of the last pieces of the wall of Brussels near Place Saint-Catherine (c) Pierre Halleux

Go to “la porte de Villers”. The “T”our de Villers » also called "Tour scallop » and one of the best preserved vestiges of the 1st enclosure of the city of Brussels. This dates from the 13th century. From the course of the Dutch-speaking school Sint-Jorisinstituut (16 rue des Alexiens), you can see the extra-muros face. From the rue de Villers, we can see the face intramural face is visible from the rue de Villers.

Do not hesitate to consult our article on hidden and unusual places in Brussels

(I.e.AArchitecture & Antiques: The Sablon District

#Brussels #macaroon #laduree #prestige #parquet #sablon

Go through the Template to Edmond Park. The district of Template inherited its name from the fine sand that covered the hills overlooking the Senne valley. The Sablon district is one of the assets of the city of BrusselsThe charm of architecture, the wealth gastronomic and especially its antique are treasures that absolutely deserve to be discovered. If it's Brunch time. The factory offers a pretty nice all-you-can-eat brunch at +/-25€ )

If you are interested in architecture, look at our articles on Victor HORTA

(I.e. A Waouww view of Brussels: Palace of Justice & Place Poelart

Courthouse on a summer day (c) Pierre Halleux

Go under the scaffolding and get a little closer. (If it is accessible and open). The courthouse is falling into ruin… The scaffolding is used to support the building. Inside, it seems that there are very few rooms. The building is constructed of high ceilings. Nearby, Place Poelaert is worth the detour for the view, especially at the end of the day, to see the sunset with a breathtaking view.

(I.e. Antique dealers Brussels and Porte de Halles: lthe Marolles

Flea market place du jeu de balle
Flea market place du jeu de balle (c) Photo Pierre Halleux

If you are still motivated, spend some time in the Marolles district. The district is made up of vintage stores, antique shops and other friendly concepts. If you are still there on Sunday morning, go there for the flea market. You can also go see the Porte de Halles.

Normally you should be able to cover this Brussels sightseeing itinerary in one day. After that, you might get hungry. Do not hesitate to take a look at our good addresses. As for example, happy hours, Where to go at night, the best waffles , where to eat good meat , where to eat mussels in Brussels . Also if you want buy Neuhaus chocolates at factory prices, it's this way!

Interesting activities to do in Brussels

We have listed some activities to do and not to miss in Brussels.

To go further and discover Brussels in several days

Are you staying more than one day in Brussels? Here are our tips

pierre

Barely a foot in the Belgian capital, Pierre launches "InsideBrussels.be", the idea is simple: "What to do? Where to go eat or have a drink?" Entrepreneur at heart, this is not his first project! Far from there. Like wine, with time the project improves! Pierre does not hesitate to share his favorites and his best addresses of Brussels restaurants that he could recommend to you with his eyes closed.

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