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Brussels in 3 Days: tips, what to see, and much more

If you plan to visit Brussels for three days, you'll get to see quite a bit of the city, which is small in itself. Discover everything you can't miss

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

9 min read

Brussels in 3 Days: tips, what to see, and much more

Manneke Pis in Brussels | ©Frédéric Paulussen

On your three-day trip to Brussels you will be able to see almost everything you want to see. Of course, there will always be something left to do. But this depends not so much on the number of days available as on the number of attractions in the big cities of the world.

To visit as much as possible, you don't necessarily have to have such a tight itinerary. That's up to you and the desire you have to rest while strolling or to work hard to cross items off your list of what to see and do in Brussels.

Day 1: Historical center, waffles, chocolates and lights on the Grand Place

Grand Place by night| ©Dimitris Kamaras
Grand Place by night| ©Dimitris Kamaras

In your itinerary to tour Brussels in three days you will have time to visit museums, monuments and food places to get to know all the Belgian delicacies you want to taste. In this article, you can see some of the best tours and excursions in Brussels.

For the first day, I recommend you to visit the geographical heart of the city, starting from the Grand Place, and then continue touring its surroundings, full of culture, history and attractions.

Start your day at the Grand Place

The Grand Place is the historical center of Brussels, but it is also one of the most beautiful squares in the world. Undoubtedly, starting your tour in a place like this, will be what is called a start on the right foot.

The square is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and I think you will find it as fascinating as Victor Hugo found it, who called it "the most beautiful square in the world".

Pass by the Stock Exchange building and discover the Manneken Pis

You leave the Grand Place and head for the Stock Exchange building, which is an imposing neoclassical construction in the center of the capital. All of this is in the same downtown area, so you'll move really fast so you can take more time to enjoy yourself than to get around.

Once you have seen the building, you go to the Manneken Pis, which is the sculpture of a boy whose clothes are being changed all the time: a curiosity and one of the things you must see in Brussels without fail.

  • Hours: All day.
  • Price: Free.
  • Address: Pl. de la Bourse, 1000

Time for breakfast: how about a waffle?

Around the sculpture, you will see that it is full of stalls, among which you can choose the one in charge of satiating your stomach. My recommendation: try the waffles. You will love them.

Book a waffle workshop in Brussels

Elegance and chocolates: you can't miss this stop

Buying Chocolate in Brussels| ©Newsy Preservation Paris
Buying Chocolate in Brussels| ©Newsy Preservation Paris

After breakfast, you should walk to the very elegant neighborhood of Le Sablon, which is full of chocolate and antique stores. Note: if you really like chocolate, you can read this article with the best chocolate tastings you should do in Brussels.

There you can take a shopping break, but I also recommend you to visit the Palace of Justice and, above all, to enter the church Notre-Dame du Sablon. It will blow your mind.

  • Church hours: Monday to Friday from 10 am to 6 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 9 am to 6 pm.
  • Price: Free.
  • Address: Rue des Sablons, 1000

In addition, you have the small square and the big one, both equally beautiful: the Place du Petit Sablon and the Place du Grand Sablon. Before continuing to the next stop, while you are there, you can stop for lunch at the C'est bon c'est belge.

Book a chocolate workshop in Brussels

First afternoon: Old England, Brussels Park and a break

In the afternoon, I recommend that you head towards Brussels Park, but not without first passing by the Art Nouveau building of the Old England.

Once in the park, I insist: take a break. I know you've just restarted your tour, but seriously: you won't want to miss the chance to stop for a bit and enjoy the architecture of the place.

Also, here you can visit the halls of the great Royal Palace, another must-see.

  • Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10:30 am to 5:00 pm.
  • Price: Free.
  • Address: Rue Brederode 16, 1000

Don't miss a visit to the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula

St. Michael's Cathedral| ©Luc Viatour
St. Michael's Cathedral| ©Luc Viatour

The Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula is the most important church in the city of Brussels, so it is a must stop on your itinerary to visit Brussels in 3 days.

After visiting its interiors, you can return to the center and visit the Saint Hubert Galleries and its surroundings, which are located around the Grand Place. There, you will find stores of all kinds, to make gifts, to stroll or to stop for chocolates.

  • Hours: Monday to Friday from 7 am to 6 pm, Saturday and Sunday from 8 am to 6 pm.
  • Price: Free of charge.
  • Address: Pl. Sainte-Gudule, 1000

1, 2, 3, beer!

A few meters from where you are staying you will find the Delirium Café, which is one of the most recommended places to drink beer in Brussels.

Another thing you can do, however, is to hire the typical Belgian beer tasting tour, where you can try several types of beer, while continuing your walk.

Next to the Delirium, you will also see the Jeanneke Pis, the little girl version of the Manneken, which you saw at the beginning.

Book a traditional beer tasting in Brussels

Lights on the Grand Place to end the first day

On the way back, you can stroll along the Rue des Bouchers and see how the Grand Place looks illuminated. If you were not convinced of its beauty, look again.

In this area, you can also look for a place to sit and eat. The options are many and adapted to all tastes, so you will have no trouble finding a place that suits you.

Day 2: An ideal tour for children

Doing the Comic Strip Route| ©Carla D
Doing the Comic Strip Route| ©Carla D

On your second of 3 days in Brussels, I recommend starting with the comic strip route, the European Quarter and the Cinquantenaire Park. After lunch, a walk through the Basilica of the Sacré-Coeur, the Atomium and the Mini-Europe.

Start in full color: the Comic Strip Route

The comic route is a tour of the murals of Belgium's most famous comics, such as Tintin, sound familiar? It is an ideal tour to do with children, but also without them. I recommend that you buy a map at the tourist office beforehand to make sure you won't get lost and that you will see everything worth seeing.

If you are traveling with children you will find many other things to do with them in this article about the top ten things to do in Brussels with kids.

At the end of the tour, be sure to visit the Museum of Comics, which exhibits several of the objects of the mythology of these comics.

  • Opening hours of the Comic Museum: 10 am to 6 pm.
  • Price: 10 euros.
  • Address: Rue des Sables 20.

Visit the European Quarter

After the Comic Museum, take bus 71 and get off at the European Quarter. There, you can visit the European Parliament, the headquarters of the Council of the European Union and the official headquarters of the European Commission.

Also, you should not miss the very quiet Leopold Park, from where you will depart to the next point of the 3-day tour in Brussels.

Don't miss the amazing attractions of the Cinquantenaire Park

From Leopold Park it is only a short distance to the Cinquantenaire Park. In this park you can visit several places of great interest, such as the Arc de Triomphe, the Autoworld museum and the Museum of Military History, which are among the best museums to visit in Brussels.

In this area you can also take a lunch break, how about Italian food? You could stop by the Costa D'Amalfi, which is one of the most highly rated restaurants in the Belgian city.

  • Parliament Hours: Tuesday to Friday from 9 am to 6 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm.
  • Price: Free.
  • Address: Pl. du Luxembourg 100, 1050.

Afternoon of sights and dream tours

The afternoon of your second of 3 days in Brussels should continue by taking the metro to the Sacré Coeur Basilica. There, you will enjoy the best views of Brussels from the terrace.

Admission to the basilica is free. However, to go up to the belvedere you have to pay an entrance fee.

  • Opening hours: In summer, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. In winter, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Price: Adults: 4 € (If it is a group of more than 10 people, each will pay 3 €). Students and seniors: 3€. Brussels Card: 40% discount.
  • Address: 1083 Brussels.

Enter the Atomium

Visiting the Atomium| ©Fisnik Murtezi
Visiting the Atomium| ©Fisnik Murtezi

Then, take metro line 6 and you will arrive at the Atomium, one of the icons of the city that you can not miss. The tour lasts an hour and a half and also gives you access to the museum.

  • Hours: From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Price: 36 €.
  • Address: Pl. de l'Atomium 1, 1020

Buy your tickets for the Atomium

Tour miniature monuments from all over Europe

Not far from the Atomium, you will find the Mini Europe park. It contains miniature replica buildings of 80 European cities. Without a doubt, this afternoon is the part of the tour that children will love the most.

  • Hours: From March 14 to June 30: 9:30 am to 6:00 pm.
    From July 1 to August 31: 9:30 am to 8:00 pm.
    From October 1 to January 6: from 10:00 to 18:00 hours.
    From January 4 to March 12: closed.
  • Price: Adults: 16,50 € (18,10 US$)
    Children under 12 years old: 12 € (13,20 US$)
    Seniors over 65 years old: 16.50 € (18.10 US$)
    Children under 120 centimeters: free admission.
  • Address: Av. du Football 1, 1020

Time for dinner

Then, you can choose among the restaurants in the area of the Atomium and Mini Europe the one serving the dishes you want to eat to end your second day in Brussels with a tasty menu.

Right there, you have the option to dine at the Atomium Restaurant, but you can also choose from others nearby, such as the Salon 58, the Brasserie Du Primerose, or the Delizia Restaurant.

In addition, you can have a beer in one of the breweries in Brussels.

Afterwards, rest, you still have a day left.

Day 3: Three Fairytale Tour options

Enjoy strolling through the streets of Bruges| ©Dan Visan
Enjoy strolling through the streets of Bruges| ©Dan Visan

The last of the 3 days to tour Brussels can be spent visiting some of the most incredible places in the country: Ghent, Bruges or Antwerp.

My favorite option: Bruges

To get to Bruges from Brussels you can take one of the trains to that destination. They leave every half hour from the Midi, Central or North stations.

In one hour you will be at Bruges city station, a 20 minute walk from the historical center. You can walk, or you can take a bus right in front of the station.

If you prefer something simpler and without so much walking, you can book an excursion to Bruges from Brussels.

  • Duration of the tour: 10 hours and a half.
  • Price: from 49 €.

Book an excursion to Bruges from Brussels

A different option: Ghent

This is another of the medieval wonders of the Belgian country. There you can visit the Graslei and Korenlei docks, St. Michael's Bridge, St. Bavon Cathedral, the Castle of the Counts of Flanders and other incredible places.

You can reach Ghent from Brussels by train in the direction of Ostend and you will be at St-Pieters station in half an hour. From there, walk another 30 minutes or take streetcar 1 to the center.

You can also book the day trip to Bruges and Ghent from Brussels, so you don't miss out on either.

  • Duration of the tour: 10.5 hours.
  • Price: about 49 €.

Book an excursion to Ghent from Brussels

Another dream location: Antwerp

Antwerp is another beautiful and easily accessible city to visit in one day from Brussels. It has several attractions that you definitely don't want to miss.

You can reach Antwerp from Brussels by train and get off at Antwerp Antwerpen-Centraal station. In 40 minutes you arrive and then you only have to walk about 20 minutes to the center. On the way, you can stop to walk through the diamond quarter.

However, if you are looking for something more direct, you can book the day trip to Ghent and Antwerp from Brussels. What a great plan.

  • Duration of the excursion: 10 hours.
  • Price: around 50 €.

Book an excursion to Antwerp from Brussels