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Brussels in 4 Days: everything you need to know

With four days to explore Brussels, you'll get a taste of everything the Belgian capital has to offer, plus you'll be able to visit other sites in Belgium.

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

9 min read

Brussels in 4 Days: everything you need to know

Downtown Brussels | ©Mario A. P.

The Belgian capital is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. This place on the podium of European capitals is well deserved, as it is a city with a lot of history and an unmistakable personality. It is the cradle and favorite place for lovers of two of the most delicious things on this planet: beer and chocolate.

I propose this 4-day plan so you know what options you have when it comes to make your trip and not miss any of the many attractions you can see in Brussels. Do not leave anything to chance and join me for this tour designed for you to enjoy the city, its gastronomy and its best exhibitions. In addition, you will have time to visit the most interesting places in the surrounding area.

Day 1: Tour of the city of Brussels

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

I recommend spending the first day getting acquainted with the city. It is very useful to recognize the historic center and its most emblematic works and, depending on that, adjust the rest of the days in case you need to.

Guided tour of the city of Brussels

To start your tour of Brussels, one of the best options is to hire a guided tour. It will help you to find your way around the city and make the most of your time. Expert guides will take you in small groups through the most interesting sights throughout the city, so you don't have to worry about anything.

This type of experience is also an ideal option if you are traveling alone, as you will get to know the city with a group that is here with the same goal as you: to have fun and get to know the city.

The itinerary of the tour may vary depending on the company you choose, but I assure you that they will always touch the emblematic points of the historic center such as the Grand Place, the Manneken Pis, Saint Hubert Galleries and St. Michael's Cathedral, among many others.

  • Price: This fun proposal is available from 29€ per person.
  • Duration: A guided tour of Brussels lasts approximately two and a half hours.
  • Schedule: Tours take about half a day, so you can choose morning or afternoon. The tour groups are around 10 people, so that it is lively, but at the same time you keep a very individualized treatment.

Book a guided tour of Brussels

Take a sweet break with a waffle tour

Enjoying different Waffles in Brussels| ©Jotawi
Enjoying different Waffles in Brussels| ©Jotawi

After touring the city you will surely feel like recovering some energy and eating something sweet is always a very attractive option. Belgium is the land of waffles and you can find them in almost every store. There are many varieties everywhere, but the authentic one is the Liège style, which only has sugar sprinkled on top.

I recommend you let yourself be carried away by the aroma of a freshly made waffle from Maison Dandoy's store, a small and famous shop rated as one of the best.

  • Price: This experience is available from 34€ per person.
  • Duration: It lasts approximately one hour and a half.

Book a waffle workshop in Brussels

A chocolate tasting, a proposal for those with a sweet tooth

But if waffles are not on your list of favorite sweets, you can take a tour of the best chocolate tastings in Brussels, another of the most popular plans in the Belgian capital. Prepare your palate for a moment you will remember forever.

  • Price: This type of experience is available from 39€ per person.
  • Duration: It lasts approximately one hour.

Book a chocolate workshop in Brussels

Visit the Parlamentarium and the Palais de Justice in the afternoon

These two sites are part of the obligatory stops in your visit to Brussels.

The European Parliament is well worth a visit as you can learn all about the history of the European continent and the process of the creation of the European Union. Although you may not be a political buff, the exhibition is educational, interesting and modern and you can take the tour at your own pace.

The Palais de Justice is the seat of the Belgian judiciary, a building that has a rough and tumble history. Over the years it has suffered several fires and many restorations, but it is an architectural work of great value and recognition in the city.

The Palais de Justice building will also give you access to unparalleled views of the whole of Brussels.

Day 2: visit the Atomium exhibition and take a gastronomic tour

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

On this day I propose you to visit the museum of choice of the entire city of Brussels and enjoy its exhibitions at your leisure. Then, our day continues with what we enjoy doing the most: eating and drinking. Are you ready?

Atomium, everything you need to know

The Atomium is to Brussels what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris. Anyone who sees its image will know that we are talking about this city and no other. It has become the main tourist attraction in Brussels because of its modern and innovative design, which was originally created for the 1958 Brussels Universal Exposition, but due to its success it remained part of the cityscape.

Visiting the exhibitions, both permanent and temporary, of the Atomium is a great start for this second day of sightseeing in Brussels.

I recommend doing it in the morning as it is less crowded. But you can also get your tickets for the Atomium without queuing.

  • Where: Atomiumsquare, 1020 Brussels.
  • Hours: Every day from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.
  • Price: Adults from 20 €. Children under 6 years old have free admission.

Book tickets for the Atomium of Brussels

Immerse yourself in the world of Belgian beer

Beer tasting in the Brewdog Bar| ©Hedgehog55
Beer tasting in the Brewdog Bar| ©Hedgehog55

The first option for this afternoon is to go on a brewery tour. This city is very popular for the supply of this type of beverage, and you should not miss the opportunity to take a tasting tour of its breweries and its different bars, both local and international.

This city works with a variety of companies that offer this service. The visit consists of a tour of different points, telling interesting facts about their manufacturing process and curiosities of history. Of course, there is plenty of time to taste different types of beers, since in Belgium there are many options.

  • Price: This type of experience is available from 29€ per person.
  • Duration: Depending on the tour you book, you should reserve an hour and a quarter to an hour and a half.

Book a traditional beer tasting in Brussels

Taste Belgian delicacies on a gastronomic tour

And if after the beer tasting, you've got the bug, sign up for a private gastronomic tour in Brussels where you will discover the delicacies and traditional flavors of Belgian cuisine. A total of 10 local culinary tastings: eight of food and two of drinks, with a local cuisine expert.

You will visit chocolate shops, breweries, legendary taverns and top restaurants in the city, serving typical dishes such as classic Belgian fries, truffles, fish sandwiches, falafel and a variety of cheeses. Plus, you'll delve into the country's gastronomic history.

And if you need to customize your menu with vegan or vegetarian options, don't worry, you will be offered several alternatives.

  • Price: This type of experience is available from €143 per person.
  • Duration: Depending on the tour you book, you should reserve two to three hours for this experience.

Book a gastronomic tour in Brussels

Book a night cruise on the Brussels canals

If you still have some time on this day 2, a good proposal is to explore the city from the water. The perspective of your tour will be totally different and the city at night has a special charm when night falls.

These types of experiences usually include dinner and live music, so why not consider moving to a boat instead of going to the usual restaurant.

  • Time: Meet at the meeting point for dinner time.
  • Price: You can find this type of tour around 60€.
  • Duration: You should reserve at least three hours of your evening for this type of tour.

Day 3: getting to know Bruges in one day

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

If you are planning your vacation in Belgium, you have probably read about the popular and beloved Bruges. There is no tourist who has traveled through Europe who would not recommend a stop here. And the best way to get to know it is by taking an excursion from Brussels.

It may seem that 24 hours are not enough to get to know the city, but the guides have devised an itinerary with specially selected stops to capture the essence of the city and you can have fun without worries. You can also arrive on your own from Brussels Station by bus.

The routes of the day in Bruges may vary depending on the company you choose to hire, but I leave you a list of the most interesting places and some relevant facts.

  • Jan Van Eyck Square: is one of the most beautiful in the city and is the center of the entire historic center.
  • Potato Chip Museum: a completely original stop on a travel itinerary.
  • Grote Markt: the main square of the city, which has a great architectural value, surrounded by historic buildings with beautiful colorful facades. You should pay close attention to the Belfort Bell Tower and the statue in the center. If you climb its 366 steps, you will undoubtedly have one of the best views of the medieval old town of Bruges.
  • Basilica of the Holy Blood: inside are what are considered to be drops of the blood of Christ.
  • Ter Steeghere: a very famous and picturesque alley.
  • Groenerei: a wooded area that has a special charm thanks to the magnificent views of the Meebrug and Peerdenbrug bridges.
  • Groeninge Museum: the most important museum in the city. It contains masterpieces of Belgian painting.
  • Church of Our Lady: where the sculpture of the Madonna of Bruges by the undisputed genius of Michelangelo is located.
  • Bonifacio stone bridge: the famous postcard of Bruges.
  • St. Savior's Cathedral: the oldest church in the city.
  • Katelijnestraat: the main shopping street full of beautiful stores and delicious chocolate shops.

Here are some interesting facts such as price and duration of the tour:

  • Price: This tour can be booked from 44€ per person.
  • Duration: A nine-hour trip.

Book an excursion to Bruges from Brussels

Day 4: discovering the city of Ghent

St. Bavo's Cathedral in Ghent| ©Moody 75
St. Bavo's Cathedral in Ghent| ©Moody 75

On the last day of our itinerary, I suggest you discover one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe. The popularly called "jewel of Flanders" is the rival of Bruges to win the position of the most beautiful city in Belgium.

While you can reach the city by train, I advise you to immerse yourself in the comfort of a tour to Ghent from Brussels city. This way, you won't have to worry about train schedules and itinerary once you arrive in Ghent. The guides will take care of creating a route for you to get to know the main sites and enjoy the city as if you were a local.

But whichever way you choose, you should not miss the following points of the city of Ghent, to fall in love with it as much as I have fallen in love with it.

  • St. Bavo's Cathedral: here you will find the famous work "The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb" and its great bell tower is considered a World Heritage Site, where you can climb to be amazed by the incredible views.
  • Meat Market: to contemplate the local and typical life.
  • Vrijdagmarkt: the most beautiful square in the city.
  • Castle of the Counts of Flanders: a large stone fortress excellently preserved.
  • Werregarenstraatje: the main street of Ghent's alternative and street art world.
  • Graslei and Korenlei: two of the streets in the city center facing the canal of the river Lys that capture the magical atmosphere of Ghent at its best and where the houses of traditional architecture are located.
  • St. Michael's Bridge: the idyllic image of Ghent par excellence.

As with the Bruges excursion, I will give you some information of interest such as price and duration of the excursion:

  • Price: This tour can be booked from approximately 48€ per person.
  • Duration: A ten-hour trip.

Book an excursion to Ghent and Antwerp from Brussels

Tips for your visit to the city of Brussels

Sightseeing bus through the streets of Brussels| ©Carl Campbell
Sightseeing bus through the streets of Brussels| ©Carl Campbell
  • If you are not a fan of walking, the city has a tourist bus system that connects the main points of interest throughout the city. Their passes are very convenient and you can choose the one that best suits your plan around Brussels.
  • If you are traveling with children, you can consult the best proposals on what to do with children in Brussels. While the plans are generally for the whole family, it is interesting to see additional options for the little ones.

Book a tourist bus in Brussels