Among the most important things to see in Brussels is this particular structure. The Atomium is about 102 m high and has the shape of an atomic structure. The museum as such is located inside the different spheres of this attraction. You can take the elevator to the top for panoramic views of Brussels, and then make your way through the different spheres to learn about the history and construction of the Atomium.
Your audio-guided entrance to the Brussels Atomium without queues
A highly recommended option if you are looking to access the Atomium with ease and enjoy the views and exhibits of the museum.
Once you have a ticket for the Atomium you can access both the viewing area and the ADAM Design Museum Brussels without much hassle and more quickly. A full tour can take an hour and a half and you will have access to both the permanent and temporary exhibitions.
I recommend you also set aside time to enjoy the area surrounding the Atomium, there is plenty of green space and many attractions to see and enjoy.
Prices to enter the Atomium
A standard ticket to the Atomium costs 16€ per person. There are reductions for children, students and people with disabilities: These tickets cost 8,50€. Children under 115 cm can enter for free and for people over 65, tickets cost 14 €.
Your admission ticket gives you access to the entire Atomium museum and you also get an additional ticket for the Design Museum, which is right next to the Atomium.
Are there guided tours of the Atomium - are they worth it?
The short answer to this question is a depends. If you're looking to appreciate the views from the highest spheres, enjoy the light show inside the Atomium, buy souvenirs or book a table at the 360-degree view restaurant; in that case you don't need a guided tour.
However, if you are looking to learn about the history of the Atomium, from 1957 to the present day, and delve deeper into the architecture and design, then and only then is a guided tour worthwhile due to the complexity of the subject matter.
In any case, don't forget that the Atomium is one of the most emblematic buildings in Belgium and Europe, so having a guided tour will never be a waste. In addition, a guided tour without a queue can save you from one of the major drawbacks of the museum: the long queues!
Buy tickets for the Atomium at the ticket office
I recommend you to buy your tickets online, otherwise you will have to queue to buy your tickets at the ticket office right at the entrance, and then queue to access the museum.
It is also possible to buy at the ticket office a combined ticket for the Atomium and Mini Europe (25€), a Brussels attraction right in front of the Atomium. If you want to buy the combined Atomium and Mini Europe ticket, you will have to do it from the Atomium ticket office. The adult ticket at the Atomium box office is usually 17€.
Are the tickets to the Atomium included in any tourist pass of the city?
The pass option that includes the Atomium is the Brussels Card and offers free admission to 49 museums: Chocolate Museum, René Magritte House, the Museum of Art and History... The Atomium is included, but only if you select the special option. The pass also includes a free map and unlimited transport for 8€ ,15€ or 19€, depending on the option chosen.
In total, the Brussels Card with Atomium entrance costs 41€ for 24 hours (+8€ for unlimited transport), 49€ for 48 hours (+15€ for unlimited transport) and 57€ for 72 hours (+19€ for unlimited transport).
In my humble opinion I think the Brussels Card is only worth it if you come to Brussels for 3 days or more and want to make the most of your stay. This means seeing as many attractions as possible and using public transport a lot.
Atomium opening hours
The Atomium is open daily from 10am to 6pm. The last entrance is 30 minutes before closing time.
Of course, you can see the outside of the Atomium at any time of the day; however, I especially recommend you to see it at night, as the play of light at that time makes it look amazing!
How to get to the Atomium
The Atomium is located on the outskirts of Brussels, north of the city. However, it is still easily accessible by public transport.
The easiest way to get to the Atomium is by metro. You can take metro line 6 from Midi station towards Roi Baudouin and get off at the penultimate stop: Heysel station.
From the central station or De Brouckère (the most central metro stops in Brussels), you can also get on metro lines 1 or 5 to Beekkant, where you can change to metro line 6 towards Roi Baudouin. Changing at Beekkant is the best way to get to the Atomium as quickly as possible using metro lines 1 or 5.
When leaving Heysel metro station, cross the streetcar lines and walk through the Brupark parking lot. You will see the Atomium almost immediately!
How long does it take to visit the Atomium?
The Atomium is a relatively small museum. I recommend setting aside 1-2 hours to visit the Atomium. In principle this should be more than enough time to stand in line, enjoy the sights and take in the exhibits.
If you are not attracted to crowds I recommend visiting when you visit Brussels in the winter or fall.
I would also recommend setting aside some time to explore the entire Atomium area. There are plenty of things to do in the surrounding area, where you can see great views of the sculpture, take a walk through the theme park located near the Atomium, Mini Europe. This has almost 350 scale models of the most representative European monuments, including Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower, among others.
How to visit the Atomium
When you arrive at the Atomium, you will have to join the queue to enter. If you already have your ticket online you should head to the main building, directly below the lower globe of the Atomium structure. If you haven't already purchased your ticket keep in mind that the ticket office is right next to the main building.
You'll then take an elevator up to the panoramic observation deck before viewing the museum exhibits. There are fun things to read on the walls to keep you entertained while you wait. The queue also moves fairly quickly, as 20 people can ride the elevator at a time. Waiting times will vary, but you can expect to wait around 15 minutes.
Once you take the elevator and get to the panoramic level, you can take as much time as you want to look around Brussels. The Atomium is over 100m high, so the views are incredible. You can see Laeken Park, Mini Europe and lots of greenery!
You'll also see the city center in the distance, although it can be a little hard to make out what you're looking at. After you've enjoyed all the views, you'll have to queue up again to take the elevator back down to the first floor.
Exhibitions inside the Atomium
Now it's time to see the museum exhibits! It is worth noting here that the museum exhibits are not accessible to wheelchair users, as access is only via stairs and escalators. Wheelchair users are allowed in free of charge, as they can only access the panoramic floor.
The first two levels of the museum correspond to the permanent exhibits This shows the history and construction of the Atomium and is, in my opinion, themost interesting part of the experience! There are lots of pictures and drawings of the process, even a scale model of the Atomium and the surrounding grounds!
You will also find temporary exhibits. Among the temporary exhibits are those related to the works of Pieter Bruegel, a famous Renaissance painter. Exhibitions on equality and the UN development goals for gender equality are also common. Mind you, temporary exhibitions can vary from date to date so it's worth checking the Atomium website for the most up to date information.
As you make your way through the Atomium's globes, there are some cool escalators with light shows - not to be missed! Once you reach the end of the museum and descend back down to the first floor, you'll pass the gift store. You can buy many Atomium and Belgium themed souvenirs before finally leaving the place.
Where to eat and drink at the Atomium
The food and drink options around the Atomium are somewhat limited. Apart from the Atomium restaurant (an exclusive and expensive restaurant), you can only find small places to buy sandwiches or snacks, but not much else.
Personally I recommend you to go back to the center for a more authentic meal, with enough variety and at an affordable cost. Even the brasseries in Brussels offer Belgian dishes. Of course, it would be best to go to the bars or restaurants in the city.
The Atomium Restaurant
The restaurant is located in the upper sphere of the Atomium, undoubtedly one of the most unique places in the world for lunch or dinner. Not only is it to enjoy delicious food, but spectacular views both in daylight and at night.
It is worth bearing in mind that because of the experience the restaurant provides (and the high quality food served), this is an expensive place to eat, and not just any restaurant.
You should make reservations in advance through the Atomium Restaurant website if you want to enjoy a high quality dining pleasure. You can also check all the menu options (including prices) at the following link.
The Atomium Terrace
For something a little more economical, you can eat at the foot of the Atomium. The Atomium Terrace is attached to the ticket office, and you can buy sandwiches, drinks and beers. You can't compare sitting underneath the Atomium to sitting on top of it, but it's still a pretty good place to quench your hunger. The terrace is open daily from 10 am to 6 pm.
In keeping with the Belgian street food trend, there are two friteries right next to the Atomium. There is a moveable friterie that is usually located on the north side of the building and you will pass close by if you are coming from the Heysel metro station.
The other option is the Friterie Atomium is on the opposite side, a few steps away from the previous friterie, and is open from 11 am to 7 pm.
Where to get the best views of the Atomium
You can see incredible views from the top of the Atomium, but if you're looking for views of the attraction itself, the best place is from below. Walking just below the attraction you can see different angles and perspectives of the Atomium.
If you visit Mini Europe, you will also see some shots of the Atomium as you walk through the theme park. You can also see the Atomium peeking over the trees at various locations in the north of Laeken Park.
If you can't visit the Atomium but still want to see it from a distance, head to Place de Poelaert, very close to the Palais de la Justice; although you may have to squint a bit.