Brussels is one of the most premier cities in Europe. It is an ideal place for people interested in history, arts, grand buildings, and quirky statues such as Manneken Pis.
This 2 Days in Brussels Itinerary covers everything you must to see and do in the city during your short visit.
Known as the headquarters of the European Parliament, Brussels is the biggest city in Belgium. It is well known for Belgian chocolate shops, the best (according to locals) beer in the continent and moules-frites (mussels and chips). Brussels is also home to top-ranking museums, grand Art Deco buildings and well-preserved historic city centre.
Brussels is a big city, so I recommend purchasing a Brussels Card (48h) which gives free access to main museums, unlimited travel on public transportation and discounts at certain restaurants and bars.
Now that I've shared with you some general information about the city, it’s time to tell you about how to spend 2 days in Brussels. Read on and learn how to plan the best two-day European city break with this travel guide for Brussels.
I suggest starting your first day of this Brussels 2 day itinerary with authentic Lower Town - the oldest part of Brussels. This part of the city has narrow cobbled alleys and streets, shabby-looking townhouses, several museums, and well-known statues.
You will pass through "The Comic Strip", stop by Jeanneke Pis, Zinneke Pis, & Manneken Pis statues, visit several museums and taste Belgium food. If you want to learn more about Brussels' history, I advise going on a tip-based walking tour from the tourist information centre.
Don't fancy spending all day in the city? Don't worry, I've got you covered. In the early evening, you will get on the tram towards Esplanade where Atomium (the most well-known landmark in Brussels) stands. After a visit to Atomium, you will have the chance to enjoy a walk at Laeken Park before you head back to the crowded Lower Town.
Comic Strip Wall (or Comic Book Route) consists of 50 murals representing Belgium’s comic characters such as Tin Tin, the Smurfs and more. It starts at the Fabrieksstraat street and continues to the Lower Town.
The project began in 1991 as the collaboration between the Comic Strip Center and Brussels council. It covered plain walls of the buildings and became an opportunity to showcase Belgium’s love for comics.
The fun fact about this area is that the authors of the featured comics did paint any of the murals; they are all created by street artists, who have put a lot of effort into the paintings to make them look like genuine creations.
Since murals aren’t everyone’s taste, Comic Strip Route is known as one of the lesser-known sights to see when visiting Brussels.
Everyone has heard about Manneken Pis (the urinating boy statue) which is Brussels city symbol. However, did you also know there are many other similar statues scattered around the city?
Constructed in 1998, Zinneke Pis (or Het Zinneke) is a bronze statue of a urinating dog created by Tom Frantzen. The Zinneke Pis sculpture is a bit far away from the Manneken Pis, so it’s rarely visited by tourists.
You can find it not too far from Comic Strip Wall and on the way to Saint Catherine Church.
To be honest, there is nothing too special about the urinating dog statue. Though finding all ‘urinating’ statues can be an amusing thing to do while in Brussels - especially if you are crazy about posting your discoveries on Instagram!
Church of Sainte Catherine (or Eglise Sainte-Catherine) is one of the most beautiful churches in Brussels. You will be fascinated by its architectural style and bell tower.
The church was built in the 15th century but redesigned in the 19th century by well-known artist Joseph Poelaert. While the church's front facade has a Gothic style, the interior consists of Baroque details, the original Italian Baroque bell tower (added in the 17th century) can be found next to the church.
In front of the church's main entrance, there is a daily market where you can get local products such as cheese, vegetables and seafood. I Highly suggest grabbing a light meal and a drink before you continue to the next destination.
Located inside the beautiful Art Nouveau building, Belgian Comic Strip Center (Comics Art Museum) is a museum dedicated to comics. It has become one of the must-see things in Brussels, Belgium.
Established in 1989, Comics Arts Museum has permanent and temporary exhibitions. Permanent collections are dedicated to comics history, famous artists and street art. While temporary exhibitions usually focus on a specific comic or comic hero.
Guided tours are available for advance online booking. If you are on a budget, just pay the entrance ticket and explore the world of comics. Be prepared to spend about an hour in the museum.
On your way out, I suggest visiting the museum's bookshop where you can purchase various old and new comics.
Jeanneke Pis is another Brussels urinating statue created by Denis-Adrien Debouvrie in 1985.
This modern sculpture is under a meter and depicts a young girl urinating into the fountain. The statue is still not widely known by tourists, so it can be tricky to find it.
You can find the urinating girl statue near the Delirium Cafe at the end of Impasse de la Fidelite alley (not too far from the Grand Palace and Royal Gallery of Saint Hubert). Just look for the red iron bars, and you will find it.
After visiting the statue, I recommend popping into Le Marmiton eatery (opened in 1979). Eat lunch and relax before you move to the next destination.
Brussels City Museum (also known as Musee de la Ville de Bruxelles) is the greatest museum in Brussels. It is located inside the country’s most beautiful building Maison du Roi (King’s House) - a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The museum’s exhibits cover everything from political to social and cultural life. Inside you will find medieval tapestries, paintings, sculptures (including the original Manneken Pis statue), clothing items (nearly 800 Manneken Pis costumes are stored in the museum!) and other historical objects.
Since there are lots of things to see, you will need more than an hour to visit every gallery.
The museum can be found in the Grand Place square. It is open daily, except Mondays. Guided tours are available every first week of the month.
Dating back to medieval times, Brussels Town Hall (Hotel de Ville de Bruxelles) is the oldest town hall in Belgium. The town hall is designed to impress with its many rows of statues on the exterior, and it's beautiful interior. You will find medieval tapestries and pieces of art telling the story of the country.
Brussels Town Hall is well-known for its 92-meter-high tower which has the Archangel Saint-Michael (the patron of the city) statue at the top. If you wish to enter the tower, you will need to arrange a guided tour. I suggest doing it in advance.
The town hall can is found in the Grand Place. The Grand Place is a popular place among tourists, so be prepared for the crowds.
Manneken Pis or Peeing Boy is a bronze fountain statue that was originally created in the 15th century. Locals say that Manneken Pis is a symbol of the city. And, of course, it is one of the best things to see in Brussels in 2 days.
The modern sculpture is not original and was made in 1965 when the original Manneken Pis disappeared. Luckily, locals found the original statue. It is now stored in the Brussels City Museum.
The interesting thing about Manneken Pis is that this little urinating boy has more than 800 costumes including an expensive outfit gifted by Louis XV of France. It is a tradition to dress the statue on special occasions. If you are lucky, you might see him dressed up.
Located about 30 minutes away from the city centre (by tram), Atomium Restaurant is one of the best restaurants in Brussels. It can be found within the Atomium Complex on level 8.
The restaurant is 100 meters above the ground with great views over the capital. Be aware that prices are higher than in other restaurants. However, the views are stunning, so I didn’t mind paying extra for the meal!
While the restaurant closes between 3 PM and 7 PM, I recommend arriving around 5 PM and purchasing tickets to Atomium - the symbol of Belgium. Atomium houses art exhibitions, a kids area, observatory and park filled with monuments, so you will have plenty of things to do while waiting for the restaurant to reopen.
By the way, make sure to make a reservation for dinner before your visit.
Laeken Park (also known as Parc de Laeken and Royal Parc) is a massive park near Atomium. It is a peaceful park filled with greenery, monuments, cafes and bars. The park's most iconic attractions are the Royal Greenhouses and a Japanese pagoda.
Since you are going to visit the park in the evening, walk around and enjoy the relaxing nature. You can even walk through the park towards the Lower Town and get a tram back to where you started.
If you aren’t tired, visit Guinguette Andre Bar for an evening drink. It is a very classy bar that has a wide variety of wines, spirits, beers and cocktails. I really loved the atmosphere and the majority of their drinks are cheaper than in the city center.
Brussels’ Upper Town is a modern part of the city filled with high-end shops, upscale neighbourhoods, top-class museums, classy bars, and government offices including the headquarters of European Parliament and various embassies. It has a completely different vibe from the Lower Town.
Upper Town has countless museums that are worth visiting. For this second day in Brussels I tried to select only two museums, but be feel free to include more or swap them for others. Luckily, museums are quite close to each other, so you won’t have trouble adjusting your itinerary.
Along with the museums, you will have a chance to explore several grand parks, visit the Royal Palace, wander around a chic shopping district, and more.
Meaning ‘a hill of arts’, Mont Des Arts is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Brussels in 2 days. It is conveniently situated between the Grand Place and Place Royale, connecting Lower Town and Upper Town.
Mont Des Arts is a cultural space with a public garden, museums and cultural centres. The project started in the 19th century and was completed in 1910 when the World Fair took place in Brussels. Now, Mont Des Arts is one of the most visited places in the city.
Apart from the museums and lush garden, it is best known for having great views over Brussels city. Walkthrough the garden and walk up the staircase at the end, at the top, you will find a viewing point. I guarantee you will be amazed by the views!
St Michael and St Gudula Cathedral (commonly known as Brussels Cathedral) is an important monument of the city that you can’t miss while visiting Brussels in 2 days.
It was built in a Gothic architectural style at the beginning of the 13th century, and the cathedral was completed after 300 years. Another interesting fact is that the cathedral has two saints, while other churches usually have only one.
While the cathedral is gorgeous from the outside, its interior is even more stunning. Inside you will find beautiful stained glass windows, wooden carvings and grand tombs.
Tickets to the crypt, archaeological site, and treasury are available by the entrance. Guided tours of the cathedral and its tower have to be arranged at least two weeks in advance.
Brussels Park (also known as Parc de Bruxelles and Warandepark) is the largest park in central Brussels. It is an ideal place to enjoy good weather and grab a light snack from the cosy Woodpecker Cafe - located inside the park.
The park has several fountains, ponds, monuments, lots of trees and pleasant paths leading towards the Royal Palace and museums. It has excellent views of the palace, so get your camera ready while walking.
Brussels Park is usually a quiet place as guides don't take tourists groups to the park. If you are heading towards the Royal Palace from Brussels Cathedral, use the park as a shortcut. It will allow you to avoid the tourist groups blocking the path. I guarantee you are going to thank me later!
Established in one of the most stunning Art Nouveau buildings (built-in 1899), the Musical Instruments Museum (or MIM) has to be included in your list of things to do in Brussels, Belgium.
The museum houses about 7000 musical instruments from the Middle Ages to the present. Apart from exhibits, it has plenty of hands-on activities suitable for all ages. When you enter the museum, you will be given headphones that start playing music when you get closer to the instruments on display.
The museum is scattered throughout four floors. The top floor (fifth floor) belongs to the museum cafe. You will need about 2 hours to look around the museum.
The admission is free if you have a Brussels Card.
Coudenberg Palace Museum is one of the places in Brussels that doesn't receive much attention from tourists. It is a hidden gem of the city.
Established in the 12th century, Goudenberg Palace used to be the main palace of the city before it was burned down from a large fire. Today, the palace ruins are an archaeological site, located near Place Royale and the Musical Instruments Museum.
The museum consists of an underground maze of passages and chambers. It might be not the most visually appealing museum, but there are plenty of things to see and learn about Brussels' history by visiting here.
The admission to the museum is free for under 18s and with a Brussels Card. Be aware that the museum is closed on Mondays.
Royal Palace of Brussels (or Palais Royal) is one of the most famous buildings in Belgium. It represents the country's constitutional monarchy and is used to hold important state events.
Established at the beginning of the 19th century and built in neoclassical architectural style, the palace once used to be the king's royal residence. In 1831, the royal family decided to move to the Laeken Palace and use the Royal Palace of Brussels for various events.
In 1965, the Royal Palace opened its door to the public for the first time. Now, sadly, it is only open from late July until the beginning of September. If you are travelling during these months, don't miss an opportunity to visit this beautiful building.
Lunch at Au Vieux Saint Martin restaurant is a must do in Brussels in 2 days. Opened in 1968, the restaurant serves the best Belgian cuisine.
Located in an upscale area near Place du Grand Sablon and Sablon Square, Au Vieux Saint Martin was ranked as one of the best restaurants in Brussels. It is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner services.
The restaurant doesn't take any reservations (reservations are only for groups), so there is a high likelihood that you will need to wait in a queue. If you don't want to wait, the restaurant is less busy after lunch (from 3 PM).
Au Vieux Saint Martin is an expensive restaurant, so I suggest taking a look at their menu before you visit.
Are you tired of parks and museums? If yes, it’s time to visit a Place du Grand Sablon - an area where you can find anything you want!
Place du Grand Sablon is a bigger part of Sablon district and is famous for its Belgian chocolate stores, antique dealers, cosy cafes and classy restaurants. Countless shops sell the best Belgian gifts, including folk art and chocolate.
On the weekend, Place du Grand Sablon becomes a huge antique market which usually has more than 50 stalls. If you are looking for something unique, this market is the best place as you never know what you are going to find.
It is one of my favourite places to shop for souvenirs in Belgium.
Parc du Cinquantenaire (or Jubelpark) is a big park and national landmark situated just outside Brussels city center. It is one of my favourite things to do in Brussels in 2 days.
Its name means 'park of the fiftieth anniversary', and it was built to commemorate fifty years of the country's independence. The park has various monuments and several interesting museums.
If you aren't interested in visiting museums, I suggest climbing to the top of the arch. You can do it for free from the Army museum's entrance (arrive before the museum closes).
After watching the sunset from the top of the arch, stroll through the park. You will find several fountains and can enjoy the views of Brussels' European Quarter.
Le Grand Central is the last thing on your' what to do in Brussels' list. Located in a European Quarter, Le Grand Central serves good food and amazing freshly made cocktails.
If you aren't a fan of cocktails, there is a wide selection of Belgian beer that is considered as one of the best beers in the world.
The bar has a lovely setting with great views of the European Quarter. Also, you are welcome to sit in a terrace and enjoy the cosy atmosphere. It isn't the cheapest bar in the capital, but it definitely can't be missed while you are in Brussels.
There are lots of things to see and experience in Belgium's capital, whether you have just 24 hours in the city or longer. It can be overwhelming if you aren't prepared. With this in mind, I created this 2 Days in Brussels Itinerary, which, hopefully, has given you an idea of how to visit Brussels in 2 days.
This itinerary is easy to follow and gives you enough time to enjoy the beautiful Brussels. Feel free to adjust it depending on your needs and the current weather conditions.
If you are travelling in winter, I suggest visiting more museums and skipping parks. Also, Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert (Royal Gallery of Saint Hubert) is a great place to visit during long winter evenings.
This article was edited by Loredana Elena.
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