Are you looking for a Brussels 1 Day Itinerary ?
Brussels, the capital of Belgium which is one of the smallest countries in Europe, tends to be overlooked as a holiday destination unlike its famous neighboring cities like Paris, London or Amsterdam.
After spending 1 day in Brussels, I have to say Brussels is definitely an underrated city in Europe. WWB Writer, Lian Sim, is going to guide you through an epic Brussels 1 Day Itinerary below!
Summary of all the best places to visit in Brussels in one day:
- Royale Galleries of St Hubert
- St Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral
- Belgian Comic Strip Center
- Royale Palace of Brussels
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Falling In Love With Brussels In 1 Day
8:00am – The Grand Place
I started my 1 day itinerary in Brussels by visiting this UNESCO World Heritage Site which is the central square of Brussels and it is open to the public for FREE.
The Grand Place which was built in several stages between 1401 and 1455, is surrounded by opulent guildhalls and two larger edifices, the Town Hall and the King’s House which also houses the Brussels City Museum.
The Grand Place’s magnificent architecture is the most remarkable landmark in Brussels and is deemed to be one of the most beautiful squares in Europe.
9:00am – Brussels City Museum
After admiring the amazing architecture of buildings at Grand Place, I visited the Brussels City Museum which is located opposite the Town Hall within the same vicinity.
This museum has more than 6’500 items on display which include artifacts, paintings, engravings and tapestries depicting Brussels’ history.
Within the same building, the original statue of Manneken Pis is kept at the top floor along with its wardrobe collection, at the current count, more than 1’000 pieces!
The entrance ticket to this museum is $9.70 and if you visit on the first Sunday of the month, the admission is FREE.
11:00am – Manneken Pis
My Brussels 1 Day Itinerary would not be complete without paying homage to this unique and yet cheeky mascot of Brussels, the statue of a naked boy urinating into a pool which is located just five minutes walk from Grand Place.
Don’t be surprised if you see this statue being dressed up as gardener or airline pilot outfits as it has more than a thousand wardrobes with 20-30 new outfits gifted each year.
While Manneken Pis is the most popular status in town, there are two more pee-pee statues installed around the city; Jeanneke Pis and Zinneke Pis.
Jeanneke Pis which is a statue of little girl peeing was added to the city from the 1980s while the pissing dog statue was installed in 1998.
11:30am – Royale Galleries of St Hubert
As it was nearly lunchtime, I decided to walk over to Royale Galleries of St Hubert to have my lunch.
This elegant building was built in 1847 and was the first glazed shopping arcade in Europe.
You can find shops, auditoriums, cafés and restaurants all under one roof. I ordered mussels and chips which is traditional Belgian food accompanied by a pint of Trappist beer, both are a must-have food when you are in Brussels.
1:30pm – St Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral
My next stop was The Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula which is a medieval Roman Catholic Church and took almost 300 years to complete.
I marvelled at the Gothic style architecture of the exterior building and once I stepped in, the stained-glass built back in 1540 took my breath away.
This cathedral also houses the great organ which was created by Gerhard Grenzing and Simon Platt and this instrument has a total of 4’300 pipes, 63 stops, 4 keyboards and the pedal-board.
While the entrance to the church is free, the entrance fee to the archeological site inside the church is at $1.20.
3:00pm – Belgian Comic Strip Center
Standing in front of this beautiful Art Nouveau building that was built in 1905, I was immediately transported back to my childhood where Smurfs, Asterix, The Adventures of Tintin became my companions.
This center is established to honor the creators and heroes of the 9th Art and also to promote comic strips as a valuable cultural medium.
This 4-storey museum offers permanent and temporary exhibitions which display the work of famous comic creators such as Peyo, Pieter De Poortere and Hergé.
The entrance fee is $14.50 for adults.
5:00pm – Royale Palace of Brussels
I ended my one day in Brussels with Royale Palace of Brussels which is the official palace for the King and Queen of Belgians.
If you are hoping to catch a glimpse of the royal family here, you will be disappointed as this palace is not used as a royale residence and they are actually staying at Royale Palace of Laeken located at the outskirts of Brussels.
This palace is opened to the public for visit during the summer in July for free and visitors are allowed to view selected rooms of the palace.
What Can You Do In Brussels For One Day?
Why choose one when you can have the best of both worlds – beer and chocolate the same day!
Brussels offers beer and chocolate tours where you will be able to learn the art of making beer and chocolate, taste delicious handmade chocolates and sample amazing Belgian beers.
Walk along this route to discover comic strip murals covering building walls around Brussels.
The murals depict scenes from famous Belgian comics such as The Adventures of Tintin, Gaston, Asterix and The Smurfs.
At the moment, there are more than 45 murals painted around the city and this route will also lead you to less crowded areas.
Is One Day Enough For Brussels?
If you follow this Brussels 1 Day Itinerary, you will be able to see the top attractions in Brussels city.
Antomium is located on the Heysel Plateau, about an hour train ride from Brussels city. This landmark was originally constructed for the 1959 Brussels World’s Fair, and now it is a museum.
On the same location, you will find Mini Europe which houses miniature versions of Europe’s landmarks such as Big Ben and Leaning Tower of Pisa, and it has more than 350 miniatures at a scale of 1:25.
How Much Does A Day Trip To Brussels Cost?
Here are the breakdowns on my expenditure for my Brussels day trip:
Accommodation : $72.00
Lunch : $17.60
Snacks (Waffles) : $ 3.00
Chocolates (8-pieces) : $ 8.50
Belgian Fries : $ 3.00
Museum fees : $24.30
Tram ticket : $ 2.60
TOTAL : $131.00
Best Time To Visit Brussels?
I visited Brussels in May and the weather was brilliant!
Based on the travel sites that I read, it is recommended that the best time to visit Brussels is during the months of April to June and between September and October as the weather conditions are perfect for outdoor festivals.
If you are a big fan of concerts and music festivals, Belgium’s largest electronic music festival, Tomorrowland is held in July each year while the Brussels Summer Festival which features international and local music acts is held in August.
Where To Stay In Brussels?
If you choose to arrive the night before your one day sightseeing in Brussels, there are plenty of accommodations to choose from depending on your budget.
My recommendation is to stay at the city center where the top tourist attractions are concentrated here.
Here are some of best hotels in Brussels City Center:
- Sleep Well Youth Hostel (from $50 per night)
- Jacques Brel Youth Hostel (from $51 per night)
- Hotel Midi-Zuid (from $57 per night)
- Hotel Saint Nicolas (from $75 per night)
- easyHotel (from $80 per night)
- Meininger Hotel (from $93 per night)
- Pillows City Hotel (from $131 per night)
- Hotel Novotel Brussels (from $131 per night)
- Hotel Le Plaza (from $143 per night)
What To Eat In Brussels?
A visit to Brussels would not be complete if you haven’t tasted these; beer, chocolate, waffle, and fries.
Don’t be surprised if you find your waistline slightly expanded after spending 1 day in Brussels because mine did, thanks to these awesome and delicious Belgian food!
Belgium is renowned for beer, particularly two types – Trappist and Abbey.
Trappist beer is brewed in Trappist monasteries and at the moment, there are thirteen monasteries around the world that produce Trappist beer including five in Belgium.
If you love beer, you are in the right city as Delirium Café is currently holding the Guinness World Record for the most beers offered with 2,004 brands and you can enjoy a glass of beer on tap from $2.90 onwards.
Belgium is also famous for its chocolate, having created praline chocolate a century ago.
This amazing chocolate which is a filled chocolate bonbon, was created by Jean Neuhaus, a pharmacist who sold chocolate for medicinal purposes, and he was trying to make his chocolate more appetizing.
No one should leave Brussels without getting a box of Belgian praline to savor!
Here are the five best chocolate shops in Brussels:
- Neuhaus Chocolate (from $4.20 onwards)
- Elisabeth Chocolatier Brussels (from $3.00 onwards)
- Benoit Nihant Chocolatier (from $6.00 onwards)
- Pierre Marcolini (from $7.15 onwards)
- Wittamer Chocolate (from $9.40 onwards)
If beer and chocolate don’t excite you, then you must try the famous Belgian waffles.
There are two different types of waffles; Brussels waffles which are light, fluffy and come in a rectangular shape while the Liege waffles are thicker with a crunchier texture and its shape is round.
You can choose any toppings to go with the waffles.
It was difficult to choose which one to try, so I had both versions, it was awesome! Needless to say, I still miss the authentic taste of Belgian waffles and haven’t been successful in recreating the original taste of these delicious waffles at home.
Here are the top three waffles place in Brussels:
- Maison Dandoy (from $1.20 onwards)
- Los Churros and Waffles (from $1.50 onwards)
- Le Funambule (from $2.00 onwards)
4. Belgian Fries
Do you know that french fries are not from France but are originated from Belgium?
Walking around Brussels, you will spot a lot of shops selling these fries which are fried to perfection.
You might wonder, what is so special about Belgian fries?
Well, they are freshly prepared, cut in thick slices and fried twice in animal fat. I was told that these fries are fried twice, so that it will be crispy on the outside, fluffy and soft on the inside when served.
How To Get Around In Brussels?
Brussels tourist attractions are easily accessible by foot as these highlights are located at the city itself.
The weather was good, sunny with a slight breeze, making my walk around town was an enjoyable one.
Armed with the Brussels city map, it was easy for me to spot the tourist attractions as well.
Cycling is also another option available for you to discover Brussels.
You can opt for bicycle sharing with Villo! which has approximately 350 self-service bicycle stations in Brussels at a cost of only $2 per day.
3. Bus / Tram / Metro Train
You can use a one-hour ticket for all these three modes of transport and if you purchase in advance at the kiosk, it costs $2.60 and $3.0 if it is bought on the train or bus.
You need to validate the ticket by using the machine inside the vehicle.
As Brussels has one of the largest tram systems in the world, I decided to experience tram riding in this capital and took Tram 92 to Royale Palace.
Unique Tips You Should Know When Visiting Brussels
- If you are planning for a one day trip to Brussels, try to do it on weekends as train tickets in Belgium are cheaper for Saturday/Sunday.
- These Museums are free on the first Sunday of the month.
- If you want to take Instagram worthy pictures at Grand Place, do visit early in the morning (as early as 7am) before the crowds start to build up.
- Have fun hunting for comic murals painted around the city using this map
- You can choose to get a Brussels Card which offers you free entrance to 44 museums, unlimited travel on public transports and free entrance to Atomium.