Brussels itinerary

Your Perfect 1 Day Brussels Itinerary!

Belgium’s capital Brussels is a very good place to start your visit to Belgium! There’s a LOT to see in this wonderful city but you might have limited time. If you only have one day, you might feel confused about what the actual best attractions are to visit.

But don’t worry! I’m here to help you and tell you about the top places to visit in Brussels in just 1 day! Read on to find out which activities you should include in your itinerary!

Top tip: at the end of this post I’ve included a map with all the attractions I talk about to make planning your trip a little bit faster and easier!

Note that some of the links in this post might be affiliate links. By booking through one of my links I earn a small commission. Read more in my Disclosure Policy.

Important information about Belgium

Before you put together your perfect Brussels itinerary, take a look at this useful information for your visit to Belgium!

Currency & budget

Just as in most countries in the European Union, in Belgium, you pay with the euro. This is the only currency accepted so make sure to have some with you! Of course, you’ll be able to pay by card almost everywhere.

Weather

Belgium generally is a rainy country. Temperatures never go too low (mostly not below 0) or too high, although in recent summers we’ve seen more and more heatwaves.

In any case, it won’t hurt to bring an umbrella!

Transport

Belgium is a small country and you’ll be able to get to any city by train. The main airports are Brussels Airport, which has a very good train connection to the rest of the country (and is close to the city center), and Charleroi Airport, which is a bit harder to reach.

If you’re not city tripping it’s advisable to rent a car, otherwise getting everywhere by train, by bike or on foot will be fine!

In general, you won’t need a car in Brussels, because that will be a pain in your ass. Walk or take the subway instead!

Language

Belgium has 3 official languages: Dutch, French and German. In general, there are 2 major language parts of the country, the Flemish part where they speak Dutch and the French-speaking part.

As Belgium’s capital, Brussels is supposed to be bilingual, but in reality most people speak French. But don’t worry if you can’t speak French, because most people will be able to help you in English as well!

Tipping

In Belgium, you usually only tip when you get a very good service. In other words, people don’t expect you to tip, but if you enjoyed the service, you can always round up the bill.

Your Brussels itinerary

Top tip: if you’re visiting multiple attractions/museums in 1, 2 or 3 days, consider buying the Brussels Card, which gives you free access to all 41 museums in Brussels and discounts on several other locations!

This useful 24-hour card will only cost you €28 and will give you free entrance to museums and discounts in bars and restaurants.

Note: there is now free cancellation up to 24 hours before your visit!

Start your day at the Grand Place

Grand Place - Brussels 1 day itinerary
Photo by François Genon

The place you should start your visit to Brussels is the Grand Place! Take a walk around and admire the buildings. The city hall is incredibly beautiful and also worth a visit!

Guided tours are possible each Wednesday and Sunday. However, note that this is also included in the Brussels Card if you have it!

Grand PlaceFREE
City Hall guided tour – 1 hour€7

Take a look at Manneken Pis

Manneke Pis - one day in Brussels itinerary

This is one of the funniest highlights of the city. In Brussels, there’s a statue of a peeing boy which became an very touristic spot. On different occasions, they dress the statue in different clothes.

Definitely funny to take a look at!

But we not only have the peeing boy, but also the girl and dog (which are lesser known). Thus, also consider visiting Jeanneke Pis (the girl) and Het Zinneke (the dog)!

Manneken PisFREE

Buy a waffle and/or chocolate

one of the many chocolate shops in Brussels
One of the many chocolate stores in Brussels

You simply can’t visit Brussels, or Belgium for that matter, without tasting its chocolate and waffles! But don’t worry, you’ll be able to find them everywhere!

In general, there are 2 types of Belgian waffles that are the most common, the Brussels waffle and the Liège waffle. I personally prefer the latter because it’s more sugary but that’s your call! Anyways, enjoy!

Don’t also forget to walk into one of the many chocolate stores or for the real chocolate lovers, visit the Choco Story, a museum all about chocolate (and they even let you taste!).

It will usually cost you €9.50 but it’s included if you buy the Brussels Card!

Choco Story€9.50

Take a look at the Royal Palace

Royal Palace - Brussels itinerary
Photo by Austin Paquette

In Brussels, you’ll find the Royal Palace of Brussels where the King of Belgium fulfills its duties during the year. It’s not the official royal residence (which is in Laeken), but more like the King’s office.

Normally, you won’t be able to enter, but it’s nice to pass by on your way through Brussels and the Royal Park.

However, every summer, after the Belgian national holiday on the 21st of July, the palace opens its doors to visitors until the end of August. So if you happen to visit Brussels during summer, don’t hesitate to visit a bit of this royal beauty!

Royal PalaceFREE

Follow the Comic Strip Route

Comic Strip Route painting - Brussels one day itinerary
Comic strips street art

Belgium has a rich history of comic strip artists with many famous series such as Bob et Bobette, the Smurfs, Jommeke, Tintin, Asterix and many more.

In Brussels, you’ll be able to follow a route with 50 huge mural paintings of these comic strips symbolizing Belgian heritage!

You can get your guide at the Brussels tourist information centers for only €1 and follow the paintings through the city!

If you’re really interested you can also visit the Belgian Center for Comic Strip Art in a beautiful Art Nouveau building in Brussels!

I’ve visited myself and loved it!

Comic Strip Art museum - Brussels itinerary
Belgian Centre for Comic Strip Art
Comic Strip route guide€1
Belgian Centre for Comic Strip Art€10

Visit the Atomium

Atomium - things to do in Brussels in one day
Photo by fotografierende on Unsplash

Just like Paris is proud of its Eiffel Tower, Brussels is proud of the Atomium. The building has been designed for the World Expo of 1958 and is been standing there ever since.

You can go up the 9 spheres of the Atomium and have a magnificent view over Brussels! In the spheres, you’ll find exhibitions, history about the Atomium and a perfect lunch spot with a magnificent view! A ticket to the Atomium also includes a visit to the Brussels Design Museum next to it!

Don’t forget to use your Brussels Card to get a discount for the Atomium!

Atomium entrance€16

Drink a beer at the Delirium Café

Delirium cafe - places to visit in Brussels in one day
Photo by Diogo Brandao

Make sure to plan some time in your Brussels itinerary to taste some authentic Belgian beers!

Enjoy more than 2000 beers in the Delirium cafe (but please not all at the same time)! This place holds the record for the cafe with the most beers in the world! How insane is that?

And if you can’t choose, the staff will be able to help you find the best beer. Plus, if you visit Thursday night, you might be able to enjoy a concert as well!

If you have more than 1 day in Brussels

I’m pretty sure that the activities above will leave you with a day full of fun in Brussels. However, if you have a little bit more time or you’re not quite convinced of the activities above, I have some alternatives for you!

Visit Mini Europe

Mini Europe is one of the top activities of Brussels and you’ll quickly see why!

In this park, they’ve built all the main cities of Europe in mini format. This means that you can just walk around Europe and see the highlights of every country!

Take a visit to the Eiffel Tower, London or Venice, all in just a few hours!

If you’re planning on visiting Mini Europe and the Atomium on the same day, you can get a better deal by buying the combi ticket. Don’t forget to show your Brussels Card and get a discount!

Mini Europe Entrance€16.50
Combi ticket with Atomium€29

Take a look at one of Brussels many museums

Brussels has a lot of museums, and, if you’ve bought the Brussels Card, you’ll get free entrance to all of them!

So definitely consider adding one of these top museums to your Brussels itinerary:

  • Choco Story – museum about chocolate
  • Botanique – concerts & exhibitions
  • Planetarium of Brussels – all about the universe
  • Africa Museum – colonial history of Belgium
  • Train World – all about trains
  • Belgian Brewers Museum – all about beer
  • Musée Magritte Museum – famous Belgian painter

Temple of Human Passions

This building designed by Victor Horta is home to a marble artwork from Jef Lambeaux depicting, well, human passions! I leave this entirely to your imagination ;).

The building can be visited from April until October (during summertime) and only on Wednesday afternoons and during the weekend, so be aware of the limited opening hours!

And there’s good news if you happen to visit the first Wednesday of the month because then visits are free!

Entrance€2.50

Your Brussels itinerary map

Conclusion

I hope you know now what to include in your 1 day Brussels itinerary and that you have a marvellous time in Belgium’s capital!

Don’t forget to buy the Brussels Card for free museums and lots of discounts on other activities! You can do this below.

Are you thinking of visiting more in Belgium? I have a whole section on my blog with the best recommendations for this wonderful country that I call home!

Interested in visiting Belgium in winter? Take a look at my post about what to do in Belgium in winter!

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