Are you looking for advice, tips and inspiration on how to spend 2 days in Brussels?
You’re in the right place!
We’ve recently discovered the wonders of Brussels, Belgium’s hip political gem, ourselves. From stunning architecture, to famous comic strip murals, to the very best in Belgian chocolate, you can easily see the city’s many highlights in a weekend.
Well, they’re mostly (and conveniently) found close to the city centre and the infamous gilded buildings of Grand-Place.
Here’s what we recommend you include in your Brussels weekend itinerary…
2 Days in Brussels Weekend Itinerary
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A Quick Note
The reason for this is because they’re situated quite far out of the city, which means you would have to miss out on some of the beautiful sights in the city centre itself… especially as you’ve only got two days to spare.
If you can make your trip a longer one, then you may wish to add these two activities into your itinerary; just don’t feel like you’re missing out if you don’t have time to see them.
Day 1 – Morning
If you’re anything like us, then Grand-Place is one of the sights you’re most excited to see in Brussels… so why wait?
This impressive square is simply stunning in the day time – especially if the sun’s shining. Look out for the golden architectural details glinting in the sunlight!
You should also make an effort to come back here at night as well, where you’ll be treated to views of the buildings lit up, making them look silver.
The Peeing Statues
Dotted around and near to Grand-Place are three peeing statues.
You’ve likely heard of Manneken-Pis, which is the boy version and oldest of the three statues, which was built in the 1600s. He’s become something of a mascot for Brussels over the years and you may even be lucky enough to see him in an interesting outfit!
Next up is Jeanneke-Pis, the girl version. She was built in the 1980s and is so well hidden that only devoted fans are able to find her. She was actually my favourite because of this!
And lastly, there’s Het Zinneke (sometimes also called Zinneke-Pis), which is the dog version. Built in the 1990s, this cute little dog can be found peeing against a bollard by the side of the road.
When you see these statues, you’ll start your weekend thinking: “Only in Brussels!”
Day 1 – Afternoon
Self-Guided Chocolate Walking Tour
As you’re in Belgium, you must, must, must buy some Belgian chocolate as a souvenir. It’s one of the things they’re most famous for, and honestly, it tastes every bit as incredible as you imagine!
This seems like a great moment to head out on a chocolate walking tour.
You can choose to pay for one, or follow a local guide, but we like the idea of doing tours like this ourselves so we can spend as much time in each shop as we like.
We’ve designed a self-guided chocolate walking tour that you can access here, which serves two purposes:
- It takes you to some of the best chocolate shops in Brussels.
- It also takes you to some of the prettiest galleries in Brussels.
Pretty Shopping Galleries
During your chocolate walking tour, you’ll see the very beautiful Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert shopping arcade.
Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert was built in 1847 and is actually one of the first shopping arcades to be built in Europe. There are three sections within it:
- Galerie du Roi / King’s Gallery
- Galerie de la Reine / Queen’s Gallery
- Galerie des Princes / Gallery of the Princes
After seeing Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert, you may well be in the mood to see more stunning shopping galleries in Brussels.
Two more well worth seeing are Galerie Bortier, which is best for books and Passage du Nord, which has lots of charming cafés and tea shops inside it.
Day 1 – Where To Eat
For lunch today, we’re going to recommend you buy some frîtes. They’ve become something of a local delicacy in Belgium and usually come with a range of sauces for you to choose from.
For dinner, you should make it your mission to try some traditional Belgian food like moules (mussels), carbonnade flamande (beef stew) and boulets (meatballs).
Make sure you book in advance though and remember to order a Belgian beer with your dinner!
Day 2 – Morning
Self-Guided Street Art Walking Tour
The second day of this 2 day Brussels itinerary starts with another self-guided walking tour; this time to see famous street art!
Some of the world’s most famous comics originated in Belgium, including ‘The Adventures of Tintin’, ‘The Smurfs’ and ‘The Adventures of Astérix’.
Belgium’s capital city celebrates this infamy by showcasing over 50 giant comic strip murals along its Comic Book / Comic Strip Route – and this is just one of many reasons why you should visit Brussels!
We’ve designed a self-guided street art walking tour, which you can find here. It covers 10 popular street art pieces, including the most famous ones, and covers 2 miles.
Day 2 – Afternoon
Parc de Bruxelles
At around 32 acres, Parc de Bruxelles (also known as the Royal Park) is the largest public park in the centre of Brussels.
It was once the old royal hunting grounds for the Dukes of Brabant and can be found on the site of the former Palace of Coudenberg.
Today, the park is one of the most popular parks in Brussels, and is home to several interesting monuments, landmarks and buildings, such as art deco lamp posts, fountains, a neoclassical-style bandstand and several statues of famous Belgians.
For this itinerary, we’d recommend you come here for a picnic (if the weather permits) before continuing on with your second day in Brussels.
Palais de Bruxelles
Found near to Parc de Bruxelles is Palais de Bruxelles (aka The Royal Palace of Brussels).
This is where the King of Belgium carries out his administrative tasks and office work, as well as the place where he meets with various political leaders, foreign ambassadors and other guests.
Every summer, the palace opens its doors to the public for free. While at other times of the year, you’ll simply have to admire its beauty and grandeur from the outside.
If you’re in the mood to see more Belgian palaces, then you’ll also find Palais de Coudenberg and Palais d’Egmont nearby.
European Parliament Buildings
Brussels is often known as the political hub of the European Union.
It’s here where the main offices of the Members of the European Parliament are, as well as where important EU debates, summits and votes happen.
If you’re interested in heading inside, then you’ll receive an audio-guided visit free of charge. (Please note that if you have children, they must be at least 14 years old to be allowed inside).
Parc Léopold and Parc du Cinquantenaire
Found just behind the European Parliament buildings are another two Brussels parks.
The first is Parc Léopold, which is a small and very quiet park, with weird bird-like statues throughout. Look out for the City Tree bench and a piece of the Berlin wall on the outskirts of the park.
For those of you who have time to venture further out, Parc du Cinquantenaire awaits.
This park was built in 1880 for the 50th anniversary of Belgium’s independence and is dominated by a huge arch monument at one end.
You can even climb to the top of this archway for free and get an incredible view across Brussels and the European Quarter.
Day 2 – Where To Eat
If the weather permits, we’d recommend taking a picnic and eating it in Parc de Bruxelles for lunch.
Whereas for dinner, there are lots of highly rated restaurants near to Montgomery metro station like The Open, Schievelavabo Woluwe, One52, Gribaumont and Jules & Charles to name just a few. If you’re following this itinerary, you won’t be too far from any of these restaurants once you’ve finished with Parc Léopold and Parc Cinquantenaire.
From here, you can hop straight on a metro at Montgomery to take you to Gare Centrale station, which is just under a 10 minute walk from Grand-Place.
Is this Brussels itinerary not quite what you were after? We also offer custom travel planning services!
Where To Stay in Brussels for a Weekend
Many first time visitors choose to stay near Grand-Place, as this is where you’ll do the bulk of your sightseeing. Although a very central area, you will pay for that privilege.
If you’re keen to do some day trips to other cities in Belgium, then you may choose to stay somewhere close to either the Gare Centrale or Gare du Midi train stations (the latter also being where the Eurostar terminal is).
Other popular areas in Brussels to check out include Sablon and Saint-Gilles.
Regardless of where you stay, it would be worth looking out for metro stations nearby to your hotel. If you’re not a huge fan of walking, these will be very useful for you.
Here are a couple of great hotel options near Grand-Place:
Hotel Agora Brussels Grand Place: Boasting lots of unusual features in the bedrooms such as wooden beams, bricked over fireplaces and mezzanines, this hotel is definitely quirky, despite being so close to the city’s centre.
Hotel Hubert Grand Place: Lavishly decorated throughout and complete with interesting artwork, this hotel promises a really comfortable stay within the city centre.
Here are some good options to try near to the main train stations:
Pullman Brussels Centre Midi: Boasting a location actually on the Gare du Midi plot itself, this hotel has spacious modern rooms, complete with Chromecast TV technology and rain showers in the bathrooms.
Courtyard by Marriott Brussels EU: Found close to Gare Centrale train station, this hotel is a typical Marriott chain hotel, offering modern spacious rooms, a 24-hour front desk and even a hotel gym.
Motel One Brussels: Also found close to Gare Centrale, this hotel has been lavishly decorated throughout and is very modern. The rooms are a little on the smaller side compared with the other two hotels above, but they’re perfectly adequate for a weekend in Brussels.
And here are some other Brussels hotels worth investigating:
B&B Aquarelle: Located in popular Saint-Gilles and just around the corner from Porte de Hal metro station, this picturesque B&B housed in a renovated Art Nouveau townhouse, promises a comfortable, spacious and modern stay in Brussels.
Be and Be Sablon 13: Found in the charming district of Sablon, this modern B&B offers spacious, well-equipped rooms and a cosy atmosphere. It’s just around the corner from Palais de Justice, as well as two different metro stations.
How To Get To Brussels
There’s an international airport roughly 7.5 miles north of Brussels, which covers over 200 destinations worldwide.
To get from the airport into the city centre will require using either a private airport transfer service, the train, a bus or a taxi.
Brussels is also well connected across Belgium and internationally via its extensive rail network.
In fact, Brussels is a stop on the Eurostar, which is a much more relaxed way to visit the city… and comes highly recommended by us!
How To Get Around Brussels
Brussels is a fairly small city, which means it’s very easy to get around on foot. During our long weekend in Brussels last year, we walked pretty much everywhere and only got one bus and a metro during our entire stay.
That said, the bus and metro networks are really handy (and easy to use) when you don’t feel like walking, or when you’re further out of the city centre.
The main network that operates both buses and metros is STIB-MIVB, and the great thing is that your ticket can be used on all metros, trams and buses!
If only using the public transport sparingly, then you can buy a one-way ticket, which is valid for 1 hour after you’ve validated it in a metro, bus or tram machine, and can be used throughout that hour regardless of how often you change lines or modes of transport.
You can also buy return tickets, as well as five and ten journey tickets, or if you’re planning on using the metro or buses a lot during your stay, then you can also buy a one day travel card.
Have Longer To Spend in Belgium? Try Some Day Trips!
Alongside your weekend in Brussels itinerary, Belgium’s capital city is also the perfect base with which to explore the rest of the country.
Trains between cities are fast, reliable and cheap.
So now you have no excuse to see more of this pretty little country!
We hope you found the above tips useful! If you’ve still got unanswered questions about how to spend the perfect weekend in Brussels, then just drop a comment below and we’ll get back to you asap!
Need help planning your trip to Brussels? We also offer custom travel planning services!
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