Brussels is a very interesting, but compact city. So you can easily get around the main attractions in a few hours. Add to this the high price of food and hotels. Therefore it is not a destination where people stay and live for a long time, as they do in Barcelona or Paris. More often Brussels is visited as a part of Eurotour or as a day trip from Amsterdam or Paris.
How to get to Brussels from Amsterdam?
From Amsterdam to Brussels you can travel by train or by bus. Trains run at different speeds: from 1.5 to 3.5 hours. And they cost from 10 to 100 euros: depending on how much in advance the ticket is bought. The train leaves from Amsterdam Central Station and arrives at Brussels Central Station. Check the schedule and prices here.
A trip by bus will take around 3.5 hours and will cost 10-20 euros.
How to get to Brussels from Paris?
A train from Paris to Brussels will take only 1.5 hours and the cost starts from 20 euros. To get to Brussels from Paris you need the Gare Du Nord station. Check the schedule and prices here.
Visit Brussels during the layover
Another way to get to Brussels is during the layover at the airport.
Well, first, let’s decide how long it has to be the layover in the airport so that you can safely afford to go to the city?
I think that if you have only carry-on baggage with you and you don’t need to pass the passport control, then 5 hours will be enough. 20 minutes – a trip to the center. 2.5 hours – walk around the center. 20 minutes – a trip back. 20 – minutes to pass the luggage control. 30 mins for various delays. And we are already sitting at the gate an hour before departure.
If you really only have a few hours, then you can only visit the first 4-5 points from the list of attractions.
How to get to Brussels from the airport?
The most comfortable way is the train. The railway station is located right at the airport on the -1 floor. And trains run every 10 minutes 24/7. The trip to Gare Central takes 17 minutes and costs 12.70 euros one way. You need to buy a ticket in special automatic machines at the station.
The cheapest way to get from the airport to Brussels is by bus. There are 2 lines: Line 272 and Line 471. A bus ride costs 3 euros and lasts 30 minutes. You buy a ticket directly from the driver (only cash). But, unlike the train, buses do not run 24/7. Bus 272 runs from 5:53 to 22:52. Bus 471 – from 07:17 to 22:07.
Best places to visit in Brussels in one day
So, you arrived in the capital of Belgium, and you only have one day, or even less. This is a list of places that you should definitely see in Brussels.
1. Grand Place
Grand Markt. Historic square in the center of Brussels. The ensemble of the square is made up of historic buildings in the Gothic style, among which is the Maison du Roi (the Royal house). Now in there is the museum of the city of Brussels. There is also a collection of 650 outfits of a peeing boy.
By the way, such a floral carpet, as in the photo, “is made” every two years and for only a few days in mid-August. The rest of the time, the area has a more ordinary appearance.
2. Manneken Pis
The Manneken Pis Fountain, located literally around the corner of the Grand Place at Rue de l’Etuve, 46. It is the main symbol of Brussels. In popular photographs, we see a greatly enlarged image, in fact, the size of a statue is no larger than a baby. According to one legend, the Peeing Boy is a real historical figure and even a war hero, who put out a stream of ammunition laid out by the enemy under a city wall with a stream of urine. Around the fountain, many traditions have formed. On holidays, the boy is dressed in various costumes, and the water in the fountain can be replaced with wine or beer.
3. Jeanneke Pis
The peeing girl is kind of a parody of the previous monument. It appeared in Brussels at the end of the 19th century. The monument is located at the impasse de la Fidélité / Getrouwheidsgang. There is a legend that the “Peeing Girl” was established by the owner of a restaurant on this street to attract clients.
3. Zinneke Pis
This peeing statue is not a fountain, but a monument. Well, since we started the “pissing topic,” then why not put together the whole set. A Peeing Dog appeared in the city in 1999. It is located at the intersection of Rue des Chartreux / Kartuizersstraat and Rue du Vieux-Marché / Oude Graanmarkt. And it does not carry any legend. Just an image of the Peeing dog in full size.
4. Belgian chocolate museum
The museum is located close to the Grand Place at Rue de l’étuve 41. Here you can learn all about Belgian chocolate. The exposition is very interesting. There are audio guides in different languages, visitors can watch a film about chocolate and even witness cooking class how to make chocolate pralines with a degustation.
A ticket for an adult costs 9.5 euros, for a child under 12 years old – 6.5 euros. Check the rest of the information on the official site.
5. Royal Palace of Brussels
Don’t mix it with the Royal house at Grand Place. The Royal Palace and the park are a 20-minutes away from the Grand Place (by walking). This is the official royal residence, which is used for official receptions. The rest of the time it is open to visitors as a museum. The entrance is free. On the official website, there is a lot of interesting things about the royal family.
So we have completed our tour around the city center. To get to the next 2 places you need to get a metro.
6. Mini-Europe park
The park is a collection of the miniatures of the most significant European buildings. There is the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty in Riga, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and much more. Many models are interactive and accompanied by sound effects, for example, the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.
The exposition is very interesting and informative. The miniatures are made with a really very high quality. The park is located at the Heysel metro station. It is a 35 minute away from the city center. Entrance to the park costs 16.50 euros for an adult and 12 euros for a child. Link to the official website is here.
The Atomium is located close to the Mini-Europe park, so it is impossible not to notice it. In fact, this futuristic building is a giant atom of iron. Inside there is a restaurant, museums with various exhibits and a viewpoint.
Atomium is open every day from 10 am to 6 pm. The entrance costs 16 euros for an adult and 8.50 euros for a child. This is the link to the official website.
Food to try in Belgium
1. Belgian waffles
Belgian waffles is no longer a rare meal, almost all around the world there are cafes with a big waffles menu. Moreover, everyone can make waffles at home. But, being in Brussels, of course, the first thing, I wanted to eat was “real Belgian waffles.” Naturally, their taste is no different from those waffles that you eat in Holland or even Moscow. But, being in Brussels it is much more logical to order waffles for breakfast than, for example, fried eggs and toasts. In addition, in the local cafes they definitely know how to cook delicious waffles.
2. French fries
As in Amsterdam, in Brussels, there are many kiosks that offer french fries. It is sold plainly right in paper bags with the addition of various sauces (optional). It’s tasty. True. By the way, do you know that French Fries was invented in Belgium due to one of theories?
3. Belgian chocolate
By the way, life hack. At airport of Brussels in the arrivals hall, there are several chocolate boutiques. Inside you can taste some candies. Therefore, if you do not want to buy sweets, but want to try, then use it. A box of Belgian chocolates from Belgium is the best souvenir and gift from the trip (certainly better than the figures of a pissing boy) since you will not find most brands in other countries.
Did you know that only 2,5 hours of Brussels there is a small state of Luxembourg that is easy to visit in 1 day. Read my article How to spend 1 day in Luxembourg?