| 5 min read
The city of Brussels stretches out over a rather hilly landscape and offers many scenic views and places to visit. From the picturesque historical center and developing canal area to beautiful natural areas. Some of the best lookouts are situated in the very heart of Brussels, whereas others involve traveling to one of the surrounding communes. So, if you want to see Brussels from a birds-eye perspective, these are the places to visit.
Mont des Arts
Let’s start with the best-known viewpoint over Brussels, which never gets old. After climbing the stairs of Mont des Arts, you’ll be treated to a postcard-perfect view over the city center of Brussels, dominated by the tower of the town hall. Especially around sunset this place becomes magical as a romantic pink-and-orange sky sets over the city.
The square in front of the Palace of Justice, characterized by a public panoramic elevator, offers a wonderful view that is much appreciated by locals. They usually bring their own drinks and gather here with friends to watch the mesmerizing color palette [around sunset](). Apart from a vast view over the city, you’ll also be able to spot the basilica of Koekelberg (see below) and the Atomium in the distance.
Basilica of Koekelberg
Visible from afar, this impressive landmark only gets more gigantic when you get closer. Inside you can marvel at the beautiful art deco architecture for free and pray to be levitated to the rooftop. Otherwise, for a small fee, you can also take the elevator to the base of the dome which offers a fascinating 360 degrees view over Brussels. On a clear day, you can even see the city of Mechelen in the distance!
- Opening times Summer: 9am – 5:30 pm Winter: 10 am – 4 pm
- Price: A visit to the basilica is free. To visit the top floor, a 6 euro fee applies
Cinquantenaire Triumphal Arch
By climbing up the stairs of the Army museum in the Parc du Cinquantenaire you can access the top of the triumphal arch. You’ll be rewarded with a stunning view over the park and beyond. And while you’re there, you can also explore the museum’s large collection of weapons, uniforms, armoured vehicles and airplanes.
- Opening times: 9am to 5pm, from Tuesday to Sunday
- Price: 10 euro. (Every first Wednesday afternoon of the month, entrance is free after 1pm.)
This 600+ years old fairytale monument is one of the last vestiges of second defensive wall around Brussels. The medieval fortified city gate nowadays houses a museum that tells visitors the story of Medieval Brussels. After climbing the spiraling stairs, you’ll reach the top platform that offers a 360 degrees view over the Halle Gate park, the skyscrapers at Gare du Midi and the surrounding area.
- Opening times: from 9:30 am to 5 pm from Tuesday to Friday; from 10 am to 5 pm on Saturday and Sunday
- Price: 7 euro
Rooftop of the Musical Instruments’ Museum
The former Old England department store on top of Mont des Arts is one of the most impressive art nouveau buildings in Brussels. Whereas a ticket is required to visit the collection of musical instruments which is stored inside, you don’t need to pay to take the art nouveau elevator to the rooftop of the museum. From there you’ll be able to appreciate the beautiful art nouveau restaurant as well as enjoy a lovely view over the center of Brussels and Place Royale.
- Opening times: from 9:30 am to 5 pm from Tuesday to Friday, from 10 am to 5 pm on Saturday and Sunday
- Price: Access to the rooftop is free.
Rooftop of the Royal Library
As the royal library is a public institution, access for the public is free. By taking the elevator to the fifth floor, you’ll reach a canteen where library workers have their lunch. Few people know the colorful rooftop terrace looks out over Mont des Arts on one side and the Palace of Justice on the other.
- Opening times: 9 am to 5 pm from Monday to Friday
- Price: Access to the rooftop is free.
The Brussels rooftop bars
Multiple rooftop bars in Brussels boast a unique setting to look over the city from above. Although Perché, Beurscafé, Cospaia and Playlabel Rooftop bar all offer beautiful views, they don’t beat the one offered by Warwick. There you can sip from a glass a wine with the tower of the townhall in the backdrop.
Ferris wheel at foire du midi
For this viewpoint you’ll have to wait until the fair at gare du Midi is back in town, which happens only once a year for a month. During that period, a ferris wheel is set up on the Boulevard du Midi which takes you to a temporary, but fascinating lookout point. Buy a ticket for a spin on the wheel and enjoy the sweeping view from above.
- Opening times: one month from mid July to mid August, each day from 3 pm to 1 am
- Price: 5 euro per person
Tower of the townhall
Although it requires a bit more planning and asking around, it is possible to climb the tower of the townhall on certain occasions. Given the limited amount of space on the spiraling, slightly dangerous stairs, it makes sense that it’s not permanently open to public. Nevertheless, the climb is definitely worth it as you’ll be rewarded with a 360 degrees view over the center. Especially the area around Grand Place looks lovely from above!
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