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In this two-day itinerary, the first day is dedicated to a proper visit of the city center whereas the second one will take you to some more distant sights. The general outline of the route through the city center is somewhat similar to our one-day itinerary, but offers a more in-detail discovery of the city, including some local or hidden spots. Are you ready?
Day 1: In-detail exploration of the city center (5-6km)
The map below suggests a walking itinerary for a 5-6km walk through the center of Brussels. The points of interest are briefly described below offering various links to a more detailed article about the place. The orange pins on the map mark some of the many cartoon walls in Brussels, so make sure to keep your head up!
You can export the map in KML/KMZ format to import it on your phone and use it offline.
The area around Place Sainte-Catherine is teeming with bars, restaurants, trendy shops. No wonder this area is so popular with locals. Depending on the time at which your begin your walk, start the day with a coffee in one of the bars, brunch with fish tapas at Noordzee or maybe even an ice cream from Gaston.
After exploring the area, walk on via the small alley Rue du Chien Marin to Rue de Flandres and Rue du Vieux Marché aux Grains.
Following this street, you’ll meet peeing statue #1. An expression of the typical Brussels humor, Zinneke is a little dog eternally peeing on the junction of Rue du Vieux Marché aux Grains with Rue des Chartreux. In 2015, he was struck by a car. Luckily, his sculptor took him in and nursed him back to health.
Halles de Saint-Géry
This is a former covered marketplace that nowadays houses an exposition about Brussels and a bar. The venue regularly hosts various events like swing dancing parties, a vintage market or a plant market.
Situated along the Boulevard Anspach, you’ll find a neoclassical construction that used to be the Brussels stock exchange building. The stairs are often populated with people watching the street artists perform on the little square just in front, or enjoying the fries they bought at Fritland, a popular Belgian fries place.
Up to peeing statue #2. Despite being the most famous peeing statue of Brussels, Manneken Pis is not very tall, so don’t expect too much. On the other side of the street, you can grab a beer in the authentic beer café Poechenellekelder with a interior decoration full of puppets.
One of the most beautiful places in Brussels, the Grand Place is surrounded by the town hall, the Maison du Roi and ancient guild houses with wonderful facades. If you’ve been able to withhold for so long, now is the time to try a waffle or buy some speculoos. Head to Maison Dandoy which specializes in both.
Having entered the cobblestone streets of the Ilot Sacré, you’re about to meet peeing statue #3. Jeanneke Pis sits squatting in front of the famous beer bar Delirium. Did you know that they have more than 1000 beers on offer? When you walk back through the Petite Rue des Bouchers, look on your left for a small alley that leads to the bar Toone. It’s a great spot for a break and possibly also a Kwak beer served in the typical glass with the shape of a mini yard of ale. Exit the bar on the other side and you’ll find yourself on the Rue du Marché aux Herbes.
Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert
Enter the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert, a beautiful covered shopping arcade with lots of fancy boutiques and famous chocolatiers. Also check out the very special bookstore Tropismes Libraires.
On your way to the next viewpoint, hop into the boutique Manneke which is a great place for original souvenirs!
Mont des Arts
After climbing the stairs of Mont des Arts, you’ll be treated to one of the most spectacular views over Brussels. Behind you is a former Old England department store that now houses the Musical Instruments’ Museum.
Located in front of Parc Royal, the royal palace is the administrative residence of the king. During a certain period in Summer, the palace opens up to the public.
A more upscale area of Brussels with fancy boutiques and some exquisite chocolatiers. Also visit the beautiful Sablon church and lovely park in front of it.
Palace of Justice
This impressive buildings towering over the Marolles area houses the main courthouse in Belgium. Walk in and have a look inside at the stunning classical architecture of the Palace of Justice. Has the evening begun now that you’ve reached the end of this itinerary? Perfect! Then join the locals sitting outside and watch the sunset from Place Poelaert.
Depending on the amount of waffles you’ve passed along the way, you must be starving now? Head downtown and have dinner in one of the nice restaurants in the Marolles.
Day 2: a selection of more distant sights
Day 2 includes a visit to the blue markers on the map, whereas the red ones are suggestions for a third day in Brussels. As the sights are located somewhat further from each other, you might consider renting a bike for the day. Otherwise, it’s also perfectly doable by metro. If you’re not staying in the area, start by taking the metro to Porte de Halle or Gare du Midi.
Place Jeu de Balles
If you happen to spend a Sunday in Brussels, head to the Sunday market for a delicious Moroccan pancakes. Otherwise go straight to Place Jeu de Balles to stroll through the daily flea market and have a coffee in one of the bars surrounding the square.
As a remnant of the second wall around Brussels, this humongous medieval fortified city gate now houses a museum of art and history. It also boasts a beautiful panoramic view from the top.
For lunch, you could try one of our recommendations concerning the best restaurants in the Marolles.
Take the metro from Porte de Hal to Elisabeth, which will take about 30 minutes.
Basilica of Koekelberg
After you exit the Elisabeth metro station, walk through Elisabeth park towards the giant basilica. You can visit for free and marvel at its art deco architecture. For a fee, you can also take the elevator up to the rooftop for a 360° panoramic view over Brussels.
Take the metro from Simonis to Heizel, which again takes about 30 minutes.
It’s up to you whether you’d just like to take a selfie with the Atomium on the background or also visit the expositions inside. If you feel like a stroll, walk through the Ossegem park towards the Leopold Monument. Although access is restricted, you can peak at the Royal Palace through the iron gates.
- If you plan on visiting several museums, consider buying a Brussels Card, which grants you free access to 41 Brussels museums during 24, 48 or 72 hours (depending on what you chose). There is also a formula of the Brussels Card that includes free public transportation.
Need help to plan your trip?
If you need help planning your trip, feel free to contact us. We’d be more than happy to organise a tailor-made trip in Brussels taking into account your preferences and interests. We’ll find accommodation, book a table in the best local restaurants, take care of entrance tickets, set you up with knowledgeable guide… All you need to do, is enjoy the experience!
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