2 Day Brussels Itinerary: How to Spend an Unforgettable Weekend in Brussels

Home 9 Europe 9 Belgium 9 2 Day Brussels Itinerary: How to Spend an Unforgettable Weekend in Brussels

Author:  Caroline

Spending a weekend in Brussels can be awesome – if you have a little help. Without guidance, Brussels can seem like a boring city where tourist traps reign and trudging around the one square kilometer around the Grand Place is the highlight of your Brussels Itinerary.  Let’s delve into the delights that multicultural Brussels has to offer

While the Grand Place in Brussels Belgium is worth visiting, the city has so many more interesting quartiers (neighborhoods) to discover: Art Nouveau mansions, local restaurants & bars, curious markets and street art galore.  This guide will take you to the local & tourist highlights.

Perhaps this is not your first weekend trip to Brussels and you are looking to get a more intimate knowledge of the city, try checking out the hidden gems of Brussels, or get adventurous and embark on a day trip from Brussels.

This guide contains a good mixture of both general and local knowledge. As I live in Brussels, and spend my weekend exploring this beautiful city, it is such a pleasure to (virtually) show you around and hope you fall in love with Brussels, just as I did.

TIP| If you really want to try something else and get a completely different feel of both the city and the country of Belgium, I can highly recommend going castle hunting around Brussels.

Please note: This post contains affiliate links, meaning I may earn a commission if you make a purchase by clicking a link (at no extra cost to you). Learn more.

Why 2 Days in Brussels Is Worth It

READ | Brussels vs Bruges For a City Trip || Is Brussels Worth Visiting

Most of the main tourist attractions in Brussels are within walking distance from each other, hotels are more affordable than many other Western European cities, the city has tons of awesome museums and historical sites to visit and, last but certainly not least, Brussels has a thriving bar and restaurant scene.

For some reason, Brussels has completely fallen off the tourist radar. I have had many friends ask my why they should visit the city. The truth of the matter is there are plenty of things to see in Brussels in 2 days, you just need to know where to find them. Hey, that’s where I come in!

Spend one day exploring the highlights – Grand Place, Manneken Piss, The Royal Galleries, La Bourse and perhaps the Magritte Museum. Stroll through the streets munching on fine Belgian chocolate or, a hot waffle, and end the day at Place Sainte Catherine with a nice cold beer.

On day two you can explore the thriving Art Nouveau scene, head to the oldest neighborhood in Brussels, the Marolles for a spot of vintage shopping, clamber up the Atomium or learn about the importance of comic books for us Belgians.

Bring a pair of very comfortable walking shoes and invest in the Brussels Card, which includes access to public transportation and 49 museums. I would also ensure you bring loose-fitting clothing because the omnipresence of Belgian beer and Belgian chocolates will have you grazing throughout the entire weekend.

Two Days in Brussels Planning Guide


2-Day Brussels Itinerary

DAY ONE: Grand Place, Mont des Arts, Magritte Museum, Royal Gallery of Saint Hubert, Manneken & Jeanneke Pis, Food tour (organized of self-guided), La Bourse & Saint Catherine neighborhood

DAY TWO: Art Nouveau House, Comic Book Museum or Comic Strip Walk, Atomium, Marolles (Sunday Morning), Bois de la Cambre

BEST BARS IN TOWN: Brussels Beer Project, Moeder Lambic, Bar des Amis

MUST VISIT RESTAURANTS: Manneken Pis Café (Fusion), Strofilia (Greek), Choux de Bruxelles (Belgian)

14 Things to Do During a Weekend in Brussels

Time to get to the nitty-gritty of planning out the perfect 48 hours in Brussels. Curious to see where all the mentioned places are located? Scroll down to the bottom of this article and check out the interactive Google Map.

BRUSSELS IN SPRING: Make sure to check out the famous bluebell forest near Brussels in Hallerbos.
BRUSSELS IN WINTER: Explore the Brussels Christmas market like a local

2 Day Brussels Itinerary: How to Spend an Unforgettable Weekend in Brussels

Brussels Itinerary Day One – The Historical Centre

2 Day Brussels Itinerary: How to Spend an Unforgettable Weekend in Brussels

If you only have a very short weekend in Brussels, or perhaps only one day in Brussels you might want to stick to the center of town to make sure you cover the basics. Fret not, one day in the city is enough to get a glimpse of the splendors she has to offer.


The Grand Place in Brussels is the most opulent main square in all of Europe. It takes my breath away, even after having walked across its little cobblestones thousands of times. Most travelers plant themselves in the middle and start snapping away, before hurrying to the next attractions.

What if I told you, you could easily spend half a day exploring the various 18th-century UNESCO-Classified buildings dotted around the Grand Place, learning about the history of the city? These ornate golden mansions were once guild houses, remnants of which can still be seen by the figurines adorning the rooves.

The two largest buildings on the Grand Place are respectively the Gothic Brussels City Town Hall (guided tours are available) and the larger-than-life neo-Gothic King’s Building, nowadays home to the Brussels City Museum (included in the Brussels Card).

WHAT TO DO ON THE GRAND PLACE: Brussels Beer Museum, Brussels City Museum, Climb the spire of the Brussels City Town Hall.

BEST VIEWS: First floor of Café La Brouette or Restaurant Le Roy d’Espagne

TOURS | There are a lot of legends surrounding the Grand Place and intricated details including an architectural mistake often overlooked. Learn about all of the above via guided walking tour

Best views in Brussels for 2 days


Time to explore Mont des Arts. Chances are high that you were browsing the internet to prepare for your weekend in Brussels this image popped up. This viewpoint is wonderful for sunset! In summer a small pop-up bar opens up at the top of the stairs, and locals flock here to catch the last rays of sun.

WHAT TO SEE: The square is lined with the Royal Library of Belgium, the National Archives, a meeting center, and Plein Public (this venue is pretty good for an aperitif in the evening).

WHAT TO DO NEARBY: Within walking distance, you will find The Bozar – the center of fine arts in Brussels, which has a very cool rooftop bar (open June to September) and a snazzy 2-star Michelin restaurant.

Alternatively, head to the MIM (Musical Instruments Museum) housed in a beautiful Art Nouveau building. The museum is filled from top to bottom with various musical instruments. It has a great rooftop bar which serves brunch over the weekends. The bar is currently under renovation.

AN ADDITIONAL VIEWPOINT: I recently discovered the Warwick Grand Place Hotel and its rooftop bar which quite literally looks over the Grand Place. The bar is open from 5 pm to 11:30 pm and is accessible to anyone.


One thing Brussels does really well is interactive museums. If it happens to rain on your weekend in Brussels, you can rest assured there are enough museums to keep you entertained. I will spare you an extensive list and instead share a few of my favorites.

MAGRITTE MUSEUM: The museum was recently completely renovated. It contains the largest collection of paintings by the Belgian Surrealist René Magritte.

BRUSSELS CITY MUSEUM: Explains the history of the city and houses the original Manneken Pis. It is located on the Grand Place and has some spectacular views.

BELGIAN BEER WORLD: Located in the recently renovated La Bourse, this is an interactive museum about beer in Belgium. My favorite part is their rooftop terrace where you do the beer tasting.

COMIC BOOK MUSEUM: Brussels has a long history of comic books. You might be familiar with the Smurfs or TinTin. Yep, these little guys were created by the hands of Belgian artists. The Comic Book Museum is informative and happens to be housed in a beautiful Art Nouveau building.

MONEY SAVER | If you are planning on visiting multiple museums, I highly recommend investing in the Brussels Card as tickets oftentimes start at €10/person. All of the above are included in the card.



No Brussels weekend itinerary is complete without visiting the magnificent Royal Gallery of Saint Hubert. Opened in 1847 and one of the first covered shopping streets in the world. The galleries are comprised of three arcades:  King’s Gallery, the Queen’s Gallery and the Princes’ Gallery.

Aside from eating your weight in chocolate and filling your memory cards with hundreds of pictures, there are actually quite a few additional things to do in the arcades.

TROPISMES LIBRARY: Nestled in the Princes’ Gallery lies the prettiest bookstore in Brussels. This beautiful hidden nook was a ballroom and then a famous Jazz Bar in a former life.

GALLERIES CINEMAS: The Queen’s Gallery houses a little cinema that dates back to 1939 and is still playing a select number of niche films. Check out what is playing.

MAISON DANDOY: At the beginning of the Queen’s Gallery you will find a large Maison Dandoy, serving one of the best hot chocolates in Brussels.

ROYAL THEATER: The galleries have their very own theater (Théâtre Royal des Galeries), the theater was painted by none other then famous Surrealist painter Renée Magritte. Find out what’s playing online.

CHOCOLATE STORES: There are plenty of chocolate stores inside: Neuhaus (Queen’s Gallery), Pierre Marcolini (Queen’s Gallery), and Mary’s Chocolate (Queen’s Gallery) have a good selection of pralines.


Manneken Pis

Time to tick off a bucket list item from your Brussels itinerary. Checking out the city’s most renowned, albeit deceptively small, landmark. A mere 5-minute stroll from the Grand Place leads you to the iconic Manneken Pis, also known as Little Julien. While you could easily walk by the statue itself, the perpetual throng of tourists surrounding him will give his location away.

HISTORICAL ROOTS: The origins of Little Julien are steeped in legend, with one prevalent theory suggesting homage to the city’s tanneries from the Middle Ages. In those bygone days, the urine of children was utilized in leather processing—a peculiar tidbit to regale your companions with.

COSTUME GALORE: Little Julien frequently undergoes wardrobe changes, often adorning traditional attire to commemorate national holidays or special occasions like the feast of Saint Nicolas. Witness the whimsical array of his 1000 costumes at the dedicated Garderobe Manneken Pis nearby.

Jeanneke Pis

Less well-known, but equally worth squeezing into your Brussels 2-day itinerary is the statue of a little girl peeing (Jeanneke-Pis). Jeanne is “doing her business” just a mere 50 meters from the most famous bar in Brussels: The Delirium Café. It boasts over 1000 beers on the menu, many of which can be tasted by ordering a beer float. Truth be told, as a local, I do think we have better more authentic bars to try (scroll down for recommendations).

Zinneke Pis

Yep, you are reading this right: There is a third peeing statue. The little bronze statue of Het Zinneke (Brussels slang for “the mut”) was created in 1998. The small peeing dog can be found on the intersection of Rue des Chartreux/Kartuizersstraat and the Rue du Vieux-Marché-aux-Grains/Oude Graanmarkt. Right opposite a really nice black and white graffiti mural.


When people ask me what to do in Brussels when it rains, my standard answer is usually: Eat and drink, it’s weatherproof! Sadly there are a lot of tastefully decorated tourist traps in around the historical center which have given Brussels a bad rep.

I recently tried the Hungry Mary’s Beer and Chocolate tour on, yet another, rainy Sunday. It was such a fun experience and, even as a local, we explored plenty of places I had never been to before! It was fun, good value/money and a good way to learn about the city while discovering the best chocolatiers.

Best Food & Beer Tours in Brussels

Best chocolate in Brussels

If you want to explore the various chocolate shops in Brussels yourself instead of opt for a tour I would recommend heading to Pierre Marcolini, BS40, Neuhaus and Laurent Gerbaud Chocolatier. As a local I would caution you against purchasing anything at Leonidas or La Belgique Gourmande as it’s not locally made anymore.

Best waffles in Brussels

When in Brussels make sure to ask for a Brussels waffle (pictured above) as they are the local specialty. Veer away from the waffles topped with whipped cream and brightly colored pieces of fruit. For a proper waffle head over to Maison Dandoy or if you want the vegan version try VeganWaf.

Areas to stay in Brussels


It’s finally time to add a splash of beer to your Brussels 2-day itinerary. Head in the direction of Boulevard Anspach. This long boulevard was pedestrianized a few years back and has truly flourished. At the center of it lies the former Brussels Stock Exchange – a 19th-century Neoclassical monolith.

I always loved the building and was super excited when they announced it was going to be renovated. In true Brussels style, the renovation took a lot longer than expected, but when they first reopened in 2023 all grumblings about a delayed timeline were soon forgotten. The building is spectacular and houses a variety of different spaces. You do not need to pay to get inside.

BELGIAN BEER WORLD: This museum is dedicated to the Belgian beer culture and offers visitors a “sensory experience” around beer. It’s fun to learn about the history of different beers and best of all the ticket (buy them in advance) includes a beer tasting on the rooftop bar.

ROOFTOP BAR: During the opening hours of the museum, the rooftop bar can only be visited if you have purchased a ticket for the Belgian Beer World museum. Between 6 pm and 10.30 pm, however, the rooftop bar is open to everyone. Accessible via elevator at the side entrance of the stock exchange.


End the first day of your weekend trip to Brussels in the Saint Catherine neighborhood. On the way over stop at the Halle St. Gerry for a drink at one of the lively bars (I love Zebra!).

Shop Belgian Brands

If you happen to arrive before 06.00 pm walk over to the Dansaert Straat which is home to a myriad of Belgian and international designer stores peddling everything from clothing to high-end furniture.

Stroll down the Vlamingenstraat (Rue de Flandres)

In this street you will find bartenders and shopkeepers conversing in Dutch amongst themselves. This part of town is a little enclave carved out by the Flemish community in Brussels. The street itself has a host of eateries like Chicago Cafe (great for brunch), and the super trendy Nightshop (reservations needed).

Check out Saint Catherine Square

The square Sainte Catherine and the next door fishmarket are popular locations for locals to spend a free evening. During the summer it is lined with outdoor terraces and lounging youngsters catching up. Pop into Bar des Amis, an age-old institution amongst the locals and stretch your dancing legs in the
bar/club Madame Moustache.

2 Day Brussels Itinerary: How to Spend an Unforgettable Weekend in Brussels

Brussels Itinerary Day Two

2 Day Brussels Itinerary: How to Spend an Unforgettable Weekend in Brussels

This second day of your weekend in Brussels will delve deeper into Brussels. Veer away from the historic center of Brussels (beautiful, yet admittedly very touristy) and venture out into the commune of Saint Gilles, Ixelles and the Marolles.


READ | Best Brunch Spots in Brussels

Aside from the fabulous Grand Place and the beautiful Art Nouveau, there is one other highlight the city has to offer. The art of brunch is one we take very seriously. Skip your hotel breakfast and instead do as the locals do and settle into one of the hip brunch spots that keep popping up.

KAFEI: The first Asian coffee shop in Brussels. The ideal brunch place if you like your Matcha Latté, smoothie bowls and really fluffy pancakes (the best in the city, trust me).

LES FILLES: Locally sourced, bio ingredients served in a cozy setting. Food is served as a sort of buffet (nothing tacky, just a small assortment of homemade food is homey casseroles). Menu is seasonal.

POIS CHICHE: I love this place! It serves Middle Eastern dishes that are divine and has an eco-conscious mindset e.g. no plastic, farm-to-table ingredients, and no food waste.


A lesser-known fact about Brussels is that it was the birthplace of the Art Nouveau architectural movement you could say it is the capital of Art Nouveau. I always encourage friends and family to visit one of the Art Nouveau houses on their weekend trip to Brussels.

VICTOR HORTA MUSEUM: The home and atelier of the founding father of the Belgian Art Nouveau Movement, Victor Horta. For years this was the only Art Nouveau house that was open to the public. You will need to book tickets in advance as they sell out very fast- Closed on Monday.

MAISON HANNON: Renovated in 2023, and just recently opened to the public. Maison Hannon is tiny but boy does it pack a punch. The beautifully restored mural on the winding staircase is unrivaled in Brussels- Closed on Monday.

HOTEL SOLVAY: Privately owned and only open two days a week. If you love ornate stained glass and opulent Art Nouveau furniture make sure to book a visit to Hotel Solvay – Closed on Sunday

INSIDER TIP | If you are a fan of architecture look into the free Art Nouveau walking tour which starts every Saturday at 10.00 from the Grand Place and takes around 3 hours. Alternatively, you can opt to stay in an Art Nouveau B&B in Brussels.

MORE TOUR OPTIONS: If you are interested in Art Nouveau tours you can take a tour for around $35. Run by knowledgeable locals who can show you plenty of spots that might otherwise be a bit more tricky to find. Check prices.


Brussels has a long history of comic books and comic book figures. You might be familiar with the Smurfs, TinTin and his trusty sidekick Snowy and the crazy adventures of Marsupilami. I grew up watching/reading all of them and they are an integral part of Belgian culture. There are three different ways to learn about the Belgian comics.

1. Visit the Comic Book Museum

This museum has been around for over 30 years and showcases a variety of different comics & the famous Belgian cartoonists behind them. It happens to be housed in a beautiful Art Nouveau building and has a cozy on-site café that serves Belgian beers.

2. Walk the Comic Strip Walk

Walking around the historical center of Brussels, its hard not to see the large murals that adorn many of the city walls. Many of the murals feature TinTin or snippets from one of his adventures. They were commissioned by the city many years ago and have managed to stay pretty intact. Pick up a €2.5 brochure with a map at the Visit Brussels Tourist office.

3. Take a dedicated Comic Strip & Brussels Street Art walking tour

Comic Strip & Street Art private walking tour with a local: Skip the brochure at the tourist office and get a local guide to show you the coolest comic strip murals as well as some much lesser-known street art.

Brussels Atomium
Brussels Atomium Outside


The Atomium was constructed for the 1958 World Expo to represent an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. The building stands 102 meters tall and consists of nine interconnected spheres that contain exhibition spaces, a restaurant, and an observation deck.

I am going to be very honest, I never really understood the hype. Aside from the colorful lights on the inside and the great views – providing the weather is good – there is not a whole lot to experience. Add to that there is nothing around the Atomium that you could visit, aside perhaps from Mini Europe which is great if you are visiting Brussels with kids.

HOW TO GET THERE: Take metro line 6 in the direction of Roi Baudouin and get off at the stop Heysel.
TICKETS: It tends to get pretty busy, so it is worth purchase your tickets online to skip the line.

things to do in Brussels in one day
L’Eau Chaude bar in the Marolles
things to do in Brussels
Art Nouveau flower shop in the Marolles


The lively Marolles district was traditionally a working-class neighborhood, these days it is a haven for second-hand stores covering everything from clothing to designer furniture. My absolute favorite thing to do on a Sunday in Brussels is to kick my butt out of bed early and browse the flea market that takes place every Sunday on the central square in the Marolles, Jeu de Balle or Vossenplein market. Purchases are subject to haggling and can only be paid in cash.

The various streets around the Jeu de Balle are lined with plenty of little second-hand stores that open at 11.00 on Sunday. Looking for a place to grab some brunch in the neighborhood? Pop into L’Eau Chaude, Atelier en Ville or L’Aubette.

FOODIE TIP | Looking for a place to grab some brunch in the neighborhood? Pop into L’Eau Chaude, Atelier en Ville or L’Aubette.

to do in Brussels in a day


If you are looking for a truly local experience, make your way to Bois de La Cambre (Terkamerenbos) in the southern part of Brussels. This park bleeds into the extensive Sonienforest which is carpeted with an extensive network of well-signposted hikes. On a sunny weekend, you will find most locals love to hang out here.

Bois de La Cambre

Bois de La Cambre is a large forest area with a lake smack in the middle of it. Behind the lake a little kiosk aptly named “The Kiosk” serves sandwiches, beer, coffee, and cocktails. Bathrooms are available, though they are rudimentary.

Alternatively, you can grab a waffle or ice cream from the little orange van called “Pascalino” which is parked by the side of the lake 365 days a year. Nibble on your treat as you walk around the lake.

The restaurant on the island is good for a drink (pay 1 euro to take the little boat across) but the food is overpriced. It might be tempting to order something, but this really is not the best place in Brussels to eat so sit tight until you get back into town for a bite to eat.

Sonian Forest

While Bois de La Cambre is more of a park, the Sonian Forest is as the name states a full-fledged forest. It covers over 5000 hectares and is one of the largest Beech-tree forests in Europe. In fact, it is so expansive it has made it to the Unesco World Heritage list. Various hikes are available from 3km to 25km, find your trail on the official Sonian Forest Website.

Where to Eat & Drink During Your Two Days in Brussels

READ | 10 Mouthwatering vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Brussels ; Locals guide to brunch in Brussels; Best pizza in Brussels

The culinary scene is Brussels is really good. As the capital of Europe, the cuisines on offer are as cosmopolitan as the people that live here. As a vegetarian, I am not big on “traditional Belgian cuisine” as it is usually very meat- and cream-heavy. Below are a few restaurants I would recommend.

Restaurants in Brussels

TRADITIONAL BELGIAN CUISINE: Choux de Bruxelles, Aux Armes de Bruxelles, La Quincaillerie serve great traditional cuisine at respectable prices. Noordzee does the best shrimp croquettes in Brussels. I would avoid any of the other “Belgian” restaurants.

FARM-TO-TABLE RESTAURANTS: Manneken Pis Café, Tero and Les Filles are three of my favorite restaurants in Brussels that work with local producers. They serve both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes.

VEGAN RESTAURANTS: Humus & Hortense is a 1-star Michelin restaurant that serves up the very best vegan food. Liu Lin and Lil Bao are my go-to if I want Asian food that is vegan-friendly.

BEST FRIETKOT (French Fries): Flagey Frietkot & Fritland are my favorite in the city.

Best Bars in Brussels

BEST COCKTAIL BARS: La Belladone, Pharmacie Anglaise and Perché Rooftop Bar are my go-to for a good cocktail. Expect to pay upwards of €15 for a drink.

CRAFT BEER BARS: The Brussels Beer Project and Moeder Lambic are stellar choices if you are looking for craft beers from Brussels.

ART NOUVEAU BARS: Cirio and La Porteuse d’Eau are absolutely beautiful inside. Admittedly the service at both is lackluster and the drinks on the expensive side. The decor makes up for it though.

LIVELY BARS: Zebra and Mappa Mundo in the historical center or venture further out to the expat haven of Chatelain up-and-coming Parvis de Saint Gilles which are both choc-a-bloc full of bars and are always bustling.

2 Day Brussels Itinerary: How to Spend an Unforgettable Weekend in Brussels

Which Neighborhoods to Visit During Your Brussels Weekend?

The Brussels Capital Region is made up of 19 municipalities, each with a different zip code and name. To make things a bit more confusing the names exist in both Dutch and French. To an outsider, this can sometimes be a bit baffling “why is Google telling me this is Anderlecht, when I want to be in Brussels?”.  
The main tourist attractions are in the Historical Centre (1000 Bruxelles), the best restaurants and bars are around the Ixelles (1050) area and Art Nouveau lovers will want to check out Uccle (1180).

Brussels is however more than merely Art Nouveau and the Grand Place, this 2-day Brussels itinerary takes you from North to South and explores the different municipalities to give you a better feel of the diversity Brussels has to offer.

Is Brussels a safe city?

Yes! Compared to many other capital cities like for example Amsterdam or Paris, Brussels is super safe. There are pockets of lesser safe streets (mostly around the train stations) but as a general rule, the city is very safe.

Neighborhoods to avoid when spending 2 days in Brussels

Unlike other large cities such as Palermo or Rome, Brussels has a fairly low crime rate. Do keep in mind the Historical Center has its share of pickpockets, keep your valuables close.

MIDI/CENTRAAL/NORTH STATION: The neighborhoods around the stations are a little dodgy. The majority of the crimes in this area are petty crimes (theft, drug deals, …) and will most likely not impact you as a tourist.

SINT JANS MOLENBEEK/ MOLENBEEK SAINT JEAN: Across the canal of Brussels lies a neighborhood that is up and coming. The first half of the neighborhood has plenty of museums and trendy bars which are great to visit. The inner folds of this neighborhood are a bit trickier to navigate, especially as a tourist. Stick to the streets surrounding the canal

Where to stay in Brussels

48 Hours in Brussels: Where to stay?

All hotels recommended have a focus on sustainability and minimizing their ecological impact by using locally sourced ingredients and supporting the local economy.
Check all hotels in Brussels.

Best Views & Location – ($$) Warwick Grand Place

If you are looking for a hotel with the very best views over the Grand Place then the Warwick Hotel does the trick perfectly. Located a 2 min walk from both the Grand Place and the Brussels Central Station.
Location: Near the main square

Most unique design – ($) Art Deco: Le Berger Hotel

The Art Deco: Le Berger Hotel is an experience if you appreciate Art Deco and design. Treat your eyes to the vintage and original Art Deco pieces throughout. Relax in the heated outside pool before you shop until you drop in one of Brussels’ most high-end neighborhoods, Le Sablon.
Location: 10 min walk from the Magritte Museum

A cosmopolitan hotel – ($/$$) Moxy Brussels City Centre

This trendy and modern chain, Moxy, is serving up some of the best breakfasts in town. You can find their hotels all around the world. Brussels’ Moxy is conveniently surrounded by bars & restaurants so if you are looking to go out for the night this is the spot for you!
Location: In the safest neighborhood of Brussels – Ixelles/Elsene

Map of All Things to Do During Your Weekend Break in Brussels

To help you navigate the various different things to do during your weekend in Brussels, I plotted them on a map for you. Check out the interactive Google Maps if you want a closer look, or alternatively sneak a peek at the below image. Green pins indicate day one, red pins indicate day two and yellow pins are the option activities of day three.

2 Day Brussels Itinerary: How to Spend an Unforgettable Weekend in Brussels

How to Get Around Brussels in 2 Days

If the weather is good, ditch public transportation and walk around. The city has sidewalks running along every street, be it small or large. I read a number of blogs proclaiming how easy it was to bike around Brussels, as a local I can tell you that information is categorically false. There is no safe infrastructure to bike in Brussels.

Should you be spending a weekend in Brussels where it happens to be raining cats and dogs – it happens, a lot sadly – then rely on the very solid public transportation network to get you from one end of the city to the other. Usually in under 40 minutes!

TIP | Spending a few days in Brussels and planning on hitting up a few museums. Look into the Brussels Card which includes both public transportation and entrance to 49 museums.

Hop on the metro and tram around Brussels

Two days in Brussels via metro

The Brussels Metro contains 6 lines which run from 05.30 am to midnight on weekdays, 06.00 to midnight on the weekend and public holidays. The entrance to the metro station is well-indicated with a blue sign containing a big white “M”. Stops are displayed on an electronic screen by the doors as well as announced over the speaker.

  • Lines 1 and 5: Connect the east and west of Brussels. Take these to get to Cinquantenaire and the Brussels Park.
  • Lines 2 and 6: The circle lines of Brussels. Take them to get to Brupark, the Atomium and Mini Europe.
  • Lines 3 and 4: Connect northern and southern Brussels to each other. Great if you want to get to the Historical Centre of Brussels from Gare du Midi.

Taking the tram on your Brussels weekend break

With 17 lines whizzing above ground, the tram system in Brussels is in fact one of the largest in the world. Operating hours are the same as for the metro. Noteworthy are lines 3 and 4 which are knowns as the “pré-metro” as part of the route covered is underground giving it a distinct feeling of riding the metro.

Finding a tram stop is easy as they are pretty much everywhere in the city. Stops are along the tram tracks and usually have a little covered bench, with a large pole containing a panel next to them. The panel has a number and a direction written on it to indicate which tram passes. Stops in the tram are indicated on a small electronic overhead panel by the door.

Purchasing tickets for the metro and the tram

Tickets can be bought in advance from the gray and red machine (see above picture) by (credit) card or on the metro/tram itself. Purchasing tickets on the carriage itself is a simple as swiping your (credit) card in front of the red box placed inside, right next to the door.

TYPES OF TICKETS: Single-journey ticket (€2.5); 5-journey ticket (8); 10-journey ticket (€16.4) or a one-day travel card (€8). The 10-journey ticket is a card that can be topped up at the machine. Make sure to validate your ticket upon entering the tram/ metro.

NOTE: The metro and tram have the same ticket e.g. if you purchase a 10-journey ticket you will be able to use it both on the tram and the metro (as well as certain busses, more on that below).

Busses in Brussels

Brussels is serviced by three different bus companies: De Lijn, STIB/MIVB and TEC. This makes taking the bus a bit complicated as each of the companies has a different way to purchase tickets.

DE LIJN: Busses are yellow and white . Tickets can be purchased on the bus (no cash payment allowed) or by sending a text message to 4884 with the words “DL” (only valid for Belgian numbers).

STIB: Busses are orange and gray. These busses operate with the same tickets as the tram and metro i.e. if you purchased a one-day pass you do not need to purchase a separate ticket for this bus.

TEC: Busses are bright yellow. Tickets can be purchased via their website or their app ar alternatively on the bus (cash only).

Nightbusses in Brussels

A weekend break in Brussels might mean spending a night on the town. Getting back to your hotel can be done via Uber or, alternatively, by using one of the night buses. The night busses called Noctis run Friday and Saturday from 12.15 am to 03.00 am departing from La Bourse.

How to Get to Brussels

Fly into Brussels

Brussels has only one main airport Brussels International Airport. You might have noticed Brussels South Charleroi Airport pop up in your search and be a bit confused.

Brussels South Charleroi Airport is not Brussels, it is in fact an airport located 46 kilometers south of Brussels in a city called Charleroi.

Flights to Brussels South Charleroi airport are usually cheaper as this airport is the hub for low-cost airlines to and from Belgium.

Getting from Brussels International Airport to Brussels Centre

Option One: Take the Train

The easiest and fastest way to get from the airport to downtown Brussels is by taking the direct train. Head out of the arrivals area, and follow the panels with a train depicted on them. Trains run multiple times an hour (the last train runs until midnight).

Brussels has three main stops: Brussels North, Brussels Central, Brussels Midi (South). The closest to the Grand Place is Brussels Central. Book tickets for the train to Brussels online

Option Two: Taxi or Transfer

Alternatively, grab a taxi at the arrival gate. Only take a taxi from the official taxi stand and always ask for them to put the meter on. The price should be around €45 ($49).

A private airport transfer costs between $34 and $51 and is cheaper than the average Taxi price.

Getting from Brussels South Charleroi Airport to Brussels Centre

The Brussels South Charleroi Airport is located 46 kilometers from Brussels. Getting into Brussels will require you to take a bus that runs directly from Brussels South Charleroi Airport and drops you off at Brussels Midi (South) train station. A one-way ticket will set you back €15 ($18).

While private transfers are possible, they quickly cost ($100) therefore I would recommend sticking with the busses.

Get Tickets: Check timetables and book tickets for the train to Brussels online

By Train

As a European capital, Brussels is well connected to other European cities via a network of (high) speed trains. In fact, a weekend trip to Brussels from London, Amsterdam or Paris is not at all uncommon.

International trains pull into the Brussels Midi (south) Station. The Historical Center is closest to Brussels Central, therefore pop on a connecting train from Brussels Midi to Brussels Central (5 min train ride) to start your 48 hours in Brussels.

  • London to Brussels for a weekend: Travel time approx 2h two-way ticket prices range from €87 ($95) to €250 ($273) depending on how far in advance you book.
  • Paris to Brussels weekend: Travel time approx 1h30, two-way ticket prices range from €60 ($65) to €300 ($330). Booking in advance is essential for this route.
  • Amsterdam to Brussels for 2-days: Travel time approx 2h. Two-way ticket prices can cost as little as €40 ($43).

Get your tickets: Check timetables and book tickets online

Travel Tips Brussels In Two Days

LANGUAGE SPOKEN: The official languages spoken in Brussels are Dutch and French. Unofficially however you will find that most signs/informational panels will be in Dutch, French and English.

BRUSSELS CARD: If you are planning on visiting various museums and want to use public transportation in Brussels, I highly recommend investing in the Brussels Card. It includes 41 museums, so is a real money saver!

SUNDAY CLOSING DAY: Sunday is traditionally the day that most stores in the city close. In and around the Grand Place you will find many things open, but the further out you go (i.e. the more local you go) chances are high the store will be closed.

MONDAY CLOSING DAY: Paradoxically Monday is the day many bars and restaurants are closed (not Sunday).

TIPPING IN BELGIUM: Not mandatory, appreciated but not expected as a 6% service charge is already included in the bill.

PAYMENT BY CARD: (Credit) cards are accepted virtually everywhere.

Day trips from Brussels by train

How to Visit Brussels More Sustainably

TAKE PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Ditch the car, chances are high you will only end up in a nerve-wracking struggle to find parking anyway. The city is serviced by a comprehensive network of metro, bus and trams. Learn about public transport in Brussels.

SECOND-HAND SHOPPING: Brussels has some stellar second-hand shopping! For anything interior design-related head to Rue Haute or Rue Blaes in the Marolles neighborhood. Isabelle Bajart (luxury second-hand clothing), Melting Pot Kilo (Vintage clothing) and Episodes (“cool” vintage clothing) are some of my favorites.

PURCHASE LOCAL: If you are in the mood to buy a souvenir, why not purchase something locally made. Yuman has a large selection of ‘made in Brussels’ items. The Dansasert area has local fashion brands (Café Costume, Komono, Essentiel Antwerp, ICON).

STAY IN A LOCALLY RUN ACCOMMODATION: Instead of staying in a hotel chain, why not stay in a locally run B&B or pick a sustainable boutique hotel.

GETTING THERE: Brussels can easily be reached by train from all major cities including Paris and Amsterdam. Be a conscious traveler and hop on the train!

RECYCLE YOUR TRASH: Belgium does a good job when it comes to recycling. Paper, single-use plastic and organic trash is sorted from the regular trash. Read up on how to recycle (only relevant if you are staying in an Airbnb or B&B).

Why You Should Spend a Weekend in Brussels

Truth be told, Brussels tends to hold her cards very close to her heart awarding only the curious traveler with a glimpse of her beauty. Two days in Brussels is enough to get a feeling for what the city has on offer. From majestic guild houses to chaotic flea markets, this is unapologetically Brussels. Read why Brussels is worth visiting!

Spend at least one day in the Historical Center exploring the magnificent architecture and eating all the Belgian fries you can master. Try and venture out of the more touristy center on day two to explore world-class Art Nouveau architecture, street art and the very random monument containing 9 stainless steel spheres called The Atomium.


Accommodation Guide: Comprehensive overview of the various areas of Brussels and where to stay
Travel Guide: One day in Brussels
Travel Guide: 31 Fun day trips from Brussels
Travel Guide: Hidden gems in Brussels
Travel Guide: 10 Must-see castles around Brussels
Food Guide: Best brunch places in Brussels
Belgium Guide: 16 Castle hotels in Belgium you can stay in
Belgium Guide: 24 Beautiful places in Belgium for your bucketlist

2 Day Brussels Itinerary: How to Spend an Unforgettable Weekend in Brussels
Weekend in Brussels: Pin it
2 Day Brussels Itinerary: How to Spend an Unforgettable Weekend in Brussels
2 Day Brussels Itinerary: How to Spend an Unforgettable Weekend in Brussels

  1. Alice

    Great itinerary. I recently returned from a weekend trip to Brussels and had an amazing time. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a short getaway.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Caroline Muller

Thanks for dropping in! My name is Caroline, and I am a full-time writer & photographer. With this blog, I hope to harness the power of travel to do good in the world. Think connecting with local cultures, sustainable tourism, and in-depth guides to known and lesser-known adventures. Adventure awaits!

Looking for something?