One Day in Brussels: A Local’s Guide for a Day Trip to Brussels

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Author:  Caroline

Brussels has a lot to offer; one could easily spend a week discovering the many tourist attractions, hidden gems, and diverse cuisine. If you only have one day in Brussels, better make the best out of it! Lace-up your bootstraps, it’s time for an adventure into the heart of this European metropolis.

The city of Brussels is the deliciously multicultural and vibrant capital of both Belgium and Europe and as such attracts flocks of tourists each year. With good reason! Aside from a very lavish Grand Place (main square) dripping in gold, the streets are lined with Art Nouveau masterpieces and every second establishment is a bar serving…Belgian beer!

As time is of the essence, it will not be possible to visit all the attractions in the city – there are simply not enough hours in a day to pack everything into your Brussels Itinerary.

As a local, giving you the very best experience in my own city is very close to my heart.
Therefore, I have tried to mix in known and lesser-known locations for your blitz visit. This one-day Brussels itinerary serves up the very best the city has to offer, for every type of budget. 

Upon popular request, I have added in a specific section on what to do in Brussels when it rains. Unfortunately, this does tend to happen regularly, but the good news is a bit of rain does not need to spoil your day trip to Brussels in the slightest.

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.

1-Day in Brussels Planning Guide

Practical Tips for Brussels

For a capital city, Brussels is relatively small. One can easily see Brussels in a day, with a bit of advance planning that is. Most tourists stick to the few kilometers around the Grand Place) if they only have one day to visit Brussels. Do not be afraid to venture out!

  • PUBLIC TRANSPORT: The Brussels inner-city public transport uses one single ticket across the various bus, metro & trams systems and gets you all across Brussels and the suburbs.
    Book any tickets for public transportation online.
  • MUST VISIT RESTAURANTS: Le Conteur, Manneken Pis Café, Choux de Bruxelles

Is Brussels Worth a Day Trip

READ | A love letter to Brussels or why Brussels is worth visiting.

Brussels is often overlooked for its starlet neighbors Amsterdam and Paris. While it is undeniable these capital cities are bursting with charm, spending a day in Brussels will soon show you that size does not always matter.

The city is small, walkable and absolutely choc-a-bloc with Art Nouveau architecture not to mention cozy bars with endless types of Belgian beer and little chocolate shops serving bite-size mouthwatering Belgian chocolate.

An added benefit of Brussels is its location. As the capital of Europe, the city is very well connected to just about anywhere in Europe. High-speed trains whisk you off to London, Amsterdam, Paris, Aachen, and Cologn in a few hours while the night trains to Berlin and Viena make travel further afield a piece of cake. Roam around Brussels for a day before heading off to explore the rest of Europe!

Brussels in a Day for First-Time Visitors

In order to cover the basics for your Brussels day trip, this guide will mainly stick to the historical center of town. Granted, this part of town is considered the most “touristy” for locals but rest assured, it is worth exploring, with a little help from a local (yours truly) you will be avoiding the tourist traps.

Visiting Brussels in winter? Read through my local’s guide to the Brussels Christmas market.

Tip: If it is not your first time visiting Brussels, check out hidden gems in Brussels or some of the prettiest castles around Brussels for an alternative Brussels itinerary


I might be biased, but the Grand Place in Brussels is simply put the prettiest main square in Europe. As a local, I have passed by this square plenty of times and it still manages to put a smile on my face.

The Grand Place of Brussels has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998. Most of the buildings around the square date back to the 18th century when the Grand Place was rebuilt with money from the guilds. Note how harmonious the building style is, this is in part thanks to strong city regulations back in the day!

Aside from the opulent guild houses, have a look at the Brussels City Town Hall (guided tours are available on specific days of the week). Now swirl around and gaze upon the impressive King’s building. These days the King’s building is home to the Brussels city museum with the original Manneken Pis statue.

What to do on the Grand Place: Brussels Beer Museum, Brussels City Museum, Climb the spire of the Brussels City Town Hall, learn about the history via a guided walking tour.

Best views over the Grand Place: First floor of Café La Brouette or Restaurant Le Roy d’Espagne


Manneken Pis

It is time to go and see one of the city’s most popular – yet deceptively small – tourist attractions. Walk 5 minutes from the Grand Place to see the famous Manneken Pis (Little Julien). He is impossible to miss as there is permanently a line of tourists taking selfies, much to the chagrin of locals trying to pass by on their commute to work.

ORIGINS: There are a lot of stories concerning the origin of Little Julien, but the most likely one is that he is a homage to the city tanneries that were here during the Middle Ages. Back in the day, the urine of kids was used to process the leather (a fun fact you can now share with friends).

COSTUMES: It is not unusual for Manneken Pis to be dressed up. This little guy often dons traditional outfits marking a national day or celebration of specific events like the feast of Saint Nicolas. His 1000 costumes can be viewed in a dedicated museum around the corner: Garderobe Manneken Pis

Jeanneke Pis

The statue of a little girl peeing (Jeanneke-Pis) was commissioned by a local restaurateur to “restore the equality between men and women”. Jeanne is “doing her business” around the corner from the famous Delirium Café, which has over 1000 beers on the menu and is probably one of the most visited Brussels attractions by tourists. Though, as a local, I can tell you we have better bars (scroll down for recommendations).

Zinneke Pis

Het Zinneke (Brussels slang for “the mut”) is a little bronze statue of a peeing dog created in 1998.
Located on the intersection of Rue des Chartreux/Kartuizersstraat and the Rue du Vieux-Marché-aux-Grains/Oude Graanmarkt, you cannot miss him. The name is a little nod to “Zinneke” or how people from Brussels once referred to themselves.


Walking around the Grand Place, you could mistakenly think us Belgians survive on nothing but French fries, waffles, and chocolate, washed down by copious amounts of beer. I hate to burst that bubble, but it is far from the truth.

There are too many tastefully decorated tourist traps in the historical center, making it hard to navigate for travelers. I had a friend over and we booked the Hungry Mary’s Beer and Chocolate tour. It was honestly awesome, even as a local there were a lot of new places I had never been too!

Best Food & Beer Tours in Brussels

Best chocolate in Brussels

I fully understand if you are hesitant to book a tour and instead want to venture out by yourself. A few of my favorite (local) chocolatiers are Pierre Marcolini, BS40, Neuhaus and Laurent Gerbaud Chocolatier. Personally, I am not a fan of Leonidas (they use a lot of butter versus pure cacao) or the chain La Belgique Gourmande.

Best waffles in Brussels

When in Brussels make sure to ask for a Brussels waffle (pictured above) as they are the local specialty. The traditional version does not come 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.



Next up on the Brussels itinerary is properly exploring the Royal Gallery of Saint Hubert. The majestic galleries were one of the first covered shopping arcades in Europe, opened to the public in 1847. They are almost as old as Belgium itself (which was founded in 1830).

Most travelers walk through once, snap a picture and leave. What many do not realize is that this beautiful piece or architecture consists of three arcades:  King’s Gallery (French: Galerie du Roi, Dutch: Koningsgalerij), the Queen’s Gallery (French: Galerie de la Reine, Dutch: Koninginnegalerij) and the Princes’ Gallery (French: Galerie des Princes, Dutch: Prinsengalerij).

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 than the 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.


If you are spending but one day in Brussels, the chances are high that you might not have tons of time on your hands to spend in a museum. With this in mind, I will spare you an extensive list and cut right to the chase. Here are a few museums I always recommend first-time visitors to Brussels to check out.

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.

One Day in Brussels: A Local’s Guide for a Day Trip to Brussels


Touring Brussels in one day involves a fair amount of walking. While navigating through the city, it would be hard not to see the large murals that adorn many of the city walls.

In fact, these larger-than-life murals were commissioned by the city. Tintin features heavily as the iconic character is an important cultural heritage of Belgium.

How to explore the street art on your Brussels day trip

Free: Simply walk around town and look up. Works wonderfully, though you might not get to see all the artwork that is available.

$: Comic Strip Walk- Pick up the €2.5 brochure from the local tourism office. Use it as a guide to walk around the city and hunt down all the comic strip murals. 

$$: 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. Tours usually last around 2 hours.  Check rates and availabilities

One Day in Brussels: A Local’s Guide for a Day Trip to Brussels
Mont des Arts is the best spot for a picture during a sunny day in Brussels


Time to stretch those legs again, your Brussels day trip continues with a walk through Mont des Arts. One of the most photographed squares in all of Brussels. Mont des Arts is surrounded by the Royal Library of Belgium, the national archives, a meeting center, and Plein Public (This venue is great for an aperitif in the evening while catching the sunset).

Once you have snapped your picture, you can make your way over to the nearby Centre of Fine Arts in Brussels (Bozart) to take in some culture or alternatively grab something to drink on their rooftop bar (open during the summer months) or dine in their 2-star Michelin Restaurant.


As a vegetarian, I am not a big fan of “traditional Belgian food”. Our cuisine is very meat and cream-heavy, neither of which is entirely up my alley. That does not mean I have not done my utmost to absolutely eat my way through the city. Brussels has an endless array of restaurants!

True to its cosmopolitan nature, Brussels has an excellent selection of international cuisine on offer. Scroll further down to find an extensive list, here are three restaurants inside the historical center of Brussels I would recommend going to.

LE CONTEUR: A great place if you are a fan of Middle Eastern Cuisine. Located 3 minutes walk from La Bourse. During the weekend this restaurant is a vibe, with guests & staff dancing as the evening progresses.

MANNEKEN PIS CAFE: I was super hesitant to try out their restaurant, but the meal we had here was excellent. The team works with local and seasonal ingrediënts serving a mixture of traditional Belgian and international dishes. The menu changes regularly.

STROFILIA: Greek food done well, very well. The restaurant is always filled with a good mix of locals and expats (Greeks). Honest pricing, gregarious service, and a very central location. Great for a romantic dinner.

One day in Brussels
Pannenhuis Metro is a cool addition to your Brussels itinerary if you have time.

4 Additional Places to See in Brussels in a Day

READ | Hidden Gems in Brussels


The metro in Brussels is efficient and will take you around the city in no time. But, did you know that plenty of the metro stations in Brussels contain artwork by local artists?  In truth, the Brussels Underground is almost like a free museum.

Here are a few of my favorite metro stations:

  • Het Pannenhuis (line 6): Welcome to the 60-ies. No really, stepping onto the platform of Het Pannenhuis metro station you are greeted with bright orange chairs, futuristic lighting, and very oddly shaped ceiling ornaments.
  • Stockel (end station of line 1): The station is home to a 135-meter-long wall depicting 140 life-size Tintin drawings. It was drawn up by Hergé (the creator of Tintin) right before his death.
  • Porte de Namur (lines 2 and 6): Find the four large reliefs by local artist Octave Landuyt. These reliefs go by the name Le Stade de la Vie, as the name reveals they represent the four stages of life: birth, adulthood, love, and death


Aside from the very obvious Comic Mural Art, your eyes might have noticed the mixture of different architectural styles that make up the Brussels skyline. Pretty much every city in Belgium looks like an expressionist took a brush to it and tried to include as many different brush strokes as possible. Urban planning is not our strong suit.

But then there is beauty in the chaos, especially when it comes to the Art Nouveau houses dotted around the city. The Art Nouveau movement originated right here in Brussels before it expanded into the rest of Europe. Although very short-lived, it still managed to leave a legacy of over 500 Art Nouveau buildings in Brussels, many of them in the Ixelles and Uccle neighborhoods.

If your 1-day itinerary in Brussels allows for it, go on a scavenger hunt and find some of the city’s most prized Art Nouveau possessions. Short on time? Skip the hunt and head straight for the Victor Horta Museum open Tuesday to Sunday in the afternoon (from 2.00 PM), tickets can be purchased online.

For those looking to delve a little deeper into the Art Nouveau scene of Brussels, there are various options available.

Free: Every Saturday of the year, the free 2-hour Art Nouveau Walking Tour takes you to the main Art Nouveau buildings in the city.

$: A locally guided walking tour lasting 3 hours. Walk around the Bailli area spotting Art Nouveau details in the various buildings (doorknobs, façades of buildings, letterboxes). Ends at the Hort Museum. Check prices and availability.

$$: For the real Art Nouveau Lovers: Get a fully personalized tour taking you through several areas in the city to hunt down the prettiest Art Nouveau buildings. This package includes a guided tour of the Victor Horta Museum. Check prices and availability.


I did not place a visit to the Atomium in the abovementioned 1 day in Brussels itinerary because it is located slightly outside of the city center. It is noteworthy to mention there is nothing else to do around the monument.

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.

GETTING THERE: Take metro line 6 in the direction of Roi Baudouin and get off at the stop Heysel.
TICKET PURCHASE: Purchase your tickets online and skip the line


The Marolles is my absolute favorite neighborhood in Brussels. This part of the city is right off the wealthy Sablon area and is made up of tiny little streets filled with gently crumbling bars, and vibrant second-hand stores selling everything from clothing to interior design.

Unlike elsewhere in Brussels, stores are open in the Marolles on Sunday making it their perfect place to stroll around on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Most tours will not cover this part of town, if you do want a local guide to show you around book a private walking tour.

TIP: Every Sunday from 07.00 am to 01.00 pm a flea market is held on the central square (Jeu de Balle/ Vossenplein). It is a treasure trove for bargain hunters and one of my personal favorite places to purchase second-hand furniture for my house.

Beautiful Places in Belgium - Brussels

What to Do if It Rains During Your Brussels Day Trip

There is no point in denying it: It rains a lot in Belgium. There is a fairly high chance your day trip might contain at least a slight drizzle. The good news however is that Brussels has a lot of indoor activities that will soon take your mind off the weather.

Visit one of the many Brussels Museums

This would be the perfect opportunity to invest in the Brussels Card or the Brussels Art Nouveau Pass and spend the day hopping around museums. Some of my favorite museums are the Victor Horta Museum (Art Nouveau), Art & History Museum Brussels, The Magritte Museum, the next door Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium, and the Natural History Museum.

Duck into a bar or do a beer-tasting

You are in the country of beer, it would be rude not to really. Mark’s Belgian Beer Tour is the top-rated Belgian beer tour, super informative, and great if you are a true beer aficionado.

I might be biased, but personally, I prefer to just pop into a bar and ask the waiters what to try. The Brussels Beer Project is a small Brussel-based craft brewery with a very loyal following alternatively head to Moeder Lambic just off La Bourse to try a truly unique Brussels type of Beers: Lambic

Peruse the prettiest bookstores

Brussels has a fair share of very pretty bookstores, most of them offering reading material in French, Flemish, and English. My favorite of all time is Tropismes, tucked away in a sidestreet of the famous Royal Gallery Saint Hubert. Galerie Bortier is another stellar address, although rumor has it this little gallery is being bought up by property developers soon.

Vegetarian-Friendly Places to Eat in Brussels

READ | 10 Best vegetarian & vegan restaurants in Brussels; Locals guide to Brunch in Brussels

There are plenty of really good restaurants and bars in Brussels. The culinary scene is so good that you could come to spend your entire Brussels day trip doing nothing but eating and drinking.

It is noteworthy to mention that traditional Belgian cuisine is not vegetarian-friendly, at all. Have a look at the above-linked guide if you are traveling to Brussels as a vegetarian.

TRADITIONAL BELGIAN CUISINE: Choux de Bruxelles, Aux Armes de Bruxelles, La Quincaillerie
FARM TO TABLE: Manneken Pis Café, Tero, Les Filles
RESTAURANTS IN THE HISTORICAL CENTER: Le Conteur (Middle Eastern Food), Bia Mara, Liu Lin
BEST FRIETKOT (fries): Flagey Frietkot, Fritland
BEST WAFFLES: Maison Dandoy

Belgian Beer Bars in Brussels

If there is one thing Brussels is not lacking, it is bars. They come in all shapes and sizes and all of them will serve at very solid selection of Belgian Beers (even the cocktail bars). Here are a few of my choices:

LIVELY BARS: Zebra, Moeder Lambic, Café Belga
CRAFT BEER BARS: Belgian Beer Project
ART NOUVEAU BARS: Cirio, Fallstaff, La Porteuse d’eau, Au Vieux Saint Antoine
ROOFTOP BARS: Perché, La Bourse Brussels (rooftop), Warwick Hotel Grand Place, Tope Brussels

Just in case you are not looking for Belgian beer but want to grab a good cocktail instead head over to La Pharmacie Anglaise or the Modern Alchemist (both upscale) or L’Archiduc (great value for money).

Where to Stay During your Brussels One-Day Trip

READ: Detailed guide of which areas to stay in Brussels – written by a local

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

One Day in Brussels: A Local’s Guide for a Day Trip to Brussels
Views over the Grand Place Warwick Hotel


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.

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

Fixate your eyes upon the vintage and original Art Deco pieces throughout The Art Deco: Le Berger Hotel. An immersive experience if you have an appreciation for Art Deco. 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

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! This trendy and modern worldwide chain also serves an excellent breakfast. Fuel up for the busy day ahead.
Location: In the safest neighborhood of Brussels – Ixelles/Elsene

Map of All Things to Do in Brussels for One Day

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.

One Day in Brussels: A Local’s Guide for a Day Trip to Brussels

Getting Around Brussels for One Day

Depending on the weather, you could easily spend 24 hours in Brussels walking around the various tourist attractions. That is the beauty of the city, compact with plenty of sidewalks for pedestrians. Unlike Amsterdam, the city is not made for biking around, sadly the infrastructure is just not there. As a local, I never take my bike because, frankly, I do not feel safe.

Fret not, however, Brussels is covered by a very solid public transportation network which will get you from one end of the city to the other in under 40 minutes.

Taking the metro and tram around Brussels

One day in Brussels via metro

The Brussels Metro is made up of 6 lines and runs between 05.30 am and midnight on weekdays, and 06.00 to midnight on weekends and public holidays. Metro stations are indicated by a blue sign with a large white “M”. Stops are shown on a small 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 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 day trip to Brussels

The tram system in Brussels is one of the largest in the entire world. It contains over 17 lines whizzing above ground and operates the same hours as the metro. Lines 3 and 4 are what we call “pre-metro” as part of their journey is underground in the tunnels dug out for the metro.

Tram stops are dotted along the way and easily spotted by following the track tracks. A stop is indicated by a pole upon which a panel is placed with the number of the tram that passes as well as the direction it goes. Usually, the panel is electronic and gives you an indication of how long you will need to wait for the next tram to pass.

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. If you want to purchase the ticket on the metro/tram simply swipe your (credit) card on the red box right next to the door upon entering the carriage.

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.

If you have a multi-journey ticket, do not forget to validate your ticket before entering the tram/metro. For the metro, this is done at the turnstile before entering (see above) while validating your ticket on the tram is done inside the carriage by swiping your card upon entering.

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. Each of these has a different system for purchasing tickets, making taking the bus a little complicated at times.

DE LIJN: Yellow and white busses. 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: Orange and gray buses. 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: Bright yellow busses. Tickets can be purchased via their website or their app or alternatively on the bus (cash only).

Nightbusses in Brussels

If you are spending one day and one night in Brussels over the weekend, you can look into taking a night bus to get back to your hotel. The night busses called Noctis run Friday and Saturday from 12.15 am to 03.00 am from La Bourse.

Where to Store My Luggage for 24 Hours in Brussels

Despite being a capital city, there are not a huge amount of places to store your luggage in Brussels. Your best bet is to head either to Brussels Centraal (central station) or Brussels Midi (south station) and use the locker facilities here. Book online or head to the locker section at the station immediately. Payment is done by (credit) card or coins.

INSIDE BRUSSELS MIDI: Head in the direction of platform 6. There is a section of lockers in this part of the station (right opposite the bathroom). Prices start at €4/day for a small locker and €12/day for larger lockers for automatic storage. Storage is accesible 24/7

MORE LUGGAGE STORAGE PLACES: Alternatively, check Nannybag which is slightly more expensive but has more locations to drop off your bag (payment is done online, in advance).

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.

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. Be a conscious traveler and recycle!

How to Get to Brussels

Fly into Brussels

Despite what the internet may say, Brussels has only one main airport Brussels International Airport. You might be confused as when searching for flights to Brussels you will most likely have come across Brussels South Airport.

Although Brussels South Charleroi Airport is indicated as Brussels, it is in fact located in Charleroi a 45-minute bus ride away from Brussels. Flights to Brussels South Charleroi airport will most likely be cheaper (as this airport is the hub for low-cost airlines to and from Belgium) you do need to factor in the additional cost of the bus (€15 one way).

Getting from Brussels International Airport to Brussels Centre

The easiest (& cheapest) way to get from the airport to downtown Brussels is by taking the direct train. Head out of the arrivals area, and follow the signs for the train. Multiple direct trains run hourly into town. Brussels has three main stops: Brussels North, Brussels Central, Brussels Midi (South). The closest to the Grand Place is Brussels Central.

Get tickets: Book tickets for the train to Brussels

There are plenty of taxis ready to take you to the center of town too. At the arrival gate, follow the sign for taxis. 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 town is fairly easy, though it will require you to take a 45-minute bus ride into town. Busses are stationed at the arrivals area of the airport and drive directly to the drop-off point 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 online: Check tickets and timetable

Take the train to Brussels

As a European capital, Brussels is well connected to other European cities via a network of high-speed trains. In fact, a day trip to Brussels from London, Amsterdam, or Paris is a very common occurrence.

International trains will come into Brussels Midi (south station). From there you can simply take a connecting train to Brussel Central (the closest station to the Historical Centre of Brussels) to start your Brussels Itinerary.

  • London to Brussels for a day trip: Travel time approx 2 hours two-way ticket prices range from €87 ($95) to €250 ($273) depending on how far in advance you book.
  • Paris to Brussels day trip: 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 one day trip: Travel time approx 2h. Two-way ticket prices can cost as little as €40 ($43).

Purchase tickets: Check timetables and compare costs on Omio

Historical Centre of Brussels

Why It is Worth Taking a Daytrip to Brussels

READ | How to spend a weekend in Brussels & Magical castles around Brussels

Truth be told, Brussels is a complex city with a minefield of brightly festooned tourist traps sprawling in and around the Grand Place. Veer away from the becoming lights and dig a little deeper to find an intricate patchwork of different cultures and a surprising amount of things to see.

If you are an architecture buff like yourself, the Grand Place, La Bourse, and the various Art Nouveau museums should be more than enough to keep you busy in Brussels for a day. Does your visit entail coming with children then exploring the comic-book museum and the eponymous walk around the murals.

Have the weather gods decided to open the floodgates during your day trip to the capital? Fear not, if there is one thing we are good at is simply “getting on with it” when it invariably rains again. Either visit one of the many museums in Brussels or plonk yourself down at the nearest bar and grab a delicious Belgian Beer while you wait for the rain to subside.


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One Day in Brussels: A Local’s Guide for a Day Trip to Brussels
One day in Brussels: Pin it
One Day in Brussels: A Local’s Guide for a Day Trip to Brussels
One Day in Brussels: A Local’s Guide for a Day Trip to Brussels


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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!

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