11 Reasons To Visit Brussels

Brussels is an amazing city, but if you're not convinced to go these 11 reasons to visit Brussels should put it on your European travel list.

Brussels is an amazing city, but it holds a special place in my heart because it’s where I studied abroad and my true love affair with travel began. Even though I studied abroad five years ago, I’ve been back to Brussels a number of times and each time I think I fall in love with it more.

Brussels gets a lot of tourism, but it’s certainly not as popular as other cities like London, Paris or Barcelona. Personally, I think its one of my favorite European cities and I could easily go back over and over again. If you still need convincing, here are my top 11 reasons to visit Brussels.

11 Reasons To Visit Brussels

Grand Place

The first time I saw Grand Place I was overwhelmed by its beauty. The gothic architecture, the cobblestone, the spire that juts up into the sky, it just felt magical.

Grand Place, Brussels, Belgium

The origins of Grand Place go back as far as the 10th century and it’s also an Unesco World Heritage Site. It’s not hard to see why. There’s nothing quite this amazing in all of Europe, in my opinion.

Grand Place, Brussels, Belgium

The Atomium

This odd building is often forgotten when people come to visit Brussels, but it shouldn’t be! Built for the 1958 World’s Fair, this giant structure is in the shape of an atom and you can go inside and enjoy the views stretching across the city and Belgium.

Atomium in Brussels, Belgium

It costs €12 to go up to the top of the Atomium and the views are really quite lovely. However, if you’re not sure you can justify that price for just some views, you also get entrance to multiple exhibitions within each of the spheres of the atom.

Atomium Brussels, Belgium view

There’s an exhibit on the building of the Atomium from the design process through the actual construction, exhibits on Sabena, the national airline of Brussels from 1923 to 2001 as well as some about Brussels history.

The Parlamentarium

I come to this museum every time I’m in Brussels and I never tire of it. It’s totally free and it’s really interactive, making it much more fun than your average museum. You’ll get an audio guide and I strongly recommend that you take it because without it you won’t actually get to learn anything, as you have to touch your guide to each part to learn about it.

The Parlamentarium Brussels, Belgium

There are photos from various European countries dating as far back as a century, history of the European Union, videos on how laws are passed, screens where you can listen to interviews with individuals from different European countries and even an interactive map on the floor that teaches you about each European country.

The Parlamentarium Brussels, Belgium

Place Poelaert

This little square by the Justice Court and at the start of Avenue Louise has some of the best views in all of Brussels. There’s a little glass elevator that can take you from the square down to the lower level of the street (Brussels is quite hilly in this area).  Brussels, Belgium

Seeing as this view costs you nothing and is near other sights you’d probably want to see, there’s no reason to not wander over and have a look. You’ll be able to see the spire from Grand Place and even the Atomium off in the distance.

Brussels, Belgium

Justice Court

Right in front of Place Poelaert is the Justice Court, a building that seems to have been under scaffolding since forever. Construction started back in 1866 and was built by Joseph Poelaert (see the connection now?).

Justice Palace Brussels, Belgium

Damaged by the Germans in WWII, most of the building was restored, but in 2003 they began a further restoration. However, it has yet to be completed. It’s currently the largest courthouse in the world.

Avenue Louise

Built in 1847 as a monumental avenue, this street is beautiful and highly expensive. You’ll find Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co. and more. Even if you don’t want to buy anything, it’s a great street to simply window shop. If you’re there in nice weather in spring or summer, the chestnut trees that line the street should be in full bloom.

Brussels, Belgium

Jardin du Mont des Arts

This is another one of my favorite views in Brussels, located near the Royal Palace looking out at Grand Place. The square itself is very pretty and in nice weather it’s a lovely area to just relax by.

Brussels, Belgium

For me, this is one of the most iconic Brussels views and I could honestly sit there forever just looking at it. The spire from Grand Place perfectly in the center, surrounded by beautiful buildings and a lovely, Royal-like garden. It’s pretty magnificent.

The Royal Palace

The official residence of the royal family, the Royal Palace is right in the center of the city. Construction began in 1783 and it’s a beautiful building you can admire while walking around. It’s typically open for a few days in the summer for you to tour.

Royal Palace Brussels, Belgium

Sablon

This neighborhood in the center of Brussels is teeming with activity, but has two sights in particular that stand out. While Brussels has many parks and green spaces, Square du Petit Sablon is a very quiet one and I love the secluded feel to it.

Brussels, Belgium

My favorite thing to do in cities is to find quiet little green spaces away from all the hustle and bustle that makes you completely forget where you are, and this little park is certainly one of them.

Brussels, Belgium

The second must-see sight here is Èglise Notre-Dame du Sablon. I do tend to think all churches look more or less the same, but this one in particular stands out to me. I think what makes it seem so impressive is this gorgeous church just hides itself away right smack in the center of the city, right one the street, but still manages to blend in.

Sablon Brussels, Belgium

The Parks

Brussels has so many parks and it’s what makes it such a livable and awesome city. While there’s no Tiergarten or Central Park equivalent, the number of parks means you’ll never be bored and you’ll be spoiled with choice. Park Leopold, named after the former king, and Parc du Cinquantenaire are my two favorites.

Park Leopold Brussels, Belgium

Park du Cinquantenaire Brussels, Belgium

Food And Drink

No list about Brussels would be complete without talking about all of the delicious things you can eat and all the many things you can wash it down with. Of all the reasons to visit Brussels, this is by far the biggest one. From the amazing frites to Belgian waffles and Belgian chocolate, you may just gain 10 pounds while visiting.

Frites in Brussels, Belgium

And let’s not forget about amazing Belgian beer. My personal favorite for trying beer is Delirium and Little Delirium. Delirium has more than 2,000 beers available and the entire place is decorated with beer memorabilia. It’s not just about the drinks, it’s about the experience.

If these 11 reasons to visit Brussels doesn’t convince you to go to this magical land of food and drink and amazing architecture, I’m not sure what will. Have you been? What are your favorite reasons to visit Brussels?

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  • Jordan Beck Wagner

    Perfectly-timed post because I’m headed to Brussels this weekend! 🙂

    • That’s amazing, Jordan! I hope you had a fantastic time!

  • I haven’t been to Brussels yet, but saving this for when I visit in a month or so! perfect timing! 🙂

    • That’s so perfect! I hope you enjoy it, it’s a great city!

  • Rhiannon Travels

    I’ve never been to Brussels before, but it looks like a great place to visit! Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

    • It’s amazing! I hope you get to go one day, it’s totally worth the visit 🙂

  • California Globetrotter

    Oh I LOVE LOVE LOVE Belgium and I was just telling my husband, I’d love to go back to Brussels because our pictures dont do the town justice! #blogpostsaturday

    • Oh you so should! I felt that way about when I studied abroad there. I wasn’t really into photography then and I must say they weren’t very good haha! But going back I’ve gotten to take tons more that I’m happy to reminisce with 🙂

  • Explore with Ecokats

    I’ve been to Brussels 2 years back and it was amazing. Looking at your photos I’m so nostalgic and I wanna visit again. P.s: The waffles are so yum ❤️

    • The waffles are AMAZING. Agreed. The hardest part is choosing what to get on them!

  • Julianna Barnaby

    Cool guide. I’ve been to Bruges but not to Brussels before. Your 11 reasons are pretty compelling for a short visit this summer 🙂

    • I hope you do, Julianna! It’s totally worth it. And if nothing else, the food and drink situation is pretty amazing!

  • Brussels is a city that definitely intrigues me. I might just have to go and become 10 pounds heavier after my visit haha. The frites in the picture look ridiculously tempting.

    • They really are! If you do, the Andalouse sauce is delicious and spicy 🙂

  • Ticket to Adventures

    Great post, Thank you for sharing! I have not been to Brussels yet. Looks like there are lots of interesting places to see and do.

    • There really are so many great places! Although it’s not really one of the “typical” European cities that people tend to visit, it’s easily one of my favorites.

  • Love all the Belgian beer and food – I ate my heart out on some frites and waffles! Great post 🙂

    • Yessss, me too Eleonore! The frites and waffles are just so amazing.

  • Gudrun Christine Noyen

    So nice to read this about my homecountry. To be honest, I don’t know Brussels all that well – even though I’ve lived in Belgium for most part of my life! So I’ll save this one and revisit Brussels when I go back home in August. 🙂

    • Really?! I hope you have a great time when you do visit! I did some traveling around in Belgium when I studied there, but Brussels always just spoke to me!

  • Yesss I love Brussels! These are all so true.

  • Bri

    Brussels was on my itinerary for my trip to Europe this summer but I had to take it off because time restrictions 🙁 I’m definitely bookmarking this and visiting soon!

    • Oh, boo! That’s too bad, Bri. I hope you get to visit Brussels another time! It’s certainly an awesome city with so much to do.

  • Pascale

    I’ve been to Brussels many times and it is a great city to visit. You are so right about the food. The picture of those fries in your post made we want to go straight back. They never taste the same elsewhere…

    • They totally don’t! And my favorite is the Andalouse sauce and nothing compares to what you can get from frites stands in brussels.

  • Travel And Bite

    I have never been to Belgium, but it’s definitely on my list of countries to visit. Thanks for sharing this article 🙂

    • I’m glad you liked it! I hope you get to go to Belgium sometime, it’s one of my favorite countries 🙂

  • Alaine Handa

    I lived in Brussels last year for a few months for my internship. It was quite an adventure! I miss the friteries, waffles, chocolate, grand place, place de bourse, and my colleagues.

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