It’s no secret that Brussels is a city with something for everyone. With its rich history, vibrant art scene and delicious food, there’s something to appeal to everyone’s interests. But with so much to see and do, it can be hard to know where to start.

That’s why I’ve put together the perfect itinerary for spending one day in Brussels.

If you’re looking for an action-packed day in Brussels, look no further! This itinerary will take you through all the best sights and sounds of this amazing city. From historical landmarks to trendy restaurants, you’ll get a little bit of everything. 

Before we get into your Brussels one day itinerary, there’s some important information to cover. If you want to head straight to the itinerary, click here.

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Short on time?

Only got a few hours to spare in Brussels? Check out to make the most of your time!

Alternatively, jump on a hop-on-hop-off bus! It’s the best way to see a city when you have little time.

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How to get to Brussels

Brussels is the capital city of Belgium, and it’s also the place to go if you’re looking for delicious food, beautiful architecture, and a rich history. Getting there is easy enough – simply hop on a plane, train, or bus heading to Brussels!

If you’re coming from another European city and you’re in a hurry, then the quickest option is probably to fly. However, if you’re on a budget or trying to be eco-friendly, then take the train instead. And if you really want to see the sights, then consider renting a car and driving yourself.

One day in Brussels: Brussels Train Station
Image by René van Wallendael from Flickr

By air

Brussels is served by two airports: Brussels International Airport and Charleroi Airport. Brussels Airport is the biggest and busiest of the two, so if you’re flying into Belgium, chances are you’ll be landing here.

Charleroi Airport is a bit further away from the city centre (about 60 km), but it’s usually cheaper to fly into. It’s also smaller and less busy.

Once you’ve arrived at Brussels International Airport, getting into the city is easy enough. It’s just 12km away from the city centre, and there are plenty of public transport options to choose from. The quickest way is to take a taxi, but if you’re on a budget then you can also take the bus or train.

If you’re flying into Charleroi Airport, then you’ll need to take a shuttle bus into Brussels. These depart every 30 minutes, and the journey takes about an hour.

By train

If you’re coming from another European city, a train ride is the best way to get to Brussels. The high-speed trains are comfortable and efficient, and you’ll be able to admire the scenery as you travel (this is by far my favourite way to travel!).

Brussels has three main train stations: Brussels Nord, Brussels Centrale and Brussels Midi. These are all located in the city centre, so it’s easy to get to your hotel or hostel from here.

If you’re starting from Paris, the easiest way to catch a train is to from Gare du Nord. The journey takes just under an hour and a half, and there are plenty of direct trains each day. When you arrive in Brussels, you’ll be right in the heart of the city, and just a short walk from all the main attractions. 

From London, you can . The journey takes an hour and 48 minutes, and there are direct trains several times a day.

If you’re coming from Amsterdam, then you can . The fastest journey takes just over an hour and a half, and there are direct trains several times a day.

By bus

If you’re on a budget and have the time to spare, then consider travelling by bus. The journey takes a bit longer than by train or plane, but it’s often cheaper.

Busses go from most major cities in Europe to Brussels, and you can easily find a direct route. Just make sure to book your ticket in advance to get the best price!

Getting around Brussels

Now that you know how to get to Brussels, let’s talk about getting around once you’re there. The city centre is relatively small and easy to navigate, and most of the main attractions are located within walking distance of each other.

If you’re staying in the city centre, then you’ll probably find that you don’t need to use public transportation very often. Walking is the best way to get around and explore, as you’ll stumble across plenty of hidden gems along the way.

However, if you’re planning on doing some sightseeing outside of the city center, then consider getting a travel pass for the metro, tram and busses.

Where to stay in Brussels

You have so many options when it comes to accommodation in Brussels – from trendy hotels to cosy hostels to the epitome of luxury – there’s something for everyone.

For the luxury:

has the perfect central location right in the heart of the city on the corner of Grand Place, and it’s one of the most popular hotels in Brussels. It’s walking distance from all the main attractions, and it has an award winning restaurant on site. If you’re looking for a splurge-worthy stay in Brussels, then this is the hotel for you!

One day in Brussels: Hotel Amigo
Image by Martina Sgorlon of Flickr

Middle of the road: Hotel Made in Louise

Located just 300m from Avenue Louise, is perfect for those who want to be close to the action but don’t want to spend a fortune. It’s a trendy and chic hotel, with plenty of great restaurants and bars in the surrounding area.

To save the pennies: Sleep Well Hostel

This hostel is located just 13 minutes from Grand Place, making it the perfect base for exploring the city. It’s clean and comfortable, with all the necessary amenities, and it’s a great option for those on a budget. The bar at Sleep Well is popular with guests staying at the hostel. In the immediate area surrounding the accommodation, you’ll find a variety of dining options and supermarkets.

Best time to visit Brussels

One day in Brussels: Brussels Christmas Market
Image by Kristen Crocker from Getty Images

Late spring is ideal to visit Brussels. The weather is mild, the city is in bloom, and there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy. Plus, you’ll avoid the crowds that descend on the city during summer.

However, if it’s the sun you’re after, then the best time to visit will be during the summer. The streets are filled with people and the air is thick with the smell of waffles and chocolate.

And if you’re looking for a truly unique experience, you’ll want to visit during the city’s famous Flower Carpet event. This vibrant display of over 700,000 blooms covers the entire Grand Place, and is only open to the public for a few days each August.

If you’re a fan of Christmas markets, then winter is the perfect time to visit Brussels. The festive atmosphere is sure to put you in the holiday spirit, and you’ll be able to sample some of the city’s best mulled wine. 

What to Pack for a Day in Brussels

Comfortable shoes: With so much walking involved, comfortable shoes are a must.

Camera: There are plenty of photo opportunities in Brussels, so make sure you pack a camera.

Rain jacket: The weather in Brussels can be unpredictable, so it’s always best to be prepared with a rain jacket.

Day bag: You’ll want a small bag to carry your essentials with you during the day, plus all the souvenirs you’ll be picking up!

Water bottle: Be sure to stay hydrated by packing a water bottle.

Travel insurance: This is always a good idea when travelling, just in case something goes wrong.

Your map for one day in Brussels

One Day in Brussels

Whether you’re on a layover for a day or on a day trip from another European city, this Brussels one day itinerary will help you make the most of your time in this vibrant city. With beautiful buildings, delicious Belgian food and plenty of things to do, if you follow this itinerary you’ll get a taste of the best that Brussels has to offer!

I’ve packed quite a lot into this Brussels 1 day itinerary, so if you prefer to take it slow then feel free to either skip some of these activities or space them out over two days if you’ve got extra time.

Start your day with a Belgian waffle from Maison Dandoy

One day in Brussels: Belgian Waffles
Image by Dre from Getty Images

It would be a crime to visit Brussels without trying a Belgian waffle. These delicious treats are often served with fruit, chocolate or whipped cream, and they make for the perfect breakfast or snack.

You’re going to need a sugar boost if you want to get through this packed day of sightseeing!

Maison Dandoy is one of the most famous places to get a Belgian waffle in Brussels. They’ve been serving up these sweet treats since 1829, so you know they’re doing something right.

Head to their store on the Rue au Beurre for a delicious waffle served fresh from the iron.

Maison Dandoy address: Rue au Beurre 31, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium

Marvel at the architecture of the Grand Place

One day in Brussels: Grand Place
Image by Aliaksei Skreidzeleu

After stuffing your face with a Belgian waffle, it’s time to explore one of Brussels’ most iconic landmarks – the Grand Place.

The Grand Place is the central historic square of Brussels, and it’s one of the most beautiful squares in Europe. This UNESCO World Heritage site is surrounded by grand buildings, including the City Hall, King’s House and the Bread House, and it’s definitely worth a visit.

The medieval building style and the intricate decoration of the buildings are sure to impress, so make sure you take some time to explore and admire the impressive architecture.

If you’re visiting Brussels in August, then you’ll be able to see the Grand Place covered in a carpet of over 700,000 blooms. The Flower Carpet is only on display for a few days, so make sure to time your visit accordingly!

Grand Place address: Grote Markt, 1000 Brussel, Belgium

Explore City Museum

One day in Brussels: City Museum
Image by Kavalenkava Design

As you stroll around the Grand Place, you’ll notice a large number of statues and sculptures dotted around the square. If you’re interested in learning more about these works of art, then head to the City Museum.

The City Museum is located in the King’s House, one of the grand buildings that surround the Grand Place. This museum covers the history of Brussels, from its humble beginnings as a small town to its current status as the capital of Belgium.

You’ll get to see some interesting exhibits, including a scale model of the Grand Place, and you’ll learn a lot about the city’s fascinating past.

City Museum address: Grote Markt van, 1000 Brussel, Belgium

Take a picture of Mannekin Pis

One day in Brussels: City Museum
Image by Sharon Parker Cox from Flickr

This iconic landmark is known as Mannekin Pis. This small statue of a urinating boy has become a symbol of Brussels, and it’s definitely worth a quick visit.

You’ll find Mannekin Pis just a few streets from the Grand Place, where he’s been standing since 1619. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch him dressed up in one of his many costumes!

Interestingly, while this is the original Mannekin Pis, there are two other, not as famous, Mannekin Pis statues in Brussels. The Jeanneke Pis is a statue of a urinating girl, and the Zinneke Pis is a statue of a urinating dog.

Mont Des Arts / Kunstberg

One day in Brussels: Mont des Arts
Image by J. Philipp Krone from Flickr

Mont Des Arts – meaning ‘hill/mount of the arts’ – is a hill located just south of the Grand Place. This area was once home to a number of colleges and universities, but it’s now a popular spot for tourists.

The highlight of Mont Des Arts is the floral garden, which offers stunning views of the city. The square is overlooked by a towering statue of King Albert I, and the Royal Library of Belgium and the National Archives of Belgium are also located here.

If you’re interested in art, then you should definitely make time to visit one of the many museums located close to Mont Des Arts. The Musical Instruments Museum, the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium and the Musee Magritte Museum are all worth a visit.

Mont Des Arts address: Albertinaplein / Place de l’Albertine, 1000 Brussels

Indulge with a Chocolate Tour

One day in Brussels: Chocolates in the window
Image by Alexandra Baackes from Flickr

There’s no chocolate quite like Belgian chocolate! If you have a sweet tooth, then make sure to take a chocolate tasting tour while you’re in Brussels.

You’ll learn all about the origins of Belgian chocolate, and you’ll get to taste some of the best chocolate in the world. The tour takes place in a number of different artisanal chocolate shops, so you’ll also get to see how this delicious treat is made.

Don’t worry, this tour is a walking tour so you’ll be able to burn off some of those calories you’ve gained eating pralines, truffles, ganache, and chocolate bars along the way.

This tour is particularly popular and likely to sell out – check out the reviews for yourself!

Shop till you drop at Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert

One day in Brussels: Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert
Image by Benedek from Getty Images Signature

The Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert is a shopping complex which was built in the 19th century. These beautiful glass-roofed walkways are home to a variety of shops, cafes and restaurants.

If you’re looking to do some souvenir shopping, then this is the perfect place to find them. You’ll find everything from Belgian chocolates and beer to luxury fashion brands and Belgian linen.

Even if you’re not that into shopping, the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert is still worth a visit. It’s a great place to people watch and the architecture is simply stunning. In fact, it was recently put on the UNESCO World Heritage Convention ‘tentative list’.

Relax in the Parc de Bruxelles

One day in Brussels: Parc de Bruxelles
Image by Kevin George

After exploring the Grand Place and learning about Brussels’ history, it’s time to take a break in the Parc de Bruxelles. This large park is the perfect place to relax, people watch and soak up some sunshine.

Make sure you stop by the bandstand. On sunny days you might be lucky enough to catch a performance.

Parc de Bruxelles address: Parc de Bruxelles, 1000 Brussells

Royal Palace of Brussels

One day in Brussels: Royal Palace of Brussels
Image by Siempreverde22 from Getty Images

No day trip to Brussels would be complete without a visit to the Royal Palace of Brussels. This imposing building is the official residence of the King and Queen of Belgium (even though they don’t actually live there).

The Royal Palace is only open to the public for tours between July and September, so make sure to check the website before you go. Even if you don’t visit during the summer months, it’s definitely worth admiring from the outside.

The Palace is located in the heart of Brussels, just a short walk from the Grand Place. It’s surrounded by beautiful gardens, which are open to the public all year round.

Royal Palace of Brussels address: Rue Brederode 16, 1000 Brussels, Belgium

End your day with a Belgian Beer tasting

One day in Brussels:Belgian beer, frites and waffles
Image by JurgaR from Getty Images

Have you even been to Brussels if you haven’t tasted the beer? Brussels has a number of bars and breweries where you can sample some of the best Belgian beer in the world.

If you want to learn about the centuries of history of Belgian beer, then you should definitely take a beer tasting tour. You’ll hit two bars and you’ll get to try a variety of different beers, including a bottle of Trappist Ale, all the while learning what exactly is in your glass.

I’d recommend this be the last stop on your one day in Brussels itinerary – you know, just in case you keep going after the tour ends!

Got more than one day in Brussels?

If you’ve got some extra time to spend in Brussels, there are still so many attractions and activities that you can enjoy. Or, if you don’t fancy some of the above recommendations, swap them out for some of these.

One day in Brussels: Atomium
Image by Leonid Andronov

Atomium: This structure was originally only meant to be temporary for the 1958 World Fair, but it was so popular that it has now become one of Brussels’ most iconic landmarks. The Atomium consists of nine steel balls, which represent atoms, and is 102 metres tall. Head to the top of the balls for some panoramic views over Brussels.

Street art walking tour: Stroll through the open air gallery that is the streets of Brussels on a street art walking tour. This 3 hour tour will take you to some of the most incredible street art in the city, as well as revealing some hidden gems that you would never have found on your own.

Palais de Justice: This massive building is a court building , but it’s also open to the public for tours. The Palais de Justice is one of the largest neo-gothic buildings in the world and it definitely shouldn’t be missed if you’re into architecture.

Mini Europe: If you’re short on time but still want to see some of Europe’s most iconic landmarks, then head to Mini Europe. This miniature park has 350 models of famous buildings from across 80 cities in the continent, all in one place.

Arcade du Cinquantenaire: Commissioned by King Leopold II to mark the 50th anniversary of Belgium’s independence, this triumphal arch is now one of the most popular tourist attractions in Brussels.

Brewery tour: Learn all about the brewing process on a tour of one of Brussels’ many breweries. This is a great way to spend an afternoon, especially if the weather isn’t great. And, of course, you get to try some delicious beer at the end!

Day trips from Brussels

One day in Brussels: Antwerp
Image by Sean Pavone from Getty Images

Bruges

Bruges is the capital city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium,. This beautiful city is full of canals and medieval buildings. It’s the perfect place for a day trip if you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Brussels.

Ghent

Ghent is another charming Belgian city that’s located just a short train ride from Brussels. This city is known for its medieval architecture, canals and stunning churches.

Antwerp

The fashion capital of Belgium, Antwerp is definitely worth a visit if you’re interested in style and design. This city is also home to a number of Diamond Districts, so it’s perfect if you’re looking to do some shopping.

Lille

Lille is a beautiful city in northern France that’s just a short train ride from Brussels. This city is known for its cobbled streets, picturesque squares and charming cafes.

Luxembourg

The smallest country in the EU, Luxembourg is a popular day trip destination from Brussels. This country is known for its stunning scenery, castles and medieval villages.

FAQs: One Day in Brussels

Is one day in Brussels enough?

Absolutely! There’s so much to see and do in this city that you could easily spend a week here and not get bored. However, if you’re short on time, one day is definitely enough to see the highlights of Brussels

What is there to do in Brussels at night?

There are plenty of bars and clubs to enjoy in Brussels, so you can definitely find something to do at night. If you’re looking for something a little different, there are also a number of museums and galleries that stay open late.

How much does a day in Brussels cost?

This really depends on what you want to do and how much you want to spend. However, you can easily get by on a budget of €50-€60 per day.

Is Brussels safe?

Yes, Brussels is a safe city to visit. However, as with any city, it’s always important to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions against pickpockets.

What is the language spoken in Brussels?

The official language of Brussels is French, however many people also speak Dutch and English. You’ll find that most signs are in all three languages.

What is the currency used in Brussels?

The currency used in Brussels is the Euro. ATM’s are widely available and credit cards are accepted in most places.

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Conclusion: One-Day Brussels Itinerary

I hope you found this one day Brussels itinerary helpful! As you can see, iIf only for the Belgian waffles, a day trip to Brussels is worth it!

But with so much more on offer, from historic landmarks and museums to delicious food and drink, you’ll find that there’s something for everyone in this vibrant city. So whether you’re a history buff or a foodie, be sure to add Brussels to your list of places to visit.

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