London and Paris are Americans’ top destinations, according to Allianz Global Assistance, a travel insurance company. The company reviewed trips taken from the US to Europe from May 25 to September 3, 2019. The review showed 25 percent of travelers went to London, 13.3 percent Paris, 12.3 percent Reykjavik (Iceland), and Brussels had only one percent, making it to position 19 in the Top 20 Destinations list.
Brussels ranked 19 in the review, and it didn’t even rank in the top 20 for 2018 and 2017. This underrated destination deserves more attention from American tourists. And if you’re wondering what there is to see and how to spend your days there, here’s how to spend three days in Brussels.
Start your day with a hearty breakfast of waffles and coffee. You can choose savory or sweet waffles when in Brussels. There are two types of sweet waffles – the rectangular and flaky Brussels waffles or the round corners and sugar-coated Liege waffles.
Most locals don’t eat waffles for breakfast, but since you’re a tourist, you can eat waffles all day, but preferably breakfast because you’re going to have more food experiences throughout the day.
After your hearty breakfast, head over to Grand Place. The Grand Place is one of Europe’s most beautiful squares. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site surrounded by the Town Hall, King’s House, and gilded halls that are now occupied by restaurants and shops. Historically, Grand Place was a market square where traders and locals came to trade and shop.
Galeries Royales St Hubert, located a few feet from the Grand Place, should be one of your stops as it is one of the finest and oldest shopping arcades in Europe. You can find luxury goods, cafes, books, chocolates and souvenirs in the arcade.
During your first day’s walking tour, you must also include the following places:
- Mannekin Pis – the tiny bronze statue of a boy peeing
- Place St. Gery
- Place du Grand Sablon
End your day with delicious mussels, fries, and beer dinner. We recommend Chez Leon and ‘T Kelderke for mussels. After dinner, end your day at the Grand Place and feel the difference at night.
You hear people talk about the Louvre in Paris or the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, but have you heard of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts in Brussels?
The Royal Museums of Fine Arts consists of six art centers in Brussels. Namely, Museum of the Old Masters, Museum of Modern Art, Magritte Museum, the Constantin Meunier Museum, Antoine Wiertz Museum, and the Fin-de-Siecle Museum.
These museums are home to a collection of over 20,000 works of art from the 15th to the 21st centuries. If you have just half a day to explore, we suggest going to The Old Masters, Fin-de-Siecle, and Magritte Museums. These three museums are in one location, however separate entrance tickets are required. Combo tickets are available for those who want to spend time in all the three museums.
The Old Masters Museum features Flemish and Belgian art from 14th to the 18th centuries. There are works from Bruegel (the Elder and the Younger), Rubens, and Bosch. If you like surrealist art, you’ll love the Magritte Museum. Fin-de-Siecle has the late 19th and 20th centuries artwork and a wide selection of art nouveau art.
The museum is a short walk from the Royal Palace of Brussels and Brussels Park (Parc de Bruxelles). The palace is open to the public from July 12 to the beginning of September, from 10:30 am to 5 pm (closed on Monday).
Your next stop is Place du Grand Sablon, about a 10-minute walk from the Royal Palace of Brussels and a 5-minute walk from the museums. Get a drink at one of the cafes or bars, either for coffee or to sample the different types of Belgian beer.
We recommend a quick stop at La Porte Noire, a bar located in a 16th-century cellar. It’s open from 6 pm every day (except Sunday). If you’re in the Grand Place area in the evenings, check out Delerium, or perhaps head over to Place St. Gery, where you have a selection of bars, restaurants, and clubs.
On your third day, visit the Atomium, Brussels most famous landmark. Built in 1958 for the Brussels World Expo, this unique structure is about 330 feet high with nine spheres and a restaurant offering panoramic views.
Additionally, you can visit the European Parliament, particularly the House of European History, Hemicycle and Parliamentarium. The House of European History is located in Parc Leopold. Visitors are given a glimpse into the many historical events that happened in Europe, and also a look into the future of the European Union.
It’s fun to visit the Hemicycle during a plenary sitting, where you can watch the debates, votes, and more. No booking is required to visit the Hemicycle, Parliamentarium, and the House of European History.