Brussels Travel Guide

Attractions

A Brussels Card is available for discounts at many attractions:

Brussels CardAvailable in 24h (24), 48h (34) and 72h (40) versions, it offers a free guidebook, free entry to many museums, free use of public transit, and discounts at various shops, restaurants and attractions. May not be worth it to those who already receive discounts (children, students, etc.). The card can be purchased online in advance for a discount, or at the tourist offices at: Grand-Place, Midi/Zui station, BIP. Some museums also sell the card.
Landmarks
Grand Place-Grote MarktSurrounded by the city tower and a range of beautiful 300 year old buildings. In the evening, surrounded by bright lumination, it is simply ravishing. Some evenings a music and light show is provided with the buildings serving as a canvas. Have a "gaufre de Lige-Luikse wafel" here (Belgian waffle with caramelized sugar)the best ones are available from the little shops off the northeast corner of the Grand Place-Grote Markt.
Manneken PisJust a short walk from the Grand Place-Grote Markt is the Manneken Pis, a small bronze statue thought to represent the "irreverent spirit" of Brussels. This statue of a child performing one of Nature's most basic functions. Belgians have created hundreds of outfits for this statue. There are many stories of the statue's significance. It is believed to have been inspired by a child who, while in a tree, found a special way to drive away invading troops. Another story goes that a father was missing his child and made a declaration to the city that when he found him he would build a statue of him, doing whatever it was that he was doing. It has also been said a witch turned him to stone for peeing on her property. Yet another story goes that Brussels was under siege and enemies had planted explosives in the city; a boy saw the lit fuse and urinated on it, preventing the explosives from bowing up thus saving the city. None is definitively true.
Parc du Cinquantenaire-Jubelpark - Definitely check out the Arc de Triomphe-Triomfboog on the east side of town. It's in the Parc du Cinquantenaire-Jubelpark. It is possible to go up to the terrasse above the arch, from where you'll have a good view of the city. Entry is through the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and of Military History and is free. Take Metro line 1 east, exit Schuman and walk east or exit Mérode and walk west.
AtomiumSquare de l'Atomium/AtomiumpleinPhone: +32 (0)2 475 4777Hours: Open daily from 10AM till 6PM. Ticket Sale ends at 5:30PMPrice: Children of less than 6 years, coach drivers, disabled persons: free, children as from 6 years till 11 years: 2, adults: 11, teachers showing their teacher card: 9, children as from 12 till 18 years, students showing their student card and seniors (as from 65 years): 8Unavoidable icon of Brussels and Belgium, important place for international tourism, unique creation in the history of architecture and emblematic vestige of the World Fair in Brussels (Expo 58) the Atomium continues to embody its ideas of the future and universality, half a century later. In its cultural programme it carries on the debate of 1958:What kind of future do we want for tomorrow? Our happiness depends on what? Its recent renovation in 2006 gave its original brightness back, and the new equipments guarantee its durability. Five of the nine spheres are open to the public (so they say, but not really true). One of them is housing apermanent exhibitiondedicated to Expo 58 (just some small models of some countries pavillions). Another sphere is dedicated totemporary exhibitionswith scientific themes (often closed when there is no exhibition). The upper sphere offers spectacular views of the city of Brussels. When the sky is clear, the view reaches till Antwerp.There is a "kids zone" sphere which staff will happily direct you to even though you can never go in, it is only open to touring schoolchildren, and there is nothing inside except places for kids to sleep. In truth there are only three spheres: the top (restaurant), middle (snack bar) and bottom; the only thing to see really is the view; rather expensive at 11. The restaurant, also situated at the top, is open every day till 11:00PM At night, the nine spheres are lit up with 2,970 lights that offer a very special show. To enrich your visit: audioguides in EN (but also in F, NL, ES, IT and RU) are available at the cash desk for 2. Visio-guides are also available (2) for the deaf and hard of hearing people. In August 2010, a zip-line was available from the top of the tallest sphere (102m); the "Death Ride" (run by former members of the Belgian Special Services) is a separate 25, and offers a rather unique view of the insides of the Atomium and the surrounding city.
Palais de Justice/JustitiepaleisPlace Poelaert/Poelaert PleinPhone: 02 508 64 10Hours: 08:00-17:00 Mon-FriPrice: FreeLarger than St. Peter's basilica in Rome, it cost 45 million Belgian Francs to construct in 1866.
Basiliek van het Heilig Hart / Basilique du Sacr CoeurBasiliekvoorplein/Parvis de la BasiliquePhone: 02 421 16 60The fifth biggest church in the world, with an impressive interior and an amazing view over Brussels and its surroundings.
Palais Royale/Koninklijk PaleisPlace des Palais/PaleizenpleinPhone: 02 551 20 20Price: FreeRoyal Palace with a park out front.
The BourseStock market building in Brussels. Locals like to sit on the steps, sometimes with fries.
Mini-EuropePhone: +32 (0)2 478 0550Price: 12.90 Adults; 9.70 under 12Hosts a set of scale models of famous European structures.
ScientasticPrice: 7.90; children 5.30101 surprising and wonderful hands-on science exhibits.
Thieffry metro stationHours: 24h openPrice: 2.50 Adults; 0.80 under 12Famous metro station named after Belgian WWI air ace Edmond Thieffry. Contains some interesting sculptures of modern art.
Statue of EuropeAlso referred to as Unity in Peace, this sculpture symbolises peace through European integration, while at the same time aiming to demonstrate the motto of the European Union (EU), United in Diversity. It is located in the garden of Convent Van Maerlant (the library of the European Commission) Van Maerlant street, in the European Quarter of Brussels.
Red Light DistrictJust like Antwerp and Amsterdam, Brussels also has its own Red Light District. It is located mainly in Rue d'Aerschot/ Aarschotstraat, behind the North Train Station. Contrary to The Netherlands, prostitution is NOT legal in Belgium, they exploit a loophole in the local legislation presenting brothels as "bars". Do not expect to actually get a drink in there though. Despite heavy police presence, it still remains a fairly seedy area, not the kind of place where you'd want to walk alone at night.
Museums and Galleries
Muses Royaux d'Art et d'Histoire (MRAH) - Koninklijke Musea voor Kunst en Geschiedenis (KMKG)Parc du Cinquantenaire-Jubelpark 10Phone: +32 (0)2 741 7211Hours: Open Tu-Fr 9:30AM-5PM, Sa-Su and holidays 10AM-5PM, closed Mo and various holidays, last entry 4PMPrice: Adults 5This museum has an important collection of art objects from different civilizations from all over the world. The museum was founded in 1835 and was located in the Hallepoort/Porte de Hal, one of the last remaining medieval city gates of Brussels.
Muses Royaux des Beaux Arts de Belgique - Koninklijke Musea voor Schone Kunsten van BelgiRue de la Rgence-Regentschapstraat 3, at Place Royale-KoningspleinPhone: +32 (0)2 508 3211Hours: Museum of Historical Art: Tues-Sun 10AM-noon and 1-5PM; Museum of Modern Art (Magritte Museum) Mar: Tue-Sun 10AM-1PM and 2-5PMPrice: 8.00 adults per museum or 13 combo ticket, 2.50 students/seniors/disabled visitors, 1.25 children 12-18, under 12 free. Also free on the first Wednesday afternoon of every monthFeatures both historical art and modern art in the one building. In a vast museum of several buildings, this complex combines the Muse d'Art Ancien-Museum voor Oude Kunst and the Muse d'Art Moderne-Museum voor Moderne Kunst under one roof (connected by a passage). The collection shows off works, most of them Belgian, from the 14th to the 20th century, starting in the historical section, with Hans Memling's portraits from the late 15th century, which are marked by sharp lifelike details, works by Hironymus Bosch, and Lucas Cranach's Adam and Eve. You should particularly seek out the subsequent rooms featuring Pieter Brueghel, including his Adoration of the Magi. Don't miss his unusual Fall of the Rebel Angels, with grotesque faces and beasts. But don't fear, many of Brueghel's paintings, like those depicting Flemish village life, are of a less fiery nature. Later artists represented include Rubens, Van Dyck, Frans Hals, and Rembrandt. Next door, in a circular building connected to the main entrance, the modern art section has an emphasis on underground works - if only because the museum's eight floors are all below ground level. The collection includes works by van Gogh, Matisse, Dal, Tanguy, Ernst, Chagall, Mir, and local boys Magritte, Delvaux, De Braekeleer and Permeke. Don't miss David's famous "Death of Marat."
Muses d'Extrme-Orient - Musea van het Verre OostenAvenue Van Praetlaan 44Phone: +32 2 268 16 08Hours: Tu-Fr 9:30AM-5:30PM, Sa-Su 10AM-5PM, closed MoPrice: 4 adults, 3 students, 1.50 childrenIntriguing complex of three buildings in the Laaken area, not far from the Atomium. They comprise a Japanese tower, a Chinese pavilion, and a museum of Japanese art. The architecture and decor may seem over the top to today's tastes, but there are some outstanding examples of Chinese export porcelain, and rotating exhibitions of Japanese artefacts from the Edo period (1600-1868).
Muse BELvue - BELvue MuseumPlace des Palais-Paleizenplein 7Phone: +32 (0)70 22 0492Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, from 10AM-6PM (June to September), from 10AM-5PM (October to May)Price: BELvue: 3, Coudenberg: 4, BELvue + Coudenberg: 5Features Belgium's history. Before it became a museum, the former 18th century luxury hotel was a royal residence.
Natural Sciences Museum of BelgiumRue Vautier-Vautierstraat 29Phone: +32 (0)2 627 4238Hours: Open: daily from 9:30AM-4:45PM; Saturday, Sunday and during school holidays (except the Summer break), from 10AM-6PM; during the Summer break daily from 9:30AM-4:45PM daily and in weekends from 10AM-6PMPrice: Price between 4.50 and 7, free the first Wednesday of each month as of 1PM. The museum is well-known for its famous collection of iguanodons (dinosaurs discovered in a coal-mine in Belgium). The dinosaur collection has been refreshed in October 2007 and includes discovery activities for the children. The other parts of the museum are also interesting, as an exhibit of all animals that live in our houses and a collection of mammals.
Horta MuseumRue Amricaine 25, Saint-Gilles/Amerikastraat 25, Sint-GillisPhone: +32 (0)2 543 0490Fax: +32 (0)2 538 7631Hours: Open daily 2PM-5:30PM, closed MondayPrice: Adults 7, students/seniors 3.50, guided tours available by appointmentThe home of noted Belgian Art Nouveau architect and designer Victor Horta. Seeing where he lived and worked is a great way to get an introduction to the art nouveau style in Brussels. It is one of four Horta works to be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It can be very busy on rainy Sundays and the queue is outside, so don't forget your umbrella.
Royal Museum for Central Africa (RMCA)Leuvensesteenweg 13, TervurenPhone: +32 2 7695211Fax: +32 2 7695242Hours: Tue-Fri 10-17, Sat&Sun 10-18Price: 4 adults, 1.50 young people (13-17), free for children under 12The Museum is home to some truly remarkable collections. Its collection of ethnographic objects from Central Africa is in fact the only one of its kind in the world. It also contains the entire archives of Henry Morton Stanley which are of great historical value. The actual state of the museum makes it some kind of "museum in the museum" Apart the new (or newish) sections about the Congo River and the colonial period (with some ambiguous statements about the Belgian role), the structure of the museum seems to have been "frozen" 50 years ago. Casing, labels (largely almost nonexistent or vanished), (dis)organization of the collection in homogenous topics, especially in the ethnographic section, reflect those of a museum conceived a century ago and never updated since. Labels, where available, are in Dutch and French only in the permanent exhibition. In fact, the museum will close from 8/7/2012 to mend these issues and will reopen after major renovations of buildings and exhibitions about 2015. The audio-guided farewell tour "Uncensored" (7, including permanent exhibition access) temporary exhibition (largely embedded inside the permanent exhibition tour) digs deep in the history of the museum. In some ways, it is a pity that in the future we will get a more enjoyable and interesting museum, but we will soon loose this unique remainder of the old age of museums.
Belgian Comic Strip CenterRue des Sables-Zandstraat 20Phone: +32 (0)2 219 1980Fax: +32/2/219 23 76Hours: Tue-Sun 10AM-6PMPrice: 7.50 adults, 6 students/seniorsLocated in Europe's earliest Shopping-Mall (a shiny Jugendstil/Art Nouveau palace). There is a permanent exposition featuring the early beginning of comics as well as it's development. There is enough room for other varying expositions. The bookshop at the ground floor sells many different comics. A readers' library operates on the ground floor, where, for a low entrance fee, you can read many different comic books and buy fries.
Muse du Cinma-FilmmuseumPalais des Beaux-Arts-Paleis voor Schone Kunsten, 9 rue Baron Horta-Baron Hortastraat 9Phone: +32 (0)2 507 8370Price: Free to look around; classic and cult films are shown at low pricesA history of film-making.
AutoworldParc du Cinquantenaire-Jubelpark 11Phone: +32 (0)2 736 4165Hours: 10:00-18:00 (4/1-9/30) 10:00-17:00 (10/1-3/31)Price: Adults 6, children 7-133, children 6 and under freeAutomobiles from the dawn of the motoring age to 1970s including the earliest Mercedes, Renaults, BMW Isettas, Tatras, Ford T-birds, even a jeepney from the Philippines.
Muse Royal de l'Arme - Koninklijk Museum van het Leger en van de Militaire GeschiedenisParc du Cinquantenaire-Jubelpark 3Phone: +32 (0)2 737 7809Hours: 9:00-16:45Price: FreeThe Belgian Army Museum and Museum of Military History occupies the north wing of the Palais Cinquantenaire. It provides an overview of the development of military technology and of the major campaigns fought on Belgian soil. The museum has three principal sections: Belgian military history (documents, uniforms and weaponry from the Middle Ages to the present day, including a most comprehensive collection of medieval arms and armor); the Armored Vehicle Hall with artillery, tanks etc. from the two World Wars; and the Air Section (Brussels Air Museum) with a collection of aircraft from World War I onwards. The Brussels Air Museum's high point is its collection of original aircraft from World War I.
Musical Instruments MuseumMontagne de la Cour-Hofberg 2Phone: +32 (0)2.545.01.30Hours: Open Tu-Fr 9:30AM-16:45PM, Sa-Su 10AM-16:45PMPrice: Adults 5; under 26 and over 604; under 13 freeThe mim houses more than 7000 instruments, from all times and all over the world. The museums reputation is built on its extraordinary collection. The exhibits are displayed on four different floors featuring a wide range of instruments from all time periods and areas of the world. The MIM is a place to experience music. An infrared headphone system allows each visitor to enjoy the sound and melodies played by the instruments presented. The restaurant on the roof is also famous because of its panoramic view over Brussles. You need around 3 or 4 hours to really enjoy the whole museum, make sure you have enough time!
Muse Magritte Museum1 Place Royale-Koningsplein 1Phone: +32 (0)2 508 32 11Fax: +32 (0)2 508 32 32Hours: Tuesday to Sunday: from 10AM-5PM, Wednesday until 8PM Closed Mondays, January 1st, 2nd Thursday of January, May 1st, November 1st and 11th, December 25thPrice: Standard rate: 8, Combi with Modern & Ancient Art Museum: 13, Students 18-25 years and school groups min. 12 pers.: 2. Audioguide: 4This museum is dedicated to the life and art of the Belgian artist Ren Magritte. It holds a multidisciplinary collection containing more than 200 of Magritte's works.
Muse Juif de Belgique - Joods Museum van Belgi21 Rue des Minimes-Miniemenstraat 21Phone: +32 (0)2 512 19 63Hours: Everyday except Mondays from 10AM-5PMPrice: Standard rate: 5, Concession 3Dedicated to the craft, folk art, culture and religion of the Jewish people in Belgium.
European Union

Brussels is considered to be the de facto capital of the European Union, having a long history of hosting the institutions of the European Union within its European Quarter. The EU has no official capital, and no plans to declare one, but Brussels hosts the official seats of the European Commission, Council of the European Union, European Council, as well as a second seat of the European Parliament.

European ParliamentRue Wiertz/Wiertzstraat 60Phone: +32/2 284 21 11Fax: +32/2 284 35 30Hours: Mon-Thu at 10.00h and 15.00h; Fri at 10.00h only; Closed official holidaysPrice: FreeMultimedia-guided tours in all official EU languages. Don't forget to bring an ID card/driver License with you.
European CommissionRue Archimde/Archimesstraat 73Guided tours not available. Presentations available for groups of 15 or more, booked in advance.
European CouncilRue de la Loi / Wetstraat 175Phone: +32 (0)2 281 2140Fax: +32 (0)2 281 6609Guided tours not available. Presentations available for groups of 15 or more, booked in advance.
Breweries
Cantillon BreweryRue Gheude - Gheudestraat 56Phone: 02 521.49.28Hours: Monday to Friday from 8:30AM till 5PM; Saturday from 10AM-5PM; Closed on Sundays and public holidaysPrice: Tour with tasting 5, tasting alone 2The last traditional gueuze/lambic brewery in Brussels, Cantillon still uses natural yeast fermentation (not injected like almost every other beer). The lambics and gueuzes are made in original style with no sweetners or syrups added. Only 100% bio (organic) and natural fruits are used creating a distinctly sour drink. This museum-esque atmosphere is still a functioning brewery. The tour includes two small glasses of lambic and gueuze, and if you've never had a natural beer before, then you will be (pleasantly) surprised by the taste. An absolute must for beer lovers, save room in your luggage to take bottles back with you!
Woluwé-Saint-Pierre

Woluwé-Saint-Pierre is a commune in Brussels. It is mostly a well-to-do residential area, which includes the wide, park-lined, Tervuren Avenue (French: Avenue de Tervueren, Dutch: Tervurenlaan) and the numerous embassies located near the Montgomery Square (Square Montgomery, Montgomeryplein).

Bibliotheca WittockianaRue du Bemelstraat 21Phone: +32 (0)2 770 5333A museum that is dedicated to the art of binding books, with one of the most prestigious bookbinding collections in the world. Quite interesting. A discovery of forgotten discipline. Amazing use of materials, that unexpectedly gives room to innovation.
Muse du Transport Urbain Bruxellois-Museum voor het Stedelijk Vervoer te Brussel364 Avenue de Tervuren/TervurenlaanPhone: +32 (0)2 515 3108Hours: Open from 1:30PM-7PM on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays from the first weekend of April until the first weekend of OctoberPrice: 5 Adults, 2 Children age 6-11, under 6 freeOld trams are regularly used to link the museum to one of Brussels suburbs, Tervuren, through a very nice wooded area. The trip is especially pleasant on a sunny day. From the end station in Tervuren you can go to a nearby old train station that has been converted to a bar and small restaurant named Spoorloos (literally "without tracks").
Woluwe ParkNear Avenue de Tervuren
The imposing modern city hall is open to visitors.
The town’s main church (Saint Peter) was erected in 1755 on the site of a much older building and perpendicular to it, with funds from the abbey of Forest. Traces of the older building can still be seen on the left of the current church.
Several turn-of-the-century houses and manors can still be seen today, such as the Stoclet/Stokkel House, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which was built between 1905 and 1909 on a design by Josef Hoffmann and contains mosaics and paintings by Gustav Klimt.

source: Wikivoyage

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