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Full Day in Brussels

Hi
In April I will be taking the high-speed from Paris to Brussels. I am planning on a long day trip. What are the best sights besides Grand Palace.

I also see the thread on Lines https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/belgium/lines-at-art-museums-in-brussels. Anyone have a favorite gallery or highlight?

Also on the chance I stay overnight any basic hotel recommendations. Not looking for fancy just clean and safe

Thanks
Melissa

Posted by
6418 posts

I went to Brussels on a day trip saw the Grand Place and that's about it there. So I ended up leaving and going to Brugges to stay the night.

Posted by
1316 posts

If you go to Rick's Brussels Travel Guide and expand the At a Glance section, you can see a list of his recommended sights. When I was there last May I visited the Royal Museums and the Musical Instrument Museum, and I thought both were excellent. In his guidebook he has two walking tours, and I followed both of them and enjoyed what I saw quite a lot.

Posted by
1005 posts

For a basic hotel, I've stayed at Hotel La Madeleine, which is centrally located and clean, but not at all fancy. Try to give yourself a lot of time at the Royal Museums of Art--there are three sections and they are all worth the visit. The Fin de Siecle Museum is down several levels, so many visitor skip it--but it has a fabulous collection including James Ensor and Fernand Khnopff.

Posted by
4694 posts

I think the two best museums are Ancient/Modern Art and Bozar. But others might say Musical Instruments and Magritte. Because they're a different part of town, and I have no interest, I skipped the EU Parliament and the Atomium. Note that there is so much within walking distance of the Central Station (NOT the Midi/Zuid station you'll be going to. But your ticket takes you, once, for free on the local trains to the other two downtown stations. And on the way home.) Do some figuring to see if you want a one-day Brussel Card for certain museums and transit.

Other good museums, Coudenberg palace basements, the nearby History museum (which doesn't pull any punches about the Belgian Congo.) Petit Sablon park and fence sculptures. Many pretty churches, and the Cathedral has a lot of interesting war plaques and memorials inside. I think the Rue des Bouchers restaurant street has some charm, but you have to be ready to dismiss the AGGRESSIVE touts trying to get you in to restaurants that are widely reported to abusively pad the bill. Do not eat on the Rue des Bouchers. If you insist on Mannekin Pis, keep walking to see the female version, supposedly paid for by restauranteurs wanting tourists to have a second stop. (Similar but much better sculpture by Kiki Smith, http://www.groundsforsculpture.org/Artist/Kiki-Smith )

Posted by
11158 posts

My favorite thing in Brussels was the Art Nouveau tour with ARAU. See what tours they have on the day you will be there: http://www.arau.org/en

Do buy some chocolate from one or more shops on the Grand Place. It's cheaper than in Paris (in the case of Leonidas, much cheaper).

My brother and his wife loved their time at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts, particularly because there were specific pieces there they wanted to see.

Posted by
191 posts

I like to stay at the MotelOne in Brussels. Clean, simple, and usually good rates in a convenient location.

Posted by
103 posts

We will also be taking a day (well more like half a day in Brussels). Our plan is the Grand Palace, probably manneken pis, and venture over to cinquantenaire park...probably for the autoworld museum. We will have kids 9 and 6.

But we are really curious about best places to eat in the area of the Midi train station, Grand Palace, and Cinquantenaire park. Hoping to do all unique foods to belgium like frites, waffles, etc.

Any recommendations?

Posted by
77 posts

Thanks, Still trying to plan this out for September

Posted by
785 posts

We arrive in Brussels in about 10 days. We know we'll be tired, but we plan to see the Musical Instrument Museum. DH is a musician, so this takes priority over art for a day. We'll probably go straight there and spend an hour or two, wander by the Mannequin, eat somewhere near the Grand Place then train on to Bruges where we're staying. I think what is a "best sight" depends on your priorities. We've skipped many sights that others would consider musts because we wanted to do something else more and it's all about choices. Can't do everything. WE'LL BE BACK!

Posted by
77 posts

Thanks for the replies, we will be in Brussels in September on a Tuesday from 9 am till 6 pm anyone else care to share thoughts?