Belgium is a neighboring country of the Netherlands. Also the capital city of Brussels is an important city, known as the capital of the EU, where the major institutions of the EU are located.
Brussels can be reached in about two hours from Amsterdam by high-speed train Thalys, so you can enjoy a day trip.
Brussels has a lot of different cultures from Japan and the Netherlands, such as Manneken Pis, World Heritage Grand Place, Belgian waffles, Chocolate and Beer!
The architectural style of Brussels is different from that of the Netherlands. You can see see various architectural styles, such as the Neo-Classicism style of the 18th and 19th centuries, the Art nouveau style that originated in Brussels, and the Modern style that was built after the 20th century.
- Let’s visit Brussels!
- Let’s eat Belgian chocolate!
- Let’s eat Belgian waffles!
- Let’s make Belgian waffles!
- Eat around Belgium!
- Brussels Sightseeing Map
- How to get to Brussels
- Tour in Brussels
- Events in Brussels
Let’s visit Brussels!
10 sightseeing spots in Brussels.
You can see all in one day sightseeing. But when you want to take your time and look at museums and other places, try two days as a guideline.
The central square, Grand Place, is the main tourist attraction.
The buildings in the Grand Place are historical architecture built between the 11th and 17th centuries, and are registered as a World Heritage Site.
The Grand Place is lit up evening, it is a tourist attraction that can be enjoyed both during the day and at night.
Also the Grand Place is the main place for events such as Flower carpets in the summer and Christmas markets in the winter.
Brussels Town Hall
The Brussels Town Hall is the oldest building on the Grand Place, built between 1401 and 1455.
The 96m high tower is not located in the center of the building and is asymmetrical when viewed from the front. Asymmetry is very rare in 15th-century buildings and is thought to be accidental due to design errors or site limitations.
A guided tour is required to visit inside the Brussels Town Hall. Guided tours can be booked at the Tourist Information inside the building.
Brussels City Museum
The Brussels City Museum, opposite the City Hall, was originally built in the 15th century, and in the 16th century it was extensively renovated in the late Gothic style that is the basis of its present appearance, becoming the Duke’s house. Since the duke later became King of Spain, the building came to be called the King’s House.
The building was heavily damaged by bombing in 1695 and has since been restored. In the 18th century the grand roof and portal were added in neoclassical style. The 19th-century renovation added a tower, and decorated the facade with neo-Gothic sculpted.
The Brussels City Museum showcases the history of Brussels, art and an authentic Manneken Pis statue. The Manneken Pis costume collection is also a must-see.
The building, decorated with a golden equestrian statue, was once used by the brewers’ guild. The basement of the building is now the Beer Museum.
The beer museum has a collection of 18th-century brewing equipment and antique beer mugs.
When you get thirsty while sightseeing, visit the Beer Museum. Because the beer museum has a bar. Have a Belgian beer after your tour of the museum.
Musical Instruments Museum
The architectural style Art Nouveau, which was popular in Europe from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century, originated in Brussels. The design is characterized by motifs such as flowers and plants and beautiful curves. It was built using new materials of the time, such as iron and glass.
The Musical Instruments Museum near the Grand Place is a famous Art Nouveau building.
The Museum has a collection of over 10,000 musical instruments, some of which are of global value.
The Manneken Pis, a sculpture of a naked boy peeing, is a symbol of Brussels.
There is a legend that the origin of Manneken Pis comes from the boy Julian who saved the town by extinguishing the fire of the bomb’s fuse with pee, and then Manneken Pis is nicknamed Julian now.
The current statue is a replica made in 1965 and the original is on display at the City Museum.
Manneken Pis is always naked, but sometimes he wears clothes. More than 1,000 clothes were given as gifts at events and celebrations, some of which can be seen in the City Museum.
The Jeanneke Pis (Pissing Girl), a parody of Manneken Pis, was created in 1985 and has been on display since 1987.
Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert
The glass-ceilinged shopping arcade Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert is a beautiful arcade designed in 1847 by the Belgian architect Jean-Pierre Houdin.
The walls are decorated in Renaissance style, and the vaulted glass ceiling gives a feeling of beauty and splendor even today.
Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert has luxury shops, restaurants, theaters, confectioners and souvenir shops.
Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula
Listed as a Historic Monument in 1936, the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula is considered to be the most important site in Brussels, with a chapel dedicated to St. Michael in the 9th century.
Construction of the cathedral began in the 11th century as a Romanesque church, later changed to Gothic style, and was completed in the 16th century.
The cathedral has been extended and renovated many times, so you can see various styles, including late Gothic, Baroque styles, and neo-Gothic styles.
Church of Our Blessed Lady of the Sablon
The Church of Our Blessed Lady of the Sablon was built over a century starting around 1400. After that, there is no record of expansion or renovation, and when restoration work began in the latter half of the 19th century, it was an abandoned building.
Today, it has regained its beauty with beautiful carvings and stained glass.
Let’s eat Belgian chocolate!
When cacao was precious, chocolate was a high-class sweet for the upper class. Belgium began importing cocoa from Africa in large quantities at the beginning of the 20th century. Since then, Belgium has become famous as a country of chocolate, and even ordinary people can eat chocolate.
Since 1894, Belgian chocolate has been regulated by law on the percentage of cacao used in chocolate production, and the name of Belgian chocolate has spread to the world because of its high quality.
There are many famous Belgian chocolate shops, Godiva, Neuhaus, Wittamer, Marcolini, Leonidas, Galler, Côte d’Or, Belcolade, Callebaut, Mary’s Chocolaterie and more, some of its brands are royal warrants.
Godiva is a Belgian royal chocolate brand.
In 1945, the first GODIVA store opened on the Grand Place, selling beautiful bite-sized pieces of chocolate, and it is said that chocolate began to take root as a gift.
Founded in 1857, Neuhaus is a Belgian royal chocolate brand.
Neuhaus is a chocolate shop that invented a bonbon chocolat of bite size stuffed inside and a box of chocolate displayed like a jewel.
Caprice chocolate filled with plenty of cream can only be tasted at Neuhaus.
Founded in 1913, Leonidas was displayed freshly made chocolate in glass cases and sold it by the gram. Leonidas is a local chocolate store where you can buy chocolate at a reasonable price.
Leonidas became a Royal Warrant in 2013 when it celebrated its 100th anniversary.
If you visit Leonidas, don’t forget to buy some soft ice cream. The soft ice cream sold only at the store is coated with chocolate on the inside of the cone and is very delicious.
Let’s eat Belgian waffles!
There are many tempting waffle shops in downtown Brussels, and the area around the Grand Place always smells sweet.
There are two types of waffles in Belgium, Liege waffles and Belgian waffles.
Liege waffles are a common type of waffle in Japan and the Netherlands, and are characterized by being hard-baked. The dough contains sugar, it is a sweet and delicious waffle as it is.
Belgian waffles are characterized by rectangular shape and fluffy texture. The dough has a light taste, it is a waffle that is eaten with plenty of cream or chocolate.
The two types of waffles have different appearances and textures, but both are very delicious when freshly baked. Let’s buy freshly baked waffle in Brussels and compare them.
Taste and Compare Waffles at Maison Dandoy
Maison Dandoy, a popular waffle shop in Brussels. You can have both Liege waffles and Belgian waffles here.
Let’s make Belgian waffles!
Take a Workshop Tour to make and eat Belgian waffles in Brussels. This is a family-friendly workshop that children can participate in.
It takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes, you can enjoy cooking and have a tea time with handmade waffles while taking a break. You might even learn a few tricks to make the perfect Belgian waffle!
Eat around Belgium!
Frites (French fries) originated in Belgium. If you’re going to eat while walking, you can’t miss authentic Frites.
Fritland near the Grand Place is a popular Frites shop open until midnight. Simple frites are the standard, but frites sandwiches are also popular.
Belgium is also famous for its mussels, and there is a Belgian dish called Moules-frites. A large pot full of mussels is served. It looks like a lot, but it’s delicious and you’ll be able to finish it all.
Brussels Sightseeing Map
How to get to Brussels
The Thalys high-speed train takes about 2 hours from Amsterdam to Brussels Midi station.
The NS International (Dutch Railway) express train takes you to Brussels Central Station in about 3 hours.
Thalys arrives at Brussels Midi station, so it’s convenient to take the tram to the Grand Place. NS International arrives at Brussels Central Station and it is a 5-minute walk to the Grand Place.
If you purchase tickets early, you may be able to purchase them at a discounted price. Plan early and save money on sightseeing.
NS International official website >>
If you want to save even more, take the Flixbus (long-distance bus). It takes 3-4 hours one way, but you can get to Brussels for less than 10 euros.
Tour in Brussels
Events in Brussels