10 Top Tourist Attractions in Brussels

Martina Rosado
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Notre Dame du Sablon

Street view of Notre Dame du Sablon
Our Blessed Lady of the Sablon Church – Image from Michielverbeek on Wikipedia licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

This Gothic cathedral dates back to the 15th century. The church also functions as a monastery, which you can see the monks working in the cloisters. Located at the end of a lovely cobblestone path overlooking the Brussels city skyline.

The Galeries Saint Hubert – A huge shopping mall that has a great food court, the best view of the Atomium, and a large number of different euro pubs with tons of variety. Location is Directly across from the Atomium.

The Atomium – A huge steel and aluminum structure shaped like a 1920’s Brussels Atomium. It’s a great place for some fun and also a perfect way to get some great pictures. Located across from the Galeries Saint Hubert in the City Center.

Crown Jewel of the Bridges – Located in the very heart of the City of Brussels. Find out how bridges were built before the use of electri cal power. The Bridge is named after the first king of Belgium.

The Flower Market – Located just outside of the city center, this beautiful market is home to hundreds of vendors. The flowers wander all throughout the market in the spring and summer to give it a great personality. For the record, it’s way cheaper to buy flowers here than straight from a florist.

Mini Europe

The Atomium is a miniaturized version of the Europe continent. It was built for the 1958 International Exhibition. The Atomiumis a close up on a 3D projection. It is also the largest reinforced concrete structure in the world, and is made entirely of five-pointed connected spheres.

It was featured in the first Harry Potter movie, as the location where the students on their trip to magical Europe and on the Knight Bus were taken.

The Atomium is a popular tourist destination. As it is located right in the middle of Brussels, it is also a very good location for a visit.

The Atomium has a fantastic view over the city. See how well you can name all 10 of the exhibits below.

{1}. Hawaï
{2}. Japan
{3}. USA
{4}. France
{5}. England
{6}. India
{7}. USSR
{8}. Germany

Musical Instrument Museum

Musical instrument museum of Brussels is recognized by the host of european museums federation (FEMY) as a world class museum of musical instrument.

Just admit it, you’ve never really thought about the instruments. What’s really interesting are the histories of the instruments.

There are more than 2.000 thematic rooms in the museum. Among the highlights of collection are Arab harps, pre-Columbian flutes, rock and roll guitar and equipment and jazz saxophone.

Visit the museum and get a deep insight into the way man has been creating music since ancient times.

Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert

Mont des Arts

Manneken Pis

Located in front of the Brussels' City Hall, the statue of a urinating boy is one of the main tourist attractions in the city. Jan Lenferink created the sculpture in 1619. The name of the sculpture is derived from one of the first documented inhabitants of Brussels, a boy who died in 1383 and was buried in the [[Pinxterfoofs]] church. The sculpture was first placed in a fountain outside the church and was moved into its current location in 1663. The sculpture became the official symbol of Brussels in 1887.

The story of the Manneken Pis is the most popular tourist attraction of Brussels, even though it is a 30 year-old drinking fountain.

It is believed that King Charles V had a dream, which made him decide that Brussels needed a town square with a fountain. The fountain was to serve the needs of thirsty warriors.

This belief was the main reason why the fountain was built, but it is not true. The fountain was built because in 1549 part of the roof of the town hall collapsed. The town council decided to rebuild the ceiling with its own money and one of the ways to do this was to pay all the costs of the construction.

The cost of the fountain was paid from the money collected from water taxes, meaning that citizens of Brussels paid for the construction as well as all the maintenance costs.

Brussels Cathedral

(Brussels Cathedrale)

__ Brussels' Cathedral is one of the city's most important landmarks. Built in the middle ages, its architecture took its inspiration from the Holy Sepulchre Church in Jerusalem. It also has a unique well-preserved steeple, a 16th-century carillon and extensive 17th-century tapestries.

Town Hall

The Town Hall is located in the center of Brussels, near the Grand place. It’s a sight to be seen in itself. The town hall is surrounded by statues and an impressive front staircase. The Town Hall was built between 1532 and 1553 in the late gothic style. It’s a mixture of Italian Renaissance and flamboyant Gothic architecture in the form of Greek pillars.

The Town Hall has been the symbol of the city of Brussels for well over 300 years. It’s also the first monument you’ll see as you walk down the main street from the Brussels airport.

About 10 minute walk from here you can spend some lesser known history, walking along the hidden cobbled streets of the old town of Brussels.

It is possible to climb to the top of the Town Hall, and get a panoramic view of the city. Be careful on the stairs though, it’s a good workout.

Atomium

The Atomium is a tower shaped building that is close to the center of Brussels. It is a construction of stainless steel that was designed to represent a miniature of the structure of an iron crystal.

It opened to the public on December 11, 1958. Inside the Atomium is a four-story Dutch Village Museum that was set up in 1958 and is devoted to electric generators and historical technology.

In December 1984 the Atomium installed a huge clock situated at the top of the structure. It's the world’s largest illuminated clock when measured in minutes.

Grand Place

If you are planning to visit Brussels and include a museum visit, you’ll have to spend some time in Grand Place. It is the main square in the city of Brussels and the largest and the most important in the country. Its impressive 15th century Gothic Town Hall is a landmark of the city.

At 37.1 metres (121 feet) high, the Town Hall towers over all the people in the square. The magnificent building is topped with a large statue of the Archangel Michael who is said to have been protecting the city since 1182. The statue was commissioned by the City Council in the year 1517 and was sculpted by Jan Gossaert.

Bell tower of the Town Hall is most notable for the five thrilling carillon bells which are rung over a half-hour schedule. The local specialty is, a delicious waffle crepe served here. Make sure that you also walk around the building to enjoy the beautifully carved facade of the Town Hall which features a series of historical figures and scenes engraved on the wall.

Don’t Miss It!

  • Take a structured tour of Grand Place to learn about its historical past and the heritage of Brussels
  • Invite family or a group of friends to enjoy a tasty meal in one of the many restaurants in front of the Grand Place