Skip to content

Brussels travel guide

Welcome to Brussels, the charming capital city of Belgium! Known for its delicious chocolate, famous beer, and beautiful architecture, Brussels is a must-see destination for any traveler. From the iconic Grand Place to the famous Manneken Pis statue, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this vibrant city. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or just a good time, Brussels has it all. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the top things to see and do in Brussels, as well as some insider tips to help you make the most of your visit. So, pack your bags and let’s explore Brussels together!

Helpful tools:

Book your flight: Brussels Airlines
Book your accommodation:
Brussels Tours: Viator

Travel to Brussels:

Flights to Belgium

If you’re planning a visit to Brussels, there are a few different options for how to get there. The most convenient option is to fly into Brussels Airport (BRU), which is Belgium’s largest airport and serves most international long-distance flights. The airport is located just 11km (7mi) northeast of the city center, and it’s easy to get from the airport to Brussels by train.

Once you land at Brussels Airport, you can take the train from the Brussels Airport Railway station, located underneath the airport. There are a minimum of 4 trains per hour linking to Brussels South Station, which is located in the heart of the city. This is a convenient and fast way to get to your hotel or other accommodations in Brussels.

Another option is to fly into Brussels South Charleroi Airport (CRL), which is Belgium’s second international airport and a hub for low-budget airlines like Ryanair and TUIfly. The airport is located 46km (29mi) south of Brussels, and while it is farther away, it is still possible to get to the city center by taking the shuttle bus (Airport Express) to the Charleroi Railway station and then taking a train to Brussels South/Midi railway station, which runs every 30 minutes. The total train ride to Brussels takes about 47 minutes, and you can buy a combi-ticket for the shuttle bus and train in the terminal of Charleroi Airport.

Brussels Airport (BRU)

Brussels – Zaventem Airport is Belgium’s largest airport and serves most international long distance flights.

The Brussels Airport Railway station is located underneath the airport. Minimum 4 trains every hour link to Brussels South Station.

Brussels South Charleroi Airport (CRL)

Located 46km (29mi) South from Brussels, Charleroi’s airport is Belgium’s second international airport. The airport is a hub for low budget companies Ryanair and TUIfly.

The shuttle bus (Airport Express) connects the Charleroi Airport with the Charleroi Railwaystation. There is a train connection running to Brussels South / Midi railway station every 30 minutes. The total train ride to Brussels takes about 47 minutes. You can buy a combiticket for the shuttlebus and train in the terminal of Charleroi Airport.

Brussels Railway Stations:

  • Brussels Nord station is close to the business districts and government institutions.
  • Brussels Central station is located close the market square and city centre.
  • Brussels South / Midi Station has an international terminal for TGVEurostar and Thalys trains
  • Brussels Shuman is close to the Berlaymont building, in the centre of the European District.

Trains to Brussels:

  • Thalys trains between Brussels and Paris run twice per hour, connecting both capitals in 1h22
  • Thalys trains between Brussels and Amsterdam run ever hour connecting both capitals in 1h50
  • Eurostar trains between Brussels and London run 8 times a day, connecting both capitals in 2h

Useful pages:

Where to stay in Brussels

The Brussels metropolitan area is quite large and contains lots of sighs and musea for you to visit. The historic centre of Brussels counts many hotels, hostels and apartments. Find your suitable accommodation in Brussels according to your specific travel style by using one of the buttons below

Brussels accommodation map

The best way to find your accommodation is Brussels is by viewing it on a map such as below. Fill in your arrival and departure date and zoom in to reveal all available hotels in Brussels.
(If you can’t see the map, please turn of your ad-blocker)

Getting around in Brussels

Brussels Metro, Tram and Bus Network:

The public transport system in Brussels is operated by several companies. However they all share the same ticketsystem called the Brupass. With this ticket you can travel on all metro, busses and trams in the Brussels area. Single trip tickets cost 2.40€, daypasses cost 7,80€.

Taxi’s in Brussels:

Taxi’s in Brussels are most likely the most expensive in Europe. The Brussels taxi aren’t as distinctive as other taxi’s in the world. They are recognizable by the blue and yellow licence plates. 

Taxis from Brussels Airport to the centre of Brussels cost about 45€

Discover Brussels:

Brussels, heart of the Belgian and European Culture, has lots to offer. The grand market, statue of Manneke Pis and The Atomium are the most visited landmarks and almost as famous as Belgian chocolate. But there’s so much more to do in this true metropolitan city. Below is a small overview of the best things to see and do in Brussels. Scroll down for the complete Brussels Tourist Map.

Top things to see Brussels:

  • Manneke Pis
  • Grand Place
  • The Atomium
  • The Royal Palace
  • Mont des Arts
  • The Royal Galleries Saint-Hubert
  • European district
  • Royal Greenhouses of Laeken
  • Botanical Gardens Meise

Best musea in Brussels:

Brussels Comic book culture:

Belgian comics played a large role in the European comics culture. You’ve probably heard about TinTin and the Smurfs, but did you know Brussels was the birthplace of these and many other famous comics?

Brussels has not only a dedicated comic book museum, but also a comic book walking tour. Spread out across the city there are about 50 comic book murals to discover. This is a fun way to discover the hidden sights across the city. The Brussels comic book route map is available at the Tourist information desk.

Brussels Card

The Brussels card (available from 29€) gives you unlimited access to 41 museums in Brussels. In addition, there is also a Brussels Card + STIB Public Transport available, starting from 37€. These cards are sold at the Visit.Brussels desk at the town hall or online.

Brussels tours, excursions and activities

Brussels Walking Tours

Discover Brussels on foot with a local guide:

Brussels tasting tours:

Brussels Tourist Map:

I’ve collected all major tourist destinations of Brussels in a map, so you can use it as your ultimate Brussels Travel Guide. Don’t forget to save the map for later use!

Brussels City Quarters

  • Pentagon
    The Brussels Pentagon (or in dutch “Vijfhoek”) is the historical city centre of Brussels, within the contours of the old city walls of Brussels which is now the inner ring road. The Pentagon consist out of the following Quarters:
    • Central Quarter
      The Central Quarter is Brussels heart of tourism, where you can find must-see destinations such as The Brussels Grand Place, Manneke Pis, The Royal Galleries, Brussels Stock Exchange and Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula.
    • The Royal Quarter
      The name says it all, at the Royal Quarter you’ll find the Royal Palace facing Brussels Park. Other must-see’s are Mont Des Arts, Place du Musée/Museumplein, Royal Museums of Fine Arts, Academy Palace.
    • Sablon / Zavel Quarter
      This Brussels Quarter is home to the Egmont Palace and Royal Conservatory. The quarter is known for it’s antique markets and art dealers amongst other luxurious shops.
    • Marolles / Marollen Quarter
      The Marolles/Marollen is the most authenthic Brussels quarter, with a daily flea market, that’s been held since 1873. One of the must sees is the Palace of Justice, that’s been under renovation for decades.
    • Midi Lemonnier / Lemonnier Zuidwijk Quarter
      The quarter where Brussels Midi / Brussels South station is located. The neighborhood is sometimes also referred to as the Stalingrad Quarter.
  • Eastern Quarters
    • European Quarter
      Located east of the Pentagon, this quarter hosts several European Institutions.
    • Squares Quarter
      This Brussels Quarter is named after what is has most: Squares.
  • Northern Quarters
    • Laeken
      Laeken is home to the Palace of Laeken where the Belgian Royal Family resides. The Royal Greenhouses of Laeken are open for visit. The Heysel/Heizel area is the former site of the World Fair in 1938 and 1958 and contains the King Baudouin Stadion, Bruparck, the Atomium and Mini-Europe.
    • Mutsaard
      Often referred to as the Pagoda-Quarter or Japanese Tower Quarter due to it’s Museums of the Far East.
    • Nederoverheembeek
    • Haren
      Home of NATO’s headquarters