Thinking about taking your first visit to this charming city? What are you waiting for – a European adventure awaits you. Here’s our guide to spending one day in Brussels.
Arriving in Brussels
There are a few different train stations in the city, so you’ll likely to arriving into either Bruxelles-Nord (Brussels North), Bruxelles-Midi (Brussels South) or Bruxelles-Central (Brussels Central).
If you’re travelling via Eurostar, the train from London to Brussels takes just 1h 56m to Bruxelles-Midi, the second service of the day departs at a reasonable time from London St Pancras Station. Enjoy the beautiful journey through the countryside and start your chocolate tasting early with a pan au chocolat with a hot chocolate along the way – the perfect start to your Brussels day trip.
Travelling from Paris? You’ll also arrive into Bruxelles-Midi in around 1h 22m via a Thalys high-speed train.
11:30 – The Grand Palace
Once you leave the station, the Grand Palace in Brussels is just a 20-minute walk away, if you want to save a little extra time, jump in a taxi for a 15-minute ride.
If this is your first time visiting Brussels, the Grand Palace is a must. This landmark building is admired the world over for its opulence and wow-factor. Housed in a cobblestone square, the 15th-century landmark displays gilded statues and ornate decor, showing off the wealth of its time. This UNESCO World Heritage site always attracts the crowds, so be sure to bring a camera.
12:30 – The Waffle Factory
No trip to Brussels would be complete without a sneaky waffle. Luckily, there’s plenty of places willing to oblige your waffle craving and since the Grand Palace is so centrally located in the city, you’re in the right place.
Just a few minutes away down the cobbled street of Rue du Lombard, lies the Waffle Factory. This is the ideal spot for a quick pick-me-up over lunch. Indulge in a sweet or savoury waffle, either way you won’t regret it.
Since you’re in the area, a few seconds way on Rue de l’Etuve 37 is the Tintin Comic Mural. The animated comic hails from Belgium, and this is a lovely homage to the popular kid’s cartoon – one of many dotted around the city. Worth a quick visit, least of all for the extra Instagram shot.
14:00 – MOOF Museum
There are tons of museums to occupy your time with in Brussels, from those telling the story of local musicians, fashion and lace. However, one of the quirkier museums to visit during your day trip to Brussels has to be MOOF (the Museum of Original Figurines). This unusual and extraordinary collection of cartoon characters is magical and fun for visitors of all ages. From Astreix to the Smurfs and Tintin, you don’t have to be a die-hard anime fan to appreciate this loveable homage.
En-route to your next stop, you go past the Hard Rock Café – which is always worth a quick stop by for a peek at the rock memorabilia and guitars on the walls.
15:45 – Late lunch
Just a quick 10 minutes away by foot, Monk restaurant is a wonderful gathering spot for locals and tourists alike. They also boast a hearty beer list, making it one of the best places in the area to try out a local tipple, or two. It’s also a spot to remember for later, or another visit, since there’s live music performances most nights.
17:00 – Sightseeing, Belgium-style
In keeping with its quirky theme, it’s time to do some unusual sightseeing. A light stroll away to Rue des Chartreux 35, you’ll find Het Zinneke – a statue of a dog urinating against a post. That’s right! It’s one of three hidden throughout the city, which as you might expect have become great talking points.
It’s easy to lose yourself in Brussels windy streets and the great treasures hidden among them, as you wander back through town. This time heading towards an iconic 17th-century fountain better known as Manneken Pis off Rue de L’Etuve. This bronze statue of a little boy has become somewhat of an icon in the city, that you’re sure to pick up a replica in any of the gift shops nearby.
Keep walking and you will come to another monument to round off your sightseeing tour. The Everard t’Serclaes monument, paying tribute to the local hero who saved the city way back in 1356. Legend has it that rubbing this statue will bring you good luck, so why not have a go.
18:30 – Early dinner
There is certainly no shortage of eateries in this small but bustling city. Belga Queen is an ever-hip spot centrally located. The building itself is hard to miss, a former Hotel de la Poste and bank, it harks back to the 18th-century. Promising a ‘gastronomic trip’ this upmarket brassiere serves up delightful food combinations true to Belgian tradition, all with a contemporary nod. Stylish and chic, it attracts a fashionable crowd, making it a fabulous place to people watch. Luckily for you, it also has an impressive wine collection and we think you’ve earnt a glass after all that sight-seeing!
Alas, all good things must come to an end. You can either take a taxi, or the direct train from De Brouckere Station to Zuidstation, which is just a minute’s walk from Bruxelles Midi train station.
Time to head home
It’s time to say ‘bonsoir’ as your one day in Brussels comes to a close. If you’re heading back to London, the 20:22 service is the last Eurostar train of the day. If you’re heading back to Paris, the last train leaves at 21:13. Why not use the time of your train home to plan your next day trip by train?
Looking for inspiration? Head to our trains in Europe page to discover all the places you can travel by train.