Looking for the perfect 3-day Brussels itinerary to help your trip run smoothly? Then read on!
Spending 3 days in Brussels is the perfect amount of time to get a really great feel of the city and visit all of the top attractions.
Planning a 3-day Brussels itinerary can be stressful as you don’t want to miss out any top sights so I’ve made one for you!
This article will give you everything you need to know about visiting Brussels and give you the perfect itinerary for your stay. Read on for all my top tips and tricks for visiting beautiful Brussels!
Why visit Brussels?
Brussels is often boiled down to being the EU capital, or having nice chocolate, or having waffles…but it is so much more!
Brussels is a very attractive European city due to its close proximity to many others. The tiny size of Belgium allows you to quickly cross the border into many surrounding countries and makes Brussels a great stop when touring other capital cities.
Brussels is one of my top contenders for a weekend break from Amsterdam, which would make great use of my 3-day Brussels itinerary below.
The city is full of culture and history, but it isn’t boring in the slightest. There is something for all age ranges and I think it would make a great destination for a family, couple or solo trip.
One of Brussels’ most iconic spots – The Grand Place steals the show for me. The Grand Place is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is a breathtaking square surrounded by 17th-century buildings.
Other impressive buildings dot the city, giving an insight into the architectural genius at work in the city over the last number of centuries.
Brussels is famous for its culinary delights and you’ll not be disappointed during your visit. You can indulge in Belgian chocolates, waffles, and world-renowned Belgian fries until you’re fit to burst.
And don’t forget to sample the diverse range of Belgian beers, ranging from Trappist ales to Lambics.
Brussels is a melting pot of cultures due to its role as the EU capital. You can experience a diverse international atmosphere, with a multitude of languages spoken and global cuisines available in the city’s restaurants. It is a great place for travellers to meet people like them from all over the globe.
3-Day Brussels Itinerary
Day 1 should be dedicated to getting your bearings in the city and there’s no better way to do that than taking a walking tour. Walking tours are great ways to brush up on the history of a city and get a feel for the atmosphere.
Start your morning by having a delicious breakfast in a cafe or on the go. Opt for a delicious pastry – you’ll not regret it and there are endless choices of cafes and shops available to pick them up!
Walking Tour and the Grand Place
You’ll likely start your walking tour in the magnificent Grand Place. The Grand Place is the central square of the city of Brussels and is a wonder of architecture. The city hall is the most grand building in the square with such intricate detail on the facade.
Watch out for the asymmetric archway of the building…once you see it, you’ll never be able to ignore it!
Even if you decide against a walking tour, you have to visit the Grand Place, it’s one of the best places to relax and enjoy top-notch Brussels cuisine.
After a walking tour, you’ll want to head out of the city a little. You’ll likely have seen many of the top sights on your tour like Manneken Pis and St Michael and St Gudula Cathedral but it won’t hurt to see them again on another day.
The place you’re heading will definitely not be covered on a walking tour as it can be quite a far walk out of the city centre and most people will travel to it via tram.
If you’re not much of a walking fan then check out my guide for taking the hop-on hop-off bus tour in Brussels.
If you don’t take some form of tour while visiting then you’re definitely not utilising time in your 3-day Brussels itinerary very well!
The Atomium is one of Brussels’ most iconic structures and you have to visit while in the city. Taking the opportunity to go to the top of the iron structure and get a view right across the city might have been one of my favourite parts of my trip – even if heights do make me feel a bit funny!
All of the Atomium’s spheres have something different to discover from amazing views to historical exhibitions. One downside of the attraction would be lack of accessibility which is a bit disappointing in this day and age but the way the structure was constructed really limits the methods of travel between the spheres.
The good news is that all visitors can reach the top sphere for the viewing platform as this sphere is accessed by lift. You can also explore the ground floor of the structure, look at the exhibition and get a professional photo taken.
To get between the rest of the spheres you have to take a mixture of traditional stairs and escalators.
The Atomium and Mini Europe are two of the most expensive attractions in Brussels but the good news is that most other attractions are either free or very affordable.
Atomium tickets often come with entrance to the Free Design Museum which has some interesting exhibits and is worth visiting since it is included for free in your ticket.
Mini Europe is a fabulous outdoor museum which has some wonderful scale-model exhibits. The attraction allows visitors to tour around a miniture version of Europe and see all of the top sights.
A personal favourite would be Big Ben in the UK section of the attraction. I found it pretty amusing that they had signs up that reflected the UK’s decision to leave the EU.
Not only was Mini Europe very fun to explore, but there was plenty of information displayed with fun facts and statistics about what you are looking at.
It is crazy just how much the attraction has spent on their models to make them look so realistic.
If you’re visiting Atomium then I definitely suggest getting a ticket to Mini Europe too – you may as well visit while you’re outside the city centre.
Day 2 will be filled with just as much fun as Day 1 and more! I suggest that you spend your 2nd day in Brussels getting to know what made the city so well-known…politics and chocolate!
Parlamentarium and The Hemicycle
Brussels is the HQ of EU politics and the beating heart of debate. The city celebrates its role by welcoming visitors to two main attractions that give in-depth information about politics.
While it might sound daunting to some, Brussels is one of the best places in the world to learn about EU politics and they bring everything down to the simplest of terms so no prior knowledge is needed.
Parlamentarium is a highly interactive museum that you tour using a multi-media guide. The amount of information that you can take in in such a short tour is just incredible and the layout is far more interesting than being stuck on a guided tour with a boring politics fanatic!
The Hemicycle is the room where it all happens. You can view politicians debating EU politics in real-time and get to grips with what it’s like to run the continent.
You’ll likely recognise the Hemicycle from the media and standing inside it feels quite surreal, watching the multi-language translators at work in real-time is highly impressive.
Both Parlamentarium and the Hemicycle are free of charge to visit, but you do have to show ID when you arrive and commit to a bag search and security-style screening.
These locations are a great way to fill a morning and are located just outside the city centre. It is well worth visiting them, even if you know nothing about politics.
Cinquantenaire Park is a wonderful place to relax following your European exploration. The park is dominated by its impressive arches that stand tall at the end of the pathway.
You’ll find many local dog-walkers and runners in the park, all enjoying an escape from the bustling city centre. The fountain, flower beds and benches make it a lovely paradise away from the business.
Cinquantenaire Park is a great place to relax with a spot of lunch before you head back into the city for more exploring.
If you’re a car fanatic then don’t leave Cinquantenaire Park in too much of a hurry as one of Europe’s most impressive vehicle museums is located just inside the grand archways.
The museum houses a huge collection of vintage and modern vehicles that will be of great interest to anyone who loves cars, bikes, trucks or buses!
Belgian Chocolate Tour
You’d be silly to leave the chocolate capital of the world without exploring the chocolate madness of Brussels! The city is ready to burst with chocolate shops and one bite will tell you why!
One of the best ways to spend an afternoon or evening in Brussels is by taking part in a chocolate tour of the city.
Belgium is infamous for having some of the world’s best chocolate and it isn’t a lie – it’s delicious – even the cheap supermarket stuff!
I can highly recommend the experience for myself as it was one of the most enjoyable things I did in Brussels. Check out one of the best tours available here. You’ll get to taste some delicious chocolate during your workshop and create a wonderful masterpiece to take home.
Day 3 is jam-packed with more activities that will make sure that you get the most out of your short time in Brussels.
Royal Palace of Brussels
The Royal Palace of Brussels is the official residence of the Belgian monarchy, though not their actual living quarters.
The palace is located in the heart of the city and boasts grand facades, stunning gardens, and occasional public exhibitions, giving visitors a glimpse into Belgium’s regal history.
The palace is closed to the public during most of the year, but its doors are open during the summer for visitors to tour lots of the grand rooms. You can find more information on how to tour the palace here.
Mont des Arts
Mont des Arts is a wonderful spot in Brussels that allows you to appreciate the skyline of the city. The garden offers not only some lovely views but there are fountains, flower beds and often buskers to enjoy.
The garden is very peaceful even during the busiest times of the day and you can take a moment to relax and enjoy the scenery around you.
Saint Hubert Royal Galleries
Saint Hubert Royal Galleries is a historic shopping mall renowned for its elegant glass-roofed arcades and upscale boutiques.
Constructed in 1847, it’s one of the world’s oldest shopping centres and offers a unique blend of luxury shopping, dining, and cultural experiences in a stunning architectural setting.
Whether you’re looking for a unique souvenir to take home or just want to admire the wonderful architecture I highly suggest a stroll through Saint Hubert Royal Galleries.
The Brussels Cartoon Walk is a delightful self-guided tour in the heart of the city, featuring over 50 colourful murals of beloved comic book characters like Tintin and the Smurfs.
These whimsical street art pieces bring Brussels’ rich comic book heritage to life, making it a must-visit for fans and art enthusiasts. The walk showcases the city’s creative spirit and cultural appreciation for comics.
If comics and cartoons are your thing then you may want to make some more time in your day for a visit to the Brussels Comic Strip Museum – dedicated to the world of well-known comics that stemmed from the city.
You can even see some original artwork of popular characters in the museum.
As it’s located right by the main train station, you’ll have no issues if you have to dash off to the airport following your visit.
If you’d like to read more about the museum then you can do so here.
What else is there to do in Brussels?
Should you find yourself working through this 3-day Brussels itinerary a bit too fast for your own liking and want to cram in more activities and attractions then here is a list of other notable things to see and do in the city.
- The Brussels Natural Science Museum – great for kids and adults alike and is FULL of interesting exhibits. It is perhaps one of the best museums I’ve ever been to!
- Find all three peeing statues – if you haven’t already tracked them all down on your walking tour and free time in the city then taking a few hours to have a wander about and hunt down the three peeing statues is a great idea. Read more about the famous Manneken Pis in this post.
- Enjoy an authentic Brussels waffle – eating a Brussels waffle is a delightful experience – especially when you’re in its home place! Pair it with toppings like whipped cream, chocolate, or fruit for a scrumptious taste of Brussels’ culinary charm.
- Venture on a beer-tasting tour – a beer-tasting tour in Brussels is a fun adventure, visiting local breweries and bars. Enjoy sampling various Belgian beers, from rich ales to fruity Lambics, while experiencing the city’s beer culture and learning about different brewing styles. Book one of the best-reviewed beer-tasting tours here!
- Souvenir shop – shopping for souvenirs is one of my favourite parts of any trip and Brussels was one of the easiest places I’ve visited to do so! There are souvenir shops on every corner in the centre of Brussels and it isn’t hard to find what you’re looking for. You may want to have a good look around though to find the best price for the same item.
3-day Brussels Itinerary: FAQs
Is 3 days too long in Brussels?
No! 3 days in Brussels is a very comfortable duration to explore the city’s major attractions and immerse yourself in its culture and cuisine without feeling rushed.
Is 3 days enough for Belgium?
3 days isn’t a very long time to explore Belgium but it can provide a good introduction to its major cities Brussels, Bruges, and Ghent. A longer stay of up to a week would be much better as it allows for more in-depth exploration and you’ll feel much less rushed.
Is Brussels a walkable city?
Brussels is a very walkable city with a compact city centre. Most major attractions, shops, and restaurants are within reasonable walking distance, making it convenient for tourists to explore on foot. If you’d prefer to take public transport between locations then you’ll find comfort in knowing that the transport network in Brussels is very good.
Is Brussels an expensive city?
Brussels is moderately expensive. Accommodation and dining can be costly in the city centre, but there are affordable options available, and public transportation is reasonably priced.
Is Brussels tourist friendly?
Yes, Brussels is generally tourist-friendly. It offers well-marked attractions, a variety of accommodation options, good public transportation, and a high population of English-speaking locals, making it accessible and welcoming to tourists. I never had any problems with the locals and felt very welcome in the city.
3-Day Brussels Itinerary: Conclusion
I hope that you have found my 3-day Brussels itinerary helpful and I have given you some good ideas for your trip to the EU capital.
The city is truly wonderful and should be on the top of your list if you find yourself in northern Europe. There are plenty of attractions for all ages making it a great location for many different group types.
I’d highly recommend a trip to Brussels, even if you can only stop for one day rather than three!