Famous for its waffles, chocolate and fries we couldn’t wait to visit the Belgian capital. In our Brussels guide we share our top things to do in 36 hours.
How to get to Brussels
The flight from Copenhagen to Brussels takes only 1 hour so we decided to go on a weekend trip. We could have easily spent more time in the city to just wander around and explore but we packed 36 hours full of great food, beer and sightseeing.
We flew into Charlesroi airport which is south of Brussels. From there we took the Flibco shuttle bus to the city. It takes about 1 hour and costs around 14 Euros. You can buy the tickets online here; the earlier you buy the cheaper they will be. It’s better to buy tickets online because the line at the airport for both tickets and then the bus are quite long.
Grand Place (Groote Markt)
There is lots of great things to do in Brussels and with our guide it’s easy to do everything in 36 hours.
Start off at the Grand Place, or Groote Markt in dutch, voted one of Europe’s most beautiful squares. It is lined by magnificent buildings like the Town Hall and Museum of the City of Brussels. We recommend getting there early to explore the square as it gets very busy during the day. The Grand Place is also the starting point for lots of walking tours through Brussels.
Just down the street is the most famous little dude in Brussels: Männeken Pis. It’s a small statue of a little boy peeing, forming the entrance to a long street full of chocolate and waffle stores. The best ones are from Maison Dandoy where you can choose between the lighter Belgian waffle or the dense, sweet Lille one. Top them with whatever your heart desires from Nutella and whipped cream to fruits and ice cream.
To complement little Männeken Pis there is 2 other statues around Brussels, Jänneke Pis (little girl peeing) and Zinneke Pis (little dog peeing).
Jänneke Pis is right beside Delirium Village, a great spot with lots of places for good food and beer.
Eat, Eat, Eat!
Belgium, and Brussels in particular, is known for its fabulous naughty food. From waffles, to chocolate and fries we tried it all!
If you need a sugar rush try the chocolates at Elisabeth or Le Comptoir de Mathilde. Their staff is super knowledgeable about anything chocolate related and they let you try before buying. For a more savory food experience stop at one of the many street food stalls selling fries. The best ones in Brussels are at De Corte M. close to Passage du Nord. Grab a portion with their delicious homemade tartar-style sauce on your way to the Royal Gallery of St Hubert. It’s a beautiful 19th century gallery of shops spanning over 200 meters.
‘Brussels in a 36 hours’ could easily be turned into ‘Brussels in a month’ with all it’s delicious food selections.
Mont des Arts
Not far from the Grand Place is the Mont des Arts. From here you have a great view over the city including the Whirling Ear monument turning in the wind.
We headed down on our final morning to take a look at the viewpoint from the garden on the hill. The garden overlooks some of those famous Brussels landmarks.
There was a street food festival when we went with lots of food trucks from all over the world!
Mont Des Arts should definitely be included when planning a trip to Brussels.
Marolles Flea Market
For some down time head to Marolles Flea Market, the only outdoor market open 365 days a year. It was raining a little when we visited but that doesn’t stop the vendors selling their beautiful vintage items.
The market is open daily 6am – 2pm.
Cathedrals and churches
Given that Brussels has been around since 979 the city is full of churches, cathedrals and beautiful old buildings. One of those is St Michael and St Gudula cathedral, a church very much resembling Notre Dame in Paris.
The Royal Greenhouses of Laeken
Other great architecture of the city include the Royal Greenhouses in Laeken park. They are only open 3 weeks a year so look it up before heading out there. Entry is 2.50 Euros per person and we recommend going in the evening because the sunset over the castle grounds looks amazing.
How could we not include the most famous atom in the world?
Part of Laeken park is the Atomium, a building constructed for the Brussels World’s Fair 1958. It represents an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times.
Where to stay
We stayed at Hostel Bruegel which is located close to Grand Place, the Whirling Ear and the Royal Palace. It’s great value for money and the breakfast is included as well.
For more places to stay in Brussels you can check the latest prices here.
If you liked our guide to 36 hours in Brussels check out our other tips and guides for destinations in Europe and around the world.