So, you’re in Brussels for 2 days. What is there to do? So long as you know what you want to do before you go, 2 days is enough time to see the best of the city. Planning ahead helps a lot, because Brussels is really one of those cities you can explore for days and still discover hidden gems among its streets. If you’ve got more time to spare, exploring the surrounding districts of Brussels is worth your time. But use our itinerary to get the most out of your 2 days!
Our itinerary is customisable no matter when you arrive, but you’ll get the best tourist experience by visiting Brussels on a weekend. Make sure to check the times of activities before arrival!
Day 1 in Brussels
Let’s start out our journey in the city centre of Brussels. Your first day in Brussels will cover all the main attractions with a few hidden gems along the way, before we really start to branch out tomorrow. Today is all about dipping your toes into Brussels and getting a feel for the city in a totally eco-friendly way.
Super touristy? Yup, we’re not gonna lie, the Grand-Place is the one place everyone visits on their first trip to Brussels and it’s always busy. But if you visit in the morning you’ll avoid most of the rush and get the best photos. It’s still worth a look in Grand-Place since there’s stunning architecture and tons of cute shops around, you just have to wander a little bit from the centre.
Plus, you can’t visit Brussels without trying some waffles. Head into the shopping centre of Galerie Agora to discover VeganWaf, a vegan-friendly waffle shop. A lot of the toppings are Americanised, so keep things basic for the most local experience!
Just a 4 minute stroll from Grand-Place, Manneken Pis is one of the iconic spots of Brussels. At first glance there’s not too much to do here other than snap a photo of the statue, but head on down the street to GardeRobe MannekenPis. The museum is less well-known even though it’s totally dedicated to the nearby statue. It’s filled with outfits that the MannekenPis statue has been dressed in. A nice little novelty museum!
Take your time to wander around the streets here and you’re sure to spot some cool street art.
Wander over to the nearest metro stop or hop onto your bike. We’re starting to get out of the city centre now! Ferme Du Parc Maximilien is just a quick stroll from the Yser metro station - so you’ll have no trouble getting here. And, yes, it’s a farm super close to the city. We didn’t expect it either. Come see the farm animals, grow your own veggies, and learn a little more about sustainable living.
The farm is only open Monday to Friday, so if you’re here in Brussels for a weekend trip choose one of the markets instead or skip ahead to the Atomium.
About 40 minutes away on the metro or 20 minutes by bike, the Atomium is one place that you have to visit in Brussels at least once. Nestled into the Laeken district, there’s plenty around the Atomium to see as well. It’s worth dropping by just to see. The Atomium does have exhibits inside and some nice views of the city, but it’s a little expensive for what it is. If there’s a special temporary exhibit on, then we recommend taking a look otherwise don’t go out of your way to queue to get inside.
One of the prettiest parks in Brussels, Laeken Park is a must-visit for the views it offers of some of the best attractions in Brussels. The view of the Atomium is great here, but you’ll also find pretty gardens, the Dynasty Monument, and the American Theatre.
One of the best parks of Laeken Park is by far the Museums of the Far East. Yup, it’s a little slice of China and Japan in the heart of Belgium. Stroll through the park and take some time to enjoy the Japanese Tower. Step inside the Museum of Japanese Art for more beautiful sights.
Head on back on the metro to Brussels Central. We’re here at Mont des Arts to finish off our main highlights tour. Mont des Arts is one of the most beautiful places in Brussels - definitely a must-see! End your day here to see a beautiful light show. Mont des Arts is great during the day too, but the evening is when this place really comes to life. Wander the gardens and steps to uncover great architecture and the nearby Royal Palace of Brussels while you wait for sundown. Sit on the stairs and enjoy the amazing view of Brussels!
Finish off the night sipping a beer - just be careful not to drink too much. Trust us, you don’t want to head into tomorrow’s itinerary with a hangover. We’ve got some great plans for you!
Day 2 in Brussels
Join in with the locals by stretching out in Parc du Cinquantenaire. Local yoga-instructors and enthusiasts hold classes outdoors in English. The classes have no set time, so you do have to keep your eyes peeled. Still, even without a class with you, doing yoga in the park is a great thing to do to feel the nature of Brussels. Relax in the city of green!
Yoga not for you? No worries, It’s still worth visiting Parc du Cinquantenaire. There’s 3 museums here in the park, plus the Chez Maurice pop-up summer bar.
After checking out the park, head over to the nearby bus stop of Station Brussel-Schuman. From here, we’ll be heading over to Parc Tournay-Solvay to begin a stretch of the Green Walk. This part of the Green Walk takes you through the stunning Sonian Forest plus other highlights of Brussels’ nature. This walk is an easy 8 km. Wheelchair users, those with mobility issues, and the visually impaired all have paths here, though some are more suitable than others. See the Sonian Forest for further info to customise your walk depending on your needs.
After finishing up your walk, head over to the Anderlecht district for Parc des Etangs. This park has some hidden gems in plain sight! Beneath the busy road lies a gallery of street art with over 150 pieces to see. The park itself isn’t too crowded, so it’s a good spot to take a picnic and rest after the walk.
You can’t say you’ve delved into the local scene of Brussels without checking out the markets. Brussels has lots of amazing markets with fresh local food and artisan stalls.
Go to the Anderlecht district for the Abattoir of Anderlecht for tons of local food at good prices. Plenty of tourists and locals alike drop by here, but come by on a Thursday or Friday for a tour of the unique rooftop farm of Ferme Abattoir for just a few euros (available in English, French, German and Dutch).
See our local trading posts for even more great markets in Brussels.
Laurent Gerbaud Chocolatier
We’ve got more local food to enjoy on your second day in Brussels. A visit to Brussels would not be complete without some chocolate. Take the metro back into Brussels Central. You can simply drop in to pick up some chocolate treats, hot chocolate, bonbons and more. Or reserve your place, grab an apron and start making your own!
(Workshops are currently unavailable due to COVID guidelines, but keep your eyes peeled).
If you’re not doing the workshop or have extra time to spare, then lucky for you there’s still plenty to do in this area.
Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium
Once you’ve got all the chocolate you can carry, go to the nearby Royal Museums of Fine Arts. This is one of the top rated museums in Brussels and for good reason. Here you’ll get an in-depth look into Belgium’s art history, from the old masters of Flanders to the surrealist artist René Magritte.
There’s actually six museums that form the Royal Museums of Fine Arts, so you could spend hours wandering around. But one of the less visited museums of the group is Musée Fin-de-Siècle Museum, which looks at Belgium’s art from the late 1800s to the First World War. An important turning point of Belgium’s history! If modern art is more your thing, check out the nearby Musée Magritte Museum for a taste of the surreal.
Finish off your 48 hours in Brussels by enjoying the local jazz music scene. Nestled into a former train station, locals gather at Jazz Station to sip a drink while listening to the best jazzy music Brussels has to offer. There’s also some nice art on display here too if that’s your thing. But, really, we’re here for the cool relaxed vibes and nice drinks!
Some of our fave activities are a bit more spaced out, so while walking is easy in Brussels you’ll miss out if you’re on a time limit unless you use public transport or take a bike.
Brussels is super well connected by public transport. You can easily hop on the metro and get around the city centre.
Bike rentals are all over Brussels, so cyclists are spoiled for choice. Your best bet is the bike rental system Villo, where you can rent a bike for a day for about 5 euros a day. Brussels is pretty cyclist friendly, just be careful on the streets of the city centre.
See our Brussels city guide for all the details you need on transport and more!
Filling up our suitcases and backpacks with new things feels great in the moment until you have to lug it all the way home! Luckily, Brussels has tons of second hand shops and local markets to scratch that itch with minimal impact on the environment. We love to see it.
Check out Brussels’ Vintage Market in Ixelles for some unique second hand pieces. Brussels also has a growing slow fashion scene if you wanna splash out a bit more like Yuman, 128, and Valérie Berckmans.
Grocery shopping when you’re travelling can be a real hassle. But Brussels has plenty of unique food markets to keep things fresh and local. Check out Roots, the farm shop next to Parc du Cinquantenaire. Place Sainte Catherine also has a zero waste market on Saturdays if you happen to be in Brussels then.
Where to stay
The two labels you should keep an eye out for are the Green Key (La Clef Verte) and Brussels own eco-label the Eco Dynamique. Some hotels have started to offer recharging stations for electric cars too!
Brussels has a pretty good selection of environmentally conscious hotels to choose from. Some hotels have the certified Green Key label, others have a good waste management system for food or other local products at the buffet. Visit Brussels, the local tourism office, has a list of 8 to recommend that has a good range of hotels for every budget. Dolce La Hulpe, right next to the Sonian Forest, is a favourite for eco-friendly travellers.
Brussels has a couple of interesting eco-friendly hostels. A good pick for students and travellers on a budget! Some hostels do have private rooms with private shower rooms if you’d rather not share, but you’ll have to pay a little extra. Sleepwell is Green Key and Eco Dynamique certified - it’s close to the city centre too making it a super convenient green choice.
One way to easily cut your carbon footprint is to put up a tent instead of a hotel key. Luckily, Brussels has quite a few camping sites to choose from across the region. Some, like Camping ‘Ciel Ouvert’, are only available in the summer months. Camping Grimbergen, in the Flemish Brabant, is a bit further out from the city but has good bus connections making it a good starting point for any city trip.
Where to eat
Brussels has tons of eco-friendly cafes and restaurants to check out. We’ve picked out a select few, but wherever you are in the city, rest assured you’ll have options to choose from.
- The Sisters Cafe Brussels: serving food made by organic farming, lots of vegan options if that’s your thing.
- God Save the Cream: a slow food restaurant offering a taste of Britain in the heart of Brussels.
- Liu Lin: Taiwan inspired street food bar founded by two sisters in the city centre.
- Les Filles: a slow food restaurant with a seasonal menu and organic dishes in the city centre.
- VeganWaf: you can’t come to Brussels without trying the waffles! Based in Galerie Agora near the Grand-Place. Waffles are more tourist friendly than authentic, but do offer up a fun twist on the classic.
That’s it for our two day trip in Brussels. But you can customise your trip even further. Don’t miss the hidden gems of Brussels.