My(Manny) first trip to Brussels was back in 2015. It was a short stopover while traveling Paris to Amsterdam via road. It is the de-facto capital of the European Union having the European Commission, Council of the European Union, and European Council
It has got a beautiful city set up and known for its countless varieties of beers. Belgium is also known for its Chocolates, Waffles & frites
This time we planned for a 2-day stopover in Brussels and Incidently it was the last leg of our European Journey. We were in the process of relocation to Australia
This Brussels travel guide can help you with things to see & do in 2 days. Also other tips for your budget travel
Things to Know before you Go
Visa (for Indian Passport holders): Prior Visa has to be arranged for Indian Passport Holders if you are only visiting Belgium. If you have Schengen Visa or a resident permit in Schengen countries, you can easily travel VISA free
Currency: Belgium’s currency is the Euro (EUR). 1 Euro ~ 80 INR
Best way to travel in Brussels: Public transportation is the best way to travel in Brussels. Bus, Tram & metro network are well connected. All the major attractions are walkable. If you are going to travel extensively in public transport, take the one-day jump pass, which costs 7.5 Euros/day
Accommodation: If you are going to spend only a couple of days, try to stay near the central station. Hostels start @ 25 Euros (2000 INR) and Budget rooms @ 60 Euros(4800 INR).
Language: French/Dutch are the official languages of the country, but you can find English widely spoken
Food: Cafes were the best. Quick sandwich & waffles on the grab were the best in the town square. Cost us 8~10 Euros/meal. Restaurants were expensive near the central area. Ethnic restaurants were comparatively on the lesser side.
Water: Tap water is clean & safe to drink. However, the restaurants/cafes don't provide free water, have to buy a bottle. better to buy it in supermarkets and refill your bottle before leaving your accommodation.
Wifi & Mobile data: Wifi-Brussels is available at all public hubs. We didn’t have the requirement to buy a sim or activate data roaming.
Credit Cards and ATMs: It was easy paying by card everywhere. Hardly we used cash, still, we had close t0 50 Euros but didn’t need to use it.
Safety: Brussels is a safe city, but have heard that petty crimes do happen. Keep your wallets & passports safe. Always be mindful of your surroundings & stick to your instincts. If you feel something is not right, don't do it.
Best time to Visit
We visited Brussels in June. It was summer and the days were pretty warm. We could see more tourists in the city, just like us.
So what is the best time to visit?? March-May & September-October would be the best, you will experience dry & mild weather. It is not the holiday season. Hotels/Accommodations are not pricier. Winters are not harsh either except for the odd chilly days.
Belgium is a relatively small country in size and is often easier to travel to other countries by road. There are quite some interesting day trips from Brussels.
You can find more details about other destinations on the Belgium tourism website
How to get to Belgium
Traveling from India, International flights arrive at Brussels International Airport. This will be your first point of entry flying long-haul flights. Airport bus is the best if you want to get into the city, cost 4.5 Euros/way
We flew Srilankan Airlines via Colombo which was the quickest & most economical. Other connection options are via London (British Airways) & Via Amsterdam (KLM airlines)
Flight fares start at INR 49,000 return ticket/person
Belgium is not an expensive destination when you compare with the other hotspot tourist destination in Europe
We stayed with our friend in his apartment, so we didn't spend any money on Accommodation. Hostels start @ 25 Euros (2000 INR) and Budget rooms @ 60 Euros(4800 INR)
The restaurants were very much affordable in the suburbs. A meal cost us 25 Euros (2000 INR) Euros for two people
We took public transportation to go around the city. Spent 7.5 Euros/person (one-day jump pass)
Where to Stay
The city center is the best place to stay if you are looking at budget accommodations & Hostel dorms. Plenty of restaurants and takeaways nearby.
Most of the main attractions are walkable and we didn't require public transportation. But as we stayed in a friend's place in the suburb, we had to take a day pass.
This map gives you the locations of attractions and you can choose to stay somewhere within this area.
City Centre - Best Area to Stay
2 Days in Brussels !!What to Do?
This Map will give you the things to do in Brussels if you are planning for a 2-day trip. You’ll get an overall idea of what to do and you can mix it up the way you want. Apart from this Atomium is a must-visit attraction located outside the city center. You can also do a couple of day trips if you have the time.
Day 1: Brussels City
These were the below places which we were able to cover on Day 1
Parc de Bruxelles
Travel Tips & Things to Remember :
Grand palace is the busiest of places and no way you could take a picture for yourself. Try to get there early in the morning. Comparatively lesser crowd
Travel light, keep a jacket in case the weather forecast is gloomy. Carry water bottles to all places.
wear comfortable walking shoes. you will do that all-day
The 1st spot Grand place is actually a square which houses the Townhall, Brussels city museum and other guild houses. Its architecture is unique and beautiful. As this is the main tourist attraction, there is always a good number of people around
You can see some of Europe's top Politicians/officials here. You will be lucky to catch a live session in the European parliament. Book in advance if you are interested. You can also take a tour during off days
The small statue of a little peeing boy is one of the iconic attractions in Brussels. It has been a symbol of Belgium and you could find this in all souvenir shops. We've seen in other blogs about decorating the state based on the type of functions
A short walk from the central station, you'll end up in this beautiful venue. We did see a lot of professional photographers trying out different angles. It is a nice place to sit, relax and have a coffee
Parc de Bruxelles
Day 2: Atomium & Waterloo
This was our 2nd day in Brussels. Atomium was the first place we visited in the morning.
There is no way we are going to miss the Atomium. Its design and architecture is the main reason people want to visit. Yes, it didn't disappoint us. We took a mix of tram and metro to reach the Atomium from central station. At a height of 92m, it provides a beautiful panorama of Brussels city. The Atomium consists of 9 spheres connected by tubes and representing one single unit cell of an iron crystal. The highest sphere contains a restaurant that gives people a fantastic view over the city of Brussels
Tickets ~ 16 Euros( INR 1280)/person
Another important location in World History is Waterloo. Napoleon Bonaparte was finally defeated in the Battle of Waterloo. This battlefield is 30 km from the city center. This has been turned into a tourist attraction. Climbing on the 43m hill, you will end up with a statue of a Lion facing France called the Lion’s Mound. Climb up the stairs and look for the open battlefield area.
Day Trips from Brussels
Bruges and Ghent
These two cities are more of medieval monuments and picturesque neighborhoods. It has boat rides and a city structure similar to Venice. It can be a nice day outing from the city. The trip will take an hour and a half from brussels
In less than 200 km (approx 2 hours drive), you can reach another country. Sounds Interesting!!!
Luxemburg is a fantastic option for a day trip from Brussels. Explore the picturesque country
Conclusion & Our Recommendation
We lacked the time to explore Belgium to the fullest. We have planned to spend couple more days in Belgium during our next Euro trip. It may not be your go-to destination coming from India. But do plan a stopover if you are doing a road trip from Paris to Amsterdam.
We have our close buddies living in Brussels and we will be visiting them for sure. They were our go-to people while going around the city. It is always good to get the feel of the locals, the best lot to ask for travel advice.