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A Weekend in Brussels: Exploring the Heart of Europe

The hometown series has brought us to popular city destinations and small towns around the world. From Boston, Massachusetts in the U.S. to Paris, France and Sydney, Australia, the series has revealed fantastic destinations across the globe while also highlights the benefits and importance of “being a tourist” in your own backyard. On the next stop in the series, Jo from World Wild Schooling takes us to Belgium to explore the top things to do for a weekend in Brussels.

Brussels, the capital city of Belgium, is a vibrant and multicultural metropolis that offers a unique blend of historical charm and modern sophistication. As a local, I am proud to call this city my hometown for more than 10 years now. Whether you’re a history buff, a food lover, or an art enthusiast, Brussels has something for everyone.

the gardens of Mont des Arts in Belgium
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Mont des Arts. Photo Credit: World Wild Schooling.

Top Things to Do for a Weekend in Brussels

Grand Place

The centerpiece of Brussels, Grand Place, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a true architectural marvel. Surrounded by stunning guild houses and the impressive Gothic-style Town Hall, stepping into this vibrant square is like stepping into a fairy tale. Marvel at the intricate facades, soak in the historic atmosphere and enjoy the lively ambiance of the bustling cafes and restaurants. This historic site is a must-visit during your weekend in Brussels.

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Grand Place. Photo Credit: World Wild Schooling.


A symbol of modern Brussels, the Atomium is an iconic structure that was built for the 1958 World Expo – it was supposed to be a temporary structure! This futuristic building consists of nine interconnected spheres, representing an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. Take a ride in the elevator to the top sphere for panoramic views of the city, and explore the various exhibitions and displays that delve into the Expo’s history.

the silver circular structures of the Atomium in Brussels
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The Atomium. Photo Credit: World Wild Schooling.

Top Things to Do for a Weekend in Brussels: Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

Art enthusiasts will love the Royal Museums of Fine Arts. Comprised of several museums, including the Magritte Museum and the Old Masters Museum, this cultural complex houses an impressive collection of Belgian and international artworks. Lose yourself in the surreal masterpieces of René Magritte or admire the captivating Flemish paintings of the Old Masters.

Manneken Pis

One of Brussels’ most famous landmarks, the Manneken Pis is a small bronze statue of a peeing boy. Despite its tiny size, this quirky fountain has become a beloved symbol of the city. Join the crowds of tourists who gather to catch a glimpse of the various costumes the Manneken Pis wears throughout the year. Although it must be one of the most underwhelming landmarks, it is so close to the Grand Place that is easy to see quickly and should be on your itinerary for a weekend in Brussels.

small status of a boy peeing in a fountain in Brussels
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Manneken Pis. Photo Credit: World Wild Schooling.

Comic Strip Route and Comic Strip Center

Brussels has a rich comic book heritage, being the birthplace of beloved characters like Tintin and The Smurfs. Enjoy a self-guided tour along the Comic Route, where colorful murals bring these characters to life on the city’s walls. Large-scale frescoes showcase the city’s appreciation for this art form. The Comic Strip Route is one of the best things to do for a weekend in Brussels.

Top Things to Do for a Weekend in Brussels: Belgian Chocolate Museum and Tasting

No visit to Brussels is complete without indulging in the city’s renowned Belgian chocolate. Visit Choco-Story, the chocolate museum in Brussels. It takes you on a journey through the history of chocolate, from its origins in ancient civilizations to its modern-day production. The museum offers interactive exhibits, informative displays, and, the best part, a live demonstration from a chocolatier.

Wander through the charming streets of the Sablon neighborhood, where you’ll find several artisanal chocolatiers. Treat yourself to exquisite pralines, truffles, and other chocolate delicacies while learning about the fascinating process of chocolate-making. I highly recommend Marcolini for quirky tastes and Neuhaus for pralines – yes, this one was the inventor of pralines. Trying the famous Belgium Chocolates is one of the best things to do during your weekend in Brussels.


Mini-Europe is a miniature world, a theme park that showcases scaled-down replicas of Europe’s most iconic landmarks. From the Eiffel Tower to Big Ben, explore the intricately crafted models and admire the attention to detail. This family-friendly attraction offers an educational and entertaining experience for kids – and anyone who is a kid at heart.


For a taste of authentic Brussels, head to the Farmers’ Markets. These bustling markets are a haven for foodies and a gathering place for locals. Browse through stalls brimming with fresh produce, artisanal cheeses, aromatic spices, and other regional delicacies. Engage with the friendly vendors, sample some treats, and soak up the vibrant atmosphere. You can also try one of the food trucks and enjoy a glass of wine. Our favorite markets are the one in Chatelain every Wednesday, at Chasseurs Ardennais every Friday, and at St. Gilles every Monday.

Day Trip to Ghent and Bruges

No visit to Brussels is complete without a visit to Ghent and Bruges, two cities that showcase the rich history and medieval charm of Belgium. Start your journey in Ghent, where you’ll explore the Gravensteen Castle, visit Saint Bavo’s Cathedral, and wander through the streets and canals of the city center. Then, make your way to Bruges, often referred to as the “Venice of the North.” Stroll along the romantic canals and the medieval buildings. From historical landmarks to scenic beauty, a day trip to Ghent and Bruges is a great experience in the heart of Flanders.

a picturesque shot of gent
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Photo by Magda Ehlers on

Now, let’s talk about a couple of must-visit eateries.

Restaurants To Try for a Weekend in Brussels

Maison Antoine

If you’re craving a Belgian specialty, then Maison Antoine is the place to go for some of the best fries (or frites) in Brussels. These crispy and golden fries are served in a paper cone and you can choose one of many sauces. From classic mayonnaise to spicy samurai sauce, you can customize your frites experience. Maison Antoine has been a beloved friterie since 1948. You can have the fries at one of the bars of Place Jourdan that carry a sign that fries are accepted – provided you order a drink, of course.

Chez Léon

To try another Belgian classic, make your way to Chez Léon, a brasserie that has been serving up moules-frites (mussels and fries) since 1893. Enjoy a steaming pot of mussels cooked in a variety of flavorful broths, such as white wine and garlic (our favorite). Pair it with a side of crispy frites and enjoy a Belgian dining experience.

Hotel in Brussels

Novotel Brussels City Centre is located just a brief 5-minute stroll from Grand Place and near a metro station. You can enjoy the added convenience of an on-site spa center, a gym, and a small indoor swimming pool. With its central location and family-friendly amenities, this hotel is an ideal choice to explore Brussels.

About the Author

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Hi, I’m Jo, the person behind the blog World Wild Schooling. Originally from Athens, I now call Brussels home. I’m a huge fan of learning about different cultures and exploring the world. Through my blog, I share stories, tips, and insights on travel and the joy of lifelong education. My goal is to inspire others to go out there, discover new places, and embrace the beauty of cultural diversity.

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Discover what to do, where to stay, and what to eat during a weekend in Brussels! Experience history, charm, and delicious eats all in one! #belgium #brussels #europe #hometownseries
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