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Best Things to See in Brussels (One Day)

Atlanta, Georgia
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270 posts
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Best Things to See in Brussels (One Day)

I will be in Brussels next April for one day and am looking for suggestions on what to see/do. I've looked through the TA list of attractions but it so comprehensive that I'm having difficulty narrowing things down. For example, of all of the churches and cathedrals, which ones are can't miss? Is there a particular style of architecture that is most reflective of Brussel? I am not particularly interested in beer so I think I will skip that aspect, but I definitely interested in chocolate and waffles!

Here are some things that are on my list:

Grand Place

Atonium

Mini-Europe

Parliament Building

Nortre Dame de la Chapelle

Basilique Nationale Du Sacre-Coeur

Palais de Justice

Royal Palace

Palais des Beaux-Arts

Cinquantenaire

Chocolate shopping, tasting

Waffles

Can all of the above be done in one day? If not, what can/should be eliminated? Am I missing anything crucial (other than Manneken Pis?) I don't think we will have time for any museums, unfortunately; although the musical instrument museum sounds fascinating.

Thanks so much for your help!

Brussels, Belgium
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1. Re: Best Things to See in Brussels (One Day)

In my opinion, nothing is "crucial" except the Grand' Place and then it would be a shame to miss the nearby Galeries St. Hubert. I would not bother with any of the churches, but if you must, you have missed the 2 I might have expected which are the cathedral (St. Michel & Ste. Gudule) and Notre Dame du Sablon; I hate the monstrous Basilique and it is also some way out of the centre - if it is the view from the top that attracts you, don't bother, visit the MIM instead (which is close to the MUSEE des Beaux-Arts). Truly, it's a gem and since you ask what style of architecture is most reflective of Brussels, it is art nouveau so you shouldn't miss it. Are you sure you mean the PALAIS des Beaux-Arts? It is a Horta building, but late style after he had given up art nouveau, and I don't think it is all that interesting.

I don't know which Parliament Building you mean (Brussels has 4: European, Belgian, Brussels Region and Flemish) ; I also don't know what you mean by the Cinquantenaire (2 museums, park, archway, Autoworld..?). As you say you wouldn't have time for museums, I can't see the point in going unless it is for the view from the archway, which is accessible from the Military Museum. And you cannot visit the Royal Palace in April, although you can see it from the outside if you take e.g. the 27 bus to get from Sablon/Place Royale (museums) to the Cinquantenaire - which will also pass by the European Parliament if this is the one you mean.

For waffles go to Dandoy one block from the GP in rue de l'Etuve, across from the Amigo Hotel. Chocolate shopping you can do all over town and especially in the Galeries St. Hubert and the Sablon. I would also cut out the trip out to the atomium and Mini-Europe if you are short of time. However, these things are matters of personal taste, mine might not be yours.

Edited: 04 August 2010, 09:00
Montreal, Canada
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2. Re: Best Things to See in Brussels (One Day)

I am just back from Brussels. One day will go fast. I wouldn't miss Grand Place, especially if you appreciate architecture. The Galeries St-Hubert is a must too. We hang around this area for awhile. I found interesting to see Place Royale. It is a beautiful place to sit and relax. We were fascinated by the animared clock. Of course, taste a waffle and have a nice dinner (moules et frites). Enjoy!

Brussels, Belgium
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3. Re: Best Things to See in Brussels (One Day)

Although they have recently put out benches next to the BIP (tourist office), I doubt that you were sitting and relaxing in Place Royale! This is the square at the top of the hill (Mont des Arts), with the statue of Godefroi de Bouillon on horseback in the middle, and with museums on 3 corners. You can't see the Jacquemart clock (also known as carillon du Mont des Arts) from there, so I would guess you were in the Albertine Gardens. Here is a photo of the clock: brusselspictures.com/2008/…

And here are some photos of Place Royale: trabel.com/brussel/Brussel-royalsquare.htm and the Albertine http://www.panoramio.com/photo/1321305.

Montreal, Canada
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4. Re: Best Things to See in Brussels (One Day)

Hi qaminari,

We sat in the stairs with many others peoples and we enjoyed the view. I have to add the weather was on our side. It was a sunny (not to hot) day. This place is beautiful and it is one of the first thing we saw after arriving in Brussels.

Atlanta, Georgia
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5. Re: Best Things to See in Brussels (One Day)

To qaminari:

Thank you for all of the information! In terms of the churches, I had found different attractions lists for Brussels and had picked several based on some favorable descriptions. I wasn't sure about the difference between those and the others, especially the two Notre Dame churches. a great height and I am interested in MIM but I am afraid I won't have time to go inside, as that might take up much of the day. Perhaps I can view it from the outside to appreciate the architecture. Are there any other vantage points for a good view of the city that are centrally located, timely, and not too expensive? In terms of the Parliament Building, I am not sure myself, as again I found this sight among compilations of things to see in Brussels. Which of the parliament buildings is most impressive from the exterior? Are they located near one another? Is it worth going inside any of them? For Cinquantenaire, I meant the archway, which I heard was impressive. Would this be located in the park? I would be satisfied seeing the Royal Palace from the outside. The Atomium is my husband's main interest and I want to see it as well. We figured that Mini-Europe would be convenient to it, and we are interested in seeing many of the structures/monuments. Would it be best to see it earlier in the day or more towards the evening?

6. Re: Best Things to See in Brussels (One Day)

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