After talking about it for what feels like years our interrail adventure finally kicked off on Thursday 30th August in lovely little Brussels.
We had just 48 hours in Brussels to explore everything the city has to offer. And boy did we manage to cram a lot in!
Brussels is full of good chocolate, good beer, and stunning architecture. Which sounds like the perfect city if you ask me! It has plenty to see and do, as well lots of incredible food to keep you going.
Keep reading to find out how we spent our two days in the city and hopefully, it’ll help you plan your own visit to Brussels too.
And if you want to know more about our entire Interrail trip make sure to start this post about our planning process.
We landed in Brussels early in the afternoon, after a pretty quick hour-long flight from London Heathrow.
It’s a short, 20-minute, train journey from the airport to the city centre. The train station is right underneath the airport and a one-way ticket costs just €9.
If you’re flying into Brussels make sure you land at Brussels Airport in Zaventem (BRU) rather than Brussels South Charleroi Airport (CRL) which is another hour away by car!
I knew I wanted to try to fit in a walking tour the afternoon we arrived as a way to get our bearings and to guarantee we saw all the main sights.
After checking in at our hostel, we wandered back into Brussels city centre and headed towards Grand Place for the Sandemans New Europe Free walking tour.
And, as the name suggests the tour is completely free, which is perfect for budget travelers. You simply tip your guide at the end, if they deserve it!
Our guide, Antonio, was amazing. Not only did we see all the big sights Brussels has to offer, but he took time to fill us in on the history of what we were seeing. But most importantly he gave us loads of useful information like the best places for a waffle and what beer to try.
The main highlights of the tour itself included: a famous statue of a little boy peeing, otherwise known as Mannekin Pis, and seeing some of the famous Tin Tin and other Street Art around Brussels.
I can’t recommend the walking tour enough. It’s a particularly good way of fitting everything in if you’re only in Brussels for a short amount of time.
At the end of the tour, we were definitely ready for some food, and what better than to try some of Brussels best fries at Fritsland. The portion size was very generous and came with a huge helping of mayonnaise. (€3.20 without sauce, €4 with sauce)
French fries were actually created in Belgium and nowhere else does them better. Trust me when I say I didn’t think they could be that good.
And what could beat Belgium fries? Belgium beer.
We headed to a place called Scott’s Bar which does a set of 4 tasting beers for €8 or €9 euros depending on which ones you go for. Or, if you’re like me and you’re not too keen on beer, there are plenty of other alcoholic beverages on offer!
After several drinks and all that walking, we decided to call it a night and head back to the hostel.
Our walk back took us through Grand Place once again but boy is it different at night. It was like stepping into a fairytale, completely magical. All the buildings were lit up in this soft yellow glow. Possibly my favourite moment of our first day in Brussels.
If I can recommend one thing from my first day in Brussels it would be to make sure you see Grand Place during both day and night. It has a completely different feel when the sun goes down and you won’t want to miss it.
We woke up bright and early and headed for the Atomium. Dubbed the Eifel Tower of Brussels, I don’t think any visit to the city is complete without seeing it.
The Atomium is about a half an hour on the metro from Brussels city centre. Take either line 5 or line 1 from one of the many city centre stations, change at Bekkant and from here take line 6 to Heysel. One trip on the metro costs €2.10.
We chose just to have a wander and take advantage of the photo opportunity. But you can also choose to visit the inside of the Atomium for €15. I’m sure the views from the top are more than worth it!
If like us you decide to not to go into the Atomium itself then grab some food for a picnic and spend some time exploring the nearby park. Otherwise, it feels like a long way for some pictures!
Once back in Brussels City centre, we headed towards Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert.
Make sure to spend plenty of time browsing the incredible chocolate shops housed here. And of course, you couldn’t possibly leave Belgium without trying some!
I bought 4 individual chocolates from Neuhaus for roughly €4. They price by weight so you can spend as little or as much as you want which is great for those of us on a budget.
And if that wasn’t enough to satisfy your sweet tooth, you can’t leave Brussels without having a waffle or 10!
We stopped at Maison Dandoy, in Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert, for gourmet waffles. €7 for a waffle and your choice of topping and boy were they worth it! They make me hungry just looking at them!
We then spent the afternoon learning about the EU, and trying really hard not to cry about Brexit, at the Parlamentarium.
The Parlamentarium is a half an hour walk away from Grand Place. A walk that takes you through Brussels Park, past the Royal Palace, before ending up right by the European Parliament in Brussels.
The Parlamentarium is a completely free museum all about the EU. It covers everything from how and why it was formed, how it works, and its role in Europe, all through a self-guided audio tour. It’s incredibly interesting and definitely worth a visit if you’re part of the EU and like me, have never properly understood it.
During the walk back we stopped at the Cathedral of St Micheal and St Gudula. It’s free to enter and is one of the most stunning pieces of architecture in the city. I love wandering around Cathedrals, I find them incredibly peaceful and it’s not often you find one that is completely free.
Once we reached the city centre, we headed back to Scott’s bar because I was dying to try their hot chocolate. Described as the best in the city its made by melting a bar of Belgian chocolate in hot milk. I’d first seen it while we were in the bar the day before and couldn’t leave Belgium without trying some. It was divine, the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had and only €4 a glass.
After grabbing some food at a nearby burger bar, it was then onto Delirium for the evening. Well known in Brussels, although often described as a bit touristy, this bar is home to the biggest selection of Belgium beer including some rather interesting flavours.
Feeling brave I tried ‘Pink Killer’, a Grapefruit flavoured beer and ‘Floris Cactus’, a fruit flavoured one. Both cost around €4 for 25cl. As someone who hates the taste of beer I surprisingly really enjoyed both. Although maybe because neither of them tasted at all like beer!
After a few beers, I decided there was no way I could leave Brussels having only tried one waffle, so on the walk back to the hostel I stopped at a little street store called La Funamble (€3 a waffle). Like our tour guide from the day before said: “you can’t beat that street food taste”.
Our last morning in Brussels and I was a little bit sad to be leaving already.
We had a bit of a lie in before checking out of the hostel. Then just had time to wander back through Grand Place, and past Mannekin Pis for one last look before heading towards the train station.
And soon we were on our way to our next stop, Amsterdam…
All my love,