Brussels, officially the Brussels-Capital Region, is a region of Belgium comprising 19 municipalities, including the City of Brussels, which is the de jure capital of Belgium.
Area: 161.4 km²
Population: 1.139 million (Jan 1, 2012)
Brussels (French: Bruxelles, [bʁysɛl] (About this sound listen); Dutch: Brussel, [ˈbrɵsəl] (About this sound listen)), officially the Brussels-Capital Region (French: Région de Bruxelles-Capitale, Dutch: Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest), is a region of Belgium comprising 19 municipalities, including the City of Brussels, which is the de jure capital of Belgium. The Brussels-Capital Region is located in the central portion of the country and is a part of both the French Community of Belgium and the Flemish Community, but is separate from the region of Flanders (in which it forms an enclave) or Wallonia. Compared to most regions in Europe, Brussels has a relatively small territory, with an area of 161 km2 (62.31 sq mi). The region has a population of 1.2 million and a metropolitan area with a population of over 2.1 million, the largest agglomeration in Belgium. Brussels is also part of a large conurbation which extends between Brussels, Ghent, Antwerp, Leuven and Walloon Brabant and is home to over 5 million people.
Brussels has grown from a small rural settlement on the river Senne to become an important city-region in Europe. Since the end of the Second World War, Brussels has been a major centre for international politics and has become the home of numerous international organisations, politicians, diplomats and civil servants. Brussels is the de facto capital of the European Union, as it hosts a number of principal EU institutions (the other administrative centres are Luxembourg and Strasbourg). The name Brussels is sometimes used metonymically to describe the EU and its institutions. The secretariat of the Benelux and the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) are also located in Brussels. Today, it is classified as an Alpha global city.
Historically a Dutch-speaking city, Brussels has seen a language shift to French from the late 19th century onwards. Today, the majority language (with over 90%) is French, and the Brussels-Capital Region is an officially bilingual enclave within the Flemish Region. All road signs, street names, and many advertisements and services are shown in both languages. Brussels is increasingly becoming multilingual, being home to many international institutions. English is spoken as a second language by nearly a third of the population, while a large number of migrants and expatriates speak other languages, namely Arabic, Spanish, German and Italian.
As the centre of European culture and institutions, Brussels has much more to offer than most people imagine. Apart from its famous chocolates and beers, there are almost 90 museums, beautiful parks, architecture, bars and much more. Look around our website to learn more.
Main Square Grand Place Brussels Belgium
Airport to city transfer
Brussels airport is only 12 km from Brussels city centre and you can get in between them by train, bus, taxi and personal car. We provide info on all of these transfer types.
We provide information about availability and prices of all kinds of Brussels accommodation types.
Hotels, hostels, apartments, near-airport or luxury accommodation.
Sightseeing Brussels is best during the day so in the evening you can enjoy creative and atmospheric restaurants and bars. Brussels is safe and people are cultured so walking around is a pleasure. Still, best way to see Brussels attractions is the well-known Hop-on Hop-off Bus.
For the traveler who prefers to see the sights rather than bury his nose in a travel guide, there are guided sightseeing and topic tours available all over Brussels. Most of them have multilingual guides available who speak English, French, German, Dutch, Russian and Arabic.
Definitely worth buying. You get free admission to over 30 museums and monuments, discounts at guided tours and even discounts at stores, restaurants and bars. All that for only €22.
Chocolate and Beer
These two are probably what Belgium is most known for. And what you should not miss. Read more about what and where.
Belgium as a whole might be known best for its chocolate and beer, but Brussels itself is most often mentioned in connection with the European Union and other international institutions. Learn the basics on our informative pages.
These Brussels tourist attractions will keep you and children well entertained during your Brussels vacation. They are best visited during daytime. And during evening, you can enjoy some of the great Brussels restaurants and bars.
The best way to see Brussels attractions comfortably is the well known
hop-on hop-off bus. Also worth considering is the Brussels card, which features discounts for Brussels attractions, free entrance to museums and public transport pass.
Skip the waiting line tickets
Some Brussels attractions offer so called skip-the-line tickets. Not many, but some. They are great for using your vacation time and energy on better things than waiting. You order them online and show them on smartphone throgh opening received e-mail. Or you can print the e-mail on paper. And you can go inside immediately after getting there. Pretty luxurious. They offer them on this
skip-the-line attractions tickets website.
Brussels Attractions Grand Place Main Square
A delicately sculpted town square erected over centuries to become the representation of Brussels’ history. Almost all of the buildings have a historical significance and the Hotel de Ville (Town Hall) is still in use today. Located just down from Brussels Centrale, this historical marketplace is a must.
Brussels Attractions Peeing Boy Statue Manneken Pis
Just a few narrow alleyways from the Grand Place, the Peeing Boy or Manneken Pis is a famous little statue. Locals celebrate many festivities at this bronze fountain and there are over 700 costumes for this little fellow. Brusselans dress him while celebrating many events of the year from many countries around the world.
Brussels Attractions Atomium
Just as Paris had warmed to the Eiffel Tower, Brussels had to The Atomium – its own legacy from a world fair. World Expo of 1958 left behind this gigantic structure shining in the sun. Sounds interesting? Then journey up into the Heysel area of Brussels to explore the Atomium which yields a spectacular view of the city as well as art and science exhibitions and a restaurant in its 9 spheres.
Brussels Attractions Mini Europe
Mini-Europe Brussels is a theme park with miniatures of the most famous monuments, sites and scenery of Europe. It is located next to the Atomium in Brupark in Heysel area. It is a great chance for families to have a nice day out with children. The miniatures are about 25 times smaller than the life size versions, some of the most famous include the Eiffel Tower, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Mount Vesuvius and of course the Grand Place.
Brussels Autoworld Car Museum
The Autoworld Brussels is a collection of old cars dating back to the late 1890s when the first cars rolled onto the roads. Based at the Parc du Cinquantenaire, this warehouse holds over 400 vehicles and stocks mostly European or U.S. original models. It’s a great walk back into history for both car buffs and families.
Brussels Attractions Palace Justice Palais
Palais de Justice
A goliath of a structure with good view of the evening cityscapes of Brussels. With area of 20 000 square metres and heavy architecture this grand Brussels sight stands slightly above Brussels old town. Palais de Justice still serves its original purpose as the high courts of Brussels. It has a distinctive golden dome and many columns decorating its façade. Located at Place Poelaert near Avenue Louise shopping street.
The most famous opera house in Belgium is La Monnaie (The Mint). Along with many historical buildings in Brussels, this building has enjoyed a long history of construction, rebuilding and refurbishment. The current building is the third on the site and at one point it hosted the best of French theatre only second to the opera houses in Paris. Brussels opera is still highly active and the agenda is packed. So admire the structure during the day but pay a visit to the theatre at night.
Brussels city has become quite proud of the number of parks they have available in the city, called green spaces. These parks range from grand boulevards with statues and fountains to quaint parks with lakes and flowers. A leisurely stroll through the parks is not a bad idea for visitors who want to see nature within a concrete jungle. Picnics, books, children and dogs are most welcome.
About 30 minutes out of Brussels city, in the area of Planckendael, lies the Brussels city zoo. It is a large enclosure with animals from all over the world organised by regions of the world – Africa, Asia, Europe etc. This zoo makes for a great day excursion for animal lovers and visitors with children.
Monuments and architecture
In Brussels, history meets modern day with monuments and buildings stretching all across the city to celebrate different eras. In the city centre there are tributes to royalty, the Royal Palace which is no longer a residency to the King but still stands and houses museums and churches. In the east side are the modern structures of the European Union. Each building and monument has its own unique story and historical significance.