Got 48 hours in Brussels and not sure what to do? Look no further, everything you need to know is right here right now. I have been living in Brussels for the past 6 months so I would say that I have a pretty good insight into what’s hot and what’s not. If you haven’t already booked, check out Skyscanner for the best options (I find Friday-Monday always works out the cheapest). Let’s start with the attractions for those who love being a bit of a tourist.
Firstly, I wouldn’t even call it an attraction because it is absolutely beautiful, but Grand Place (pictured above) is the main event in Brussels. I had no idea it existed until I stumbled across this amazing square on my first weekend and I was overwhelmed. Anyone who tells you that Brussels is boring and ‘grey’ is either lying or hasn’t been to the right spots. Trust me, everyone who sees Grand Place (pronounced Grond Plaws: a la francais) falls in love with this place, I would suggest visiting it at both day and night for some great pics during your 48 hours in Brussels.
Being a tourist is fun and there’s surely lots of touristy things to do during your 48 hours in Brussels. If you are into hitting all the main attractions, check out this guide here. Above you will see Manniken Pis (spoiler alert: it’s tiny… and so is the statue LOL). If you want to go, it’s less than 10 minutes stroll from Grand Place so it’s worth going over to have a giggle at all the people taking selfies with a tiny boy peeing.
The Atomium (large silver structure thing) is a bit of a metro ride away from the city and while I’ve been beside it, I haven’t gone ‘up’ it, as I heard it’s just ok. Probably worth it for the views though and I heard there’s a nice restaurant too.
The other place with all the cool stuff on the walls and ceiling pictured above is a place called Delirium, which has the world record for most beers ever woohoo. WARNING: they only serve beer and soft drinks (so if you really really wanna go but don’t drink beer like me, you may need to improvise). This is pretty cool and right in the heart of it all, so why not says I.
Go up the The Basilica of Koekelberg to get an amazing view of Brussels. It’s the 5th biggest church in the world and also a very beautiful building, but even if you have no desires to see a church or pretty architecture, it’s worth going up for a great view. It’s only €5 for entry, so a cheap little activity too!
If you have even longer than 48 hours in Brussels, why not hop on a train to see Bruges? I took the journey in January and it was worth every minute. No need to stay over, just get an afternoon train via Trainline.eu, enjoy the scenery along the way and you will arrive in less than an hour and a half. There’s buses every few minutes from the train station and you will quickly arrive in the magical fairy-tale land. You could also do Antwerp.
Also pictured is a beautiful waffle… if you haven’t heard, Belgian waffles are a thing. So, I’m sure your 48 hours in Brussels will have at least a waffle or two throughout the itinerary. There is no special place to get them (hint: they’re everywhere), but I have heard that the Waffle Making Workshop is good fun for a rainy day activity. Which brings me to the all-important topic of food!
48 Hours in Brussels: Where to Eat!
Brunch / Lunch
If you are staying near Avenue Louise, a lovely place is La Table Rustique. I’d recommend sharing any of the big breakfasts, they are huge! For brunchin in the city you have to go to Peck 47 they have everything you need for an early feast. The cafe is very cosy and right in the heart of the city. I’d recommend the Goat’s Cheese & Chorizo waffles! If you are staying a little further out near Rogier/ Gare du Nord, they have a failry identical sister/cousin restaurant thing Street Pecker.
If your 48 hours in Brussels falls on a weekday and you’re looking for a fancy feast, Cospaia is a beautiful restaurant. A little on the pricey side, but they do have a 2 course lunch deal for €22 which is good considering the area it’s in. Or do what we did and get the burger which was literally the size of my head and we couldn’t eat for hours.
Como Tapas is a really cool place which has tapas dishes going around a belt, sushi style! They have great red wine and it’s not expensive either. If you’re in the area, a few metres down the road is a small but very cool, cheap enough bar called Barbeton.
If you are staying near Flagey (lucky you), you should check out Takumi, they have amazing poké bowls, gyoza dumplings and like most places in Brussels – cheap wine woohoo! Literally right next door is a carnivore’s haven, a little on the pricier side but definitely quality is La Meute Restaurant.
Just beyond Place de la Bourse which I’m sure you would stumble across if you are wandering, there is a nice strip of Asian restaurants. These are authentic and very affordable spots, we went to one of the Vietnamese late at night and it was really good. I have tried every Thai, Chinese and Vietnamese on Rue Jules Van Praet, I promise you they are tasty! I have included the map to this area below where loads of lovely restaurants and very fun bars are located.
If you’re looking for a snack after a night on the tiles in the Grand Place area, the Greek street is the place to be! We go to Plaka every single time we pass through the city. They’re always packed out and have tasty pitas for veggies and meat eaters too. My friend Kinny gets a Pita Falafel roughly twice a week for the past 6 months, so he’d probably recommend that.
48 Hours in Brussels: Where to Party!
If you’re into cool events and whiskey, I’d recommend liking the Jameson Brand Ambassador’s Facebook here. Sean is over here doing his thing, always throwing cool events in skateparks, vinyl stores, art galleries and all sorts of sweet venues. If you like whiskey and an artsy kinda buzz, have a look to see if there’s one on during your 48 hours in Brussels!
If you’re looking to go out out Havana is a good club, everyone dances on the bars it’s very fun! Another bar-top-dancing spot is Cafe Belga and also Madame Mustache. The last 3 bar/clubs I just mentioned left me in a bad way, so yes Brussels is a fun city if you’re looking for fun.
More casual spots for drinks are La Machine and Chili Bar right across from it, these are both in a nice area with a cluster of bars, again just down from Grand Place. They are beside each other, why not go on a little pub crawl!
If your 48 hours in Brussels includes a Sunday and you want to get away from the busy city, you have to go to Flagey Market!
This little market is in full swing on the weekends, I have only been there on Sundays which is always jam packed with amazing food, flowers, people (LOTS of doggies) and is unbelievable when the sun comes out. It starts early I believe and ends around 2pm, so I would suggest a comfortable 11am/ 12pm arrival to enjoy the market atmosphere.
The highlight for me is the Champagne & Oyster Bar which is really affordable and there are always fantastic looking people hanging around there (usually with dogs!). Did I mention the dogs? If it gets a little chilly or if you need to sit down, cross the road and head into Cafe Belga (Yes same place where they dance on bars!) which has plenty of seating, nice drinks and always playing funky reggae vibes (whenever I’ve been anyway!).
If it’s nice, you can stroll along the pretty pond back towards the city or hop on a bus. The perfect Sunday.
I will add more to this, but for now – I hope you can enjoy some of these!
*This post contains affiliate links.