5 things to do in Brussels

5 things to do in Brussels

In July, we went to Brussels. We chose Brussels as it’s somewhere the 12 year old hadn’t been before, and it’s a short two hour Eurostar ride from London. Brussels isn’t that big – it’s not quite as big as London or Paris. It has a very cosmopolitan feel without too many of the big city problems. Even though our trip encompassed Belgian National Day, it wasn’t very busy and getting accommodation and around the city was easy.

The said 12-year old is here to give you the lowdown on the top 5 things you should do as a tourist in Brussels.

1. See the Mannekin Pis

The mannekin pis is anti-climatic. Lets get that out of the way. Its very small and hard to see, and we wouldn’t have seen it if it wasn’t for the great group of tourists around it. Definitely do this first, as if you do it last it may be a disappointment. He gets dressed up in different outfits. While we were there he was naked the first day, then in a special outfit for National Day (21st July), and then in a different outfit on the third day.

The Mannekin Pis naked

2. Eat Brussels food

Its not Belgium without traditional Belgian waffles and chocolate! These shops can be found all over Brussels, and are usually quite cheap. Around the Mannekin Pis there are lots of waffle and chocolate shops, with waffles ranging from 1 euro – 5 euros (depending on amount of toppings). If you really want to go turbo-tourist mode, you can buy a chocolate waffle, and eat it in front of the Mannekin Pis. (we did this!)

Belgain waffles in Brussels

3. Go on a bus tour

You can’t see all of Brussels if you’re walking, even if you’re there for ages! No, you have to take a bus tour. Our tickets for for 1 adult, 1 child, for 48 hours cost £40. They include a free pair of ear-phones to listen to the history of Brussels audio experience! (complete with 8 different languages!). The audio is good and tells you lots about the Brussels and its history.

The tour takes you on two routes – the first goes north and up to the Atomium area and back to the old town. The second takes you east to the EU area, and the Parliamentarium.

The City Sightseeing bus tour in Brussels

City Sightseeing was the only tour bus company in Brussels. The buses run approximately every half-hour. You can buy tickets on the day from the driver, or in advance on their website.

4. Go to Mini-Europe

If one European country wasn’t enough, how about the whole continent? Mini-Europe is a fantastic place to visit, and you can easily spend a full morning there. It’s interactive, and you can have fun posing with the models! The kids and adults too will always be entertained with something. And if they get hungry, that’s no problem, because half-way round there’s a delicious café. You can get here by hopping off the City Sightseeing tour bus. Read our review of Mini Europe!

Mini Europe in Brussels

5.Visit the Grand Place

The grand place is probably one of the most beautiful places in Brussels, with buildings covered in gold, at night-time it truly lights up with colour. Its also one of the most famous places in Brussels, but it is very busy. There are lots of places to eat around here.

The Grand Place in Brussels

What would you add to our list?

5 things to do in Brussels


Joanne and the girly gang review family days out around the UK and beyond, with a little help from their friends.

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  1. mmmm chocolate! great tips- thanks for sharing. Will get there one day soon!

  2. I haven’t been to Brussels before either, so there are some great pointers for newbies. I especially like point 2! #zbuz

    1. #2 was my favourite too!

  3. I have never been to Brussels before, but reading this certainly makes me want to go. What a lot to do and great for kids too. Looks like you all had a wonderful time xx

    1. KidsDaysOutReviews

      We did, thank you!

  4. Of course Mannekin Pis was top of the list, but yes, what an anticlimax! I visited Brussels before having kids and and did everything but the bus tour. I think I’d definitely explore that way next time as I can imagine it’s great for saving little legs!

    1. KidsDaysOutReviews

      And my legs too!

  5. I went to Brussels years ago! We went to the musical instrument museum there and I loved it. Didn’t really have the waffles but loved the moules et frites! It looks like you had a great time.

    1. KidsDaysOutReviews

      Moules! Good grief, no. Are you crazy or something? 🙂

  6. What a fantastic trip! We hope to take my two to paris this winter for a bit culture. those waffles look to die for!!

    1. KidsDaysOutReviews

      Paris is next on our hit list!

  7. Belgian chocolate, frankly, is a reason to visit the country all by itself. I’ve not done Brussels with kids (although Bruges is amazing if you get the chance) so this was really helpful, thanks!

    1. KidsDaysOutReviews

      There *may* have been a reason I suggested Brussels as a good place to visit. It was for the culture, honest.

  8. It sounds like you had a great trip – I’m drooling over the waffles and think your tip of seeing the Mannekin Pis first sounds very sensible!
    We haven’t done any city breaks with our children yet but I think we should probably start!

    1. KidsDaysOutReviews

      City breaks are fab but I’m not shy to the odd beach holiday too!

  9. We haven’t really done city breaks and we so should! Great trip by the looks of it.

    1. KidsDaysOutReviews

      It was! Thank you Emma 🙂

  10. I had no idea the Mannekin Pis was so small! I think I would be ok with the disappointment though, if I could have one of those waffles!

    1. KidsDaysOutReviews

      I’d seen him before so I knew but I think the 12yo expected more. Waffles did indeed make up for it though 🙂

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