Day 1 - The Grand Place
The heart of the Belgian capital is Grand Place, often regarded as one the world’s most beautiful squares, and not only by the locals. Its Gothic architecture draws thousands to it every day, whether to take pictures, to gaze at the architecture or to people watch for a few hours. Dominated by the town hall, this square is totally tourist driven but, once you don’t mind dodging them for a day, you’ll soon get into the swing of things with them
Opposite the town hall you will find the House of the King, one of the square’s many guildhalls which is today used as the Brussels City Museum. Ironically never used as a residence by a king, here you can learn more about the history of this city which is over 1,000 years old.
There are two other museums on Brussels’ central square. One is dedicated to beer and the other to chocolate, two of the Belgian capital’s more famed exports. If you have an avid interest in either nicety, these will keep you occupied for an hour or two.
If you don’t visit the afore named museums, you can wander around the square admiring its other guildhalls. These include Maison des Boulangers (Bakers House) which is a popular café, Le Brouette (The Wheelbarrow) which is identifiable thanks to the wheelbarrows on the front door, and others. Also take the time out to visit Manneken Pis at the bottom of Rue Charles Buls which eventually becomes Rue de l’Etuve. This strange monument of a young boy relieving himself of his bodily fluids is one of the city's best known.
Belgians famously love their beer and, allegedly, they drink approximately 3 pints of beer every day. There are cafés and bars all around the Grand Place, and if you feel like exploring, travel north west from the square to St. Gery, on of the city’s liveliest areas.
Day 2 - Utilise the metro
For Brussels’ main points of interest outside the city centre you will have to use Brussels' metro system which is easy to use and has stops in convenient locations.
This city is where the European Union has its headquarters and its worth hopping on a metro out to Maelbeek or Schuman stations on the 1A/1B lines. This will bring you to Rue de la Loi. From here stroll down to Parc de Cinquantenaire. Here you will find numerous museums, dedicated to everything from cars to the army.
The other side of the 1A line is the Atomium, Brussels’ answer to the Eiffel Tower, although not as picturesque as it is modelled on a molecule enlarged 165 million times. Still, this is one of the city’s most instantly recognisable attractions and there is an observation deck there which offers good views of the city.
Just as St Gery is one of the best places in the city to go to sample this city’s nightlife, it is also where you will find Rue Antoine Dansaert which is peppered with restaurants. The aptly named Rue des Bouchers (Butchers Street) not far from Grand Place also has many eateries.
Day 3 - Grand Brussels
Parc de Bruxelles just south of the Grand Place is the city centre’s largest and the place to go when you want to get away from the crowds for a while. Built in the 1870s, its long avenues are perfect for walking through.
Many of the city’s most lavish buildings are around the park, most notably the Palais Royale, where the Belgian royal family used to reside. They have since moved and today the building is open to the public between July and September.
South of the palace again is Eglise Notre Dame du Sablon, one of Brussels’ most beautiful churches. It is also located on a pretty square of the same name. Not far from here is Eglise Notre Dame de la Chapelle, also on another of the city’s numerous squares.