Brussels, popularly referred to as the heartbeat of Europe, is a welcoming city open to everyone, particularly those traveling on a budget. The truth is that you don’t need to spend a lot of money in Brussels to have a good time. There’s always something to do, including several low-cost or zero-cost options. This article will provide you with a rundown of the best free things to do in Brussels that will keep you occupied for days, if not weeks!
Visit the Mont des Arts for Stunning Views
The Mont des Arts, just east of the city center, is a lovely blend of museums and green spaces. The center is lined with geometric flower beds, with rows of trees on either side. The modern concrete and glass buildings that surround the park provide a stark and unique contrast.
The panoramic view, however, is the main feature of the Mont des Arts. You can see all the way to the Grand Place from the southeastern steps. It’s really beautiful especially at sunset.
Learn the History of the City in the Free Museums Brussels
There are many museums in Brussels that do not charge admission! For example, if you’re interested in 10 centuries of military and battle history, the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History is a great place to start. Otherwise, visit the Parlamentarium for a fun and interactive experience of the European Parliament!
The Musical Instruments Museum, the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, and the Museum of Natural Sciences (ideal for youngsters!) are all free to the public on the first Wednesday of each month. Therefore, if you plan your trip carefully, you will be able to fully appreciate these cultural experiences.
Visit the Grand Place
Make the Grand Place your first stop if you have just one day in Brussels. The magnificent Grand Place, considered one of Europe’s most beautiful medieval squares, is the heart of Brussels, where numerous ancient buildings from the 17th century can be found. The city’s crown jewel is this jaw-dropping UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its gilded structures literally gleam in the sunlight!
Also, in christmas, you can visit its beautiful christmas market. It looks like a christmas postcard.
Tour the Royal Palace
Despite the fact that the Royal Palace of Brussels is only open to the public during the summer (end of July to the beginning of September), it is one of the best free things to do in Brussels during the high tourist season. This is a great opportunity to tour the grounds and marvel at the magnificent rooms, antique furniture, and huge chandeliers.
Although just a portion of the palace is accessible to the public, you can take a free self-guided tour of several of the staterooms and suites. Each year, the Royal family supports the arts by hosting a different cultural exhibition.
Visit the Palais of Justice
The main courthouse of Belgium is housed in this massive structure that looms over the Marolles neighborhood. The Palace of Justice is still a very impressive structure, despite being in scaffolding for a long time. However, do not just tour outside! Look inside to see a beautiful example of classical architecture. Entry is free.
Tour the Famous Pis Statues
Who would have guessed that peeing sculptures would be popular in a sophisticated European city? The renowned Manneken Pis is quite famous to many people (peeing boy). His girl and dog pals, on the other hand, can be found scattered all over the city.
On the corner of Rue de l’Etuve and Rue du Chene, you will find the Manneken Pis. Jeanneke Pis, the girl, is sitting at the end of the Impasse de la Fidelite. Zinneke Pis, the dog, can be found at the intersection of Rue du Vieux Marche aux Grains and Rue des Chartreux.
Meditate at the Abbey de la Cambre
Abbey de la Cambre, a former Cistercian abbey founded in the late 1100s, today houses the Belgian National Geographic Institute and La Cambre, a visual arts school. The lovely grounds and gardens, as well as Notre Dame de la Cambre, the little abbey church, are open to the public.
Admire the many churches and cathedrals
There are numerous outstanding religious sites in Brussels, ranging from Gothic churches to Art Deco basilicas. Moreover, unlike some other European cities, almost all of Brussels’ churches and cathedrals are open to the public. This is one of the best things to do in Brussels for free.
Visit the National Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Koekelberg, the world’s largest Art Deco structure, and the world’s fifth-largest church. Royal ceremonies are held at St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral. The Church of Our Blessed Lady of the Sablon, with its towering stained glass and rose windows, is a remarkable example of late Gothic-style architecture.
Tour the Streets with a Free Walking Tour of Brussels
Visit Brussels has a series of free walking tours throughout the city that you may take. The Tintin Walk and the Art Nouveau Walk are great places to start touring the city. If you need directions, Visit Brussels has put together a mini-map for you. If you’d rather tour with a knowledgeable tour guide, reserve a trip with the Brussels Greeters ahead of time for the greatest free guided tour of Brussels. Tours are absolutely free (tips are not allowed) and can be tailored to your specific interests.
While you visit all these points, we recommend you check out the best places to eat in Brussels.
Accommodation in Brussels
Situated in the very heart of the Art Nouveau district in Brussels and just 10 minutes away from the Grand Place, is the Catalonia Brussels hotel (formerly HC Brussels), which offers guests modern and comfortable rooms.
With easy access by public transportation to the Grand Place, Gare du Midi, and the European Parliament, and just some steps away from the Avenue Luise, the most elegant and important commercial zone of the city, the hotel is the best starting point for your leisure or business trip to Brussels.