One Day in Brussels: A Flexible Itinerary with Food Recommendations

One Day in Brussels: A Flexible Itinerary with Food Recommendations

Visiting Brussels? Here's a flexible Brussels itinerary -- plus some recommendations on what to eat to complete your tour.

Whenever Belgium is mentioned in a conversation, I’m sure the first few things most people think of are Belgian waffles, Belgian fries, and Belgian chocolate. Clearly, the Belgians are doing something right in terms of food. But just like any other country, Belgium is much more than its food.

Also read: Belgium Travel Guide: What You Need to Know Before You Visit

Despite being the capital of Belgium, Brussels is relatively small. It is not difficult to see the entire city and sample plenty of delicious food in a day. If you’re travelling around Europe and find yourself with a day to spare, consider visiting Brussels!

Plan your flights such that you have a day-long layover in Brussels. Or if you’re in a city nearby (e.g. London, Paris), trains can take you to Brussels in the morning and back home by nightfall. Taking a day trip to another country may sound a little crazy, but trust me when I say it’s definitely doable and worth the effort.

If you’re a little overwhelmed by the idea of seeing Brussels in a day, here’s a flexible itinerary to help you out:


Bruges itinerary food recommendations

You can’t come to Belgium and not have a taste of Belgian waffles. So why not have it for breakfast? It may not sound like the healthiest option, but you will not regret it. Head to the city centre (around the Grand Place) where there is an abundance of small waffle stores.

While I was there, I noticed that most waffle places offered two types—the Brussels waffle and the liege waffle. After deciding which base waffle you want, you can choose the toppings. Popular toppings are whipped cream, nutella, and fresh fruit (e.g. strawberries, kiwi, banana). Do note that prices are dependent on the toppings you order. For the most traditional experience, order the waffle without any toppings.

Also read: 15 Cities in Belgium that are Truly Worth Visiting

Bruges itinerary

Bruges itinerary

After filling yourself with waffles, head over to the Grand Place, one of Brussels’ most famous landmark and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is essentially just a huge square surrounded by buildings with amazing architectural structure. Amongst these buildings, there is the Museum of the City of Brussels and the Town Hall.

Bruges itinerary

The Manneken Pis is one of Brussels’ iconic landmarks. It is nothing more than a statue of a little boy peeing into a fountain. To be honest, the monument was very underwhelming. The statue was a lot smaller than expected, and the fountain was walled into a corner of a random street. On top of that, the hoards of people crowded around this tiny landmark made the experience even more unenjoyable. Since this is a mere five-minute walk from the Grand Place, I would recommend taking a look at it. But I wouldn’t spend any more than a couple minutes looking at it.

Also read: 5 Must-Visit Destinations in Belgium

Bruges itinerary food recommendations Image Credit: Luca Moglia

Everyone knows that Belgium is famous for chocolates. It is said that the Belgians created the praline and the truffle. Buying chocolate from the land of chocolate is pretty much an obligation. One of the most famous chocolate brands in the world, Godiva, started right there. Other well-known brands you may (or may not) have heard of are Neuhaus, Dolfin, Mary, and Leonidas.

It can be pricey; so unless you’re buying gifts back from friends or family, you can choose your own selection of chocolates without the fancy packaging, and it usually cost around 4 euros for 100 grams (approximately 6–7 pieces). For an even more inexpensive option, just pick up a couple Belgian chocolate bars from a local supermarket.


Bruges itinerary food recommendations Image Credit: Melanie

Now that you’ve had a taste of waffles and chocolate, Belgian fries (or frites) has to be next on your list. Frites are not like the regular fries you get anywhere—it is thick-cut, and fried to perfection.

The classic experience is to buy a cone of frites from a roadside store, and top it off with a condiment of your choice. Mayonnaise is the signature sauce for Belgians. But you can always stick to ketchup to play it safe. I recommend trying the andalouse sauce, which is Belgian speciality condiment made of mayonnaise, tomato sauce, and peppers.

Bruges itineraryBruges itinerary

Located just a short 30-minute metro ride away from central Brussels (i.e. the Grand Place), Mini-Europe is a miniature park that has recreations of famous monuments from various countries and cities within the European Union. Approximately 80 cities and 350 buildings can be seen here, at a scale of 1:25 to its original size. Expect to see miniature versions of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Big Ben, Eiffel Tower, and many more.

Bruges itineraryBruges itinerary

After spending an hour or so exploring Europe, head over to the Atomium. Built to look like a unit cell of an iron crystal but magnified 165 billion times, this structure is noticeable in the background from Mini Europe.

The Atomium was originally constructed in 1958 for the Brussels World’s Fair, but now serves as an exhibition site, museum, and tourist attraction. Visitors can go to the top, standing at 102 metres (335 feet) tall, for a panoramic view of Brussels. Even if you decide not to go up, the interesting shape of the building in itself calls for a short visit.


Bruges itinerary food recommendations
 Image Credit: logikslut0

Bruges itinerary food recommendationsImage Credit: Franklin Heijnen

What better way to end your day with a delicious meal consisting of mussels and fries (moules et frites) and a pint of Belgian beer?

Mussels and fries is often considered the national dish of Belgium. The dish is exactly how it sounds—a pan of mussels served with a bowl of crunchy fries. The mussels can be cooked in various ways. Moules mariniere, in which the mussels are cooked in white wine and butter, is probably the most common recipe. Pair your meal with a local beer. I don’t have specific recommendations, as I’m not an expert on beer.

Also read: A Dozen Reasons to Visit Belgium

But the choices are endless, so don’t stick to the Belgian beers you’ve heard of before and try something new!

About Author

Verena Toh
Verena Toh

Verena believes that travelling is the way one can truly open up their mind and heart to the world. An avid traveller who tries to find every opportunity she can to see the world, Verena celebrates the world by embracing all it has to offer. Even though she is currently still studying, she dreams for a job that would allow her to travel the world without giving up a career. Her favourite quote is “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page” – Saint Augustine.