10:00 Start your trip with a visit to Arcadi Café (mains from £6; Rue d’Arenberg 1a; tel. +32 25113343). It’s a great spot for an early morning pastry or cake and cup of coffee.

The interior is super cute, with old-fashioned cake stands and Post-its on the walls. 

11:00 Begin sightseeing by wandering around the buzzing medieval central square Le Grand-Place (Rue au Buerre Ilôt Sacré, 1000).

Amid the soaring gothic and Renaissance architecture, visitors will find museums, cafes, bars and chocolate shops.


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Check out  Planete Chocolat – here you will discover the temple of chocolate, right in the middle of the demonstration spaces (with a maximum capacity of 200 people), with its workshop and own museum.

12:30 The Flemish, it seems, are excellent at making dainty things, they also have a heritage in lace making.

There’s an entire museum dedicated to this very form. The Costume and Lace Museum (Rue de la Violette 12 Ilôt Sacré; +tel. +32 22134450) showcases outifts, ball gowns, overcoats and mini skirts from throughout the ages.

They evoke images of what the people from bygone eras would have worn strolling along the city’s canals and historic lanes.

13:30 Toddle back to the central square and get your camera ready for Brussels’ most bizarre attraction, the Manneken Pis (corner of Rue de l’Étuve and Stoofstraat and Rue du Chêne/Eikstraat).

This tiny statue’s name translates to “little man pee” and is of a boy taking a leak, but it’s world famous.

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This chap dates back to 1619 and was designed by sculptor Jerome I Duquesnoy.

The locals dress him up in various outfits throughout the year, depending on the festivities. Legend has it that the original was stolen, and this one’s a replica. Scandalous! 

14:00 By now you must be peckish, and we’ve got just the place to fill up.

KoKoB (mains from £7.30) is a few minutes’ walk from the central square and serves spicy Ethiopian cuisine, including curious yet delicious dishes, such as chicken drumsticks with boiled eggs and berbere.

Or try the veggie mix, served in dollops on a round tray. 

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15:00 After a late lunch, the beautiful Cathedral of St Michael and St Gudula awaits.

This architectural wonder, built in 1047, looks like something from a Harry Potter film and opens its doors daily so visitors can soak up the spooky gothic vibe. Inside you’ll find bright stained glass windows and staggering ceiling arches. 

19:00 After your busy day of walking, sink a few cold ones at a traditional Brussels boozer. A La Mort Subite serves cherry and peach beers, plus local brand Maes Pils, on tap.

If you’re in need of a bar snack, they also do a range of sandwiches and chunky chips. 

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10:00 Start the day with another one of Brussels’ stranger sites, the Atomium.

This 102-metre futuristic design was commissioned for the 1958 Brussels World Fair.

It’s made up of nine spheres, all connected by iron branches. You can actually get inside the balls and gawp at awesome 360-degree views of the city. 

12:00 If you’re still hanging from the night before, soak up the excess juice with a burger at the trendy Junk Food Deluxe (burgers from £3.60).

Get your chops around a fresh herbs and Comté bap with pure beef, fresh herbs, Comté cheese, sundried tomatoes, rocket and crispy coppa on soft bread. Makes us salivate just thinking about it! 

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14:00 Make the National Botanic Garden of Belgium your next stop.

Within its 92-hectare grounds there are two lakes, beehives and 18,000 different kinds of plants, including, it claims, six per cent of all the known plant species in the world.  

16:30 Next, warm up in the museum René Magritte, which is dedicated to the nation’s great artistic export.

It holds more than 200 of his surrealist works. Peruse oils on canvas, drawings, sculptures and painted objects. 

18:00 For the last night, go fancy at Les Salades de Gaspard (mains from £11.30), which serves chunky salads and hearty pasta dishes.

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19:30 Finish your trip by catching a cultural performance at the Palais des Beaux-Arts.

The venue hosts National Orchestra shows and cutting edge dance events on various nights. Book in advance to secure a seat.

Fly return to Brussels from London with Brussels Air from £99. 

Or book a return train trip and one night hotel deal with Eurostar from £93.  


Photos: Thinkstock; Getty