10 Free Things to Do in Brussels

If you are travelling to Brussels in Belgium and the budget is tight, here are a few free things you can do and still come away enriched by the culture and vibrancy of this cosmopolitan place.

  1. Admire art on the comics strip route – images from various famous Belgian comic book series such as Tintin, Smurfs, Lucky Luke and many others. The Belgians really love their comic strips and so do we!
    Brussels, Belgium comics strip route

    Comic strip art displayed on the buildings in Brussels.

     

    Brussels, Belgium - comics strip route

    Comic strip art emerging in unexpected places in Brussels.

     

  2. Chill out and hide from the hectic city pace in one of the city’s parks – Botanical Garden, Royal Park (also known as Brussels Park) or others.
    Belgium, Brussels Botanical garden

    Botanical Garden in Brussels.

     

    Belgium. Brussels parks

    Green space near the Royal Library of Belgium.

     

  3. Admire flower displays in Grand Place, if you are so lucky as to visit when such a festival is on. The day before I left I caught a glimpse of what the Grand Place will look like for the following four days of floral celebrations. Needless to say, I felt my timing was all off.
    Brussels Grand place with flowers

    Preparations in Grand Place for Flowertime weekend 2015

     

    Brussels Grand Place flowers

    Glimpses of Flowertime 2015 displays in Grand Place Brussels

     

  4. Hang around Grand Place and admire the jewels of Flemish architecture – the lavishly decorated guildhalls and the Town Hall, their style is different from what you’ll see in many European capitals. Before visiting Brussels I read all sorts of guides extoling the beauty of Grand Place architecture, and with all that excitement one starts wondering if this is a bit of an exaggeration. But actually it’s not. It really is an impressive backdrop for your pictures and excursions.
    Brussels Grand Place

    Brussels Grand Place Baroque architecture

     

    Brussels Grand Place

    Brussels Town Hall

     

  5. Visit a museum – Brussels is a place with many. And the best news – there are many museums that are always free and some are free on certain days. For an exhaustive list, click here.
    Brussels museums

    This building is next to the Musical Instrument Museum, or maybe even part of it.

     

  6. Go window shopping in the oldest covered shopping arcade in Europe – Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert. Admire some inspiring art and jewellery,  chocolate shops and luxury goods. 
    Brussels Galeries Royales

    Image via Wikipedia

  7. Persuade your fellow travelers to participate in some street activities, like playing pétanque or table tennis. If you are traveling on your own, it might be a good place to strike up a conversation with people enjoying themselves and join in the fun.
    Pétanque in Brussels city centre

    Pétanque in Brussels city centre

     

  8. Have fun taking pictures of sculptures and other art in the city – there are many surprises lurking around the corners of this creative space.
    1508_Brussels_Belgium-1010123 (Copy)

    Quirky displays on Brussels buildings.

     

    Sculpture in Brussels Botanical Garden

    Sculpture in Brussels Botanical Garden

     

  9. Pop into a church or a cathedral. Chances are you’ll discover some really interesting historic, architectural and artistic gems. Besides, it’s a perfect hide away from the sun or, more importantly, from the rain, which is frequent in Belgium, I’ve heard.
    1508_Brussels_Belgium-1010120 (Copy)

    Brussels has a number of impressive churches.

     

  10. Practise your French (I know, it’s not exactly for everyone, but…), after all, it’s a francophone country.

Bon voyage!