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Best free things to do in Brussels, Belgium 2024

Brussels, the capital city of Belgium, is a hub of European culture, history, and gastronomy. While the city is known for its chocolate, waffles, and beer, there are also plenty of free things to do in Brussels. From exploring the historic city centre to admiring art and architecture, there is something for everyone.

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Table of Contents

Exploring Brussels’ Parks and Gardens

Brussels is home to many beautiful parks and gardens that are perfect for a relaxing day out, and the best part is that most of them are free to enter. Here are some of the top parks and gardens to explore when you visit Brussels.

The Royal Greenhouses of Laeken

The Royal Greenhouses of Laeken are only open to the public for a few weeks each year, but they are well worth a visit. These magnificent greenhouses were built in the late 19th century and cover an area of over 2.5 hectares. They contain a wide variety of plants, including rare and exotic species, and are a true marvel of engineering and horticulture. The greenhouses are located in the grounds of the Royal Palace of Laeken, which is also open to visitors during the summer months.

Parc du Cinquantenaire

Parc du Cinquantenaire is one of Brussels’ most popular parks, and it’s easy to see why. This beautiful green space covers an area of 30 hectares and is home to several museums, including the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History. The park is also home to a large triumphal arch, which was built in 1905 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Belgian independence. Visitors can enjoy a picnic on the lawns, take a stroll through the rose garden, or simply relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.

Parc de Bruxelles

Parc de Bruxelles, also known as Warandepark, is located in the heart of Brussels and covers an area of 13 hectares. The park is home to several important buildings, including the Royal Palace of Brussels and the Belgian Parliament. Visitors can take a leisurely walk through the park, admire the beautiful fountains and sculptures, or simply relax on one of the many benches.

Mont des Arts

Mont des Arts, or “Mount of the Arts,” is a beautiful park located in the centre of Brussels. The park covers an area of 0.6 hectares and offers stunning views of the city. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely walk through the park, take in the beautiful architecture of the surrounding buildings, or simply relax on one of the many benches.

Cinquentenaire, Brussels, Belgium

Museums with No Admission Fee

Travelling can be expensive, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the cultural experiences that a city like Brussels has to offer. Fortunately, there are plenty of museums in Brussels that you can visit for free. Here are three museums that offer free admission all year round.

Museum of the City of Brussels

The Museum of the City of Brussels, also known as the Maison du Roi or the Broodhuis, is located in the heart of the city, just a stone’s throw from the Grand Place. The museum is housed in a stunning Gothic building that dates back to the 15th century and is home to a fascinating collection of artefacts that tell the story of Brussels and its people. Visitors can see everything from tapestries and paintings to ceramics and silverware. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, and entry is free for all visitors.

The Royal Museum of the Armed Forces

The Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History is one of the largest military museums in the world and is located in the Cinquantenaire Park. The museum’s collection includes more than 10,000 objects, including weapons, uniforms, and vehicles, as well as paintings, sculptures, and photographs. Visitors can learn about the history of the Belgian military from the Middle Ages to the present day. The museum is open every day except Monday, and admission is free.

The Royal Palace in Summer

In the summer months, visitors to Brussels can also visit the Royal Palace for free. The Royal Palace is the official residence of the Belgian monarch and is located in the heart of the city. Visitors can explore the palace’s opulent rooms and halls, including the Mirror Room, the Throne Room, and the Goya Room. The palace is open from July to September, and admission is free. Visitors should check the palace’s website for opening hours and any special events that may be taking place.

Place Royale - Koningsplein, Brussels, Belgium

Historical Landmarks

Brussels is a city rich in history, and there are several landmarks that visitors should not miss. 

Discover the Comic Book Route

The comic book route is a self-guided walking tour that takes visitors through the streets of Brussels to see over 50 murals and sculptures depicting characters from famous Belgian comics. This tour is a great way to explore the city and see some of its most famous landmarks, such as the Atomium and the Grand Place, while also enjoying some of the city’s unique art.

The Atomium

The Atomium is one of the most famous landmarks in Brussels. This iconic structure was built for the 1958 World Expo and is a representation of an iron molecule magnified 165 billion times. Visitors can take a tour of the Atomium and enjoy panoramic views of the city from the top.

The Grand Place

The Grand Place is the central square of Brussels and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This beautiful square is surrounded by stunning architecture, including the Town Hall, the Breadhouse, and the Guildhalls. Visitors can enjoy the square’s beauty while sitting at one of the many cafes or restaurants.

See Manneken Pis

Manneken Pis is a famous statue of a little boy peeing into a fountain. This statue has become a symbol of Brussels and is a must-see for any visitor to the city. Visitors can also see his female counterpart, Jeanneke Pis, and the lesser-known Zinneke Pis, a dog peeing on a pole.

Atomium, Brussels, Belgium

Free Festivals and Events

Brussels is known for its vibrant cultural scene, and there are plenty of free festivals and events to enjoy throughout the year. Here are a few highlights:

Brussels Summer Festival

The Brussels Summer Festival is one of the city’s most popular events, attracting thousands of visitors each year. The festival takes place over five days in August and features a diverse range of music acts, from rock and pop to hip hop and electronic. In addition to the concerts, there are also street performers, art installations, and food stalls to enjoy. Best of all, many of the activities are free of charge.

Brussels Jazz Weekend

For jazz lovers, the Brussels Jazz Weekend is not to be missed. This annual event takes place over a weekend in May and features over 100 free concerts across the city. From traditional jazz to fusion and experimental, there’s something for everyone. In addition to the music, there are also workshops, jam sessions, and other activities to participate in.

Other Festivals in Brussels

Other free festivals and events in Brussels include the Belgian Beer Weekend, which takes place in September and celebrates the country’s brewing heritage, and the Winter Wonders festival, which runs from November to January and features a Christmas market, ice skating rink, and light installations.

Window Shopping in Brussels

Brussels is a great place for window shopping. Visitors can wander around the city centre and discover a variety of shops and boutiques. Here are two of the best places to window shop in Brussels:

Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert

Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert is a covered shopping arcade in the heart of Brussels. It is one of the oldest shopping arcades in Europe and is home to a variety of luxury shops, cafes, and restaurants. Visitors can admire the beautiful architecture of the arcade while browsing the shops. The arcade is particularly magical at night when the lights are on and the shops are illuminated.

Rue Neuve

Rue Neuve is a pedestrian shopping street in the centre of Brussels. It is one of the busiest shopping streets in Belgium and is home to a variety of shops, including international brands and local boutiques. Visitors can find everything from clothing and accessories to electronics and homeware. The street is particularly lively during weekends and holidays when locals and tourists flock to the shops.

Brussels, Belgium

Free Walking Tours

Brussels is a city with a rich history and culture, and one of the best ways to explore it is by taking a walking tour. Fortunately, there are many free walking tours available in the city that cover a variety of interesting details about the city.

Most free tours in the area focus on the history of Brussels, providing stops at several notable sites and landmarks. Some tours also include legends and mysteries, art history, and conflicts.

One popular option is the Stories About Brussels tour, which is highly recommended by GuruWalk. This tour is led by local storytellers who share their insider knowledge of the city, including its hidden gems and lesser-known stories.

Another popular tour is the Free Tour Through Brussels (The Essential), which is listed as one of the best free walking tours in Brussels by Next Stop Belgium. This tour covers the must-see sights of Brussels, including the Grand Place, Manneken Pis, and the Royal Palace.

For those interested in the European Quarter of Brussels, the Free Tour Brussels European Quarter is a great option. This tour takes visitors through the heart of the European Union, including the European Parliament and the European Commission.

No matter which free walking tour visitors choose, they are sure to learn something new about Brussels and its fascinating history. Plus, these tours are a great way to explore the city on foot and get some exercise while sightseeing.

Best free things to do in Brussels FAQs

Brussels has many free outdoor activities to offer. Visitors can explore the beautiful parks such as the Parc de Bruxelles, the Bois de la Cambre, and the Cinquantenaire Park. They can also take a stroll through the charming streets of the city center, admire the stunning architecture, and enjoy the lively atmosphere of the Grand Place.

Brussels has several free museums to visit, including the Belgian Comic Strip Center, the Museum of the Belgian Brewers, and the Museum of Natural Sciences. Visitors can also enjoy free admission to the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium on the first Wednesday of every month.

The average temperature in Andorra during July and August ranges from around 20°C to 25°C (68°F to 77°F) in the valleys. In the higher mountain regions, temperatures might be slightly cooler, but still pleasant, with average highs reaching around 15°C to 20°C (59°F to 68°F).

During the day, you can expect sunny and clear skies, allowing you to enjoy various outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, and sightseeing. The warm weather also provides the perfect opportunity to explore Andorra’s charming villages, cultural attractions, and natural wonders.

While the summer days are generally warm, the nights can be cooler, especially in the mountainous areas. It’s advisable to pack some layers, such as a light jacket or sweater, to stay comfortable during the evenings.

The Cartoon Walk is a self-guided walking tour that takes visitors on a journey through Brussels’ comic book murals. The tour is free and takes about two hours to complete. Visitors can pick up a map of the tour at the tourist information center or download it online.

Central Brussels has many free things to offer visitors. They can explore the historic center of Brussels, admire the stunning architecture of the Grand Place, and visit the iconic Manneken Pis statue. They can also take a stroll through the charming streets of the Sablon neighborhood and visit the Place du Grand Sablon.

Brussels has several free or cheap things to do with a baby, including visiting the Parc de Bruxelles, the Bois de la Cambre, and the Cinquantenaire Park. Parents can also take their babies to the Museum of Natural Sciences, which offers free admission for children under the age of 18.

Some of the most famous free attractions to visit in Brussels include the Manneken Pis statue, the Atomium, and the Royal Palace of Brussels. Visitors can also explore the historic center of Brussels, admire the stunning architecture of the Grand Place, and take a stroll through the charming streets of the city center.

Therefore, while there is no physical border control, Andorra is considered part of the Schengen Area, which allows for the free movement of people within its member countries. This means that travelers coming from Spain to Andorra or vice versa do not need to present passports or go through formal immigration processes. The absence of border control has greatly facilitated the flow of tourism, commerce, and exchange between the two countries. 

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