The compact Belgian capital of Brussels is well-suited for exploring on foot, with a number of guided walking tours of the city available.
In fact, the only impediment to walking around Brussels is its somewhat hilly layout. But those who can handle the gentle inclines and declines of its streetscape will be rewarded with views of pristinely-maintained Art Nouveau architecture every which way they turn – not to mention bustling enclaves dotted with cafes and restaurants. And if you chose to walk the city as part of an organised guided tour, then you’ll also benefit from fascinating narration that sheds light on Brussels’ long history. Here are five of the best Brussels walking tours that won’t break the bank.
Guided Walking Tour
This standard Brussels walking tour lasts for 2.5 hours and offers a broad overview of both the Upper and Lower City, taking you through its medieval and Baroque heart, as well as its more industrial quarters, and into modern Brussels. In the company of a local guide, you’ll learn about the origins and evolution of the city from its beginnings through to the current day. You’ll also pick up plenty of tips along the way that will serve you well for the rest of your time in Brussels, including where to find the city’s best watering holes. The tour price includes a complimentary tasting of traditional Belgian chocolates. From €20 per person.
Brussels Highlights Walking and Bus Tour
For visitors who aren’t quite so comfortable with 2.5 hours entirely on foot, this tour is split into part walking part bus ride. The first section of the tour is by bus, starting in Grand Place before traversing the street to take in some of the city’s most important landmarks and places of interest, including St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral, Jubelpark, Congress Column, and more. Later, you’ll disembark to continue on as nature intended, exploring some of the city’s cobbled streets and assorted nooks and crannies in the open air before the tour comes to a close. From €30 per person.
Free Tour of Brussels
Explore the political capital of Europe the way Brussels was meant to be seen on this ‘free’ guided tour – at the end of which you pay your guide a “tip” based on whatever you think the tour was worth (bearing in mind that for most guides their tip is often the only payment they receive). Available daily with at least two departure times, the 2.5-hour tour will guide you along ancient royal buildings, through cobblestone streets and up the hills to the museum quarter. As you move, your guide will regale you with fascinating stories and facts about the city.
Walking Tour from Central Station to Manneken Pis
Another convention tour option, this 2.5-hour exploration of Brussels starts at the relatively insalubrious surroundings of Central Station before branching out to discover the more cosmopolitan and historically important corners of the city. Highlights include visits to the Atomium, the impressive symbol of modernity from the Universal Exhibition of 1958; the Grand Place, perhaps the most beautiful square in Belgium; and the Palace of Justice, seen proudly overlooking the city from the Hill of the Gallow. The tour concludes at the Manneken Pis, only 55 centimetres tall but a truly iconic city landmark. From €279 per group (max 10 people)
Legends of Brussels – Historical Walking Tour of Brussels
Culture vultures may want to opt for this history-focussed tour, which will send you away with a mind full of little-known facts and anecdotes. Recommended for both first-time and returning visitors who want a deeper understanding of the city, over 2.5 hours you’ll visit a mix of renowned landmarks and hidden gems. Among them will be the Grand Place, the City Hall, the Manneken Pis, the Bourse, Saint-Géry, the Royal Palace and its Parc, the Saint-Hubert Galleries and the breathtaking Mont-des-Arts. At the end of the tour, an info session will be held to help you to plan the remainder of your time in Brussels. From €29 per person.