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48 hours in Brussels

Where to stay

Made in Louise, which straddles the Ixelles and Saint Gilles neighborhoods, is a family-run, townhouse-style hotel with 48 suites. The vibe is upscale bed-and-breakfast with cozy yet elegant lodgings and an emphasis on guest experience.

Consider checking into Pillows Grand Hotel Place Rouppe. The newly-refurbished property is surrounded by neoclassical Belgian architecture and includes 43 rooms that marry classic and contemporary. Try signature dishes like salmon gravlax and Thai coconut soup at the onsite restaurant, The Living.

Day 1

Treat yourself to an indulgent morning at Maison Renardy, an off-the-beaten-path tearoom in Ixelles. Spend some time on the terrace while sampling their selection of tea, pastries, and house-made jams. 

Choose your adventure:

Slide 1 of 2
  • Option 1: Fitness

    Brussels is very cyclist-friendly. Take advantage of the Villo bike-sharing service (bikes can be found docked all over the city) and set off on La Promenade Verte (the Green Walk). The 30-mile-long route can be accessed at many points, but start at The Heizel Plateau, where you can admire the Chinese Pavilion and Japanese Tower. If you’re feeling ambitious, continue the whole way and end at the peaceful community of Jette in Molenbeek Valley.

  • Option 2: Culture

    The Atomium building was erected during Expo 58, the Brussels World’s Fair in 1958. 

    The landmark, which was designed to represent the power of science, consists of nine spheres that replicate an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. Climb the stairs to the top to take in views before making your way into the museum portion.

Head to Saint Catherine Street for lunch. Here, you’ll find an unassuming seafood market with locals congregating at tables. Dig into the fresh catch of the day which might include fresh Irish oysters, razor clams, or local mussels.

Reserve in advance at Café des Spores, a mushroom-based restaurant in hip Saint-Gilles. Intimate and casual, it’s known for farm-to-table ingredients, with the star of each plate being some variety of mushroom. Although the menu changes seasonally, expect creations like shiitakes with Jerusalem artichoke mousse and enoki and feta croquettes.

Day 2

In Brussels, a Belgian waffle is a must. Make your way to The Sister Brussels Café, a wellness-leaning breakfast spot offering vegan waffles, Buddha bowls, gluten-free breakfast sandwiches, and more.

Choose your adventure:

Slide 1 of 2
  • Option 1: Fitness

    Spend the day exploring the Sonian Forest on foot. The UNESCO World Heritage Site weaves through the southeast edge of Brussels, with two-hundred-year-old beech trees, five nature reserves, and various art installations that run along a paved running and cycling trail. Enter near the Rouge-Cloître Abbey and follow the almost four-mile trail to Flanders.

  • Option 2: Culture

    The Marolles Flea Market in Place du Jeu de Balle has been open since 1873. Arrive early, as the all-weather market opens at six in the morning and closes by two p.m. Take a leisurely stroll through the stalls, where you can find items like vintage designer clothing, Art Deco glassware, and antique knick-knacks.

Refuel with a wood-fired, organic Neapolitan pizza at NONA. The restaurant places serious emphasis on sustainability and supporting local farmers. Pair a pie with a glass of organic wine.  

Make your way through Grand Place to the vibrant L'Amère à Boire for some local beer. The 40-minute walk will take you through some of the most architecturally striking spots in the city. Don’t leave without trying a Lambic—the funky beverage is fermented through exposure to wild bacteria and yeast and is packed with probiotics. 

Finish the trip at Tarzan, a Scandinavian-inspired natural wine bar and restaurant. Choose from a rotating menu of vegetarian-friendly shared plates such as homemade hummus, cucumber gazpacho, and beets with avocado mousse.