One Day in Brussels, a Side Trip from Paris

Around 164 miles or less than 2 hours by train, my friends and I decided to go on a day trip to Brussels from Paris. A beautiful capital city of Belgium, we spent one day in Brussels to explore some of the highlights of the city. It’s a remarkable destination that has a rich history, wonderful architecture and stunning landmarks. Brussels is also known for chocolates and waffles so when we went for a day trip we made sure that we experienced these as well.

marxtermind at the Atomium Brussels

How to go to Brussels from Paris?

There are a number of options to go to Brussels from Paris. The cheapest is by bus but it could take 3 to 4 hours. The fastest and most convenient is by train, which my friends and I did. The average travel time by train is 1 hour and 49 minutes. First train leaves from Paris at 06:01am while the last one leaves at 10:25pm. Our goal was to make the most out of our one day in Brussels so we booked one of the earliest schedules. We bought tickets for the 6:45am trip via Klook. The price was Php1,644 one-way per person.

Things to do for one day in Brussels

One day in Brussels

We arrived in Brussels past 8:00am. Our return ticket to Paris was at 6:15pm. That left my friends and I about 10 hours to spend in the city. It was just enough time for us to get around, most especially we only had a handful of places to visit.

Brussels is easy and fun. It’s a destination that is easy to explore. The city center is also walkable making it a fun place to get around. Most of the tourist attractions are close to each other. The city has several great sites, gorgeous Gothic churches and medieval buildings that are very interesting to see.

With one day in Brussels, here are the things that we were able to do.

1. Visit Atomium

The Atomium Brussels

The Atomium is considered as one of the most recognisable tourist sites in Brussels. It’s a landmark building originally constructed for the 1958 Brussels World Expo. The Atomium represents a single unit of iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. The structure has 9 spheres representing atoms that are connected by tubes with escalators and lifts.

2. Shop at Rue Neuve

If you love shopping, then this is the place for you. Rue Neuve is a popular shopping street in Brussels. Here you’ll find major brands like Zara, Bershka and H&M. My friends and I didn’t originally plan to shop. But when we passed by a Pull & Bear store, the items were on sale. We were able to score some sale items like pants, jackets and shirts.

3. Go on a food trip

Beer, fries and mussels at Chez Leon

One of the activities that we also did when we spent one day in Brussels was to go on a food trip. One of my friends was very eager to experience the food scene in the city so he listed some food to try. Among those are Belgian beer, fries, waffle and chocolates.

During the tour, we were able to try waffle at Vitalgaufre and belgian chocolates in one of the stores that we passed by. We we were also able to have beer, fries and mussels when we had our dinner at Chez Leon.

4. Walk around the city

marxtermind at Brussels

Since Brussels is a walkable city, we spent most of our time walking around. We were able to visit on foot the tourist attractions that were on our list. Most of them are close to each other so we didn’t have a hard time. Here are the places that we were able to see during our walking tour in Brussels.

  • Royal Gallery of Saint Hubert
  • Grand-Palace
  • Manneken Pis
  • Mont des Arts
  • Musical Instruments Museum
  • Royal Palace of Brussels
  • St Michael and St Gudula Cathedral

St Michael and St Gudula Cathedral

After enjoying our beer, fries and mussels at Chez Leon, my friends and I called it a day and decided to go to the train station already. Our train back to Paris was scheduled to depart at 6:15pm.

Spending one day in Brussels was a great experience that we had in Europe. Even though we only had one day to get around, we enjoyed the city and had a fun and interesting day tour. Brussels is a pleasant surprise for me. The magnificent buildings, iconic structures and enjoyable food trip made our one day in Brussels a wonderful side trip from Paris.

Related links:
Top activities to do in Brussels
Where to stay in Brussels?
Best countries to visit in Europe

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