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Things to Do in Belgium: Brussels Itinerary (Plus Bruges and Ghent)

If you only have two days to spend in Belgium, keep reading my Belgium itinerary to help you decide what to see in Belgium when you don’t have much time. Regardless of how many days in Belgium you have to explore, the country is small enough you’ll be able to accomplish a lot with this Brussels itinerary.

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Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?

The Insurance companies I recommend are Hey Mondo and Safety Wing

Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single-trip cover, annual multi-trip cover, and long-term travel cover. Safety Wing is great value, with monthly coverage starting at $45.08. It’s super easy to use, and it just renews each month. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy.

Read my full travel insurance post here, where I go into detail about all companies. 

Visiting Belgium: Why Plan a Trip?

Why should you visit Belgium? Belgium is a fascinating country because of its history—it has a complex past. There are three languages spoken in Belgium (French, Dutch, and even some German), and the currency is the Euro. Many people visit Belgium as part of a more extended trip backpacking around Europe.

Here are some of the best things to do in Belgium:

Sadly, I didn’t get to try everything on my “what to do in Belgium” list since I only had two days for my Belgium tour. I did manage to hit most of them (pretty much the eating and drinking things, haha).

Brussels Itinerary 2 days in belgium

How to Visit Belgium: Getting to Belgium

Travel within Europe is cheap, and I booked some bargain flights through Skyscanner. Be aware that the Charleroi Airport is outside of Brussels, and it takes about 90 minutes for a coach to get into the Brussels city center.

To get from Charleroi Airport to Brussels, I took the shuttle bus. You can buy the ticket from the desk outside the airport.

The ticket cost me €17, which was way more expensive than I thought. You don’t save money by pre-booking online, but may save some queuing time.

If you can get a flight into the central airport for just €30-40 more, I would book that option to save you the hassle.

Quick Tip: Book accommodation, tours, and transport ahead of time online to save money and stress. 
Best Belgium ToursClick here to check out the top Belgium tours
Best Belgium Accommodation: Click here to check out the best accommodation in Belgium
Best Belgium Transport: Click here to book a bus, ferry, or train in Belgium

Arriving or Leaving at Night from Brussels Charleroi Airport

If you arrive late at night or have an early morning flight from Brussels Charleroi Airport, it’s virtually impossible to get to central Brussels via public transport.

My flight was at 6:00 a.m., so I could get a taxi and spend a lot of money or find somewhere close to the airport to sleep. The only place in my budget was an Airbnb, just 30 minutes from the airport. Dario was a great host, and the place was a good value.

If you don’t fancy a 30-minute walk, you can walk 10 minutes to Parking 3 and get on the shuttle bus that will take you to the airport terminal.

Here, enjoy $19 off AirBnB on me.

brussels itinerary,2 days in Belgium,things to do in belgium,Belgium itinerary

Things to Know Before Visiting Belgium

What Language Do They Speak in Belgium?

English is widely spoken—if you are in Brussels and know a bit of French, then use it (same for Antwerp). Bruges and Ghent are Flemish and speak Dutch, so don’t speak French here. Unless you have a good grasp of Dutch/ Flemish, stick to English.

When is the Best Time to Visit Belgium?

The best time to visit Belgium is spring, April to June, and early autumn, September to October. The weather is mild, and tourist crowds are smaller around this time of year.

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Cycling in Belgium

Get on your bike—everyone cycles here! I hired a bike in Antwerp for a week, which cost €9. There’s an entirely separate cycle path with a signaling system, so it’s unbelievably safe, unlike cycling in the UK when you fear for your life most of the time.

How Many Days in Belgium Do You Need?

While you can explore many highlights of Belgium in one to three days, four to six is ideal for a more relaxed tour of Belgium.

Things to Do in Belgium: What to Do in Brussels for a Day

Brussels Itinerary

Where to Stay in Brussels

In Brussels, I stayed at the Train Hostel. It was a bit out of town (10 minutes via train), but the location wasn’t too bad.

My only issue with this hostel was at breakfast—I saw a buffet and got myself a coffee. A member of the staff watched me do this and said nothing. Once I sat down and drank my coffee, she asked me for my room number and informed me breakfast is not included and costs €8! Not the most pleasant experience.

Other options in town include Motel One Brussels and Rocco Forte Hotel Amigo.

Take a Free Walking Tour of Brussels During the Day

Go to the Grand Palace from 1:30 to 2:00 p.m. and take a free walking tour.

There are a few to choose from, and I went with New Europe Tours entirely by accident. I booked with another company but missed my slot because my plane was delayed—while looking for a different company recommended to me by the hostel, I got the wrong one and ended up with New Europe Tours!

The good thing about a walking tour of Brussels is that you get an excellent overview of what to see in Belgium and places to add to your Brussels itinerary. Plus, a Belgium tour helps you get oriented and learn the best things to do in Belgium from a local. If you‘re short on time and wondering what to do in Brussels for a day, I recommend doing a walking tour.

Brussels Itinerary 2 days in belgium

The idea behind free walking tours is that the tour guides work hard to give you a fantastic tour, and then at the end, you pay what you feel it’s worth or can afford. The standard rate for a walking tour is around €15 per person, so, ideally, that’s a good amount to go for.

The Belgium tour was fantastic and lasted around three hours—we saw all the sights and national treasures including, Manneken Pis.

Brussels Itinerary 2 days in belgium

In the Evening, Do a Beer Tour in Brussels

My initial plan on my Brussels itinerary was to get some food and head back to the hostel, but the beer tour enticed me. I felt a bit torn about this as I was traveling on a very tight budget, and it cost €18, which included one drink and three tasters from two different bars.

Finally, I gave in, deciding that visiting Belgium would only be worthwhile by drinking some beer! I didn’t feel like drinking alone, so I booked into another group and was happy I did. If you’re considering booking a beer tour and aren’t sure, DO IT. Especially if you’re a solo female traveler, beer + other people = instant friends and a great night.

Brussels Itinerary 2 days in belgium belgium beer tour

I learned a lot about beer (and drank a lot of beer), made some new friends, and had a great night. Remember that the beer is much stronger in Belgium than you might be used to.

Also, check the last train/tram/bus back if you are staying outside the city center, or you’ll be stuck taking an expensive taxi.

What to Do in Brussels for Two Days: Day Trips from Brussels

Explore Ghent to Bruges

On day two of my Belgium itinerary, I booked a coach tour to Ghent and Bruges.

Sometimes, it makes sense to book organized tours, and this was one of them. When researching what to do in Brussels for two days, I decided to explore day trips from Brussels to Ghent or Bruges.

The best day trip from Brussels was obvious—a combined tour of Bruges and Ghent. Aside from Brussels and Antwerp, they‘re strong contenders for the best place to visit Belgium and experience local culture.

After doing lots of research to decide between Ghent or Bruges, I decided to do a Belgium tour of both in one day.

Brussels Itinerary

Why Do a Day Tour of Bruges and Ghent?

The trains are expensive from Brussels to Bruges, so it didn’t cost much more to do a tour than the train—plus, I could leave my backpack on the coach, and a walking tour of both areas was included. This meant I would be able to fit a lot into my day.

Many people warned me I would feel too rushed, but I enjoyed the trip. I book my city tours with Viator because they usually have great discounts, so download the app and check. If I had more time, I’d spend half a day in Ghent and one full day in Bruges before taking the train from Bruges to Brussels. 

Things to See and Do in Ghent

Our coach tour didn’t have much free time in Ghent after walking through, which was fine with me since it was raining.

Popular activities include walking alongside the city’s canals and exploring the many local museums.

Things to See and Do in Bruges

We had much more time to explore Bruges, and I opted for lunch at a small café where I enjoyed a coffee and waffle for €5.

I loved Bruges—it’s possibly the most photogenic place I’ve ever visited. Sadly, due to poor weather and a nasty hangover from the previous night’s beer tour, it wasn’t the best day to explore. Still, there are a lot of fun activities in Bruges that I hope to do next time.

Brussels Itinerary 2 days in belgium

Buy Belgium Chocolates

Look for a shop just off the main square called Truffelhuisje. The man who served me was so helpful, and the prices were reasonable—the chocolates were pretty amazing, too. I planned on gifting them to someone but changed my mind and ate them myself. Oops!

Eat Some Frites

Breaking news: French fries don’t come from France, they’re from Belgium! If you’re a vegetarian, check before ordering—the frites are often fried in beef fat.

Visit the Basilica of the Holy Blood

You have to see the Basilica of the Holy Blood to believe it. It’s free to enter, and I recommend spending at least 30 minutes there.

Go On a Walking Tour of Bruges

My walking tour of Bruges was included in my trip, but if you visit alone, I suggest taking a guided tour as there is so much history to see and learn about.

Drink a Belgium Hot Chocolate

The hot chocolate is what I’ll remember most about Belgium (and the beer, of course). Honestly, I’ve never tasted anything like Belgian hot chocolate. They give you a cup of milk with a lollypop stick that has a big lump of chocolate on it. As you stir, it begins to melt—the flavor is AMAZING.

Brussels Itinerary 2 days in belgium belgium hot chocolate

Take a Boat Trip

The weather was far too wet for me to take a boat trip during my trip to Bruges. But I’ve spoken to others who have done it and had a blast.

Brussels Itinerary 2 days in belgium

Photograph Everything

As mentioned earlier, Bruges is the best place to visit Belgium for photography because it’s picture-perfect.

Belgium Trip Itinerary: Three Days in Belgium

Brussels Itinerary 2 days in belgium

Visit Antwerp

If you are lucky and have three days in Belgium, you can easily walk to the coach station in Bruges and board a train to Antwerp. I got on the 6:30 p.m. train and arrived just before 8:00 p.m., which cost around €15. This is the perfect way to spend your third and final day in Belgium.

Where to Stay in Antwerp

I stayed with a friend in Antwerp, but I recommend searching on The Antwerp city center is conveniently located near most of the town’s top activities. There are many hotels, hostels, and rental apartments to choose from in this neighborhood.

What to Do in Antwerp

While visiting Antwerp, shop along Meir Street and in the town’s world-renowned Diamond District. If you love learning about art and history through museums, Antwerp has many options. Antwerp is also a great place to try local cuisine because it has a delicious culinary scene.

Belgium Travel Guide Planning

🚗 Where can I book bus or private transportation ?

I recommend Bookaway. They have a lot of transport options in all over Europe.

🎫 Where can I buy tickets for museums, attractions, and tours?

I recommend either Viator or GetYour Guide. They have a lot of options!

👩‍⚕️ What is the best insurance to have while traveling?

I recommend using Heymondo for a great value policy. The app also offers you 24/7 Dr Chat. For Digital Nomads check out SafetyWing digital nomad insurance.

I have also written a blog post covering all my recommended travel insurance here

✈️ Any flight recommendations?

WayAWay offers you cheap flights with cashback. You can use this code CLAIRE22 to get 10% off. Otherwise Skyscanner or Expedia are my go-to flight searching platforms.

📱What do you use for internet connection while traveling?

I’m a big fan of personal WiFi devices and they have saved my ass so many times when traveling. I wrote a full review of the top travel WiFi devices you can read here. I personally use GlocalMe as I can either pop in a physical sim card or use their local carrier.

With regards to my phone connection, I use e-sims while traveling, so rather than having to swap out my regular sim card I can download the app and buy a virtual sim card. I recommend using eitherAirhub or Alosim. Both have great coverage of multiple countries and are very easy to use.

🛏️ What is the best platform to use for booking accommodation?

The 3 best platforms that I normally use are, and Expedia They offer great deals and multiple options. I always check all three to be sure of the best deals.

🛅 Do you have any luggage recommendations for traveling?

I do have a complete list of the best packing and luggage products that I recommend, you can check the list here. I’m currently traveling with this suitcase and this backpack. 

Final Thoughts on What to Do in Belgium

Belgium is a great place to spend a few days, and my only regret was not having more time to see Antwerp. Four to six days is the perfect amount to embark on a whirlwind Belgium trip.

2 days in Belgium

Visiting Europe? Take a read of my top posts in Europe:

Packing Advice for Europe

What to See in Prague

The Solo Girl’s Guide to Zurich

The Solo Girl’s Guide to Sofia

The Solo Girl’s Guide to Moscow

Things to Do in Copenhagen

Surf Camp Spain

Places to Visit in Devon

Things to Do in Cornwall

A Day in Bath

The Solo Girl’s Guide to Barcelona

The Solo Girl’s Guide to Stockholm

Things to Do in Mijas Pueblo

If you like my two days in Brussels itinerary, save it in your Stipple trip planner, where you’ll find destinations, things to do, and accommodations all in one place without juggling between several apps.

Brussels itinerary

This post was proofread by Grammarly.


Wednesday 14th of December 2016

I always find it so hard to visit a city in just one day! Walking tours are a good way to do it though as you get the highlights in a relatively short time. With more time though you get to go back & explore the places you likedbest :)

Claire Summers

Wednesday 14th of December 2016

I know right! That's what I thought as I'm sure I'll go back to see more :-)

Samantha Elisabeth

Wednesday 14th of December 2016

This sounds like a fun way to spend two days! Love all the beer haha. And you can't say no to such a great flight deal!

Claire Summers

Wednesday 14th of December 2016

That's exactly what I thought!


Tuesday 13th of December 2016

I would totally use the bike everywhere! This is a great post on Belgium! Hopefully I get to visit next year!

Claire Summers

Tuesday 13th of December 2016

So great to be able to cycle everywhere!


Monday 12th of December 2016

Wow, a 3 hour tour sounds amazing. Every time I go on a tour, it's usually only an hour and I always wish it was longer. I love beer and would definitely do the beer tour :)

Claire Summers

Tuesday 13th of December 2016

Yes it was really great! And the beer tour was worth every penny :-)

Tamara - @ Girlswanderlust

Monday 12th of December 2016

It seems you had a great time in Belgium! And you've seen a lot in just two days. I would love to try out a beer tour one time. :-) I visited Antwerp before (I come from the Netherlands, so it's very close for me) and I think this was such a beautiful city. In my opinion also definitely worth a visit. Bruges seems beautiful as well, maybe a nice day trip for 2017!

Claire Summers

Tuesday 13th of December 2016

Thats my main regret. Can't believe I spent 3 days in Antwerp and saw nothing...Oh well means I'll have to go back one day!