Brussels, officially the Brussels-Capital Region, is a region of Belgium comprising 19 municipalities, including the City of Brussels, which is the de jure capital of Belgium.
11:30am-1:00pm : Koningen's Studio Gallery
1:30pm-4:30pm : The Old Chocolate House
Indulge in an assortment of chocolate pralines and truffles at The Old Chocolate House. The master chocolatier uses the finest cacao butter and cream to make bite-sized creations. The small shop also sells cookies, gingerbread, and other treats. Consider taking home a bag of handmade chocolates, or ship a larger purchase back home. The shop assists with shipping directly from their location. You are able to custom-order your chocolates before you ship them, or to pick them up in a few days' time to celebrate a special occasion.
10:00pm-12:30pm : Huisbrouwerij De Halve Maan
At Huisbrouwerij De Halve Maan, find out how beer was made in the old days and how brewing has changed with the help of modern technology. A guided brewery tour--available in English, French, Dutch, and Flemish--will take you through low doorways, up and down ladders, and along steep and narrow stairways. In addition to boosting your beer knowledge, you might learn a thing or two about Belgian culture. Pause on the rooftop observation deck for panoramic views of the city, and cap off your visit with a glass of vintage beer at the bar.
1:00pm-4:30 : BbyB Chocolate
12:30pm-1:30pm : The Chocolate Line Bruges
Taste the chocolate Belgium is known for at The Chocolate Line Bruges, which offers samples from chocolate masters Dominique Persoone and Fabienne De Staerke. The shop relies on its classic storefront presentation to draw chocolate lovers inside. It partners a respect for nostalgia with innovative chocolate design. These modern designs are inspired by rock 'n roll and good humor; you may hear stories of sniffing cacao with the Rolling Stones or try the chocolate shooter that propels candy pieces across the room and, hopefully, into your mouth. Peruse the selection of chocolate cosmetics for something especially novel.
2:00pm-2:30pm : Carpentier-Goegebeuer
Taste fine Belgian chocolate at Carpentier-Goegebeuer, a shop in the heart of Bruges. Pore over more than 60 types of chocolate and chocolate products, such as pralines, truffles, chocolate figurines, and marzipan. Snap a few pictures of the chocolate artwork displayed the windows, and watch the chocolatiers at work on site. Fill a box with your favorite sweets for a delectable souvenir or gift.
2:30pm-3:00pm : Belfry of Bruges
A symbolic landmark in Bruges, Belfry of Bruges represent a medieval bell tower in the historical center of town. The market hall and an inner courtyard stand behind the bell tower. Formerly home to the treasury and municipal archives, the bell tower now offers a view of Bruges from above. Climb the 366 steep steps to reach the tower's top and reap the reward of seeing the grid of canals from this vantage point. Listen to the 47 bells chime on the quarter hour as you hike your way to the top. The tower played a central role in the film "In Bruges."
4:30pm-6:00pm : René Magritte Museum
Housed in the home where he lived for 24 years, René Magritte Museum paints a picture of the life of the Belgian surrealist painter. Rene Magritte, world-renowned for his surrealist painting, lived in this house from 1930 to 1950. Walk the same halls as did the celebrated painter, and see where he created roughly half of his works, including many of his masterpieces. On five floors, the museum displays 200 of Magritte's paintings, including "Scheherazade," "The Return," and "The Empire of Light." See beyond Magritte's paintings as you explore the ground floor, decorated as it would have looked when the artist occupied the home.
11:30am-1:00pm : Minnewater Lake
Take in a view of the city from the bridge in Minnewater Lake. The lake and its park act as an entrance to the city and are home to many swans, a symbol of Bruges. The lake's name translates roughly to "lake of love," and its canals are cozy and romantic. The calm waters contain near-perfect reflections of the trees and buildings that surround the lake. Spend some quiet time in this picturesque park enjoying the beautiful scenery and the wild swans and other birds.
1:30pm-4:00pm : Groeningemuseum
Discover over 600 years of Belgian and Flemish painting at Groeningemuseum. The journey through art history begins with Flemish primitive art and ends at post-war modern art. This includes work from the region's most famous artists, such as Jan van Eyck. Admission to the attraction is free with the Bruges City Card, a discount card for all the major city sites. Book guided tours in advance by email or phone, or take a self-guided tour any time of day.
10:00am-12:00pm : Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert
With gourmet Belgian chocolate shops housed in a 19th-century shopping arcade with a glass roof, it's hard to say what the real attraction is at Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert. The shopping center attracts both locals and tourists who want to browse the chocolate shops and clothing boutiques or enjoy a quiet moment in one of the cafes. The glass ceiling brings in sunlight while protecting you from the weather, so you can enjoy the building's beauty at any time of year. Walk along the wide corridor between matching facades, shop the luxury labels, and soak up some culture at one of the museums housed in the galleries.
12:30pm-2:30pm : Grand Place
The center of Brussels, Grand Place forms an imposing square with opulent buildings, including the city hall. Dating back to 1523, the city's main square was listed as a World Heritage Site in 1998. Take in the grand architecture of the guild halls, and a tour of city hall. The square houses the Museum of the City of Brussels and the Brewers Museum, both of which give a good impression of the essence of Brussels. Despite its relatively small size, the square attracts more visitors than any other attraction in the European capital. Also there, Hôtel de Ville de Bruxelles.
3:00pm-3:30pm : Manneken Pis
A curiously famous landmark, Manneken Pis depicts a small bronze boy urinating into a fountain. The history behind the statue is contested, with several different legends surrounding the naked boy. Brussels artist Jerome Duquesnoy designed the sculpture in 1619, but because of many thefts over the years, the original statute today sits in the Maison du Roi/Broodhuis in Grand Place. Just a short walk from the main square, you'll know you're getting close when the souvenir shops feature larger-than-life versions of the landmark sculpture. At only 61 cm (24 in), this small sculpture has garnered huge attention, even having a chain of French-fry shops named after him. The little boy is dressed regularly in the attire of an organ builder, mayor of Brussels, and judo practitioner. Visit his female counterpart, Jeanneke Pis, squatting in a street nearby.
4:00pm-6:00pm : Belgian Comic Strip Center
Walk through the history of Tintin at the Belgian Comic Strip Center, which celebrates the art of the comic. The center is housed inside a former department store designed by Art Nouveau architect Victor Horta, whose great glass ceiling lets in enough natural light to illuminate the museum galleries. Exhibits showcase French, English, and Dutch comic art from its earliest days to the present. An extensive Tintin exhibit is the main attraction with the history of the artwork and its creator, and even life-size models of the characters. Browse copies of some of Europe's best-known comics and graphic novels in the reading room and library. A self-guided tour is the most popular way to explore the building and the exhibits, because information about each exhibit is available in multiple languages.
10:00am-11:00am : Museum of the City of Brussels (Musee de la Ville de Bruxelles)
Discover how the capital city became what it is today at Museum of the City of Brussels (Musee de la Ville de Bruxelles). The museum showcases a scale model of Brussels in the Middle Ages and a whole host of artifacts specific to the city, including items used by all types of people, from craftsmen to aristocrats. Paintings, textiles, tapestries, and tools fill each room of the city hall, which houses the museum. You'll recognize the building by the ornate statuary and relief carvings that distinguish it in the Grand Place, the large square in the city center. Don't miss the display of 750 costumes for the city's iconic Mannequin Pis, the famous urinating fountain. The attraction is included on the BrusselsCard (available at the tourist office), or you can purchase a ticket upon arrival.
11:30am-2:00pm : Musical Instruments Museum (MIM)
With a massive collection of musical instruments, Musical Instruments Museum (MIM) caters to musicians and music lovers. You can explore Belgium's musical history, European musical traditions, and non-European instruments, all of which are organized on four floors. Visit the basement for an exhibit on mechanical instruments, including clocks and bells and a componium--a 19th-century instrument that can create an infinite variety of music. The next level displays traditional instruments from around the world. Continue up for an exhibit of string and keyboard instruments. The top floor is dedicated to Adolphe Sax, a Brussels musician who invented the saxophone.
2:30pm-4:00pm : Horta Museum (Musee Horta)
Tour a home that blends elegance and modern thinking at Horta Museum (Musee Horta), the former home and studio of Victor Horta, a famed Art Nouveau architect. The museum displays his creations, including furniture, utensils, and architectural plans, as well as documents related to the architect's life and work, giving you a sense of the human behind the designs. The museum's location in the center of town makes it accessible from multiple stops on public transportation or by foot. Book a guided tour by phone or email at least one week in advance. Private tours after closing can be arranged for an extra fee. For a self-guided tour, purchase your tickets at the reception desk when you arrive.
4:30pm-6:00pm : Atomium
A bizarrely shaped building, Atomium resembles a giant atom. Originally built for Expo 58, Brussels' World Fair in 1958, the landmark now attracts visitors for its impressive views of the capital from above. Designed in the shape of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times, the building is composed of nine huge stainless-steel spheres measuring 18 m (59 ft) in diameter and connected by steel tubes. Visit the five spheres containing exhibit halls, including one permanent exhibit dedicated to Expo 58. The top sphere offers a panoramic view of Brussels. Learn about the building's history, construction, and renovation on a guided tour.
11:30am-1:00pm : The Markt
With landmark buildings and statues of important figures, The Markt sits at the heart of Bruges' historical center. Covering only about 1 hectare (2.5 acres), the main square features the Neo-Gothic provincial court, and the belfry tower, one of the city's most recognizable landmarks. Because the square is mostly closed to cars, city celebrations often take place here. In the center of the square, you'll see the statues of Jan Breydel and Pieter de Coninck, local heroes who are honored for their role in the Flemish resistance against the French king in 1302. Admire the tall bell tower and the Flemish architecture. You'll find plenty of restaurants surrounding the square, but for quality food at lower prices, choose some place just a short walk from the square.
1:30pm-4:30pm : Historic Centre of Brugge
Step into Old World charm in Historic Centre of Brugge. Once a medieval settlement, this quiet city center still features preserved Gothic buildings and was at one time considered to be a major commercial city, due mainly to its port. Walk the cobbled streets to find endless chocolate shops, pubs featuring doubles and triples, and a mix of architectural styles. View the historic city on a boat tour through the canals, or sit back during a carriage ride through the canal-lined streets. If you've seen the film "In Bruges," you may want to take a guided tour, which can pinpoint major locations from the film.