A Perfect 24 Hours in Brussels 2024 1
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A Perfect 24 Hours in Brussels 2024

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Greetings, Internet Stranger! I’m Stella Jane, author of the travel guide Get Lost, and welcome to 24 hours in Brussels!

Normally when I start listing my favorite European cities, I can find a fair number of people to agree with my conclusions. I love London? Lots of people love London. J’adore Paris? Mais, bien sur, oui! I think Rome is swell? Everyone from Julius Caesar to Audrey Hepburn has felt the same way.

But when I tell people that I <3 Brussels, they often react surprised. Why should I spend 24 hours in Brussels? Isn’t that where the sprouts come from? Why get so excited about such an ordinary city?

Well, let me tell you, Internet Stranger, Brussels has a lot more to offer than just green veggies and muscles. There’s delicious food, stunning architecture, cool street art, and hot jazz.

My favorite activity in Brussels is the famous beer and chocolate tour. By the end of the evening, you’ll be singing “Bruxelles, ma belle” right along with me!

Stella’s Top 3 Picks: 24 Hours in Brussels

#1 TOP PICK

A Perfect 24 Hours in Brussels 2024 2

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
CHOCOLATE AND BEER TOUR
✔️ They are both delicious
✔️ Expert local guide

#2 PICK

A Perfect 24 Hours in Brussels 2024 3

BEER, CHOCOLATE, AND WAFFLES
✔️ Waffles are also delicious
✔️ Small group tour

#3 PICK

A Perfect 24 Hours in Brussels 2024 4

ALL OTHER BRUSSELS TOURS
✔️ Choose your favorite
✔️ Find the best deals

24 hours in brussels

24 Hours in Brussels

Morning: Beer and Chocolate Tour

Of course you cannot spend a one day in Brussels itinerary without consuming the Four Horsemen of the Belgian Apocalypse: beer, chocolate, waffles, and frites. I will save my waffles suggestion for another time, but you will have the beer and chocolate more than covered if you take the amazing Beer and Chocolate Tour.

This may be my favorite tour I have ever taken in my life. I have taken it two times: once with Marie, who started the tour company, and once with Daniel, and they were both terrific. I paid for the tour myself both times, so you know it is real love.

Check rates and availability by going here!

Now I feel qualified to share with you the chocolate I ate on my most recent 24 hours in Brussels for a day

Approximately Top 5: Beer and Chocolate

24 hours in brussels
1) Chocolate Egg

The most recent time I took the tour (with Daniel), we started in this store, which looks kind of cheesy from the outside. However, as is the case with all the chocolate makers you will be visiting on this tour, they are a local artisanal chocolate shop. (They’ve since closed, but I’m sure you’ll stop somewhere just as good.)

Here we started with a fun chili-chocolate. It has a bit of a kick to it, but that just makes it more memorable.

Fun Fact

Daniel explained to us that Belgium is famous for a kind of chocolate called a praline, which just means a sweet with a tasty filling of some sort covered in a chocolate shell. They were introduced in Belgium just before the first World War broke out.

I already assumed that part because when Poirot was a detective in Brussels before WWI, he solved a mystery called The Chocolate Box and Poirot is never wrong.

Check rates and availability by going here!

24 hours in brussels
2) Fancy Chocolate

Our next stop was at a local high-end chocolate maker who is famous for these delectable little white chocolate domes filled with different flavors. (I think they’re all fruit flavors.) This little guy was filled with passion fruit. Eat it in one bite or you’ll make a mess.

24 hours in brussels

Daniel taught us about how single-origin chocolates are one of the hot topics in chocolate making now. In a single-origin chocolate, as many of the cocoa beans come from the same country as possible. To demonstrate, we tasted a single-origin chocolate from Papua New Guinea. About 75% of the beans used in the chocolate came from PNG. And look at how pretty it is!

I wasn’t really convinced before tasting the chocolate that the origin would make a difference, but the chocolate really did have an intense smokey flavor I have never tasted before. Now I want to try all the single-origin chocolates that there are! I can catch ’em all like (delicious) Pokemon.

24 hours in brussels

After that, we tried a rum chocolate that tasted like A Very Special Christmas…

24 hours in brussels

And we got to pick another chocolate from four more experimental choices. I chose bay flavored chocolate because I always choose the weirdest flavor. It tasted intriguingly herbal and not like a chocolate coated Maryland crab boil at all.

Check tour rates and availability by going here!

24 hours in brussels
3) Even Fancier Chocolate

Next we stopped at a chocolate maker who is apparently known as the Chanel of chocolate. Daniel told us that his stores are always decorated very beautifully to go with the seasons, just like a house of haute couture would be. This summer the shop was decorated entirely with flowers to go with the theme “A Summer at Pierre’s”.

Here we had our own private chocolate tasting room and feasted on another single-origin chocolate, this time one from Madagascar that tasted like raspberries. Weirdly enough, this chocolate also made me dance to I Like to Move It.

24 hours in brussels

Then we dabbled in another experimental chocolate with Earl Grey tea. I loved this flavor because it tastes like something like Queen Elizabeth would serve the Belgian ambassador at a fancy party. In fact, I think that should be the plot of the next episode of The Crown.

24 hours in brussels

Our last goutee at this establishment was a very sweet raspberry-chocolate heart to give us energy for the road, and off we went to our last chocolate shop. This raspberry-chocolate heart is one of his specialties, just like the white chocolate dome is a specialty of the other chocolate shop.

I would much rather have a chocolate than a Valentine.

24 hours in brussels
4) Galeries St Hubert

Our final chocolate extravaganza would take place in one of the beautiful shops in the Galeries St. Hubert, which were the first shopping galleries in Europe. You can think of these lovely glass enclosed spaces as the precursor to the modern shopping center, which means that we can thank the Galeries St. Hubert for the Mall of America.

We stopped for our last sweet treat at an adorably retro parlor. Daniel said that we were chocolate experts now so we could pick any two that we liked.

I chose salted caramel because Daniel said it was the best–and it was! The one with red flecks below is rose-lychee which I picked because it’s weird to put rose in chocolate and I am an inveterate weirdo.

Check tour rates and availability by going here!

24 hours in brussels
5) Royal Theatre Toone

Now that we were done with the chocolates, it was time to get smashed! Speaking of weird things, our first bar was at a place called Royal Theatre Toone. The Toone also puts on puppet shows, and nothing is weirder than puppets.

24 hours in brussels
24 Hour Treasure

It was here that we got to try a truly Belgian specialty, the sour beer. In Belgium, sour beers are made by using wild yeast so that the beer ferments spontaneously. This gives the beer a strangely sour taste. The best description I can give is to say it tastes like vinegar if vinegar were delicious. This sour beer is kriek, which means it’s made with cherries.

Don’t let the cherries fool you! This beer is not at all sweet yet somehow manages to taste like cherries. This was my favorite beer of course because it was the strangest. I need to figure out a way to try sour beers back home.

24 hours in brussels
6) Beer shop

At our next stop, we moved to the top floor of a beer shop. This was great because we had an almost unlimited list of beers to try, including many enjoyable gluten-free beers for a woman with celiac disease on the tour. We also nibbled meat and cheese with our beer here so we didn’t get too tipsy.

Our first beer was a local craft beer; it was a stout, which is a dark beer. We paired this with a crispy hazelnut chocolate that Daniel had brought from one of the chocolatiers because he said that stouts pair well with chocolate. He was certainly right about that.

24 hours in brussels

After this, we feasted on a couple of triple ales. A triple is just a really strong ale, I think, and Belgian beers are famous for being strong. Math was never my best subject, but I feel confident in saying that a triple ale is generally stronger than a double ale. This triple pictured below has 9.5% alcohol content.

I do not remember any difference in the taste of the two triples that we tried, possibly because it’s hard to notice things like taste after you’ve had a couple of beers with 9.5% alcohol content.

24 hours in brussels

Lastly we tried an IPA (India Pale Ale) because those are so trendy right now. Daniel told us that this beer was a little less bitter than most IPAs. That was just what I needed after drinking four glasses of Belgian beer, a smooth and easy to drink IPA!

24 hours in brussels
7) Old Bar

Our final stop was at the oldest bar in Brussels where we finished off with a Trappist ale. According to Ye Olde Belgianne Lawe, to be classified as a Trappist ale the brewery can’t profit at all from making the beer.

So you can imagine that there are not too many breweries queuing up for this classification. There are only 11 Trappist breweries in the world, and six of them are in Belgium.

The Trappist beer we sampled was from the Rochefort brewery. It’s not from the most famous Trappist brewery because that’s the Westvleteren beer. But it’s almost impossible to get Westvleteren without paying an arm and a leg. Still, I was more than satisfied with the beer’s rich flavor. It tasted even better knowing that the monks weren’t profiting off of my purchase. Suck it, monks!

24 hour tip

Those are all the secrets of the tour I can share for now. You’ll have to book the tour to find out the rest!

Check tour rates and availability by going here!

24 hours in brussels

After the tour, you will want something to soak up all that beer, and what better object could there be for such a purpose than a giant pile of greasy French-fried potatoes slathered in mildly spicy mayonnaise? Just head on over to the frystand Fritland, and soon your every potato dream will be satisfied.

Fun Fact

Americans call these puppies French fries, but in fact the Belgians and the French can never agree on which country invented the world’s greatest fried food. What we can all agree on is that what makes the fries in Belgium so good is that they fry the potatoes two times.

I promise you, when it comes to fries, once you go Belgian, you don’t go back!

24 Hours in Brussels

24 Hours in Brussels

Afternoon: Museum of the City of Brussels

If you’re new to Belgium’s capital, why not get your 24 hours in Brussels continued with an overview of its fascinating history at the Museum of the City of Brussels? It’s located in a gingerbread house right on the famous Grand Place.

The Grand Place is kind of like the Times Square of Brussels except gorgeous instead of completely hateful. Here you will be able to walk through all the major moments in Brussels history from medieval times up until the present.

What’s that you say? You don’t know anything about Brussels history at all? Then let me get you started with…

THREE FUN FACTS ABOUT BRUSSELS

1) how did people in brussels traditionally make money?

Brussels used to be an industrial center back when industry meant producing things like silverware, tapestry, and porcelain. The museum has many examples of the might of the Belgian porcelain industry, but my favorite was this giant porcelain cabbage.

I would love to make a big pot of cabbage soup and then serve it to my guests inside a cabbage. It would be so meta!

2) how was brussels founded?

Brussels started off as a fairly small medieval city, and like most medieval cities it was encased within a powerful wall to fend off enemy knights and wizards and whatnot. 

But eventually people stopped dying from plague and with all the money rolling in from the porcelain cabbage industry, the city expanded. Because the area around Brussels is rather on the bumpy side, this meant beginning to build the city uphill.

24 Hours in Brussels

These models showing how the city of Brussels changed and developed over time really helped me understand the history of the place better. I think every city museum should have something like this!

24 Hours in Brussels
3) is belgium part of france?

Shh, Internet Stranger! You don’t want any Belgians to hear you say that during your 24 hours in Brussels. The Grand Place square is famous throughout the world, but sadly the Grand Place today is not the original Grand Place from Medieval Times. This is because the stunning square was tragically burned to the ground in 1695 by the troops of Louis XIV, the Sun King of France.

Did they call him the Sun King because he liked to burn things? I thought they called him the Sun King because he liked shiny gold palaces.

The burning of Brussels happened as part of a battle in the Nine Years’ War or, as I like to call it, “The War of France vs. Everyone Else in Europe”. Brussels would be an even prettier city than it is today if the French hadn’t burned it down centuries ago. So remember that just because many Belgians speak French, it doesn’t mean the Belgians like the French.

24 hour tip

Hands down the delightfullest thing you’ll see during your 24 hours in Brussels is the collection of the official costumes of the Mannekin Pis. This impudent boy-statue is probably the most famous tourist attraction in Brussels, even though he is nothing more than a small statue of a boy having a wee.

The Belgians will take any opportunity to dress him up in all manner of insane costumes, as if he were Brussels’s own chubby, male, hairless Barbie doll.

They have some of the costumes on display being modeled by replica MPs. You can see Beekeeper Mannekin Pis, Soccer Player Mannekin Pis, and Astronaut Mannekin Pis.

24 Hours in Brussels

They also like to dress him up in garb for other countries. Here he is being England’s mascot, John Bull.

24 Hours in Brussels

I wonder if they’ll take this down now that England is out of the EU. Don’t forget that Brussels is where EU headquarters is located…

24 Hour Tip

The price of admission to the museum will also get you into the Museum of Costume and Lace, which is very interesting, and the Sewer Museum, which I have never been to, but sounds fascinating! So if you’re on a budget, you might want to check out one of those museums in the afternoon.

24 hours in brussels

24 Hours in Brussels

Evening: Music Village

When you think of smoove jazz, Brussels may not be the first city to spring to mind, but I promise you that the jazz club The Music Village is worth a shot. I’ve been here twice and I’ve had a wonderful time both evenings. Most of the performers will speak in English, even if some of their songs are in French, so you won’t have any lost in translation problems.

24 Hour Tip

At this point in your 24 hours in Brussels, you’ll be hungry. Doors open at 7, so show up before the show starts so you can order dinner. I usually just get a salad Nicoise. After a full day of waffle eating, I need some lean protein and veggies.

OK, I maybe had a raspberry Belgian beer too. When you’re in Belgium, you need to eat three waffles and drink one beer every day. That is just Belgian law.

The most recent show I saw at The Music Village was performed by a dynamic singer named Loumen. She sang everything from her own originals to standards from the thirties to Alicia Keys. I didn’t film her performance, but if you’re interested in checking out her stuff, you can find her on YouTube.

But it was more fun to hear her in the club because she got us all up and dancing. Even I danced and dancing is my third least favorite thing in the world, after going to the dentist and being audited. So that makes her a pretty special lady in my book. Her performance was a great end to my 24 hours in Brussels.

A Perfect 24 Hours in Brussels 2024 5

24 Hours in Brussels

Where to Stay?

When it comes to hotels, I’m generally looking for two things: affordability, convenience, and a tasty breakfast. Now, Novotel Brussels doesn’t provide free breakfast, but it absolutely has the other two covered. So if you are a like-minded person when it comes to hotels, I strongly suggest checking it out. It will make the perfect home base for your 24 hours in Brussels.

If you want a great deal on this hotel, click here.

And if you want to explore great deals on tons of hotels in Brussels, click here.

I always use this search engine when I travel because it’s such an easy search engine, they have great deals, and they help you keep your travel plans organized.

That’s 24 Hours in Brussels!

What would you do with 24 hours in Brussels? Are you ready to start booking your hotel in Brussels right now? Is three waffles the right amount for one day, or should I have had a fourth? And what will you do when the invading army of Belgian penguins comes for you?  Please email me at stellajane@aroundtheworldin24hours.com and let me know!

Stella’s Top 3 Picks: 24 Hours in Brussels

#1 TOP PICK

A Perfect 24 Hours in Brussels 2024 2

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
CHOCOLATE AND BEER TOUR
✔️ They are both delicious
✔️ Expert local guide

#2 PICK

A Perfect 24 Hours in Brussels 2024 3

BEER, CHOCOLATE, AND WAFFLES
✔️ Waffles are also delicious
✔️ Small group tour

#3 PICK

A Perfect 24 Hours in Brussels 2024 4

ALL OTHER BRUSSELS TOURS
✔️ Choose your favorite
✔️ Find the best deals

Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY spend 24 hours in Brussels. If you have an extra 24 hours in Brussels, try this itinerary!

Why not add on what to do in Brussels for a day? You can also try 24 hours in Bruges. Try adding a what to do Bruges day. Experience 24 hours in Amsterdam. You can even try the top Amsterdam attractions.

A Perfect 24 Hours in Brussels 2024 9

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