Guided tours that showcase Brussels’ heritage

09 March 2022
Brussels’ Grand-Place is recognised as one of the most beautiful squares in the world (c) Jean-Paul Rémy, visit.brussels

Is it your first time in Brussels? Or are you looking to get to know the city’s heritage better? The best way to discover or rediscover Brussels’ classics and must-sees is with a guided tour. Original tours, packed with juicy anecdotes, take you past places that are key parts of our capital's history.

Gothic grandeur

Feast your eyes on the grandeur of Brussels' Grand-Place, with its glorious town hall and countless guild houses. The colourful umbrellas of the passionate guides will lead you through the glorious history of this stunning world heritage site. There's a guided tour almost every hour. It's ideal for last-minute decisions... (psst: don't forget a little tip!). 

With its richly decorated facade and impressive tower, the City of Brussels' Town Hall is one of the most beautiful buildings in the country. But did you know that the inside is also worth a visit? On Wednesdays and Sundays, an experienced guide will escort you through the many halls and galleries, interspersed with anecdotes from Brussels city politics.

Can't get enough of cross-ribbed vaults and Brabant Gothic architecture? Then walk up the Treurberg hill for a guided tour of the Cathedral of Saint Michael and Saint Gudula. The free tour of the cathedral is the perfect opportunity to learn more about the history of this remarkable religious building. If you're not afraid of heights and a bit of exercise you can even take a tour of the cathedral's towers. Be advised that a tour of the towers must be requested at least two weeks in advance and costs €10 per person.

Brussels' Palace of Justice is a real eye-catching jewel of Brussels' heritage. It's the largest courthouse in the world. This gigantic building, designed by Joseph Poelaert, has a usable area of 40,000m². The dome is 100 metres high and there are more than 250 rooms, including 27 impressive courtrooms! That's bigger than Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome. A visit is, therefore, a must.

By tram, bus or horse-drawn carriage

Sightseeing in Brussels with a guide on board? The electric hop-on-hop-off Tootbus takes you from the Atomium to the Grand-Place and from the Mont des Arts to the European Quarter. Brussels City Tours also offer tour bus rides.

Prefer a mode of transport with a touch of historical flair? Hop on board the Brussels Tourist Tramway for a four-hour vintage tram ride that takes you past Brussels heritage sites. Or let yourself be driven around the capital a horse-drawn carriage. The carriages are available every day of the week on rue Charles Buls.

 

Guided tours through a patchwork of architectural styles

From Art Nouveau, Art Deco, typically Brussels eclecticism and modernism to contemporary architecture... Brussels’ urban landscape is a patchwork of architectural styles. Stroll along the squares and stately avenues with a guide, or take a peek behind the magnificent facades on an exclusive guided tour of private residences with explore.brussels.

Die-hard architecture fans are in for a treat with no less than three architecture festivals: the Brussels Art Nouveau & Art Deco (BANAD) Festival, the Brussels Biennale of Eclectic Architecture (BBEA) and the Brussels Biennalle - Neoclassic

 

Musical monuments

Brussels is bursting with musical talent that loves to sing its praises. Think of icons like Stromae and Angèle. But the capital's master singer-songwriter is, without doubt,  Jacques Brel.

Armed with an audio guide, discover Brel's beloved Brussels through songs, interviews, testimonies and anecdotes on the Brel in Brussels walks. You'll be introduced to his youth, his private life and his life as an artist. Let yourself be guided to all the places where his voice echoes to this day.

Brussels heritage: monuments and gastronomy

Follow the guide to Brussels' iconic monuments: the Grand-Place, the Royal Saint Hubert Galleries and the legendary Manneken-Pis. Along the narrow streets, cafes, restaurants and typical taverns serve Brussels specialities: mussels, chips, chocolate... Brussels also boast a fantastic intangible heritage, with our beer culture being its most effervescent example. Treat yourself!