Top Historical Places in Brussels

Are you looking to explore the history of Brussels through the ages? There are a number of historical destinations in Brussels including the time-honored buildings, monuments, palaces, and parks where you can learn about the glorious past of Brussels. The presence of these historical sites and museums will take you on a walk through Brussels ‘s rich history.
If you are willing to have an in-depth historical information about Brussels, we recommend that you take a wonderful guided tour to cover the major historical attractions. Also, check the opening and closing time for each so that you can organize your time. Make sure that you go through the complete list of historical places in Brussels for a great trip!

Let's witness the history of Brussels with these top historical places - monuments and landmarks:

  1. Grand Place

    4.7 (11094 Votes)
    Grand Place

    Architecture , Heritage Building, Hall

    At first the site of various markets, the Grand Place gained political importance once the Brussels City Hall was built here. Still, seeing the ways it was almost destroyed, it’s almost surprising that the Grand Place exists today. The French Army flattened it in 1695 with cannon and mortar fire. It was rebuilt more harmoniously (but with clashing architecture like Baroque and Goth) befo...Read more
  2. Cathedral Of St. Michael And St. Gudula

    Religious Site, Cathedral

    Saint Michael and Saint Gugdule are patron saints of Brussels. On the site where the church now stands, there was in the 9th century a chapel dedicated to St. Michael, one that was replaced with a Romanesque church. St. Gudula’s relics were brought here in 1047. The final form of the church as seen today took over three centuries to finish, in 1519. On a visit to the Church one must chec...Read more
  3. Jardin Du Petit Sablon

    Garden, Statue

    It’s always nice to run into an unexpected bit of natural beauty in the middle of a busy city. This small garden was laid out in commemoration of the nine provinces Belgium at the time of its independence. The style is neo-Renaissance, showcasing elaborate floral arrangements, statues of noted intellectuals and dignitaries and further curiosity: gothic columns with figurines that represe...Read more
  4. Royal Palace


    Since this is the official residence of the king and queen of Belgium it is not always open to the public. Only during a brief time in the summer can you actually enter and marvel at the lavishness and opulence. What is the new classical building, for even though construction began in the 18th century it wasn't completed until the 20th. Inside the palace's many tremendous rooms you'll find ant...Read more
  5. Basilica Of The Sacred Heart

    Religious Site, Cathedral

    Begun in 1905, completed in 1970, this massive church is the fifth largest in the whole world. It started out as a neo-Gothic Basilica, then lack of funding and construction delays eventually led to its redesign as the Art Deco building you see today. Indeed, it is the largest Art Deco building in the world. Highlights include: A lift that takes you up to the basilica dome for panoramas of Bru...Read more
  6. Palais De Justice


    This was the largest building built in the 19th century, is the largest courthouse in the world and also is Brussels’ highest court. The architecture of the huge grey building with the golden dome is eclectic and neoclassical. Over 75 landlords and 3000 family homes were forced to relocate to make space for the Palace, which meant that for a while the word ‘architect’ was actu...Read more
  7. Manneken Pis

    3.8 (290 Votes)
    Manneken Pis


    There is probably no more ubiquitous symbol of Brussels than the cheeky 17th century bronze statue of a naked little boy urinating into a pool of water. According to folklore, in the 14th century, when the city was under siege, a little boy named Julianske saw the attackers were trying to bring down the city walls with explosives and peed on the fuse, thus saving Brussels. This is just one of t...Read more
  8. Porte De Hal

    4.2 (110 Votes)
    Porte De Hal

    Historical Site

    This fairy-tale like tower used to be a 14th century medieval city gate on the second walls of Brussels. Others of its kind have all been destroyed, but this one found use as a prison, customs house, grain store, and even a church at one point. Today it is a museum, part of the Royal Museums for Art and History. The museum’s exhibits are about the history of the building, the history of d...Read more
  9. Zinneke Pis

    4.1 (40 Votes)
    Zinneke Pis


    Continuing the theme of urinating sculptures is this bronze statue of a dog taking a wee with its hind leg jauntily stuck in the air. Het Zinneke is the correct name of the statue, but who cares? It’s not just there to complete the set of the boy and girl and dog thought. The word ‘zinneke’ actual means a person of mixed origin, symbolised here by a mongrel. This in turn is su...Read more
  10. Jeanneke Pis

    3.8 (49 Votes)
    Jeanneke Pis


    Can’t let boys have all the fun. This bronze statue of a little naked pigtailed girl gleefully urinating from atop her limestone base was installed in 1987 to complete Manneken Pis, the statue of a little boy urinating. Since it is so new most people don’t know this statue exists, and they really should. Also contributing to its lack of popularity is the fact that she’s inside...Read more
  11. Place Des Martyrs

    Walking Area, Historical Site, Memorial, Monument

    Before hundreds of people died in the September days of the Belgian Revolution in 1830, this place used to be known as Place de Saint Michel, where markets and fairs were held. 400 hundred of those martyrs lie buried in a crypt beneath your feet here, some of whom died right here. There are two monuments to the fallen at the opposite ends of the square, one to Frederic de Merode and the other n...Read more
  12. Everard't Serclaes

    4.3 (44 Votes)
    Everard't Serclaes

    Historical Site, Statue

    This 1902 statue by Julien Dillens can be found in one of the Grand Place buildings, the Maison de l’Etoile on Rue Charles Buls. On the exterior of the building is the sculpture of a reclining man, dying. His figure stands out brightly against the background as the statue has been kept polished by the hands of the many passers-by who touch it. It’s said that all wishes made while in...Read more
  13. Place Poelaert

    Landmark, Monument, War Memorial, Square

    Right in front of the world’s largest courthouse is Brussels’ largest square, almost 8000 square metres. Some say it is the best place to first visit on your Brussels trip, especially at sunrise or sunset. There ought to be glass elevator nearby; take it up to the top for outright best view of the city. The city centre, the Atomium, the Palais of Justice are all laid out in front of...Read more
  14. Place Du Luxembourg

    Walking Area, Historical Site, Statue, Square

    The neoclassical square is not as much of tourist destination as it is a restaurant and nightspot reserve for everyone working at the Parlamentarium and all the other European institutions around this place. Check the statue of 19th century industrialist John Cockerill in the middle of the square, surrounded by a glassmaker, a mechanic, a puddler and a miner. A popular photograph to take is to ...Read more
  15. Eglise De Saint-gilles

    4.2 (6 Votes)
    Eglise De Saint-gilles Image

    Church, Religious Site, Cathedral

    The first church on this location was built in the 13th century to serve the hamlet of Obbrusse. Destroyed in the 16th century, it was replaced by second church, which again suffered heavy damage in the bombardments of 1695. Restored and enlarged in the 19th century, the church, when completed, had an Eclectic architectural style. It has some nice stained glass windows. Highlights: A bell towe...Read more