Is the Brussels Sightseeing Bus Worth €23?

What do you do in Brussels when it’s 35c and you’re too tired from Dour Festival to do anything?

The Brussels Sightseeing Bus, that’s what.

Sightseeing in Brussels

We had five hours left in Brussels after the festival and we wanted to make the most of them without actually having to walk anywhere or think for ourselves so the brochure we spotted in our hotel was the perfect answer.

Sightseeing in BrusselsI’ll warn you now, that brochure is misleading. Slapped on the front is a badge promising 2for1 tours. To me, that meant 2 people for the price of one so me and my friend were perfectly happy to split the €23 and go travel Brussels sightseeing. As we tried to board the bus by Brussels Central Station we were told it meant you get to go on two bus tours for the €23, not split the price. By now we were so invested in it all, we passed over the cash and hoped for the best.

I’m sure loads of people make that mistake. Although the bus driver did ask me if I could read.

Sightseeing in Brussels

Despite all my travelling I’ve only actually ever done a city sightseeing bus once before in Naples from Pompeii to Vesuvius, it was brilliant. Usually I like to work cities out by myself – but under the sweat- and sleep-inducing sun of a heat wave I’d take anything over walking around.

Top tip: check your earphone socket works before you commit to a seat.

On both buses we eventually boarded, only one out of the two ear phone sockets on the seats worked. We shared and it was fine. But if you’re a loan traveller it might be a bit awkward.

Sightseeing Brussels Route 1

Route 1 took us on the following route…

  1. Central Station – Grand-Place, Cathedral, Stripmuseum
  2. Arenberg – Royal St Hubert Galleries, Theater
  3. Rogier – Shopping Center: Rue Neuve, City 2
  4. Royal Serres – Royal Green Houses, Royal Residence of Laken, Japanese Tower, Chinese Pavilion
  5. Atomium – Bruparck (Mini-Europe, Oceade), Planetarium
  6. National Basilica – Basilica of Sacred Heart, Aquarium of Brussels
  7. Tour & Taxis – Brussels-on-Sea
  8. Dansaert Street – Shopping, fashion & design, Christmas Wonders, Fish Market
  9. Bourse – Stock Exchange, St Géry Place: café & restaurants
  10. Manneken Pis – The Waffle Factory, Grand-Place, Souvenirs
  11. Marolles – Sablon, Antiques and Flea Market
  12. Back to Central Station

Shops in Brussels

Sightseeing in Brussels

Sightseeing in Brussels

Sightseeing in Brussels

The sightseeing tour was perfect – the wind was in our hair and we got a brilliant whistlestop tour of the city. After a crazy few days at the music festival we could just zone out and stare at Brussels unfolding in front of us.

The tour is hop on hop off, but as soon as the bus stopped we were overcome by the heat and were too lame to get off. You can ring the bell to stop at any of the main sights though and pick the bus up again on the way back.

Sightseeing Brussels Route 2

The second bus took us to the following…

  1. Central Station – Grand-Place, Cathedral, Stripmuseum
  2. Place Royale – Royal Square, Tourist Office BIP, Museum: MIM, Magritte, BELvue
  3. Sablon – Sablon Place, Antiques market, Church
  4. Louise – Palace of Justice, Marolles, Louise avenue with luxurious shopping
  5. Art Nouveau – Horta Museum, Art Nouveau houses
  6. Abbaye de la cambre – La Cambre Abbey, Bois de la Cambre, Ixelles Ponds, Villa Empain
  7. Flagey – Art Nouveau & Art Deco houses
  8. Luxembourg – Luxembour square, Parlementarium, European District
  9. Leopold Parc – Museum of Natural Sciences, Solvay Library
  10. Cinquantenaire – Museum: Autoworld, Military, Art & history
  11. Shumann – European Commission, Art Nouveau squares
  12. Palais Royal – Parc of Brussels, Belgian Federal Parliament, Royal Palace
  13. Back to Central Station

Brussels Sightseeing

Sightseeing in Brussels

Sightseeing in Brussels

Sightseeing in Brussels

Both journeys were 75 minutes long and we did them straight after each other. It gave us a great view of outer Brussels and gave me some inspiration for next time I visit the city. I’d love to go back for the Christmas Markets and I definitely need to spend some more time in the parks and palaces.

It’s not my usual travelling style, but I’d definitely recommend the Brussels Sightseeing Tour to anyone. Hopefully you’ll be a bit more adventurous and energised than me and hop off to go exploring too.

Let me know how you get on!

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  1. by Dannielle on July 30, 2013  8:22 am Reply

    those buses are saviors when your feet are tired! and the hop on and off feature is a great way to get to the main sites and even around the city when it's so big. We did this in Rome and I'd highly recommend them as well, but in Rome there were different companies and different prices so it was a bit of a gamble if you got a company who had buses show up regularly.

    • by Vicky on July 30, 2013  8:35 pm Reply

      Yeah, they are definitely good when you're worn out but you still want to explore. I'd definitely use them again. The big red City Sightseeing buses definitely had the monopoly on Brussels – didn't see any rivals.

  2. by nicole on July 31, 2013  5:34 am Reply

    I don't know. I thinks it's cool you got to see everything without walking (especially if the heat is brutal). But, I feel like we'd miss out if we did that.

    • by Vicky on July 31, 2013  9:37 pm Reply

      Yeah, you definitely get to see more when you explore for yourself. You miss out on all those opportunistic sightseeing possibilities.

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