Royal Greenhouse Entrance Fee: €2,50
I started my day pretty early for one main reason: The Serres Royales De Laeken (Royal Greenhouse). The Royal Greenhouse in the park of the Royal Castle of Laeken is special because it is only open 3 weeks out of the year in the spring! I really lucked out on my timing in Brussels because I didn’t realise the Greenhouse had such a specific and narrow timeframe. Because of this, I recommend to get there early because lines are long. Don’t worry about breakfast because there is a small VW bus parked where the line is that sells fresh Liège waffles for €2! It was so cold that morning so it was a welcomed treat.
The Royal Greenhouse is designed by Alphonse Balat and is world-famous for its royal botanic collection. The reason for the narrow time window is because most of the flowers are in full bloom within those three weeks. There were so many orchids (which are some of my favorite flowers) and it really was a stunning greenhouse! Even the structure of the glass ceilings were just beautiful.
I really lucked out with the greenhouse because I wasn’t even aware that it had such a short time-frame where it is open to the public so it was a lovely surprise and detour. It is open during late April, early May so if you ever find yourself in Brussels around that time, it’s definitely worth checking it out. There’s also a small store you can visit after your tour and I bought smalls packs of sunflower seeds for my mom and those only cost €1!
After the flowers, I decided to check out the Atomium, which is supposed to be Belgian version of the Eiffel Tower and was originally constructed for the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair. I didn’t go inside because I wanted to make time for the Grand Place since the Gay Parade was being held that day but I did read that it wasn’t worth the entry fee.
Atomium Entrance Fee: €12
Atomium + Mini Europe Entrance Fee: €24,70
You can also check out “Mini Europe” there but it’s just a miniature scale and mostly for children.
What was actually worth it was the Grand Place. It was all lit up in rainbow colors with people waving large rainbow flags with a marching band! It was quite the spectacle and a sight to see!
For dinner, I went to Nuetnigenough, which is known to have the best carbonnades flamandes in Brussels. Carbonnades flamandes is a Flemish stew made with sweet and sour beef and onion stew enhanced by beer. Normally served with frites, it’s a pretty hearty meal. Nuetnigenough gets crowded and they don’t take reservations so it’s best to get there around 17:00 when it tends to be a little slower to get a seat.
Brussels is totally doable in one day! Even though my trip to Brussels was split into two parts because of the Royal Greenhouse, it really is feasible to see the entire city in a day.