A Walking Tour in Heysel Park, Brussels (Self Guided)

Situated in north Brussels, Heysel Park was home to the 1935 Brussels International Exposition. Today, Heysel Park is a great place to take your family and kids, it is home to such entertainment venues as the Planetarium, Carousel and Oceade water park. Heysel Park also includes a number of significant tourist spots, such as the Atomium, the Palace of Exhibitions, Bruparck, and other Art Deco buildings. Take this three-hour tour to see the most popular attractions in Heysel Park.
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A Walking Tour in Heysel Park Map

Guide Name: A Walking Tour in Heysel Park
Guide Location: Belgium » Brussels (See other walking tours in Brussels)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.6 km
Author: audrey

1) Atomium (must see)

The Atomium is a 102 meter (335 feet) high monument designed by André Waterkeyn for the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair. It is the only structure from the 1958 Expo that remains standing today. Composed of nine steel spheres, the monument represents a unit cell of an iron crystal if it was magnified 165 billion times. Each sphere is approximately 18 meters (59 feet) in diameter. The tubes connecting the nine spheres contain escalators that carry visitors to various exhibit halls and spaces. The design was meant to signify the science era of the time in a modern manner and also to send a message about using science for peaceful instead of violent purposes. Originally designed to only stand for six months, it became a symbol of not only the World’s Fair but also of Brussels and modern architecture. The structure underwent a renovation in 2004 to overhaul the monument’s steel frame and to replace the triangular aluminum sheets on the spheres with stainless steel. The old sheets were cut up and sold as a fundraising effort for the monument. This is one of the most-visited attractions in Brussels. The restaurant on the top sphere provides some nice city views and photo opportunities.

Why You Should Visit:
One of the only places you can get a panoramic view over the city.
The inside still has the '50s retro look with interesting memorabilia from the era.

Buy tickets online if the ticket line is long – they'll scan your ticket from your phone and you'll have one less line to stand in.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am-6pm
Sight description based on wikipedia

2) Mini-Europe (must see)

Mini-Europe is a park located in Bruparck at the foot of the Atomium in Brussels, Belgium. It has the reproductions of the most attractive monuments in the European Union on show, at a scale of 1:25. Roughly 80 cities and 350 buildings are represented. The park is renowned for the quality of its models, some of which cost as much as €350,000 to make (the Brussels Grand-Place). The park contains numerous live-action models (train, mills, eruption of Mount Vesuvius, Airbus, cable cars, etc). A guide gives the details on most of the models. At the end of the visit, the “Spirit of Europe” exhibition gives an interactive overview of the EU in the form of multimedia games. The park is built on an area of 24,000 m². The initial investment was of €10 million in 1989, on its inauguration by Prince Philip of Belgium.

Why You Should Visit:
Cool place to learn quick facts about different European countries all in one spot.

Take the booklet at the entrance to read the history of each location while you visit the models – you'll appreciate the views much more.
To make a full-day outing, Mini-Europe can be combined with Bruparc's other attractions – a water park (Océade), Kinepolis and the Atomium, which looms over Mini-Europe (combo tickets available).

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am-5pm
Sight description based on wikipedia

3) Planetarium

The Planetarium is part of the Royal Observatory of Belgium and is one of Europe’s largest Planetariums. It provides a location for discovering the mysteries and beauty of the stars and sky. A dome-shaped screen plays a sky show which educates visitors on the solar system and constellations. Shows are available in Dutch, French and English and the theater seats up to 350 people. The domed screen measures 23 meters (73 feet) across, is quite a sight to behold. Additional hands-on displays are provided at the Planetarium to promote interaction and engaging education about all things astronomical. This is a family-friendly venue that is open every day except Saturday.

4) Carousel

Heysel's carousel offers a trip on jumping horses as the traditional Venetian carousels do. Heysel's carousel features decorative hand painted panels which depict Venice. With a rotating platform in the middle, the carousel is meant for both children and their parents.

5) Oceade

Oceade is a popular family water park with water rides and games. The park features 14 slides of differing intensity. The Cycloon is 140 meters (460 feet) of pure fun. The Bounty Raft is the longest slide in Belgium and riders can slide in a double tube. The canon ball slides will drop you off above the water to make a big splash. For those who like a pure adrenaline rush, the Hurricane will move you 80 meters (262 feet) in just seven seconds. Additional entertainment options include the wave pool and the warm sandy beach that is kept at a comfortable 29 degrees Celsius (84 degrees Fahrenheit) year round. Adults enjoy the relaxation of the Saunaland part of the park which features indoor and outdoor saunas, sun beds, a steam bath and relaxation rooms. No matter what time of year, Oceade remains a popular destination for families that need some sun and sand. If you want to visit the park, be sure to check their schedule. While they are open all year, they do have reduced hours when school is in session.

6) Kinepolis

Opened in September 1988, Kinepolis is the largest cinema in Brussels. The Kinepolis cinema has about 25 screens. The large complex often hosts different entertainment programmes and exhibitions related to cinema. The Kinepolis cinema remains popular also for hosting live video concerts etc.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Exhibition Palace

7) Exhibition Palace

Also known as Grand Palais, the Exhibition Palace is an Art Deco building constructed in 1935 by Joseph Van Neck for the International Exposition of Brussels. The palace features impressive bronze statues on its piers and the interior is rich in parabolic arches. The Palace was also used for the 1958 exposition and is still in use today.

Walking Tours in Brussels, Belgium

Create Your Own Walk in Brussels

Create Your Own Walk in Brussels

Creating your own self-guided walk in Brussels is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Manneken Pis Surroundings Walking Tour

Manneken Pis Surroundings Walking Tour

Seen as the emblem of Brussels, Manneken Pis is a statue in the center of the city. The famous statue is surrounded by the city's fanciest points of interest, such as the Brussels Regional Parliament building, the Church of Our Lady and the Stock Exchange building. Take this three hour tour to visit the popular Manneken Pis and its wonderful surroundings in the center of Brussels.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.3 km
Central Nightlife Tour Part 1

Central Nightlife Tour Part 1

Brussels' nightlife is represented by the variety of its clubs, among which are not only out and out discotheques but also clubs that host world-famous DJs and live music as well. Brussels has some of the most fashionable night clubs in Belgium. Take this walking tour to visit the most famous venues located in Central Brussels, all within a pleasant walking distance.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.2 km
City Center Museums

City Center Museums

Known as the cultural capital of Belgium, Brussels has a large number of museums located in the heart of the city. Brussels is famous for such museums as the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, the Magritte Museum, the Museum of Brussels, the Museum of Musical Instruments, etc. This

tour includes the most popular museums in Brussels City Center, all within a pleasant walking distance.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 km
City Center Gift Shops

City Center Gift Shops

It would be a pity to leave Brussels without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Brussels, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit. All shops are located within a pleasant walking distance, in Central Brussels.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 km
Marolles and Matonge Nightlife

Marolles and Matonge Nightlife

Brussels' nightlife is represented by the variety of its clubs, among which are not only out and out discotheques, but also clubs that host world-famous DJs and live music. Brussels is home to some of the most fashionable night clubs in Belgium. Take this walking tour to visit the most famous venues located in the Marolles and Matonge districts of Brussels.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 km
The European Quarter Walking Tour

The European Quarter Walking Tour

Along with Luxembourg and Strasbourg, Brussels is one of the de facto capitals of the European Union. The city's European Quarter hosts some of the most important buildings of the European Union, such as the Berlaymont building, the Justus Lipsius building and the Paul-Henri Spaak Building. Take this two-hour tour and discover the European Quarter of Brussels.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.4 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

Belgian Beer Tour of Brussels

Belgian Beer Tour of Brussels

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What to Buy in Brussels: 15 Ideas for Travelers

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Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Brussels for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Brussels has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes

To save yourself time and money getting around Brussels and visiting the city's multiple highlights, you may want to resort to the Brussels City Card.

Among other conveniences, this card allows its bearer to explore Brussels's top attractions, tours, restaurants, bars and clubs, and selected shops either completely free of charge (41 museums) or with great (up to 50%) discounts. The card provides 24-, 48-, or 72-hour passes to these locations, plus free ride on the hop-on hop-off bus and public transportation (optional) thus putting Brussels at your fingertips! Reduced rates for children and students also apply at participating venues.

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels

Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Brussels hotels that are conveniently located, but at the same time, also not so ridiculously expensive: NH Brussels Carrefour de L’Europe, Rocco Forte Hotel Amigo, Hotel Novotel Brussels Off Grand Place.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Brussels, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours

We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close, with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, as a guided tour of Brussels typically costs from around US$20 up to US$50+ per person:

- Take a 3-hour guided walk around central Brussels to discover the city's historic locations, learn about its legendary men and women who made history, delve into the origins of Brussels, and acquaint yourself with the Belgian capital's contemporary culture and gastronomy;

- Embark on a must-see tour of real Brussels exploring the city's top attractions through the eyes of a local guide revealing a flip side of the well-known locations, plus discovering a few secret spots only the locals know about, away from the trodden tourist paths. En route, you may give yourself a treat to the authentic Belgian cuisine at a local eatery, not forgetting the world-famous Belgian chocolate, plus indulge yourself in some other local delights along the way.

- Appreciate Belgian gastronomy in its diversity – chocolate, waffles, beers, fries, and more – on the Food and Beer walking tour of Brussels offering a unique chance to savor a variety of local foods, drink local beers and unleash your sweet tooth onto the delicious local chocolate, whilst listening to a great deal of fun stories associated with each of these delights!

- Come and see what's made Belgium an international beer superpower on a 2.5-hour beer tasting tour of Brussels led by a local expert. Here, you will learn to tell a difference between the Belgian and foreign-made brews plus acquaint yourself with some of the 1,000+ craft beers made in this country.

- Pedal your way across Brussels on a 3.5-hour guided biking tour to discover the city's beauty manifested in its top landmarks, breath in the local atmosphere, plus enjoy along the way some of the best fries and beer (optional) the city has to offer.

- Explore the artistic side of Brussels on the tour following in the footsteps of renowned Belgian artists who left their mark in the field of Surrealist painting and Art Nouveau architecture. On this tour you will see some of the city's hidden gems, visit independent galleries and more, led step by step by a knowledgeable local guide.

Day Trips

If you have a half or full day to spare whilst in Brussels, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations, like Ghent and Bruges, Antwerp, Maasmechelen, or Waterloo. For as little as US$10+ to US$100+ you will get a chance to acquaint yourself with the UNESCO World Heritage city of Ghent's medieval architecture, learn about Bruges's Viking and Middle Age history, get to see Antwerp - the hometown of Peter Paul Rubens and one of the largest harbors in the world, shop till you drop at Maasmechelen Village with over 100 international boutiques offering big-name brand clothing at reduced (down to 40%) prices, plus visit the site of one of the most significant battles in the history of Europe that saw the ultimate defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte. All these trips start and end at your hotel and you'll be carried by a comfortable air-conditioned coach or minivan, accompanied by an English-speaking tour guide.