Museums of the Far East
Escape the bustle of the Belgian capital in this English-style royal park, just north of central Brussels. Sprawled between the Brussels Expo and Notre Dame de Laeken, the 459-acre (186-hectare complex boasts expansive lawns, world-famous greenhouses, and some surprising architecture, making it a top draw for families, nature lovers, and sightseers in the city.
Dedicate an hour or two exploring the park’s attractions on foot, keeping an eye out for photo-worthy spots such as the Japanese Tower, Chinese Pavilion, and Monument of the Dynasty. Alternatively, tick these off with ease on a city tour, with many stopping by the park on their way to the Atomium or MiniEurope. Laeken Palace itself is not accessible to the public, though ticket holders can gain behind-the-scenes access to the Royal Garden and Greenhouses at certain times of year.
Things to know before you go
- The park’s wide avenues are wheelchair- and stroller-friendly.
- Laeken Park is popular with joggers, dog walkers, and families.
- Don’t forget your comfy shoes as attractions are quite dispersed.
- Public toilets are located at the park’s entrance on Avenue des Ebeniers.
How to get there
Located around an hour’s walk outside the city center, most visitors reach the park by public transit or road–tram #3 stops along Avenue des Croix du Feu, just by the Japanese Tower. Some hop-on hop-off bus tours stop directly inside the park. The closest parking lots are near the Brussels Expo, quite far from the park; save yourself time and money on a tour that includes transport.
When to get there
Laeken Park offers year-round seasonal specialties. The Royal Greenhouses of Laeken are only open to the public for a 2-week period each spring, from late April to early May, so plan your visit ahead of time to guarantee entry. During summer, the lawns are often filled by picnicking groups, while fall and winter bring dramatic backdrops ideal for photos.
The Atomium, Mini-Europe Park, and Brussels Expo
The area just northeast of the park was built for the 1958 World Fair and is home to some of the city’s most unusual landmarks, including the Mini-Europe Park, Brussels Expo, and the Atomium, which draws visitors with its 92-meter panoramic platform and atom-inspired architecture. Take advantage of tours that combine the park’s best bits with these modern structures for a comprehensive overview of Brussels’ most unusual architecture.
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- Train World
- Autrique House (Maison Autrique)
- National Basilica of the Sacred Heart (Basilique Nationale du Sacré-Coeur)
- Brussels Beer Project
- Belgian Comic Strip Center
- Cinquantenaire District
- St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral
- Royal Galleries of Saint Hubert (Les Galeries St-Hubert)
- Brussels City Museum (Musée de la Ville de Bruxelles)
- Grand-Place (Grote Markt)
- Brussels Town Hall (Hotel de Ville)
- Hard Rock Cafe Brussels