Halle Gate (Porte de Hal)
The only remaining gate of Brussels’ medieval city walls, the Halle Gate (Porte de Hal is the oldest structure in Belgium’s capital. Built in 1381 and incorporating a black conical roof and neo-Gothic frontage added in the 1800s, this fairytale-like gatehouse is now a museum dedicated to Brussels’ military defenses and history.
Visitors purchase admission tickets and tour the Halle Gate on a self-guided basis: reading the information panels in Flemish and French as they explore or hiring an English-language audio guide for a small extra fee. Spread over five floors linked by a spiral staircase and elevator, the museum offers different and interactive perspectives on medieval Brussels’ defenses. Delve into the basement armory to see original armaments, learn about the city’s guilds, view old city maps and models; and walk the battlements for bird’s-eye city views.
Those interested in seeing Halle Gate as part of a wider exploration of Brussels can opt to purchase a Brussels Card to save money and facilitate their sightseeing. The pass entitles holders to free admission to the gate, and many more of the city’s highlights over their chosen 24-, 36-, or 72-hour period.
Things to know before you go
- The Halle Gate will appeal to those interested in medieval history and architecture, including families with children.
- Allow around an hour to visit.
- An elevator makes most areas wheelchair- and stroller-accessible.
- Restrooms are available inside the tower.
How to get there
The Halle Gate is on the Boulevard du Midi on Brussels’ southern inner ring road. As with much of the city, driving and parking can be difficult, although there is a payable underground car park on the nearby Boulevard de Waterloo. By public transit, hop on a #48, #27, or #365A bus; a #3, #55, or #90 tram, or metro lines #2 and #6 which all stop outside at Hallepoort. Alternatively, make the 10-minute walk to the gate from Brussels-Midi railway station.
When to get there
The Halle Gate is open from 9:30am-5pm Tuesday-Friday and 10am-5pm at weekends. It’s closed on Mondays and public holidays. Since it’s a little off Brussel’s main tourist trail, it’s rarely busy, so there are no good or bad times to visit.
What Not to Miss at the Halle Gate
The Halle Gate boasts several must-see exhibits and features. Don’t miss the parade armory of the 17th-century Archduke Albert of Austria, including some of his real—and stuffed—horses. Other impressive sights include the magnificent 19th-century spiral staircase and intricate network of wooden roof trusses in its high-ceilinged attic.
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- Ciamberlani House (Maison A. Ciamberlani)
- Horta Museum
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- Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium
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