Atomium picture
James Cridland/Flickr

Key Info

Avenue de l'Atomium

Details

Museums, Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
3.6scorecard
  • 3.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

Considered to be a symbol of Brussels and Belgium, this molecule-shaped stainless steel structure was originally built for the 1958 World's Fair, but due to its popularity, ended up sticking around and now houses multiple exhibition spaces dedicated to different aspects of Belgian culture, from science to the arts. Travel experts and recent visitors agree that this is a great place to bring the kids; they can play in the Kids' Sphere and even spend the night at this attraction. But if there's one reason to head north to the Atomium, it's the spectacular views of the city.

Some travelers, however, say the Atomium isn't worth the price of admission or the wait time to enter the attraction. Travelers also advise others to visit only if it's a sunny day, as anything less provides lackluster views from the top.

Neighboring Mini-Europe in northern Brussels, the attraction is less than a mile southeast from the Heysel/Heizel metro stop. The Atomium is open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is €11 EUR for adults and €8 EUR for children. For more information, check out the Atomium's website.

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More Best Things To Do in Brussels

Manneken Pis
Grand-Place
Type
Time to Spend
1 of 11
#1 Manneken Pis

This little boy has put Brussels on the tourist map; people travel to this city from all over the world just to catch a glimpse of him urinating. The legend behind the Manneken Pis (which translates to little peeing man in Dutch) varies widely depending on who you ask. One popular story is of a little boy relieving himself on a witch's doorstep. Catching the boy in the act, the witch wished to punish him by turning him into stone, forcing him into that compromising position for eternity. A local, who witnessed the entire incident, ran to the boy and replaced him with a statue in the nick of time, making the boy miss the curse entirely. Another very popular story is that of a little boy stopping Brussels from meeting its demise. Enemy forces, intent on destroying Brussels, lit a small fire with the hopes it would spread and burn the city to the ground. A wandering little boy, who apparently really needed to go to the bathroom, saw the fire and put it out with his natural resources, thus saving the city. 

While the statue itself is of a child in the nude, he has been the recipient of about 800 different costumes, a tradition that began when Maximilian II Emanuel gave him a soldier's uniform in 1698. Since then Manneken Pis has been many things, including Santa and Elvis. Those interested in learning more about Manneken Pis should take a trip to the Museum of the City of Brussels, where more than 100 of his outfits are on display. The museum also has a digital archive of every single outfit that Manneken Pis has worn for visitors to view.

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