St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral

#2 in Best Things To Do in Brussels
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Key Info

Place Sainte-Gudule

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Free, Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

Built in the Brabantine Gothic style and so named for its chapel dedicated to St. Michael and for housing the relics of St. Gudula, this cathedral's current structure dates back to the 11th century and took some 300 years to build. Inside, you will find stained-glass windows, statues, paintings, a new Grenzing organ and a crypt that may contain the remains of St. Gudula with ancient Roman graffiti on it. Below the current church are the remains of a 10th-century Romanesque church. Outside the cathedral is a square where you can sit on benches under the shade of honey locust trees.

Past visitors appreciated the architecture of the church, with some noting the beauty of the stained-glass windows in particular and described it as "amazing" and "stunning."

The St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral is located about a half-mile from the Grand-Place and is open daily from around 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday and from 1 p.m. until 6 p.m. on Sunday. You can attend services and explore the main parts of the cathedral for free, but if you wish to take a peek at the archeological site, you will have to pay an extra euro. Meanwhile, the crypt is open for viewing by appointment only and costs 3 euros (about $3.25) to access. For more information, visit the church's website.

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#1 Grand-Place

Whether you're just passing through Brussels or here for a week, you can't miss the Grand-Place. This square, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, sits in the heart of Brussels and is renowned for its many Gothic and Baroque-style buildings. The Grand-Place is close to many of the city's main attractions, including the St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral and the beloved Manneken Pis. At Christmas, enjoy the Winter Wonders light show at night along with a massive Christmas tree, and every August, admire an enormous carpet made of flowers inside the Grand-Place.

Travelers love the Grand-Place for its stunning architecture. Recent reviewers suggested visiting during the day and night; during the day to see the details of the architecture, and at night to witness the vibrant life that takes over the square. However, a common complaint among tourists was the constant crowds (and higher prices), but that's to be expected at such a big attraction. 

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