With an average rainfall of close to 200 days a year, there’s a fair chance that it will be raining at least sometime during your trip to Belgium. Luckily, there are a plethora of cool and interesting activities to occupy yourself with when the weather is not on your side. Here’s how to spend a rainy day in Brussels (and still have fun!).
If you’re thinking about seeing a lot of attractions and monuments while in Brussels, Consider purchasing the Brussels City Card, which includes free access to 49 museums in Brussels. To work out whether or not the pass is worth it for you or not, add up the cost of the individual attractions you wish to visit and see if you’ll save money. Find more details here.
On the handful of times that I’ve been lucky enough to visit the Belgium capital city over the years (including in the summer, winter, and shoulder seasons- as well as during the Brussels Christmas Markets), I’ve soon discovered that it rains extremely frequently during any time of the year.
And while showers are often punctuated by dry spells, it’s always good to have a rainy day plan to keep dry during the rain showers! Whatever the time of the year you head to Brussels, be sure to pack an umbrella, good shoes that will handle the rain, and a weatherproof jacket. For more tips prior to your visit, be sure to check out our top Belgium travel tips.
Discover the covered arcades
Though Paris may be most famous for its covered arcades, Brussels has a few too. As well as more modern additions in the historic city centre, the most famous of all the covered galleries in Brussels are those of the Royal Galleries, i.e. the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert.
Constructed between 1846 and 1847, the shopping arcades in Brussels actually pre-date those found in Milan and St Petersbrug. Perfect to wander down during a rainy day, there are also a number of delectable chocolate shops where you can purchase souvenirs or alternatively a tasty treat for yourself.
Although Brussels may be the capital city of Belgium, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t any hidden gems left to discover. Luckily, this is most definitely not the case and Brussels is home to a plethora of secret spots.
Some of our favourite hidden gems in Brussels include going in search of several statues that are ‘pee-related’ (this is honestly one of the strangest things about the city!), venturing inside the musical instruments museum, and looking at all of Manneken Pis’ previous outfits in the GardeRobe Manneken Pis.
The symbol of Brussels is actually the pint-sized sculpture of Manneken pis, which is the statue of a small boy urinating. For more information, check out our Manneken pis guide.
Uncover Brussels’ beer scene
Of course, one of the most famous exports from Brussels is that of beer (check here for more information about beer in Belgium). There are actually around 1500 separate beers in Belgium meaning that there’s definitely no shortage of the tipple to try while in the pint-sized country.
One of the most famous places to head to in Belgium for beer is the Delirium Café, which while touristic, boasts well over 2000 beers. As well as being a brewery and hosting live music performances on Thursday evenings, this Brussels beer bar is the perfect place to shelter from the rain when the weather is being less than cooperative.
Yet another Belgian bar in Brussels worth checking out is the Brussels Beer Project, which can be found in the Sainte Catherine area of the city. To learn even more about Belgium beer, consider booking a guided beer tasting tour like this one.
Enjoy a cosy café
Of course, enjoying one of the many bars which Brussels has to offer is not the only rainy day activity that involves beverages. Brussels boasts several cosy cafés, each with their own vibe and atmosphere.
Hands down, one of the best rated coffee shops in the city is My Little Cup, which while small is quaint and cosy. Just be mindful of the size of the café and head to the coffee shop earlier in the day on weekends to make sure that you are able to get a space!
Head to a museum
Brussels is home to well over 80 museums, meaning that there’s never a shortage of fantastic things to see and do, even for the most discerning of travellers. One of the best free things to do in Brussels is to head to one of the participating cultural hubs on the first Sunday of the month for a free visit.
Otherwise, it should be noted that those who wish to discover more about the history of Brussels should be sure to head to the Museum of the City of Brussels. Some of the more specialist museums in Brussels include the art-focused Fin-de-Siècle Museum, the Brussels Autoworld Museum, and the Train World Museum.
Learn about Belgian Chocolate
One of the most famous food products to have emerged from Belgium (fries and beer aside) is luxury chocolate. All across the centre of the city there are plenty of incredible chocolate shops.
So if you’re in search of something to do during a rainy day, and want to delve deeper into the history of Belgian chocolate, then you might consider visiting the Chocolate Museum (purchase your Choco-Story Brussels Museum Entrance ticket here in advance).
Alternatively, you can book a chocolate tasting tour or even a Belgian Chocolate Workshop where you can learn to make the tasty treats for yourself. Over the course of an hour, a well-trained chocolatier will help you uncover the secrets of Belgian chocolate and you’ll even be able to take home some of your own creations. See full details here.
Go on a food tasting tour
If you would prefer to sample both sweet and savoury snacks and learn more about Belgian food over the course of a single tour, then you might consider booking a Private Food Tour with 10 Tastings. This tour includes the chance to try a cheese platter, mayo and fries, and more. Find out more details here.
Learn how to make waffles
Though a portion of this tour is outdoors, the majority of the tour is inside, making it a good rainy day in Brussels activity that’s fun for all ages, including children. One of the most famous foods to discover from Belgium is the waffle, and it may well surprise you but there are actually a number of different varieties.
Learn all about the history of the Belgian waffle in this workshop, which also allows you to make your own recipe and eat as many waffles as you want. You’ll also be given the recipe to take home afterwards so that you can recreate the experience at home for yourself. Find out more details here.
Visit Brussels Cathedral
By far the most impressive and vast ecclesiastical building in Brussels is that of Brussels Cathedral, which was given cathedral status in the 1960s. Of course, the Gothic building predates this date by many centuries and was actually constructed between the 11th and 15th-centuries.
The Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula is free to visit and is open every day of the week, making it a great destination to escape the rain in Brussels. Some of the coolest things to see and do in the cathedral include heading down into the crypt and admiring stained glass from the 16th, 17th, and 19th-centuries.
Escape the city for a day
Thanks to Belgium’s close position to the sea, the weather can change rapidly and dramatically over the course of a short few hours. This also means that while it might be raining in Brussels, the weather could be sunny in another part of the country.
As such, if it’s a rainy day in Brussels and you’re thinking of a day trip during your stay in the city, then you might consider checking out the other places you’re thinking of visiting to see what the weather is like there.
One of the most important facts about Belgium to know is that the country is small, meaning that a day trip to any other part of the country will take just a couple of hours each way.
The cities of Antwerp, Ghent, and Bruges are all well worth visiting and just a short train ride away. Other more off the beaten path day trips from Brussels include heading to the university city of Leuven or over the French border to the city of Lille. For more inspiration, be sure to check out our guide to the best day trips from Brussels.
Enjoyed reading about the top ways to spend a rainy day in Brussels? Pin this article now, read it again later: