Atomium and Heyzel District
Welcome to the neighbourhood of Atomium in the Heysel District. This region of Brussels may be slightly removed from the city centre, but it still has a lot of surprises in store…
Seen on many a postcard, the Atomium, along with the Grand Place and Manneken Pis, is an iconic symbol of Brussels. Created at the time of the Universal Exhibition of 1958 and originally designed to last just 6 months (the duration of the exhibition) it’s still present on the city’s skyline today. After more than fifty years of success, large renovation investments began in the early 1990’s, leaving a building that looks like it was built only yesterday. Standing at a height of 102 meters, its metal structure has a total weight of 2,400 tons with each of its spheres boasting a diameter of 18 meters and weighing in at 250 tonnes. Using admirable technical prowess, the lift in the central pillar of the Atomium was created as well as the escalators installed in oblique tubes – which are among the longest in Europe.
The Atomium still arouses the curiosity of many a tourist who wonder its significance. Is it a molecule? An atom? An abstract sculpture? Well, no, The Atomium is none other than the representation of the unit cell of iron - magnified 165 billion time.
Today, the Atomium is not just a monument but also a museum which offers both permanent collections and temporary exhibitions. It’s worth knowing that visitors to the Atomium are offered reductions to Mini Europe and the Kinepolis cinema complexes.
For more information and opening hours, please visit the dedicated page.
In Bruparck, at the foot of the Atomium, Mini Europe is a real must for your children. Nevertheless, even those without little ones will enjoy this journey throughout Europe. Covering more than two hectares, nearly 350 model monuments, recalling more than 75 towns and sites in Europe are represented.
The creation of theCathedral of St. Jacques de Compostela alone, took 24,000 hours of work...
Children will love the "playground" where they can get involved in triggering the fall of the Berlin Wall or the eruption of Vesuvius!
Opening hours vary according to the season and to view the different rates available (combined or not with a visit to the Atomium, Océade etc.) so please visit the dedicated page.
Also in Bruparck, you’ll be able to discover the aquatic complex Océade and its dizzying slides.
And when you’re done, why not top off a great day of activities with a good film? Not wanting to opt for just any old cinema however, you should head to the Kinepolis, one of the largest complexes of movie theaters in the world. Located at 20 Boulevard du Centenaire, near Bruparck, The Kinepolis has no less than 27 screens! Feeling hungry? Nearby, you’ll find the restored historical center of Brussels with a variety of restaurants and a merry atmosphere.
Basilica of theSacred Heart
At the metro of Simonis, make sure you don’t miss the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Koekelberg - the fifth largest in the world. Place of Worship and designated Universal Heritage site by UNESCO, it is also a cultural center.
This neo-Byzantine monument has two museums where exhibitions are held. We also recommend that you check out the extraordinary view from the dome of Brussels. At the top you’ll be 53 meters above the city, where you can see the Flemish Brabant and Walloon Brabant districts.
Royal Castle of Laeken and Royal Greenhouses
Head north of Brussels and the famous Royal Laeken estate awaits. The Royal Castle stands in the heart of the park – an eighteenth century creation that was once the residence of the Austrian governors.
The building became a royal castle from the accession of Leopold I to the throne. This royal attraction is known for its famous royal greenhouses that are open to visit a few days a year (usually scheduled in late April, early May).
Museum of Japanese Art
North of Avenue Van Praet, a Chinese pavilion, an amazing Japanese tower and museum of the Far East welcome tourists in their two very different styles. South of the royal area of Laeken, you can visit the Notre-Dame de Laeken, where the kings and queens of Belgium are buried.
Indeed, we weren’t lying when we told you there were plenty of surprises lying in wait here...