Nothing beats moving on up when it comes to discovering a city like Brussels. Aside from the tourist hot spot of the Atomium, there are several rooftops and panoramas in the capital that really will take you to new heights! We’ve gathered our 10 favourite spots here, from the most unusual to the most spectacular. Places to eat, enjoy a cocktail or simply drink in the view.
Dinner with a view
MIM (Musical Instruments Museum) – 1000 Brussels
The venerable and majestic Art nouveau building ‘Old England’, with its commanding spot on Mont des Arts, isn’t just home to the magnificent Musical Instruments Museum (MIM) – it also boasts a rooftop restaurant and terrace, offering one of the most beautiful views of Brussels. From the top of the building, the city unfolds before your eyes. It will take your breath away, though certainly not your appetite!
Royal Library Café – 1000 Brussels
Not far from the MIM, in the garden on Mont des Arts, you’ll find the Royal Library of Belgium, known locally as ‘L’Albertine’ or ‘La Royale’. But did you know – and hardly anyone does – that the library also has a well-kept secret? The café on the fifth floor, and above all its terrace and kitchen garden, overlooks the historical city centre and offers a superb panorama. Perfect for lunch with a view and fresh vegetables growing at your feet.
Villa in the Sky – 1050 Brussels
This is what you might call one of the high spots of Brussels gastronomy! Located on the roof of the IT Tower, 120 metres above Avenue Louise and virtually at the entrance to the Bois de la Cambre, top chef Alexandre Dionisio serves up high-flying cuisine for you to enjoy with your head in the (Michelin) stars. Set in an impressive glass structure, you can enjoy the refined dishes while taking in the breathtaking 360° view. It’s an unforgettable experience, with a price tag to match.
Cocktail in the sky
Play Label Rooftop Bar - 1000 Brussels
When the weather is fine, people in Brussels love to head out to the café terraces. One of them in particular has been making quite a bit of noise in the past few years, both literally and figuratively – the roof terrace above Bowling Crosly, just down from the Sablon. For its fifth summer season in 2017, the Play Label Rooftop Bar is once again bringing together fans of electronic music and a great night out in Brussels. A cool pop-up bar with a view – definitely worth the effort!
JAM Hotel Rooftop - 1060 Brussels
The JAM Hotel is just the kind of offbeat phenomenon in which Brussels seems to specialise. It’s more than a hotel, it’s a concept, combining stark industrial architecture in wood and concrete with a young and laid-back ambiance. Each room is a discovery, not least the dormitory with nine double beds, which you can reserve individually. And when summer comes around, you can enjoy a cocktail with a view up on the roof by the unique one-lane swimming pool. Pump-up the JAM!
Beursschouwburg Out Lout Rooftop – 1000 Brussels
‘Beurschouwburg’ is pretty hard to pronounce if you don’t speak Dutch! Which is why it’s also called the Théâtre de la Bourse. This hot spot for Flemish culture in Brussels offers a veritable cocktail of entertainments and artistic discoveries of all genres. Throughout June, its roof terrace – the Out Loud Rooftop – presents a mixture of concerts, films, picnics, lunches and aperitifs with a breathtaking view of the stock exchange and the Dansaert district. Not to be missed!
A feast for the eyes
Parc Duden - 1190 Brussels
As any cyclist will tell you, there’s a lot of hills in Brussels. The district known as Altitude 100 in Forest is a perfect example. To be fair, at 100 metres, it isn’t exactly Mont Blanc. But once you get to this highpoint in Brussels, you can’t help but enjoy the views. Go to the top of Square Lainé, between the Duden and Forest parks, just behind ‘L’Arc-en-Ciel’, and you will be treated to a unique view: a magnificent expanse of greenery, beyond which the city is picked out. Magnificent and poetic.
Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Koekelberg - 1081-1083 Brussels
Was it so crowded that time you went to the Atomium that you didn’t bother going to the top to take in the view? Well, there’s an alternative that’s less busy, no doubt because it’s less well known. At a height of over 50 metres, just below the dome of the imposing Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Koekelberg (an Art Deco monument locals either love or hate), you’ll discover one of the loveliest views of Brussels and the provinces beyond. And all that from the fifth biggest church in the world!
Place Poelaert - 1000 Brussels
Place Poelaert is located at the foot of the Palais de Justice, another much-maligned building in Brussels. It was designed by Joseph Poelaert, nicknamed the ‘schieven architek’ (‘crooked architect’) in the local dialect by the residents of the Marolles, the neighbouring working-class district, who were the first to suffer when this stone giant was installed. Leaving aside these squabbles, the square acts like a terrace between the upper and lower town, and offers a magnificent panorama. After you’ve enjoyed the view, you can take the glass elevator on your left into the Marolles to explore its typical atmosphere.
MIMA nocturnes - 1080 Brussels
The latest contemporary art museum in Brussels, MIMA (Millennium Iconoclast Museum of Art), is located by the canal in a rapidly developing industrial district in Molenbeek. It offers a fresh look at art that will interest Millennials, those lovers of culture 2.0, who are firmly anchored in the 21st century. The museum’s many initiatives include the creation of a rooftop which is a work of art in itself and offers an unequalled view of Brussels. Check out the summer nocturnes, when the rooftop hosts one of the capital’s artiest bars.