Get to know Brussels like a local on this guided five-day private tour. After taking in the key sights of Belgium's capital, you'll delve into its diverse beer scene and later row to a chalet on an island in the Bois de la Cambre park. Halfway through the itinerary, your guide will whisk you off on an exciting road trip, stopping at the Waterloo Battlefield and its museum, the citadel of Dimant for sweeping views over the River Meuse, and the tranquil water gardens of Namur.


  • Explore the main sights of Brussels with a private guide
  • Get to know Belgium's most beloved export: beer, on a walking tour 
  • Visit Waterloo Battlefield, the scene of Napoleon's final defeat
  • Climb to the top of the citadel in the spectacular town of Dinant
  • Pedal across Brussels' park lake for a drink at an island café

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Brussels, Private Guided Tour Brussels
Day 2 Guided Beer Walk in Brussels Brussels
Day 3 Day Trip to Waterloo, Dinant & Namur Brussels
Day 4 Row to Robinson Island in Bois de la Cambre Brussels
Day 5 Train to Airport, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Brussels, Private Guided Tour

Explore Brussels with private guide
The "flower carpet" appears in central Brussels every August

Brussels is a classic European beauty, with elegant Art Noveau streets and a UNESCO-protected heart. But you'll also discover a vibrant, liveable capital city—and in true Belgian style, it more than delivers on the traditional treats of chocolate, waffles, and beer.

With an expert guide, you'll spend your first day getting under the skin of the city, around the key sights. With a start point of Grand-Place (Grote Markt), the guildhall-lined central square of Brussels, you'll then venture into the complex of Royal Greenhouses (Koninklijke Serres van Laken). These classical-style heated greenhouses were built by Alphonse Balat on behalf of King Leopold II in 1873 and are the crowning glory of the Royal Palace of Laeken's grounds. Next, walk around the flamboyant Cinquantenaire Park (Jubelpark), French-style gardens built in 1880, complete with a triumphal arch.

Your guide will point out more city highlights as you wander, such as the Royal Saint-Hubert Galleries (a trio of opulent glazed shopping arcades) and the Cathedral of Saint Michael and St Gudula, one of the world's best examples of Brabantine Gothic architecture. On the quirkier side, there's the Manneken Pis, a bronze fountain sculpture of a boy peeing into the basin. Toast your day of sightseeing at a pub decked in early 20th-century style, À la Mort Subite ("Sudden Death"). This popular haunt has its own brewery on-site. 

Day 2: Guided Beer Walk

Guided beer walk in Brussels
Get to know your Belgian beers on a guided beer-themed walk through Brussels

Today, you'll embark on a walking tour where the subject matter is far from dry: it's all about glorious Belgian beer. Brussels is one of Europe's major beer cities, with a brewing tradition that goes back to 12th-century monks and a flourishing contemporary beer scene. Your guide will detail the heritage and culture of beer as you make your way around five-or-so hotspots through the city's historical heart. 

You'll have the opportunity to try a wide range of Belgian beers, from witbiers (white beers), a Belgian-style wheat ale) to dubbels (doubles), or strong dark beers, as you go. Don't be surprised if you feel a little light-headed: Belgian beers start at a robust 5% and go rapidly up from there, with the ubiquitous Delirium—look out for the pink elephant label—clocking in at 8.5%

Day 3: Day Trip to Waterloo, Dinant & Namur

The citadel and riverside mansions of Dinant
Plan your trip to Belgium
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A delightfully varied day trip awaits, with a drive of 150 miles (240 km), heading south into the Ardennes region and back. The first stop is the Waterloo Battlefield, the scene of Napoleon's final defeat. A cylindrical oil-on-canvas painting of 360 feet (110 m) in circumference, presented with a soundscape, transports you to the thick of the action at the Memorial Waterloo 1815 museum.

Next up, into the Ardennes, is the town of Dinant. The architecture on the River Meuse bank is instantly striking, with colorful mansions and a cathedral spire. It's made even more dramatic by the mighty rock and citadel behind it, presiding 328 feet (100 m) over the land and water. Climb the 408 steps or ride the cable car to take in the expansive view. There's also an option to grab lunch at a Meuse-side restaurant.

In the afternoon, you'll start heading back to Brussels through a landscape of rivers and castles. Along the way, stop at one more Ardennes delight—the province of Namur. Its citadel and belfry are major draws, but the 200-year-old Annevoie Water Gardens will make you want to linger with their tranquil fountains, waterfalls, and ponds. 

Day 4: Row to Robinson Island in Bois de la Cambre

Paddling in the Bois de la Cambre
Robinson Island in the Bois de la Cambre

After that action-packed day, it's time to take a more sedate pace—and experience Brussels' green heart. The city park of Bois de la Cambre is designed in an English style, with paths among soaring beech trees and a lake where you can hire rowing boats and pedalos (waterfiets or "water bicycles" in Dutch).

With your guide, you'll pedal or row out to Robinson Island, in the middle of the lake, then make your way to the three-story Chalet Robinson for a drink or a snack to complement your castaway experience. If you're more in the mood to kick back and take in the scenery, you can ride across on the "ferry" raft boat instead. On hot summer days, this 14-acre (6 ha) park makes a relaxing retreat from the city bustle; bring a picnic and find yourself a shady spot.

Day 5: Train to Airport, Depart

Depart Brussels
Hit the chocolate shops before saying goodbye
Load up on chocolate and bid farewell to Brussels. Take any train heading to the Brussels Airport (Zaventem), or ask your guide to call you a cab. Safe travels!

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Map of Explore Brussels & Beyond - 5 Days
Map of Explore Brussels & Beyond - 5 Days