How to Make the Most of a Quick Layover in Brussels

4 hour layover in Brussels: Grote Markt (Brussels Grand Place)
What's possible with 4 hours in Brussels? I aimed to find out on a layover in Brussels after my business trip to Mons. Belgium is one of my favorite countries in Europe. We've spent a leisurely week on a city break in Brussels at Christmas. Now it was time to see how much ground I could cover with less than a day in Brussels. The clock was effectively ticking on this trip! What is there to do on a short layover in Brussels? It turns out that you can very efficiently sample all of your favorite Belgian beers and food (e.g., waffles, chocolate, and frites) in just a short amount of time. You'll need to travel efficiently so skip the museums and tourist traps like the Manneken Pis. Read on for how to make the most of a 4 hour layover in Brussels. 

Taste Craft Beer at the Brussels Beer Project

4 hours in Brussels: taste beer at Brussels Beer Project
I emerged from Brussel Centraal (Brussels Central Station) after stashing my luggage in a locker (4-5 EUR for a medium-sized locker) and made a beeline for the Brussels Beer Project (a 17 minute walk from the station). The key to exploring efficiently is to plan your starting point in advance. My number one goal for my 4 hours in Brussels was to sample some Belgian craft beers with a more modern flair. Brussels Beer Project seemed like the perfect place to meet that need. I ordered a sampler of four beers served in elegant stemmed glasses. The Jungle Joy fruit beer had a subtle hint of mango and passionfruit and just a hint of sourness. The Delta IPA was a little smooth for my taste; not hoppy enough for an IPA. The World Gone Sour was a guest beer from Northern Monk and was sour but not overpowering. The De MolĂ©, another guest beer, was my favorite; a super spicy double stout. Bam! 

The Brussels Beer Project has some tables in the back in the microbrewery. I sipped my beers and had a great time chatting to American brewmakers Kim and Katie from Guardian Brewing Company in Sagatuck Michigan who just happened to be in town to taste some beers and get inspiration for their own brews.

Grab Some Belgian Frites at Brussels' Friterie Tabora

How to spend a 4 hour layover in Brussels: eat frites at Friterie Tabora
While I was drinking my beer at the Brussels Beer Project, I did some research on the best places nearby to get Belgian frites. Friterie Tabora was both highly rated and conveniently located close to the Brussels Grote Markt. Grab a cone of twice fried frites smothered in mayo to soak up the beer. Friterie Tabora is unique in that they use fresh hand-cut potatoes for their frites. Many friteries use frozen potatoes.
How to spend a 4 hour layover in Brussels: frites at Friterie Tabora

Sample Belgian Chocolate at Elisabeth Chocolatier

What to do on a 4 hour layover in Brussels: Elisabeth chocolatier
What else was on my list for my 4 hour layover in Brussels? Chocolate, of course! Once again, I consulted Google Maps and discovered Elisabeth Chocolatier just up the street. I efficiently stopped into the chocolate shop, bought a box of chocolates to take home and was on my way again in 10 minutes. I did make sure to pick up a couple of individual chocolates to snack on during my short trip to Brussels.

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Did you know that Belgium, The Netherlands, and Luxembourg are often grouped together and referred to as Benelux? This post covers a short trip to Brussels. Here are some ideas for other places to visit in Benelux:
  1. Spend a weekend exploring Luxembourg with a Luxembourg Card and don't forget to do some day trips from Luxembourg City (1995, 2007)
  2. Discover top places to visit in the Netherlands like Amsterdam and Eindhoven or even Rotterdam in winter.
  3. Enjoy amazing Belgian beer, spend a day in Antwerp, or eat chocolate in Bruges while exploring Belgium by train.

    Have A Macabre Drink at Brussels' Bar Le Cercueil

    4 hour Layover in Brussels: Bar Le Cercueil
    Le Cercueil was recommended to me by the Michigan brewers whom I met at the Brussels Beer Project. If you are looking for a macabre place to grab a Belgian beer, this is it. Le Cercueil translates to "the coffin". I ordered a classic Tripel Karmeliet which tasted surprisingly sweet, like honey. I sipped my beer in the sepulchre and set my glass on a coaster on a glass topped coffin.
    4 hours in Brussels: Bar Le Cercueil
    I've visited Brussels a number of times and this is by far the most unusual place where I've had a drink.
    4 hours in Brussels: the sepulchre at Bar Le Cercueil

    Pore Over the Beer List at Delirium Cafe 

    What to do in Brussels in 4 hours: drink Silly Sour beer at Delirium Cafe
    With just four hours in Brussels, I was getting tight on time at this point but noticed that Delirium Cafe, one of Brussels premier Belgian beer cafes was just a short walk away. I stopped in for a quick Silly Sour and admired the eclectic decor while sipping my final Belgian beer of the day. Delirium Cafe is actually a huge establishment. I walked down to the cellar bar where there was great atmosphere and plenty of seating on a late Friday afternoon.
    Trays on the ceiling at Delirium Cafe on a 4 hour layover in Brussels

    Shop for Belgian Beer to Bring Home at Brussels' De Biertempel

    4 hours in Brussels: Belgian beer glasses at De Biertempel

    If you plan to check a bag for your onward journey after your layover in Brussels, make time to browse De Biertempel. De Biertempel is a shop selling hundreds of Belgian beers by the bottle. I picked out three different Oude Krieks (less sweet cherry beer) to take home with me. De Biertempel packages the beers with care in stretchy foam sleeves.

    Buy a Waffle for the Road at Aux Gaufres De Bruxelles

    What to eat on a 4 hour layover in Brussels: Belgian waffle at Aux Gaufres de Bruxelles
    A four hour trip to Brussels by necessity requires a bit of efficiency. I decided to have a waffle for dinner and stopped at Aux Gaufres De Bruxelles for a plain Belgian waffle that I could eat on the train. Warm, comforting, and not too sweet, Aux Gaufres De Bruxelles was an ideal final stop on my 4 hour layover in Brussels.

    Head to the Airport from Brussel Centraal (Gare de Bruxelles-Central)

    What do do on a 4 hour layover in Brussels: Brussel Centraal train station
    Brussels Central Station (aka Brussel Centraal or Bruxelles Central) is just a short walk from Aux Gaufres De Bruxelles. I picked up my luggage from the locker in the Brussels train station and boarded my train for the Brussels Airport (a 17 minute ride) to catch my flight; content in the knowledge that I'd made the absolute most of my 4 hours in Brussels.

    Map to Guide Your 4 Hour Layover in Brussels 

    As you can see, it's possible to maximize the amount of fun to be had with 4 hours in Brussels. The key is planning in advance where you want to go (I starred target destinations on Google Maps) and efficiently make your way between the stops. A short layover in Brussels is definitely better than no layover at all so make the most of your time here with this handy map.

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    Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: How to Make the Most of a Quick Layover in Brussels
    How to Make the Most of a Quick Layover in Brussels
    Learn how to spend 4 hours in Brussels. Make the most of a short layover in Brussels. Find out what to eat and drink and where to shop in Brussels Belgium if you are short on time.
    Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog
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