4 Hours in Brussels: Making the Most of a Layover in Belgium

4 hour layover in Brussels: Grote Markt
What's possible with 4 hours in Brussels? I aimed to find out on a layover in Brussels after my business trip to Mons. We've spent a leisurely week 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! 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. 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 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 Molé, 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 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 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.

Have A Macabre Drink at Brussels' Bar Le Cercueil

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
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 layover in Brussels

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

Layover 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 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 layover in Brussels: Brussel Centraal train station
Brussel Centraal 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 airport (a 17 minute ride).

Map to Guide Your 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: 4 Hours in Brussels: Making the Most of a Layover in Belgium
4 Hours in Brussels: Making the Most of a Layover in Belgium
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.
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