Updated January 19, 2019
Arguable: whether it is beautiful or dreadful. Questionless: it is very original, so much that it has become the symbol of Belgium. My opinion is that it is worth seeing it on the outside, but not the inside.
- Built on the occasion of the World Fair (Universal Exposition) of 1958, as a symbol of faith in science and progress.
- It represents an iron crystal (three-dimensional arrangement of 9 iron atoms) 165 billion times its size.
- Made up of 9 steel spheres 18 meters in diameter, which look much larger on the inside than on the outside, connected by tubes 3 meters in diameter. It measures 102 meters in height.
- Initially it was to be dismantled after the exhibition, but it became an important tourist attraction. Today it receives about 600,000 visitors a year.
- It was restored from 2004 to 2007, and the truth is that it was glorious to see it, so bright.
- At night the monument / building / whatever-it-is lits up.
HOW TO GET THERE
Located in Heysel Park, north of the city. From the center:
- Heysel metro stop on line 6 is the closest. It takes about 35 minutes.
- Although the fastest and cheapest is to use the Villo (shared bicycles that exist in many cities).
- It can also be reached via the slower tram line 3, bus 251, or by train.
- A taxi will cost about 20 € and a uber something less.
For more information see TRANSPORT IN BRUSSELS.
Next to the Atomium, taking advantage of the infrastructures of the expo, another series of attractions have been located: the Mini Europe, a recreation of European countries in miniature, is the most popular. Open from 9:30 am to 8 pm in summer, with fewer hours in spring and fall; Closed from 7 January to 7 March. Adult admission € 15.80.
PRICES AND OPENING TIMES
Open every day of the year, from 10 am to 6 pm. Adult admission price is cited (discounts are available for seniors, children, students, teachers and groups):
- Single admission: € 15 (9 with the Brussels Card). Allows admission to ADAM (Art & Design Atomium Museum).
- Atomium + Planetarium: € 16.
- Atomium + Mini Europe: € 27.60.
- Atomium + Mini Europe + Oceade (a contiguous water park): € 36.
Tickets can be purchased online at the official website, but the truth is that it is not necessary, there are usually tickets left over for the same day and the queues to buy it at the window are not long.
Guided tours can be arranged for groups from 1 to 25 people for 80 € prior reservation.
As I said in the introduction, I think it’s worth seeing. Photographs obtained from the base, like the one of the heading of this post, are very original and curious.
But the inside, I think can be avoided. You can visit 5 of the spheres. There are permanent and temporary exhibitions. From all of them you can see different panoramas of the city, but they are not very good, especially if it is misty.
But unfortunately, the best panorama, the one of the superior sphere, is reserved for
customers of the restaurant (menu for two people from 120 €). Luckily there is another restaurant on the way out called The Terrace, serving fast food, drinks and snacks.
The tubes that communicate the spheres are much wider than they might look on the outside. Inside there are stairs, escalators and elevators.