Surrounded by Flanders, you’ll find Belgium’s French speaking capital has got heaps of its own, unique personality. This trendy, global city is a must visit on a trip to Belgium. HQ of the European Union and multicultural to its core, there’s a historic and traditional side to Brussels too. Discover the huge variety of things to do and places to see Belgium’s capital in our Brussels city guide.
You get a truly authentic European city experience in Brussels. It is an art lover's paradise. Find grand galleries and small art exhibits on every corner. See renowned masterpieces and work from up and coming artists. Explore vast history museums and discover unique, hidden gem museums. Lovers of art, culture and learning something new will find no shortage of things to do in Brussels.
Belgium’s capital is shaped by beautiful old architecture and large green spaces. From Brussels' beautiful Grand Place and medieval center you’ll find Art Deco, Art Nouveau and Gothic architecture. Discover parks, gardens and forests in Europe’s greenest capital city. If you are looking to see some striking architecture or for a green city escape in Brussels check out our travel guide.
Try Belgian classics with a Brussels twist. Double fried frites? Sugar dusted waffles? Of course you’ll sample some Belgian beer on a Brussels trip - many of the city’s best beers are brewed by trappist monks. Try an authentic (non-beer related) Brussels tipple, the city’s own ‘half-en-half’. Sipping on a glass half full of champagne and half of wine is the perfect way to celebrate a visit to Brussels.
Whether you’d like a quick visit to the city or an in-depth dive into Brussels, there’s tons to keep you busy.
Brussels is a city you have to take the time to discover and seek out to really find the beauty of the city; and it is rather spread out. Don’t stick to the city center but venture out into the districts and find those hidden gems and we promise you’ll have a completely different experience.
Be warned! Don’t just do the grand place and Manneken Pis (aka the little peeing boy - yes he’s real), and grab a waffle around the grand place; get out and find the charm in this amazing spread-out urban landscape.
Brussels is more than just a city. You might think of capital cities as grey and polluting, but Brussels is built different! Your urban adventure will have a visit from Mother Nature, though you might not expect it. This city has 8,000 hectares of green spaces dotted around the capital. Brussels is sometimes called Europe’s green capital and for good reason. Some of the most popular parks are Leopold Park and Josaphat. Breathe in that fresh air in the middle of the city!
Brussels is a multicultural city and the heart of Europe! All of Brussels’ neighbourhoods have something special to offer. There’s tons of expat communities that have made a home in Brussels - it’s a mini taste of the globe. Check out all the Chinese food, Polish shops, and the bustling European Quarter. Culture is booming in Brussels. From classic Belgian vibes in its famous Ommegang festival to artsy events, concerts and more everyday. If you’re looking for an urban adventure, Brussels is THE place to be.
Do you think a trip to the capital of Belgium will be expensive? Think again. Brussels has tons of free museums to visit to enrich your travel experience. Drop by on the first Sunday of the month for your choice of tons of museums in the capital. Even if you can’t visit for free, history and art buffs are spoiled for choice for museums everyday in Brussels. You might not have time to explore them all, so choose what you love the most to get the best experience.
Oh Brussels, the land of goey waffles, strong beer, and a statute to make everyone wonder, “where’s the nearest bathroom?” While most people are familiar with the centre of Brussels for its plentiful museums, picturesque parks, and gorgeous architecture, there’s so much more to see.
We’ve compiled a list of Brussels neighbourhoods for you to explore, with fun activities you’ll definitely want to check out. Looking for a peaceful escape from the bustling city life? Brussels has cool places for you too! Here’s our ultimate breakdown of Brussels’ neighbourhoods!
The center of it all! Where beer, waffles, and frites all come together to form the heart and soul of Belgium’s city centre. When visiting Brussels, this is typically the main place people go. That means there’s loads to do here! Most people spend their time checking out historical landmarks like the Royal Palace, Grand-Place, and Manneken Pis. Outside the well-known tourist spots are luscious green parks, plenty of museums, and an endless amount of bars serving up delicious Belgian beer. Make sure to check out all of the centre’s hidden secrets to make your time worthwhile.
Dansaert is a Flemish neighbourhood within the centre of Brussels. Here you’ll find plenty of cute shopping spots, especially along the street Rue Antoine. Even though you’ve left the main centre, you can still find historic landmarks like the Sint Katelijnekerk. There’s plenty of stuff to keep you entertained while in Dansaert, but one of our favourite things here is the Saint-Catherine district. With plenty of hip bars and food options, this is a great, lively spot to go out with friends.
One of the largest neighborhoods in Brussels, Ixelles is pretty unique. It’s a diverse neighborhood known for the famous “Matonge” African neighbourhood that evolved from the 1960s. Here you’ll find plenty of African shops and restaurants to try something different than the Belgian classics. If it’s green scenery you’re looking for, Ixelles has you covered with local parks Abbey de la Cambre and Parc ten Bosch. If you’re not sold yet, maybe you will be after finding out it’s the birthplace of Audrey Hepburn!
Within the Ixelles neighbourhood is the Flagey district, a lively area with great bars and its massive cultural house in the Flagey Building. One of its most beloved features is the weekly Flagey market in the Flagey square. Whether you’ve lived here all your life or are an expat working in the EU bubble, Flagey is a beloved neighborhood in Brussels. While you’re here make sure to check out the popular drinking spots - including Belga!
A small, cozy neighbourhood where you can easily spend a day wandering around. Shop-a-holics can rejoice along the Rue Da Bailli street, or you can take a break from the busy life and head out to the Bois de la Cambre and enjoy Belgium’s nature. Chatelain is also filled with great food and bar options you don’t want to miss.
If it’s an arty neighborhood you’re looking for, look no further. Saint Gilles feels like a village within a city - but a beautiful one at that! This place is known for having Art-Nouveau galore, which makes sense considering the Horta Museum is here. As you walk along the friendly, local neighborhood, make sure to check out the impressive sights like the Town Hall or Halle Gate. And if you really want to do as the locals do, go sit out on a terrace at Parvis Square and enjoy a drink with friends.
In the northern part of Brussels is Schaerbeek - a diverse neighborhood that is the city’s melting pot. You can also find a lot of Art Deco and Art Nouveau in the area, along with famous artist Rene Magritte’s last house. Try and find out why the neighborhood has a donkey for a mascot, or visit the infamous Parc Josaphat. If you’ve got kids tagging along, you can’t miss Trainworld. For the rest of Schaerbeek’s great features, you’ll have to head there to find out!
Etterbeek and expats, kind of goes hand in hand! This neighbourhood is known for being one of the main resident areas for international families. Since a lot of the EU offices are located around here, it makes sense that it’s drawn in an EU crowd. If you want to see where everyone goes to hangout, Place Jourdan is your spot. And while you’re here, you can’t forget to try (arguably) the best frites location in town - Maison Antoine!
It may be one of the smallest neighborhoods, but it sure knows how to pack a punch! Saint-Josse-ten-Noode is one of the most densely populated areas, with over 60 different languages spoken! Consider it a pocket sized global village, right in Brussels. If you’re into music, this is the right neighborhood for you. Everyone knows about Botanique, the botanical garden that also acts as a concert and event venue. Or head over to Jazz Station for a drink and let the smooth music hit you right in the soul.
Laid back and beautiful. That’s an easy way to describe the neighborhood of Uccel. Here you’ll find a lot of families, and even retired couples who want to move out of the fast-paced centre. What that means is there’s a close sense of community here, with super friendly residents. You can’t have a cozy neighborhood without a weekly market! The peace and serenity continues throughout the green parks in the Bois de la Cambre and Parc du Wolvendael.
Woluwe-Saint-Lambert is a lovely and stylish neighborhood in the East of Brussels. You’ll find that it’s quiet enough to feel like you’re separated from the hustle and bustle, but still close enough to get in and out of the centre easily. Some people may describe it as calm, clean, and filled with friendly people. It still attracts quite a big international crowd due to its proximity to the EU institutions, meaning it’s definitely no ghost town. There’s cute parks where you can become one with nature like Malou Park or the Roodebeek Park. Plus if you’re looking for your next purchase, they have a monthly antique market!
If you’re really looking for a slow paced neighborhood that’s the opposite of the city centre, you should check out Sint Pieters Woluwe. It’s a relaxed neighborhood where everyone seems pretty settled. There may not be a huge variety of young people compared to other neighborhoods, but there are still plenty of things to get into here. Find out how transportation works at the Tram Museum, or catch a show at the W:Hall venue. Of course there’s several green parks to get a breath of fresh air, and if you’ve got little ones with you - go play mini golf!
Molenbeek is considered one of the most underrated neighborhoods in Brussels. But what used to just be an industrial area is making a big turnaround! It’s colourful and diverse, and it’s right next to the canals where you can get a scenic view. If it’s museums you’re looking for, you can check out MIMA or La Fonderie. There’s also the Tour & Taxis building that has a huge food market on the inside! This place does not get enough credit, so you should go find out all that it’s worth.
Brussels gets a little quieter around March and May, and September and October, when the tourist season is at its lowest. The weather is usually mild in Brussels, so expect rainy days! The capital of Belgium has lovely sights to see in every season.
Good to know - there’s a train station right below the airport terminal that takes you directly into the city. Direct trains come by every 15 minutes. The standard ticket to get from the airport into Brussels is 8.60€.
If you’re coming to Brussels in your car, we recommend Park & Ride. The city of Brussels is a Low Emissions Zone. You’ll have to check if your car fits the criteria to be allowed inside the city and also register the vehicle before coming here.
Brussels has 5 train stations that are all linked together.
Central Station Carrefour de l'Europe 2 - 1000 Brussels (This one is the most centrally located and has the most trains) South Station rue de France 2 - 1070 Brussels (Eurostar, Thalys, TGV) North Station rue du Progrès 85 - 1210 Brussels (Amsterdam) Luxembourg Station place du Luxembourg - 1040 Brussels (Luxembourg) Schuman Station Rond-point Schuman - 1040 Brussels (serves many European institutions and takes you to the airport)
Brussels Airport. An international airport - one of the busiest airports in the world! Budget airlines fly into Charleroi, you’ll have to take a bus to get to Brussels from there.
Getting around on foot and by public transport are your best options to get around Brussels as traffic gets pretty packed. There’s buses, trams and metros to choose from.
You can buy tickets at the stations and info offices, most newsagents, or use contactless payment as you go into the station. Most public transport is run by STIB, a single ticket is 2.10€. Get the 1-day card for 7.50€ to hop on any STIB transport to easily get around the city. The metro is by far the easiest but is not the most extensive metro system.
We recommend Park & Ride since the traffic is not fun. If you go off-hours, there are many paid parking lots.
Brussels is not known as the most cyclist friendly city but it is possible as there are plenty of roads with bike lanes. You can rent a bike with “Villo” pretty much anywhere in the city or use “Pro Velo” (rent 1 bike for 1 day for 15€). We highly recommend electric scooting! There are a few options including Lime scooters and Ride with Billy (highly recommend using the apps for this).
Walking is an easy, hassle free way to get around the heart of Brussels. We recommend using electric scooters or public transport, particularly the metro, to get out further into the other districts.
A convenient ride back to the hotel from the bar, but pricier. Uber is going to be your most affordable option. Unless you’ve pre booked a taxi, only use the taxis with the official Brussels taxi sign. The price adds up quickly. The price per km is around 1.80€ or 2.70€ depending on where you are in the city. Some taxi services do offer a discount charge if you’re going to the airport. Tips are included in the price, so it’s not necessary to tip but no driver will turn it down if you’re feeling generous.
The waterbus goes along the canal from Brussels, Van Praet and Vilvoorde. You’re allowed to bring your bike onto the boat for an extra 1€. Adult single tickets are 2/3€ (depends on which zone you’re in), special discount rates available. You can buy tickets online for the waterbus here.