Brussels Travel Guide: Overview

In this Brussels travel guide, you will learn the top things to do, travel tips while in Brussels, how to get around, where to stay, and typical costs. Brussels, the capital of Belgium and the European Union, has recently become one of the most visited cities in Europe. It’s not just a political center of this continent; this city can offer you interesting history, great museums, delicious food, and worldwide known beer. You will love Brussels’ charm, restaurants, bars, food, festivals, and diverse architecture from medieval to modern buildings of the EU institutions. Even though this city has a rich history and true European beauty, it became world-famous when it became the seat of the European Union. It’s not a boring administrative city. It’s a cute and charming city, perfect for your European getaway.

Brussels Travel Guide: When to Visit Brussels

The shoulder seasons between March and May and September and October are the best times to visit Brussels because hotel costs are lower and the weather is milder during these times. In this city, there are four distinct seasons, and it can rain at any time. Winter lows average in the mid-30s; summer lows average in the low 70s. Also, the shoulder season has a lot less tourist so it will be more enjoyable.

Brussels Travel Guide: Where to Stay in Brussels

City Center – Probably, the best for first-timers and best overall to be honest. This area is in the heart of Brussels, has a long history and vibrant culture, and will be close to all the main attractions.

Sablon – The Sablon (or Zavel) district of Brussels is a bustling, affluent area that provides classy bars and restaurants in addition to a ton of chocolate shops.

European Quarter – Right on the doorsteps of the EU institutions. The European quarter of Brussels, which features intriguing stores and renowned museums, is a must-visit area for all tourists. Its vibrant, captivating squares and magnificent green areas are a must-see. The area is very high-end and safe as well.

Saint Gery –Saint Gery is a fantastic choice for people interested in culture, history, and a vibrant nightlife because of its proximity to the city’s historic center. The district is full of eateries, cafes, and bars, some of which during the warmer months spill out into the streets.
With live music, beverages, and delectable food.

Brussels Travel Guide: How to Reach Brussels

By car – Like all the other European cities, Brussels is well-connected with the rest of Europe. Where ever you are in Europe, you can drive to Brussels easily.

By train – You can come to Brussels by train from London, Paris, Amsterdam or almost every other European capital.
 Look up routes on the official site.

By plane – There are two Airports in Brussels: Brussels Airport (BRU) which is easy to ride the train in from and Charleroi Airport (CRL) which is an airport that is host to many low-cost companies and it might be more convenient to ride a shuttle bus into the city.

 

Getting around Brussels: Transportation Tips

First of all, it is probably worth mentioning that you can save a lot of money by buying the BRUPASS. It is valid for he SNCB/NMBS commuter trains, De Lijn and TEC suburban buses, STIB/MVIB buses, trams, and the metro. It comes in a single journey or by 10. The 10 option is for sure more economical. Another option is the Brussels pass which will include almost 50 tourist attractions and a transportation card.

The Tram
Trams are simple to locate. Tram stops are marked by signs and shelters next to the tracks, and STIB-MIVB runs 147km (92mi) of tram lines around the city. They also run off renewable energy so that’s cool!

The Metro
The metro, which is operated by STIB/MVIB, is the quickest mode of transportation in Brussels. There are STIB/MVIB ticketing kiosks at every station. Purchase a paper ticket or fill up your reusable MOBIB card, and then scan or tap it to unlock the gates. On the Brussels metro, contactless payment has just been implemented if you wish to totally avoid tickets. Simply swipe your credit card through the red scanners by the gates, or pay with your smartphone. However, each traveler is limited to using one card.

The Bus
Brussels is served by numerous bus companies. Pick the appropriate ticket for your trip because, frustratingly, their tickets cannot be used interchangeably. Drivers for each of the 3 companies sell tickets on the bus.

By Car
The most challenging mode of transportation in Brussels is the car. The cost of gas and parking is high. Taxis and ride-share options are also available.

Top Brussels Travel Guide Tips

Join a free walking tour. There is a lot of free walking tours in Brussels and joining one, along with other tourists is one of the best free things to do in the city. These tours are very informative and fun. Here is a link to a list of the top free walking tours.

Eat a lot of Belgian chocolate! This may sound a little extravagant but it’s a must. The afternoon tea experience is pretty much calming and relaxing. The snacks that go along with it are usually pretty good too! Almost all hotels and cafes in London serve afternoon tea and snacks and even river cruise tours at the Thames. It’s also a good idea to make a reservation when visiting some of the more popular hotels for afternoon tea.

Try the Belgium beer. Belgian beer is some of the most famous beers in the world. I’m sure you have heard of Duvel or Chimay. So, go to any beer house and enjoy some time with your friends, drinking the finest Belgian beer.

Purchase a Brussels Card. Brussels card is a special card designed for tourists. It will get you a lot of free things and discounts. For example, when you have this card, you’ll get free entrance into 25 museums, a free public transport card that allows you to ride around the city as much as you want, and discounts in various museums, pubs, and cafes. In some cafes, you can get free coffee and in some pubs, a second beer gratis. The price of this card varies on the duration of your stay in Brussels. Therefore, the card for 24 hours costs 29€, for 48 hours- 39€, and for 72 hours – 46€. You can buy it at tourist information sites or online.

Grab some food at the Atomium – Take a lift and go to the highest ball of the Atomium. Visit the restaurant there and have lunch or dinner while enjoying the marvelous view of Brussels.

Brussels Travel Guide: Typical Costs in Brussels

Price Range for Hotels
Depending on your budget you can stay at luxury or budget hotels/hostels. And therefore the price will vary. The prices in top Brussels hotels vary from 150€ to 300€ for a night and in budget hotels or bed and breakfast hotels from 70 to 100€. A hostel will run you about 15-30€ for a bunk.

Cost of Meal
Brussels has more than 2000 restaurants and most of them are located between Grand Place and Rue Nueve. If you want to have a good meal and a good restaurant, your three-course meal will cost between 50 and 80€ and the bottle of wine between 20 and 40€. If you want a cheaper meal, it will cost between 20 and 40€ and a bottle of wine around 20€.

Brussels Travel Guide: Top Places to Visit in Brussels

Atomium

This 103-meter-high sculpture is the pride of Brussels. It was built in 1958, for the World’s Fair and it represents a steel-aluminum construction of 9 atoms. It’s connected by tubes through which you can go around the sculpture and walk into a room or museum dedicated to the well-intention use of atomic energy. You can have a meal at the highest ball of the sculpture or visit the nearby park and museum of various models of tourist attractions of Europe.

Grand Place and Royal Residence

The main square and the heart of Brussels is Grand Place. On this square are settled the City Hall and The Royal Residence or Maison du Rei. Here you can take a break and have a cup of coffee and admire the architecture and observe the everyday life of the locals. Every two years here on this square is held the flower festival, and during that time, Grand Place is covered with beautiful flowers and smells magical. In one of the buildings on this square, lived Victor Hugo.

Manneken Pis

I’m only adding this because I missed seeing it apparently and everyone always asks if I saw it. Near Grand Place, you can find the landmark of Brussels. The bronze statue of a little boy urinating in a pool is located on the corner of Rue de Chene I Rue de L’Etuve. This statue represents the “irreverent spirit” of Brussels. This boy is often dressed in various costumes, which represent the tradition settled in the 17th century. In the City Hall museum, you can see the collection of costumes this boy has worn. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday between 10 am and 5 pm.


Chocolate Museum

Considering that Belgium is the homeland of chocolate, be sure to visit this museum. It’s located on the edge of the Grand Place, and here you can learn how to make pralines and try some of them.

Brussels’ Comic Book Museum

The first comic books were drawn and written in Belgium and this country is home to Tin Tin and the Smurfs, so if you’re a fan of comic books, be sure to visit this museum.

Jardin du Mont des Arts

One of Brussels’ most stunning locations and views. You will be surprised by an unexpected city view and gardens below as you walk from the Place Royale. Architecture, art, design, music, and sculptures can be found all across the area.

Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula

This church is dedicated to the protector of this city, St Michael. This Roman Catholic church got its cathedral status in 1962. With its grand exterior and marvelous interior, this church is definitely one of the things you need to see while you’re in Brussels.

Pub Hop and Try the Beers

There are so many awesome pubs and cafes to drink great beer in Brussels. Stop by and try the unique taste of Belgium beers.

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