Last updated on January 02nd, 2023
It’s known as the home of the European Parliament, but Brussels in Belgium has much more to offer visitors than political history. It’s a scenic location that’s peppered with galleries, cool cafes and boutique hotels. As a cultural melting pot, this city has plenty of excellent
cheap food on offer and shopping opportunities to suit any budget.
Most of you know Brussels as the capital of Belgium but did you know that this city is a great travel destination? This is the home of the Grand Place, one of the best-preserved buildings and square in Europe combining both the Flemish and Baroque architectural styles.
There are a lot of activities to enjoy in Brussels but before you hit the road, kindly consider the areas to stay in Brussels as this will make your life easy in the city. So, what are some of the best areas to stay in Brussels and what makes these places tick?
Brussels is the capital city of Belgium and is located in the heart of Europe. Plenty of hotels, b&b’s, cheap hostels and apartments for rent can be found in almost every district. What is the best place to stay ? You can opt to book a room right in the city center, or choose to stay in nearby neighbourhoods such as Ixelles and Saint-Gilles, Saint-Josse-ten-Noode, Sablon or the European Quarter. Read on below to find out more.
Stay right in the heart of Brussels near very popular landmarks such as the Grand Place, City Hall, Vismet and Manneken Pis or accommodation in popular European district.
Business travelers coming to Brussels Expo or Brussels Kart can search for hotels near these congress centres or exhibition centers. Staying near the international airport or the European Parliament can be also very convenient for business travelers.
What’s the best area to experience the city as a local or when visiting the first time, what’s the best district for shopping or chocolate lovers, or where to stay on a budget ? Read on below to find out more best neighbourhoods to stay in Brussels Belgium.
Quick Overview – Contents
- What is the Best Area to Stay in Brussels
- Best Area for First Time Visit
- Best for Local Experience
- Best Neighbourhood for Chocolate Lovers
- Best Area for Business Travellers
- Best Area to Stay for Shopping
- Where to Stay in Brussels on a Budget
- Safest Areas in Brussels
- Unsafe Areas?
- 5 Best Neighourhoods to Stay for Tourists
What is the Best Area to Stay in Brussels?
Best for First Time (Sightseeing): City Centre (Historical)
First-time visitors to Brussels have a lot to look forward to including viewing the magnificent Grand Palace, Atomium, and several museums in the city. The place you could stay as a first timer in Brussels is the area around the Central train station and Grand Place as from here you will come across many accommodations meant for tourist in this area. This place is ideal for its proximity to the city centre, availability of many accommodations and shops as well as restaurants in the districts.
Where to Stay in Brussels City Centre
- Best Luxury Hotels in Brussels
Rocco Forte Hotel Amigo • Sofitel Brussels Europe
- Best Great Value – Top Rated Hotels
Motel One Brussels • Hotel Agora Brussels Grand Place
- Best Cheap Hotels in Brussels
Maxhotel • FunKey Hotel
- Best Bed & Breakfast in Brussels
Art de Sejour – B&B • Louise sur Cour
- Best Budget Hostels in Brussels
Sleep Well Youth Hostel • 2GO4 Quality Hostel Brussels Grand Place
Best Areas to Stay in Brussels
What’s the best area to stay in Brussels for local vibe? The Marolles
The Moralles Neighbourhood is considered a social hotspot and is ideal for travellers who are interested in exploring the city like a local. It is a diverse place to meet people of all colours, have some fun and feel a different vibe. The neighbourhood comprising of people from French and Flemish origins has welcomed immigrants from Syria, Turkey, North Africa and Spain. Les Moralles is undergoing renovation at a fast pace with markets, bars, restaurants and cafes now coming up.
Best neighborhood in Brussels for chocolate lovers? The Sablon (French) or Zavel (Dutch)
If you love chocolate, then you better be heading to Sablon as this is an insanely rich chocolate town. Many chocolate shops are open and sell delicious chocolate which you can taste before making a purchase. The advantage of staying in this area is its proximity to the main square, a walk from the central station. Apart from the chocolate, Sablon has well-preserved streets with charming and gothic buildings. This is an ideal place to stay with good hotels offering the best services.
Best neighborhood to stay in Brussels for business travellers? European Quarter
Business travellers’ area of choice is the European Quarter made of exceptional green spaces, original shops, and lively squares. You can set up business meetings in some of the best hotels in the European quarter and enjoy a beautiful view of nature at Cinquantenaire park. In the European quarter, your mind will be at peace because of the serene environment and the location of the area to principal offices in the city. This is an ideal place to work, network and conduct business.
Where to stay in Brussels for shopping? Rue Neuve area and Ixelles (Avenue Louise)
For the shoppers, the best places to stay in Brussels are no doubt Ixelles and Rue Neuve areas. Ixelles is a pretty neighbourhood fond of travellers from around the world, and the location is known for everything. It is the home for restaurants, shops and party places to have all the fun whether shopping or enjoying a great time. Rue Neuve is ideal for shoppers who can walk through the crowded streets to buy items or access the busy malls.
Safest areas of Brussels?
You may be concerned about security in Brussels, and as a tourist, your choice of a safe place is significant for you returning safe and having your belongings intact. The safest areas to look for accommodations in Brussels include Uccle, Ixelles, Woluwe, and Watermael Boitsfort. You can operate in these areas 24/7 without worrying about your security as the law enforcement officers are vigilant. They respond to instances of crime fast but ensure that you have your documents accessible as you navigate these areas.
Unsafe areas of Brussels?
Also, you should be aware of regions within Brussels that are unsafe after dark as this may compromise your security. It is essential that if you choose accommodation in Brussels Nord Station, Schaerbeek, and Gare du Midi, your activity may be limited. Your safety as a traveller is essential and therefore, take caution while on some of the unsafe areas in Brussels. However, there are a lot of activities to enjoy in these areas at the appropriate times.
The 5 Best Neighbourhoods in Brussels (Bruxelles) for Tourists
Here’s a look at five of the Belgium capital’s best-loved districts and why visitors keep coming back for more.
If you appreciate life in the beating heart of a city, then a stay in Brussels most central neighbourhood (Historical City Centre) is going to be perfect. Even previously run down areas have been reclaimed by young professionals, who have made the restaurants around Place St Catherine, and the clothes shops of Rue Antoine Dansaert, incredibly hip.
The little lanes branching off from the huge Grand Place are lined with cafes, boutiques and artworks, especially in Louise, where you’ll also find plenty of antique shops.
- Best Hotel (Great Value): The Hotel Brussels
- Best Cheap Hotels: Résidence Le Quinze Grand Place Brussels • Yadoya Hotel
2. Ixelles and Saint-Gilles
In this trendy urban community, the Parc de Forest and Bois de la Cambre offer some glorious city greenery, while on summer days the beautiful art deco Victor Boin pool provides cooling refreshment. Visitors can drop into the workshop of sculpturer Constantin Meunier on Rue de l’Abbaye, catch a show at the theatre, or try out the arts cinema in the Place Flagey.
However, the main attraction of this chic district is the Avenue Louise, a fashion lover’s paradise. Flanked by numerous designer stores and a two-story mall, this is an ideal spot for a little retail therapy. At night, the streets come alive with fine dining restaurants, live music and bars competing for attention.
Known as a cultural hub, Saint-Josse-ten-Noode is home to ex-pats from across the globe and hosts a range of premium hotels set within the ultra-modern Place Rogier. It’s a very friendly, relaxed place, where residents and tourists make the most of fragrant Turkish and Middle Eastern restaurants, dishing up spicy delights.
Surrounded by tropical gardens, La Botanique is a stunning glasshouse which provides a platform for concerts, exhibitions and plays, while over at the Belgian Comic Strip Centre, you can giggle at the adventures of Belgium’s most famous fictional adventurer, Tintin. If you’ll be arriving by aeroplane or train, there’s a direct connection to here from both Brussels Airport and Brussels Nord station.
- Best Hotel: Hotel Crowne Plaza Brussels – Le Palace
- Best Cheap/Mid-Range Hotels: B&B Welcome To My Place • Hôtel Méribel
A mecca for chocolate lovers, this peaceful neighbourhood is centred around two squares, the Petit Sablon and the Grand Sablon, both of which host a large antique market. Grand Sablon is the place to head for everything sweet, as most of the country’s top chocolatiers, including Godiva, Marcolini and Wittamer, have a store here.
To escape from the material world, step inside the Nôtre-Dame du Sablon, a 15th-century gothic church that’s steeped in history. Legend states that the Virgin Mary once appeared to a young local girl, telling her to bring a statue from a church in Antwerp to the Sablon chapel, making this a place of pilgrimage ever after.
- Best Hotel: NH Collection Brussels Grand Sablon
- Best Cheap/Mid-Range Hotels: Art de Sejour – B&B • Smartflats Premium – Palace du Grand Sablon
Made up of many unique shops, bustling squares and pretty green spaces, the European Quarter is also home to the EU Council and the European Union Commission. The upmarket accommodation is punctuated by shops, bars and cafes giving it a village feel.
The Place du Luxembourg is full of eateries that spill out onto terraces, it also holds markets and attracts a low-key crowd from the EU buildings. For the best views head to Schumanplein and take a good look at the EU HQ, this is especially impressive in the evening when warm lights show off the Europa complex and the streets are alive with international conversation.