Where to Stay in Brussels – 3 Best Areas and Hotels
Brussels, Belgium’s capital, is an excellent destination in Europe, famous for its museums, architecture, gastronomy and, of course, beer. If you’re planning a trip there soon, you might be wondering where to stay in Brussels – a perfectly valid question! And to answer you, I have compiled this complete list with the best areas to stay in Brussels for tourists, as well as hotel recommendations in each of them. Scroll down to find everything you need to know!
Finding the best place to stay in Brussels might be a bit complicated and frustrating as well, especially if you’re on your first visit ever. The city is divided into different areas and neighbourhoods, each of them with its own charm and strong points. In this article, you’ll find my top 3 selections for areas to stay in Brussels, as well as 5 bonus neighbourhoods if you’re not visiting for the first time.
Luckily for us travellers, Brussels has an excellent public transport system, making it super easy to explore all the major tourist spots by train, metro, bus or tram. So, when it comes to choosing an area to stay, it mainly depends on your budget and preferences!
Okay, enough talking. Here’s my list of the most popular neighborhoods in Brussels, together with hand-picked hotel recommendations (sorted by budget) and nearby attractions.
Where to stay in Brussels, Belgium - 3 best areas for tourists
In case you’re visiting Brussels for the first time ever, you will surely want to make the most out of your experience. You’ll want to stay as close to the main attractions as possible and also be well-connected by public transportation to the rest of the city (the Central Train Station being your best bet). You’ll wish to have plenty of restaurants, cafes and shops around and maybe some museums and art galleries as well.
If you agree with all these points, then the following 3 areas are perfect for you!
Brussels City Centre / Historic Centre
In case you’re wondering where to stay in Brussels for the first time, this one’s for you! The Historic Centre is the heart of the city and the place where you will find most of the main tourist sites, making it the best area to stay for all types of tourists. Brussels Grand Place, Manneken Pis, the Town Hall and the Royal Palace are all nearby landmarks and the cobbled streets and narrow lanes are really sites in themselves! You’ll find chocolate shops and waffle stands everywhere, as well as frite stalls and high street brands. This is the perfect place to stay for first-time travellers as it’s easy to explore on foot!
Brussels City Centre is, indeed, the heart of the city and it revolves around La Grand Place (Grote Markt), the main and oldest square in the city. If you choose to stay here, get ready to be surrounded by stunning architecture, iconic attractions and plenty of food options. Plus, you’ll also be close to the Central Railway Station (less than 500m away), a main transportation hub of the city. As for hotels, there are plenty of choices in this neighbourhood!
Where to stay in the Historic Centre
WHAT TO DO IN THE HISTORIC CENTRE OF BRUSSELS
- Admire the Grand Place (Grote Markt) and the Gothic architecture of the Town Hall building;
- Find Manneken Pis, Brussels’ symbol – the bronze statue of a little peeing boy;
- Marvel at the Brussels Stock Exchange for beautiful architecture again;
- Visit the Belgian Comic Strip Center if you’re interested in comic strips and their importance in Belgium;
- Go and take a tour of Brussels City Museum or the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Belgium;
- See a show at Royal Theatre of the Mint;
- Go to the Royal Galleries of Saint-Hubert for a luxury shopping experience;
- Visit St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral.
RELATED READ: For more interesting, exciting things to do in Brussels, as well as my complete guide with tips for this amazing city, I recommend reading this article: 12 Top Attractions in Brussels, Belgium – A Complete Guide to the City
Although more residential than the Historic Centre of Brussels, Ixelles is still sky-high on my list of best places to stay in Brussels. An international community of residents mixed with a high number of university students transforms Ixelles into a young, artsy and vibrant area in the city. Expect a great night-life, trendy restaurants and good shopping streets (such as Avenue Louise, which I will talk about in detail below in the bonus section), all without the tourist trap destinations you would find in the centre.
In short, Ixelles is the best area to stay for ALL types of travellers, from those of you looking for some high-end hotels and shopping venues to backpackers who want to discover the city by foot. There are also plenty of restaurants in the area, as well as quiet parks, vibrant bars and culture-rich museums. Needless to say that you’ll be very well connected to the other parts of Brussels via public transportation, right?
Where to stay in Ixelles
WHAT TO DO IN IXELLES
- Shop ‘til you drop at Chausée d’Ixelles; or Place Fernand Coq;
- Head to Place Fernand Coq for a cool bar scene, traditional Belgian pubs and restaurants.
- Check out what’s on at the Flagey building (“yellow boat”) – you’ll find movies, concerts, live speaker events and workshops;
- Relax and unwind at Tenbosch Park;
- Visit Musée d’Ixelles;
- Admire the beautiful gardens of Abbaye de la Cambre.
Wondering where to stay in Brussels for culture? Here’s your answer, in one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the capital!
Saint-Gilles is an artsy and young neighbourhood that contains lots of art galleries, vintage shops and hipster events, while still maintaining the personality of local life that you might miss out on in more touristy neighbourhoods. If you decide to stay here, get ready for some superb Art Nouveau buildings, local markets and more.
TIP: It might be best to not stay very close to Gare du Midi, even if it’s a good transportation hub in the city, as the streets surrounding it might get a bit shady after dark, especially for a solo traveller!
Where to stay in Saint-Gilles, Brussels
- Hotel Manos Stephanie – among the best hotels in Saint Gilles
- Hotel Manos Premier – One of the best hotels in Saint Gilles if you’re looking for 5-star service
WHAT TO DO IN SAINT-GILLES
- Search the sidewalks for street art by BONOM – he’s Belgium’s Banksy.
- Get thrifty and pick out some gems at the vintage shops, such as the Midi Market (at Gare du Midi) that takes place on Sundays;
- Take an art-house cinema trip to the Vendôme;
- Visit Art Nouveau Horta Museum if you’re a fan of ceramics and stained glass by Victor Horta;
- Go to Place van Meenen to indulge in oysters on Monday afternoons;
- Walk along Chaussee de Waterloo, explore the unique shops and taste some local food;
- Visit Saint Gilles’ Church;
- Relax in the laid-back Parc de Forest or Parc Pierre Paulus for a breath of fresh air away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
BONUS: Other great areas to stay in Brussels
The neighbourhoods above are the three best areas to stay inside or super close to Brussels City Centre, especially if you want to be near the Grand Place and tons of restaurants, bars and chocolate stores. But, of course, there is more to Brussels than this! Here are some other excellent options for you:
Sablon / Zavel
In case you’re looking for an upscale area full of incredible chocolate shops, while still being centrally located (not far from the central railway station), Sablon is your answer!
While you’re here, make sure to check out Notre-Dame du Sablon Church (Eglise Notre-Dame du Sablon), one of the highlights of this neighbourhood, located between Grand Sablon and Square du Petit Sablon, the two main squares of this area. You can also go to Place du Grand Sablon for some vintage shopping during the weekends, to the Magritte Museum for some interesting, surrealist masterpieces and to the many art galleries for a big dose of art and culture. As for hotel choices, you’ll see that there are plenty of options for all pockets and tastes here.
BOUTIQUE HOTEL. Pillows Grand Boutique Hotel Place Rouppe Brussels
MID-RANGE HOTEL. 9Hotel Sablon
BUDGET HOTEL. B&B La Maison Haute
HOSTEL. Hostel Bruegel
ENTIRE APARTMENT. Sweet Inn Apartments – Régence
Avenue Louise - Where to stay in Brussels for shopping
If you’re ready to shop ‘til you drop, then Avenue Louise (or Louizalaan) is THE place for you! This is the area where you’ll find plenty of high-end, boutique hotel options with spacious rooms, luxury designer shops on a 3km-long avenue, as well as world-class restaurants. Yes, this is the best area to stay if you’re looking for an upscale experience close to the heart of Brussels, so keep that in mind if you’re choosing it!
While you’re around Avenue Louise, you can check out King’s Garden for some relaxation, Place du Chatelain for a good coffee and some people watching and all the Art Nouveau buildings scattered around the neighborhood.
LUXURY. Steigenberger Wiltcher’s
BOUTIQUE HOTEL. Thon Hotel Bristol Stephanie
MID-RANGE HOTEL. Qbic Hotel Brussels
BUDGET HOTEL. ibis Styles Hotel Brussels Louise
ENTIRE APARTMENT. Minimalistic In Premium Location
Les Marolles - Where to stay in Brussels on a budget
In case you want to experience the city from the perspective of a local and if you don’t have a huge budget for accommodation, Les Marolles may be the best place to stay for you!
Les Marolles is an older, multicultural neighborhood, rich in flea markets, as well as bars and restaurants and the best place for a budget stay in Brussels! And, if you ask me, this is one of the most underrated parts of Brussels when it comes to tourists! While you’re here, make sure to check out Vieux Marché flea market, indulge in some international cuisine (there are TONS of restaurants here serving Spanish, Turkish, Syrian cuisines and more) and admire the stunning façade of Notre-Dame de la Chapelle, one of the oldest churches in Brussels.
LUXURY. Novotel Brussels Centre Midi
MID-RANGE HOTEL. The Pantone Hotel Brussels
BUDGET HOTEL. B&B Le Lys d’or
HOSTEL. Hostel Bruegel
ENTIRE APARTMENT. Citadines Toison d’Or Brussels Aparthotel
Saint Gery - Where to stay in Brussels for nightlife
Are you a night owl excited to explore the best of Brussels’ clubs and bars? Saint Gery is definitely the best place to stay in Brussels for nightlife!
This lively area that never sleeps is scattered with lots of places to party, but also many excellent places to eat and indulge in traditional cuisine. This area is best visited during summer, when you can sit on a sidewalk café, enjoy a drink and admire everything around you. For one of those unmissable experiences in Brussels, make sure to go to Les Halles Saint-Géry – a local market that transforms into a cool bar when the night comes!
Saint Gery is not far from the Grand Place at all, so you can rest assured that all the well-known attractions in the centre will be within walking distance. Plus, you’ll only be a 15-minute walk away from the Central train station!
LUXURY. Brussels Marriott Hotel Grand Place – One of the best hotels in Brussels Saint Gery
BOUTIQUE HOTEL. Boutique Hotel Saint-Géry
MID-RANGE HOTEL. Atlas Hotel Brussels
BUDGET HOTEL. B&B Villa 36
ENTIRE APARTMENT. Grand Place The Looks Apartment
Saint-Josse-ten-Noode is another highly underrated area in the city of Brussels, where you’ll find tons of hidden gems and interesting experiences. It’s a great area to stay if you want to be in walking distance to traditional eateries around Place Flagey, Place Jourdan and Place St. Josse – make sure you don’t forget to try the frites (fries)!
The best advantage of this area is that it’s only 10 minutes away from the centre, which makes it the best place to stay in Brussels if you want to enjoy the main attractions (such as the Grand Place) while also avoiding the hustle and bustle of the tourists staying in the most popular areas! In short, this is a laid-back, residential area with a lot of potential, especially if you’re on a budget.
LUXURY. NH Brussels Bloom
MID-RANGE HOTEL. B&B Welcome To My Place
BUDGET HOTEL. Hôtel Méribel
HOSTEL. Jacques Brel Youth Hostel
ENTIRE APARTMENT. Luxurious Apartment in City Center
Still wondering where to stay in Brussels? I think this guide will 100% answer your question! In the post above I have told you everything you need to know about the best areas and best places to stay in Brussels, regardless if you want to be as close to the Grand Place as possible or a bit further away to save some cash.
I have also given you my hand-picked hotel recommendations broken down by budget, so I’m pretty sure you’ve already found the ideal place in Brussels for your vacation!
In case you want to read more about Brussels, Belgium, I recommend checking out this section here.