Although Brussels is commonly seen as a stopover destination, the city is a great addition to any European travel itinerary. From delicious waffles to excellent beer and beautiful art-nouveau architecture, Brussels has it all. Brussels is an exhilarating city for any foodie, culture lover, and everything in between.
Saying that, with so much to do and so many areas to choose from, deciding where to stay in Brussels can be tricky.
To help you out, I’ve created this guide to show you our top picks for the best neighbourhoods in Brussels. I’ve also included the best sightseeing activities in each area, so you can get a good idea of what to expect on your trip.
Looking for somewhere fabulous for the Brussels leg of your Belgium trip? I’ve listed my top picks for the best places to stay in Brussels below!
Maison Marguerite Brussels Centrum | Best Airbnb in Brussels
This sleek and modern Airbnb is, for those with luxurious taste, by far the best in Brussels! It has an ideal central location, and the home is simply stunning. Large enough to accommodate 13 guests, the townhouse is an early-1900s maison de maître, recently renovated while maintaining its authentic design.
Enjoy the spacious rooms, indoor fireplace, terrace, and massive kitchen, while mere steps away from Brussels City Centre. The family rooms are perfect for big groups, and the home is within walking distance from Central Station.
Meininger Bruxelles City Centre | Best Hostel in Brussels
Set in an old brewery, this comic-themed hostel is undoubtedly one of the coolest in Brussels. With plenty of spacious rooms and common areas– including a bar, terrace, and games room– you’re sure to meet some like-minded travellers. A fully equipped kitchen and Wifi are available, and the centrally located hostel is a short walk from top tourist attractions.
Rocco Forte Hotel Amigo | Best Hotel in Brussels
Treat yourself to a luxury hotel stay at the five-star Rocco Forte Hotel Amigo, and you’re sure to be pleased. It’s one of the highest-rated Brussels hotels. Each elegant room in this modern hotel has a private bathroom with luxurious touches, a sitting area with a flat-screen TV, a minibar, and a desk.
For those interested in fine dining and keeping fit, the onsite facilities include a high-class restaurant and a fitness centre. This modern hotel sits right on the corner of the Grand Place and is within walking distance of several top attractions, such as The Manneken Pis Statue and the Magritte Museum.
Brussels Neighborhood Guide – Places to Stay in Brussels
Brussels’ City Centre is a magnet for tourists, with dazzling architecture, interesting attractions, and a good choice of places to eat, drink, shop, and sleep.
The Marolles is one of the best neighbourhoods in Brussels for people looking for budget accommodation. Soak up the local vibe and discover the working class side of the Belgian capital.
Saint Gery was previously an island in the River Senne. There’s no water crossing needed today, though; the river was covered up and Saint Gery joined with the rest of the city.
Our choice for the coolest place to stay in Brussels, Saint Gilles is a youthful, bohemian, trendy, multicultural, and lively part of the city.
Ixelles is an arty and trendy neighbourhood with a good selection of shops, restaurants, bars, and attractions. Lakes, parks, and forests are within easy reach and the area is well connected by public transport.
Brussels may be a fairly small capital city compared to other Western European capitals, but the diverse neighborhoods have distinct atmospheres and character. If you’re visiting Brussels for a brief one-night stopover or a weekend getaway, this capital city has something for everyone. Expect to experience Art Nouveau architecture, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and chocolate shops. Due to its small size, Brussels is great for walking, and you can travel from one side to the other on foot in around an hour.
The medieval City Centre is often high on the list of places for first-time visitors. It’s also where you’ll find some of Brussels’ best hostels! Famous for its large square surrounded by ornate buildings, the nearby streets are home to cafes, small shops, and restaurants. With so much to do, it’s the best place to stay to get to know the area.
If you’re looking for a historical city experience but are also travelling on a budget, the Marolles offers several accommodation options within walking distance of top Brussels attractions. For those searching for local Belgian beers, you’ll also find some of Brussels’ oldest bars and historic brasseries in this neighborhood.
The vibrant and multicultural centre, Ixelles, is our top pick for families, fashionistas and shopaholics. The birthplace of Audrey Hepburn, Ixelles is centred around the bustling Avenue Louise, which is lined with upscale shops, up-market restaurants and bars. It’s a great place to base yourself for a weekend in Brussels.
Eclectic, hip, and funky, Saint Gilles is one of Brussels’ coolest and most vibrant neighborhoods. Fans of Art Deco and Art Nouveau can admire some of the architectural gems this neighborhood has to offer. Often referred to as a neighborhood that feels like a village, Saint Gilles contains plentiful art- and culture-focused spaces and events, varied eateries, and a relaxed ambience.
If you’re looking for a good party, then Saint Gery is the best place to stay in Brussels for nightlife. The vibrant neighborhood has many bars, restaurants, and cafes, and it’s one of the city’s best places to find live music.
5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Brussels
The varied neighborhoods in Brussels add plenty of flavour and life to the city, and it’s well worth travelling around the city to discover its many faces.
Brussels’ City Centre is a magnet for visitors, with dazzling architecture, interesting attractions, and a good choice of places to eat, drink, and shop. The convenience and popularity make it our choice for the best neighborhood in Brussels for first-timers.
The City Centre has several main areas to consider, but major tourist attractions typically include The Grand Place.
Maison Marguerite Brussels Centrum | Best Airbnb in City Centre
This Airbnb is undoubtedly the best in Brussels City Centre. Aside from being near tourist attractions such as Manneken Pis, the Cathedral of St Michael and St Gudula, the Royal Palace of Brussels and Mont des Arts, the home is simply stunning. Large enough to accommodate 13 guests, the space is an early-1900s maison de maître updated with all modern amenities.
Enjoy the spacious rooms, indoor fireplace, terrace, and massive kitchen, all while being just steps away from Brussels City Centre. The family rooms are perfect for big groups, and the home is within walking distance from the Central Station.
Meininger Bruxelles City Centre | Best Hostel in City Centre
The comic book theme throughout this hostel makes this one of the quirkiest places to stay in the city centre. There are en-suite mixed dorms for six and ten, and everyone can start each day full of energy with the buffet breakfast (extra charge).
There’s an onsite bar for mingling and chilling, and other facilities include a kitchen, games room, and tour desk. Wi-Fi is free, and you can rent a bike to explore the city. The Grand Place is just 15 minutes away by foot.
Hotel des Galeries | Best Hotel in City Centre
Soak up great city views from the roof terrace, and order something tasty from the onsite restaurant while in the middle of an epic capital city.
All rooms are en-suite and have a TV, kettle, coffee machine and free Wi-Fi.
Top Things to do in the City Centre
- Sample delicious Belgian cuisine
- Marvel at the gleaming guild hall buildings surrounding the Grand Place (make sure to return in the evening when the historical buildings are beautifully illuminated).
- Discover public art in the small streets and alleyways around the centre.
- For chocolate lovers, why not try your hand at chocolate making?
- Learn more about the city’s past and see an array of historical exhibits at Brussels City Museum, housed within the elegant King’s House.
- Check out one of Europe’s rudest statues, the iconic Manneken Pis, and find his newer female partner in crime, Jeanneke Pis.
- Sample some local Belgian Beer while on a Beer tour.
- Watch an opera at the high-class Royal Theatre of the Mint.
- Window shop at the luxurious and lavish Royal Galleries of Saint-Hubert; you’ll find chocolatiers, antique vendors, and boutiques that sell high-end and one-of-a-kind fashion.
- Satisfy your tastebuds and attend this delicious tasting tour, where you’ll try Belgian whisky, beer, waffles, chocolate and more.
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The Marolles, a local area dating back to medieval times, is one of the best neighborhoods for accommodation if you have to watch your budget in Brussels. Soak up the local vibe and discover a more authentic side of the Belgian capital by diving into one of Belgian’s oldest bars, visiting one of the many cool art galleries or securing yourself a bargain at the flea market.
An up-and-coming area, The Marolles is home to local artists, who have decorated the streets with murals and graffiti. Many cool eateries, vintage stores and bars are also dotted about this neighborhood.
The Marolles is a great place to escape the tourist crowds and sleep cheaply while within easy reach of Brussels’ main tourist destinations. You can also check out the nearby Historic Grand Sablon Square in the Sablon neighborhood, the famous Avenue Louise for all the shopping you could imagine and more.
A Room With a View | Best Airbnb in the Marolles
This stunning Marolles Airbnb is located in a historic area of Brussels and features breathtaking views of the Palais de Justice. You’ll be close to all major attractions, including Brussels City Centre, the Royal Palace, the Grand Place, the Royal Museums of Fine Arts and the famous Marolles flea market.
The apartment is situated on the first floor of a 19th-century house and features one ensuite bedroom with two single beds. A great place to stay for those looking to enjoy a coffee while taking in views of the square.
HI Hostel Bruegel Brussels | Best Hostel in Marolles
Like all great things, this youth hostel comes complete with a bar, disco, and free breakfast. You can opt to stay in male or female-only dorms, but private rooms with ensuites are also available.
You’ll be a short walk from Brussels Park and several museums, so you won’t have to spend any money on public transport. But if you want to, the interesting European Quarter is a short train ride away.
Bohème Marolles | Best Apartment in the Marolles
This spacious apartment is perfect for a weekend getaway in Brussels. Equipped with a kitchen, comfortable double bed and flat-screen TV, this place has everything you need for a comfortable stay in Brussels. The apartment is within walking distance of top attractions in the city centre, such as Mannekin Pis, Palace du Grand Sablon and Egmont Place, but is also located far enough away to escape the crowded tourist areas. You can relax as you stroll to Brussels city centre and enjoy a coffee at a charming cafe or restaurant nearby the apartment.
Top Things to do in the Marolles, Brussels
- Hunt for bargains at the flea market of Vieux Marché, held every day at Jeu de Balle Place.
- Discover Brussels through art by joining a street art walking tour.
- Get on your bike and cycle around the local neighborhood!
- Watch the world go by from a charming café while relaxing with a drink and snack.
- Sink your teeth into global cuisine, including Syrian, Moroccan, Turkish, Spanish, French, and Flemish, a result of the multicultural population that calls this neighborhood home.
- Visit one of the oldest churches in Brussels, Notre-Dame de la Chapelle, to admire its striking façade and interiors.
- Admire the impressive and imposing Palace of Justice.
- Shop for fresh produce at the organic market at Atelier des Tanneurs.
- Watch the sun go down from the large Poelaert Square.
- Wander down the longest street in Brussels: Rue Haute.
- Enjoy a contemporary show at the renovated chapel of Les Brigittines.
- Step back in time at Porte de Hal, a fairytale-like gate once part of the city’s fortifications and now home to a museum.
Saint Gery was previously an island in the River Senne. No water crossing is needed today, though; the river was covered up, and Saint Gery joined the rest of the city.
Its former separation meant that it was a pretty quiet place in times gone by, but it has transformed over the years into one of Brussels’s hottest nightlife destinations. Saint Gery is the best place if you want to experience one of Europe’s best party cities.
The pavement cafes and bars are especially popular in the warmer months, though you’ll find a great range of places to eat, drink, and have fun here at any time of the year.
Colorful Saint Gery Apartment | Best Airbnb in Saint Gery
This bright 4th-floor apartment is located right in the Saint Gery section of Brussels City Centre, meaning all the top tourist attractions, fine dining, and chocolate shops are close by. De Brouckere metro station is nearby, which makes even more of the city accessible.
The clean, modern space features a sunny living room with a Netflix-compatible TV. You’ll also have a comfy double bed, a well-designed kitchen, and two large windows overlooking Downtown Brussels!
Atlas Hotel Brussels | Best Hotel in Saint Gery
Five minutes from Saint-Gery Square, this boutique hotel is just over the border in the bustling Dansaert area. Rooms come with minibars, free wifi and comfy beds, perfect for relaxing after a long day – or night – out. A buffet breakfast is also available each morning.
Top Things to Do in Saint Gery
- Experience the local music scene at one of the live music venues.
- Take in some history with a historical walking tour.
- Stroll along Anspach Boulevard to see how Belgian’s rich upper class lived in the past.
- Have a feast in the diverse restaurants, with food from across the world served in beautiful settings.
- See the modern statue of Zinneke Pis, a urinating dog, to complete the peeing team along with Manneken Pis and Jeanneke Pis.
- Admire the handsome Renaissance-style building of Halles Saint Gery, an old covered market repurposed to include a café-bar and club.
- Admire the historic fountain inside Halles Saint Gery, built on the spot where a church once stood.
- Put your glad rags on for a night on the tiles in one of Saint Gery’s trendy bars, and spend an evening (or several!) bar crawling from one stylish nightspot to another.
- Appreciate modern art at Chartreux Centre of Contemporary Art.
- Visit Sainte Catherine Cathedral.
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Our choice for the coolest place to stay in Brussels, Saint Gilles is a bohemian, multicultural, and lively part of the city that should definitely be on your Brussels itinerary!
It attracts creative and artistic souls, including painters, poets, actors, and writers. Not as loud at night as other areas in Brussels, Saint Gilles is more about the laid-back daytime fun than nighttime revelry.
Incredible Duplex | Best Airbnb in St. Gilles
Undoubtedly, this stunning St. Gilles Duplex is one of the best places to stay in Brussels! The lofted design is second to none and features a 40-square-meter courtyard that would be seriously hard to find elsewhere!
The apartment is located in a lovely, safe neighborhood with public transportation just minutes away. The hosts are friendly and responsive, and plenty of bars and restaurants are within walking distance!
Hotel Manos Premier | Best Hotel in Saint Gilles
Manos Premier is the best hotel option in Saint Gilles. This boutique-style accommodation is right near the famous Avenue Louise, and provides all the charm of a Brussels apartment.
The best feature of this hotel is the spa centre, which offers a sauna, steam bath, hot tub and fitness area. There’s also a large terrace and an onsite restaurant serving Belgian and French specialities. This boutique hotel even has a 2000 m² green garden haven to escape the city’s hustle and bustle.
Top Things to Do in Saint Gilles
- Be inspired at the Art Nouveau Horta Museum.
- Take a peek inside Horta pre-metro station to see architectural pieces signed by famous architects.
- Enjoy fresh air and greenery at Parc de Forest.
- Spot interesting street art by BONOM, the Belgian Banksy.
- Head to the colourful fruit and veg market at Gare du Midi each Sunday.
- Purchase vintage fashions and unusual apparel in St. Gilles’ many unique boutiques.
- Get in touch with nature at Parc Pierre Paulus, a former private garden and a peaceful haven away from the city’s hustle and bustle.
- Admire the historic jail; as unusual as it may seem as an attraction, the jail is a Gothic Revival gem.
Ixelles is a trendy neighborhood with a good selection of shops, restaurants, bars, and attractions. Lakes, parks, and forests are within easy reach, and public transport makes the area well-connected.
It’s a safe area of Brussels and our winner when it comes to the best neighborhood for families.
Chic Surya Loft | Best Airbnb in Ixelles
Not only is this one of the best Airbnbs in Brussels, but it might even be one of the best in Belgium! The incredibly unique design combines modern facilities with splashes of colour, contributing to its overall “zen” atmosphere.
Located in the Ixelles neighborhood, the space is close to public transit and is perfect for everything from a romantic couple’s getaway to a family group trip.
Jardin Secret | Best Hotel in Ixelles
Brussels accommodation doesn’t get much better than Jardin Secret! The garden-themed hotel features a heated swimming pool and also has an on-site restaurant and bar.
The beds are comfy, and the hotel is on a quiet, peaceful Ixelles street. Not far from public transit, restaurants and shops, this hotel is a true hidden find for your Brussels trip!
Top Things to Do in Ixelles
- Enjoy nature at Tenbosch Park.
- Watch a movie in The Flagey building, also known as the paquebot jaune (yellow boat).
- Feed the ducks at the lakes of Étangs d’Ixelles.
- Stroll through the farmers’ market at Chatelain Square on Wednesdays.
- Admire art at the Musée d’Ixelles.
- See the house where Audrey Hepburn was born.
- Feel a sense of serenity at the glorious buildings and gardens of Abbaye de la Cambre.
- Wander through Matongé, the Congolese quarter.
- Pick up designer goods in Ixelles’ many high-class stores on Chaussée d’Ixelles.
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Here’s what people usually ask us about the areas of Brussels and where to stay.
What To Pack For Brussels
Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.
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What area of Brussels is best to stay in?
If you’re visiting Brussels for the first time and budget isn’t a concern, I suggest you stay in Brussels’s centre. You’ll be within walking distance from all the top attractions, and you’ll be able to marvel at all the top sights at any time of the day, whether on your way to grab a coffee, or when heading to a beer-tasting session. For those on a budget or looking for something a little different, I recommend staying in the Marolles to get your fix of street art, local bars and flea markets.
How many days do you need in Brussels?
A stay in Brussels should be about 2-3 days. This allows you to see a lot of the top sights and attractions without rushing and also gives you time to explore some areas that might take a little longer to travel to. Staying for three days will mean you also have some downtime to relax and wander around the city, explore neighborhoods, and chat with locals. You could even squeeze in a trip to Bruges!
Is Brussels safe?
YES – Brussels is safe for tourists to visit. Brussels has a low crime rate and has a safe atmosphere to it. Despite this, it’s never a bad idea to keep an eye on your personal belongings while travelling and keep your wits about you.
Getting Insured BEFORE Visiting Brussels
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Brussels – the European Union’s Capital – is a great city to explore. Even if it’s only for a weekend, there are many things to discover. I loved my stay in Brussels; I drank many delicious beers and ate one too many waffles while strolling through this fascinating city.
I recommend taking in Brussels’ art nouveau architecture enjoying its famous beer and chocolate, all while exploring a diverse range of neighborhoods. Brussels is a great place to visit if you’re travelling across Europe by train, plane or automobile. You really shouldn’t leave this capital city out of your Europe itinerary.
If you’re still unsure, you can’t go wrong with Meininger Bruxelles City Centre, thanks to its central location.
For an iconic (and private) Airbnb stay, Maison Marguerite Brussels Centrum is the best in town!
- Check out our ultimate guide backpacking around Belgium.
- Figured out where you wanna stay? Now it’s time to pick the perfect hostel in Brussels.
- Or… maybe you want to check out some Airbnbs in Brussels instead.
- Next up you’re gonna need to know all the best places to visit in Brussels to plan your trip.
- Planning out an itinerary for Brussels is a great way to maximise your time.
- Save yourself hassle and money and get an international sim card for Europe.
- Swing by our super epic backpacking packing list to prep for your trip.
- Our in-depth Europe backpacking guide will help you plan the rest of your adventure.
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!