Brussels is the biggest city in Belgium and it’s home to the EU parliament. It’s also a major business hub of Europe, — which means it’s expensive since the city caters to a lot of wealthy business people. Attractions are on the expensive side, and everyday items like transportation and food can be rough on the budget. So if you do visit, you might only want to stay for a day or two (which is fine since that’s all you really need anyway).
This article is part of our City Price Guide Series — Click here to see all our city price guides.
Average Daily Costs for Visiting Brussels
These prices are based on what you’ll need to visit the city comfortably — they don’t include things like big nights out at the bar/pub, club entry fees, souvenir/clothing shopping, tours, random purchases, nicer food, etc. Don’t forget to budget extra for those “non-essentials.”
Daily Cost of Budget Travel in Brussels: €71 (Approx. $76)
- Attractions: €10 (one paid attraction + any free sights)
- Food: €30
- Breakfast: €4
- Lunch: €8
- Dinner: €14
- Treat (dessert/beer/wine): €3.50
- Transportation: €2.10
- Accommodation (Hostel): €27
Daily Cost of Frugal Travel in Brussels: €48 (Approx. $53)
- Attractions: €10 (free walking tour + visit one of the free sights)
- Food: €18
- Breakfast: €0 (free hostel breakfast)
- Lunch: €6 (street food or takeaway shop fare)
- Dinner: €10 (make your own meal in the hostel or grab something cheap)
- Beer: €2 (chill out at the park and have a cold one)
- Transportation: €0 (walk)
- Accommodation (Cheap Hostel): €20
Brussels Attraction and Museum Prices
There aren’t many free attractions so expect to pay €10-€12 for each.
- Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium: €10-€15
- Musical Instruments Museum: €10
- Horta Museum: €10
- Belgian Comic Strip Center: €8
- Atomium/Mini-Europe: €15.50 (Atomium), €27.50 (Atomium/Mini-Europe)
- Magritte Museum: €10
- Moof Museum: €10
- Royal Museum of Army and Military History: Free admission
- Parlamentarium: Free admission
- Walking Tour: Free (tip around €5) – €25
The Brussels Card can be purchased for 24/48/72 hour use (€26/€34/€42) and grants entry to 30+ museums and attractions as well as unlimited public transportation.
Brussels Food Prices
In general, the food near the city center is expensive, so you’ll have to actively seek out the best deals.
Belgium is known around the world for its fries, waffles, and chocolate. Other traditional meals include grilled sandwiches (croquets), carbonade falamande (beef and beer stew), and moules frites (mussels and fries). The Grand-Place in Brussels’ city center has a number of eateries and cafés offering chocolate, beer, and other dishes (usually at a premium price).
Brasseries are basically a combination pub and restaurant, offering traditional fare alongside domestic and imported draught beer. You can also find cheap and filling food from department store cafeterias, such as Galeria Kaufhof, for a good price.
Budget Breakfast: Free-€7
- Many hostels will offer a free simple breakfast that normally consists of cereal, bread/croissant, and maybe milk, coffee, tea, or juice (some hostels will offer more and some less). Hotel breakfasts tend to be overpriced, so skip those in most cases.
- Breakfast pastry from a local bakery runs €1.5-€4.
- Belgian waffles (which are normally seen as a dessert… but who cares?) run €3-€8; stands can be found throughout the city center (Grand-Place), or the Maison Dandoy’s Tea Room has more expensive (and famous) offerings.
A few suggested budget-friendly breakfast suggestions:
- Boulangerie Charli: Nice little boulangerie near the city center serving up French pastries and coffee.
- EXKi Agora: Buffet-style chain restaurant with fresh fruits, toast, cereal, coffee, etc.
- Aksum Coffee House: The best espresso in Brussels.
- Pastelaria Garcia: A traditional Portuguese pastry shop serving up excellent pasteis de nata for over 25 years.
Budget Lunch: €5-€12
- Super budget travelers can make a super cheap lunch of bread, lunch meat, cheese, and fruit from any grocery store for a few euros.
- Takeaway meals run about €6.
- Kebabs from a stand start at €4.50 for just a sandwich and go up to €7 for fries and soda.
- Look out for friteries (also known as frietkot), popular Belgian takeaway stands, offering fries paired with grilled or fried meat. A cone of frites with sauce will cost around €2.60.
Budget Dinner: €10-€20
- Many of the options from the ‘Budget Lunch’ section above also apply for dinner.
- A dish of moules frites (mussels and fries): €18-€25
- Carbonade flamande (beef stew made with beer): €14-€18
- You should be able to find a traditional dinner at a restaurant in a less touristy part of town for around €12-€18.
- Fin de Siècle is a moderately-priced option for traditional Belgian meals but does not take cash.
A few suggested budget-friendly lunch and dinner suggestions:
- Tonton Garby: A local favorite for inexpensive sandwiches.
- De Monk: Pasta and Belgian beer served in a laid-back pub.
- Bia Mara: Excellent fish and chips.
- Friterie Tabora: Fries with a ton of sauces.
- Fishbar Noordzee Mer du Nord: Simple seafood spot serving up fresh fish and beer.
- Fritland: Mega-servings of fries for cheap.
- L’Express: Tasty Lebanese shawarma and falafel.
- Il Colosseo: Budget-friendly pizza.
Drinks and Alcohol
- A pint of standard beer: €3-€4.50
- At a grocery, a bottle of beer runs an average of €1.65 (I highly suggest seeking out Belgium’s higher-end beers — they’re the best in the world)
- Bottle of wine from the grocery: €7.00
- Coffee: €2-€3
Great Beer Bars:
- Moeder Lambic Original and Moeder Lambic Fontainas: Two great bars popular with the locals.
- Supra Bailly: Great neighborhood bar.
- A la Mort Subite: A lovely old-school bar-restaurant that opened in 1928.
- Brasserie De L’Union: Another neighborhood bar.
- Au Soleil: Cool bar with a cool atmosphere.
- Delirium Café: Super touristy bar but they have over 2000 beers.
Brussels Transportation Prices
Transit fares are slightly more expensive when purchased inside the metro, tram, or bus. All transit systems run on the same ticket. MOBIB or MOBIB basic cards are chipped plastic cards, purchased from vending machines or on transit. Single-fare tickets can also be purchased.
(Note: Purchasing JUMP tickets by fare grants access to the entire STIB, or transit, system – excluding the Bourget-Brussels Airport. A separate journey ticket must be purchased for the airline line, for €4.50, or a 24/48/72-hour unlimited JUMP ticket must be used.)
The Brussels Card includes unlimited transportation and entrance to multiple sights and museums for 24/48/72 hours (€22/€29/€35).
Single fare (for one hour):
- 1 JUMP fare (outside the vehicle): €2.10
- 1 JUMP fare (inside the vehicle): €2.50
- 5 JUMP fares: €8.00
- 10 JUMP fares: €14.00
- 24-hour JUMP fare: €7.50
- 48-hour JUMP fare: €14.00
- 72-hour JUMP fare: €18.00
Getting To The Airport
- Airport transport, 1 journey ticket (purchased outside the vehicle): €4.50
- Airport transport, 1 journey ticket (purchased inside the vehicle): €6.00
- Taxi from Brussels city center to airport: Around €45
Bicycle rental from Villo!: €1.60/day, €7.65/week
Brussels Hostel, Hotel, & Rental Apartment Accommodation Prices
Hotel and hostel prices are on the expensive side in Brussels. Brussels doesn’t have very many hostels, so that pushes prices up.
You should budget about 25€/night per person for a decent hostel — although many hostels raise their prices on the weekend. Remember, these prices are for a bed in a shared dorm room. If you want a private room, expect to pay 60€-100€ total (for two people).
We book our hostels through Hostelworld so check your dates for current prices.
Budget Hotels: €70-€150/Night
A decent budget hotel in the city center will cost around €90-110/night. You can find cheaper hotels if you want to stay farther away from the center of the city or if you don’t mind staying in a junky place.
We suggest checking out Booking.com to see hotel prices for your dates since they’re always changing — especially when business conventions are in town.
Rental Apartment: €40-€100Nnight
Brussels has a decent amount of rental apartments throughout the city. They can be a good option for large groups or travelers who want a little more space (and a kitchen). On the other hand, you also have to deal with sometimes inconvenient check-in processes and things like extra cleaning fees and service charges.
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Thanks For Reading! — Susan and James