How to Visit Brussels on a Budget
Europe is home to an array of enchanting cities, and Brussels stands tall among them.
The Belgian capital, with its enticing blend of history, culture, and gastronomy, beckons travellers from all corners of the world. But what if you're on a tight budget? No worries! Here's your guide to making the most of Brussels without emptying your pockets.
Why Visit Brussels?
Brussels is a dynamic, youthful city that offers an exciting mix of experiences for travellers.
It's a place where history meets a modern, dynamic vibe. From exploring the quirky comic book murals that line the streets – a nod to Belgium's love affair with comics – to dancing the night away in some of Europe's coolest clubs, there's something for everyone.
Foodies will revel in the city's famed waffles and chocolates, while the numerous food markets offer a taste of local and international cuisines.
For those interested in politics and history, the European Parliament's visitor center provides a fascinating insight into the workings of the EU. And let's not forget the green spaces like the Parc du Cinquantenaire, perfect for a relaxed afternoon.
In Brussels, you can dive into culture, enjoy buzzing nightlife, and still find corners of tranquillity, all within a city that is welcoming and easy to navigate for young globetrotters.
Here are our top tips for things to do for free:
- Culinary adventures: relish world-famous Belgian chocolates, waffles, and beers without burning a hole in your pocket. Seek out local markets or street vendors for the most authentic and affordable treats.
- Historic splendor: the iconic Grand-Place, a UNESCO World Heritage site, offers free awe-inspiring views of baroque buildings and centuries-old townhouses.
- Epicenter of European politics: walk around the European Quarter and catch a glimpse of the European Parliament, offering free admission on specific days.
- Rich cultural tapestry: with over 80 museums, some with free entry or special discounted days, Brussels is an art lover's dream.
- Festivals and events: throughout the year, Brussels hosts various events and festivals. From the Flower Carpet Festival to public concerts, many are free or reasonably priced.
London to Brussels - Go by Bus, Train, or Flight?
One of the initial budget considerations when travelling is the mode of transport. Let's go through a review together of the advantages and disadvantages of each mode of transport.
Undoubtedly the cheapest option, with numerous services operating between London and Brussels. The journey, however, can be long and might test your patience.
Often seen as the fastest option, but remember to account for the added expenses: transfers to and from airports, baggage fees, and the environmental cost of flying.
A perfect blend of speed and sustainability. The Eurostar whisks you from London to Brussels in just over two hours. Opting for train travel not only reduces your carbon footprint but also offers a scenic journey through the heart of Europe, championing the cause of sustainable mobility.
Furthermore, savvy travellers can snag substantial savings by planning their trip in advance. Often, if you are well organised you will notice that the cheapest train tickets from London to Brussels become available when booked well ahead of the travel date, allowing budget-conscious explorers to enjoy both an eco-friendly and economical journey.
Essential Things to Do in Brussels on a Budget
The appeal of Brussels extends beyond just being the administrative heart of Europe; it's a city where every street corner has a story to tell.
Deciding what to do here can be as challenging as it is exciting. Brussels offers a range of experiences that cater to all tastes. Visiting this city will leave you delighted to immerse yourself in a place rich in history, yet full of contemporary life. Where Brussels stands out is in its abundance of fun activities to do for free or at a low cost.
To fully embrace the unique character of Brussels, we recommend ambling through the Marolles district, where you can soak in the vibrant atmosphere of flea markets and browse through eclectic vintage shops.
Another not-to-be-missed experience is visiting the Royal Greenhouses of Laeken, which open their doors annually. It's a true delight for budget travellers, offering a glimpse into royal botanical collections without the hefty price tag.
For a touch of local culture, embark on a self-guided walking tour to discover Brussels' famous comic book murals. These artistic displays not only brighten the city streets but also pay homage to Belgium's rich history in comic book art. Each of these activities highlights the charm and diversity of Brussels, allowing visitors to enjoy the city's delights without straining their wallets.
Best things to Do in Brussels
Every city has its essential attractions not to be missed, and here are those of Brussels:
- Atomium: an architectural marvel, you can admire it from the outside for free or pay a small fee to enjoy panoramic city views from the top.
- Manneken Pis & Jeanneke Pis: witness these quirky statues that capture the whimsical spirit of Brussels.
- Belgian Comic Strip Center: dive into the world of European comics, with discounted entry available.
- Parc du Cinquantenaire: a vast urban park, perfect for picnics, jogs, or simply to relax and people-watch.
- Chocolatier visits: while premium chocolatiers might be pricey, several offer window displays where you can watch chocolatiers at work, crafting delightful confections.
Plan a City Break to Brussels
Embarking on a budget journey doesn't mean compromising on experiences. With a bit of planning and an adventurous spirit, Brussels is ready to unveil its wonders without straining your wallet.