Belgium’s capital city is a gorgeous guided city with historic squares, art nouveau buildings and delicious food. Some of the famous places in Brussels, Belgium include the Grand Place, the Manneken Pis, the Atomium and Mini-Europe. The city of Brussels, Belgium is often passed over for more quaint destinations like Bruges or Ghent, but Brussels city is centrally located for many exciting day trips all over Belgium.
We’ve rounded up the best Brussels neighborhoods to help find the best area to stay in Brussels. As you review the best neighborhoods in Brussels for tourists, keep in mind that many areas have a Dutch name and a French name, which can be confusing.
We will cover off all types of Brussels accommodation options from Hostels to luxury Brussels hotels as well as how to decide where to stay in Brussels, the best Brussels hotels, best places in Brussels to visit, the best places to stay in Brussels, hotels near Brussels attractions, Brussels neighbourhoods and many more. This where to stay in Brussels Belgium guide is made just for you.
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Brussels City Centre – Best area to stay in Brussels for first time visitors
One of the most popular areas in Brussels for tourists is the City Centre. This is the area around Grand Place, and has the highest concentration of Brussels city attractions. If you only have a short time in town and are wondering where to stay in Brussels for one night, this is your best option. The main train station is here, so you can easily arrive from the airport and walk to your hotel, enjoy a night in Brussels City Centre, before moving on to your next destination. If you’re wondering where to stay in Brussels for a weekend then the city centre is the best place to stay in Brussels.
If you plan to take a lot of day trips from Brussels, or join any group tours, they often leave from the city centre, so it’s another reason this is one of the best neighborhoods in Brussels for tourists. Don’t miss the best example of art nouveau architecture at the Musical Instrument Museum! There are many hotels to choose from, so even deciding where to stay in Brussels city centre can be challenging, but these are a few we recommend.
Best places to stay in Brussels City Centre
Sablon (Zavel) -Best part of Brussels to stay
Not far from Brussels city centre is the charming district of Sablon. Centered on two squares, the Grand Sablon and Petit Sablon, this is the best area to stay in Brussels for chocolate lovers and foodies in general. Don’t miss the Pierre Marcolini flagship chocolate boutique on the Grand Sablon!
Sablon retains all of the charm of a historic European district, with fewer touristy distractions like souvenir shops and waffle stands. While many first-time Brussels travelers stay around Grand Place, Sablon is an excellent option for your second visit to Brussels. The Gothic Eglise Notre-Dame du Sablon is well worth a stop as you stroll through the neighborhood. Sablon is the best place to stay in Brussels.
Best places to stay in Sablon
Cheapest Backpacking Hostels in Sablon:
Urban City Centre Hostel
Les Marolles (Marollen) -Best area to Stay in Brussels for nightlife
One of the oldest areas of Brussels, Les Marolles is an up-and-coming area of Brussels. It’s especially popular for antique stores, and the Jeu de Balle flea market which is held daily. There are fewer tourist attractions in Les Marolles, as it is more of a residential neighborhood.
However, for visitors looking to get off the beaten tourist path and see how the locals live, Les Marolles is a great choice. Les Marolles is also the best place to stay in Brussels for nightlife, with some of the best clubs, like Fuse and Bazaar.
Best places to stay in Les Marolles
Cheapest Backpacking Hostels in Les Marolles:
2Go4 De Brouckere
Saint Gilles – Where to stay in Brussels for culture
One of Brussels’ Bohemian neighborhoods that is popular with the younger population is Saint Gilles. This is a great area to stay in Brussels if you love art and culture. The neighborhood attracts musicians, artists and writers, and also has a lively event calendar full of fun festivals. The lack of tourist attractions in Saint Gilles means you will likely be able to save some money on accommodation if you decide to stay here.
Best places to stay in Saint Gilles
Avenue Louise – Where to stay in Brussels cheap/on a budget
Avenue Louise is the luxury shopping boulevard of Brussels. It extends from Place Louise to Bois de la Cambre. Along with the nearby European Quarter, this is a more modern side of Brussels. Travelers looking to shop for luxury goods, enjoy fine dining or stroll through the green parks along the way, should consider staying along Avenue Louise. For mid-range travelers, there are many options as well. You’ll have no trouble finding cafes, restaurants, bars and shops to suit any budget.
Best places to stay in Avenue Louise
Ixelles – Where to stay in Brussels for nightlife
Adjacent to Avenue Louise is the trendy district of Ixelles. Ixelles contains two universities, so the vibe here is young, hip and artistic. In addition to students, Ixelles attracts artists and writers, and there are many parks here as well if you are looking for a relaxing place to picnic in Brussels. The student population assures a good mix of affordable options, with lots of cafes and a pretty good nightlife scene as well.
Best places to stay in Ixelles
Cheapest Backpacking Hostels in Ixelles:
Brussels Louise Hostel
Saint Gery – Where to stay in Brussels for foodies
Another hot spot for foodies traveling in Belgium is the neighborhood of Saint Gery, sometimes called the center of cafe life in Brussels. This area is especially lively in the summer when sidewalk cafes pop up all over, and residents gather for live music in the streets. Don’t miss Les Halles Saint Gery, a converted indoor market that is now a bar and exhibition center. This is also considered by some to be the best area to stay in Brussels for nightlife.
Best places to stay in Saint Gery
Koekelberg – Where to stay in Brussels with family
About 30 minutes from Brussels city centre, the area of Koekelberg is far off the tourist path, but is a great place to stay if you’re looking for a quiet residential area. Public transport is readily available, and there are several destinations that are worthy of a visit.
At the Belgian Chocolate Village, you can learn how chocolate is made. The Brussels Aquarium is here, a great destination for a winter day, especially if you are visiting Brussels with kids. For a historical perspective, check out the Basilica of the Sacred Heart and the adjacent Parc Elisabeth.
Best places to stay in Koekelberg
Cheapest Backpacking Hostels in Koekelberg:
Brussels Hello Hostel
Schaerbeek – Where to stay in Brussels for peace and quiet
The Brussels neighborhood of Schaerbeek can be hit or miss for tourists. It’s home to Brussels red light district, and some of the streets can be dodgy, especially at night. However, there are a few attractions like the botanical garden, and it’s in walking distance of the financial district. Schaerbeek is a multicultural melting pot, with a large population of North African, Eastern European, Asian and Turkish immigrants. For travelers, this means there are many interesting cuisines and markets in Schaerbeek.