Where to Stay in Brussels 🇧🇪: Guide to the Best Places to Stay + Hotels

Brussels is a vibrant, artistic and underrated city. It is a crossroads of languages separated by the native Flemish and French languages of Belgians, of Europe with its EU civil servants and of the world with its large immigrant population.

In this guide, I will list the best neighborhoods in Brussels and talk about the features of each. Depending on whether you are going on vacation with your family, as a couple or with a group of friends, one neighborhood will be much better than another.

Our Pick of the Best Hotels in Brussels 🔝

The good news is that no matter where you stay in Brussels, you can get to know the whole city, as it is very easy to get around and small enough to move quickly from one neighborhood to another. Brussels has excellent public transportation, especially the metro.

You can also use the city as a base to visit other Belgian centers such as Ghent, Antwerp and Bruges.

Quick Brussels Neighborhood Guide 📋

1. Brussels City Centre – Best Area to Stay in for First Time Visitors 🔥

💃 Lively hub: City Centre neighborhood puts you right in the midst of some of the city’s top attractions. As one of the most visited and oldest parts of Brussels, it offers convenient access for first-time visitors and those who want to explore the historic core.

🚊 Well-connected: The City Centre is located just north of the main train station, Gare du Midi/Zuidstation, making it easy to reach after arriving by train or plane. The metro system also has multiple stations within the area, including Parc/Park, De Brouckère, and Gare Central / Central Station.

🏰 Top sights: Many of Brussels’ famous landmarks are concentrated here, all within a 1 mile radius, making it very walkable:

  • The Grand Place/Grote Markt, a beautifully preserved medieval square
  • Manneken Pis statue, depicting the iconic little boy urinating water fountain sculpture
  • Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert, an enclosed shopping arcade from the 1800s
  • Brussels Park and Mont des Arts, a prime spot for monuments and museums along the royal road
The Grand Place
Grand Place
The Grand Place
Grand Place
Manneken Pis statue
Manneken Pis-statyn
Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert
Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert
Mont des Arts

🍴 Tasty treats: In addition to top sights, the City Centre has no shortage of restaurants, waffle shops, chocolate stores, pubs, and lively nightlife spots to experience the local scene. Trams and buses running through the neighborhood also connect visitors efficiently to other popular areas.

All hotels in Brussels City Centre →

Where to Stay in Brussels City Centre? 🏨

Expensive hotels:

Medium price range:

Inexpensive hotels:

2. Sablon – Best Place to Stay in Brussels for Foodies 🍫

💡 Don’t miss: Located in Brussels’ historic Upper Town, the Sablon neighborhood is a must-see for visitors. Nestled between the Royal Palace and the Grand Place, this charming area is the perfect place to experience Belgian culture.

🚶‍♂️Relaxed stroll: After exploring the crowds at the Grand Place or visiting the Magritte Museum, head uphill to the Sablon for a more relaxed vibe. This car-free square lined with towering Gothic buildings provides a peaceful respite from the bustling city center below.

🔝 Top things to do in the Sablon:

  • Browse the antique shops and art galleries around the Eglise Notre-Dame du Sablon, a 14th century church notable for its towering stained glass windows
  • Sample artisanal chocolates at master chocolatiers like Wittamer or Pierre Marcolini
  • Stop for a Belgian waffle, frites or moules-frites at one of the cafés surrounding the square
  • Visit the weekend antiques market to hunt for local treasures

🦶 Getting around the neighborhood is easy. As Sablon is so central, most spots can be reached on foot. Brussels’ public transit system also has several metro stops and tram lines nearby to whisk you around the city.

All hotels in Sablon →

Where to Stay in Sablon? 🏩

Medium price range:

Inexpensive hotels:

3. Les Marolles – Where to Stay in Brussels for Local Vibe 🌟

Located just south of the Grand Place, Les Marolles is one of Brussels’ most historic and vibrant neighborhoods.

👟 Walkable: Conveniently situated near top attractions like the Royal Palace, Les Marolles puts you in the heart of Brussels’ action. It’s easy to access via public transportation, with the Brussels-Central station just a 10 minute walk away.

📝 Must-see: As you wander through Les Marolles, make sure to add these must-see spots to your itinerary:

  • Flea Market (Place du Jeu de Balle) – This iconic flea market has been running daily since the 19th century. Sift through piles of antiques, secondhand goods, and other treasures as locals have done for generations.
  • Notre-Dame de la Chapelle Church – Dating back to the 13th century, admire this Gothic church’s stained glass windows and baroque-style interior. Don’t miss the Henri Leys paintings inside the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament.
  • Maison D’Ieteren – Tour this mansion-turned-museum, which offers a glimpse into aristocratic life in Brussels during the Empire era.
  • Comic Book Route – Belgium is renowned for comics like Tintin and The Smurfs. Spot over 50 colorful comic strip murals scattered around the neighborhood.

🛍️ Shop & cafe: Wherever you roam, don’t be shy about popping into cozy cafés and shops alluringly adorned with vintage signs. You never know what delightful little spot you might discover!

Where to Stay in Les Marolles? 🏨

Expensive hotels:

  • Hotel Manos Premier – a luxury hotel with high-end service, great location and exquisite design.
  • Hotel des Galeries – an elegant boutique hotel with a unique design and high-class service.

Inexpensive hotels:

4. Ixelles – Ideal Place for Young Travelers 💃

🌆 Central hub: Ixelles is one of the most vibrant and eclectic neighborhoods in the city. With its strategic location between popular tourist sites like the Royal Palace, Grand Place, and EU Quarter, Ixelles makes an ideal home base for first-time visitors.

👀 Top sights: Key attractions like the Art Deco buildings on Avenue Louise and the St-Boniface Church are within walking distance. Some of the top things to see and do in Ixelles include:

  • Wandering the lively Chaussée d’Ixelles shopping street – Stop at one of many sidewalk cafés for people-watching
  • Relaxing in Cinquantenaire and Leopold Parks – Enjoy local green spaces with monuments and museums
  • Browsing colorful stores and boutiques around Place Fernand Cocq – Find funky fashions and unique home goods
  • Exploring the alternative vibe of the Matongé African neighborhood – Sample world cuisine and check out African markets
  • Appreciating Art Nouveau architecture on Avenue Moliére – Get a dose of European aesthetic history

🚏 Well-connected: And with trams, buses, and metro stations dotting the neighborhood, it’s easy to zip around Brussels from here.

It’s an ideal neighborhood to stay for travelers who want convenience without sacrificing local flavor.

All hotels in Ixelles →

Where to Stay in Ixelles? 🏩

Expensive hotels:

  • Sofitel Brussels Le Louise – a luxury hotel with upscale service and sophisticated design, located in one of the city’s trendiest neighborhoods.
  • Hotel Le Châtelain – an elegant boutique hotel with a unique design and upscale service.

Medium price range:

  • Zoom Hotel – a comfortable hotel with a good location and reasonable prices, close to many stores and restaurants.
  • Hotel Agenda Louise – a cozy hotel with modern design and good location.

Inexpensive hotels:

  • Hotel Derby – A budget hotel with basic amenities and friendly staff, ideal for budget travelers.
  • Urban City Centre Hostel – An inexpensive hostel with basic amenities located in the center of the neighborhood.

5. Avenue Louise – Where to stay in Brussels for Shopping 🛍

💰 Upscale: Avenue Louise is an upscale shopping and residential area known for its high-end boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, and beautiful architecture.

🚶‍♂️ Strolling & shopping: The avenue stretches one mile from Place Louise down to Bois de la Cambre park. Top things to see and do are:

  • Shop at luxury brands like Chanel, Dior, Valentino
  • Marvel at unique Art Nouveau facades
  • Relax in spacious Louise Park right off the main boulevard
  • Enjoy a gourmet meal along the avenue or sample Belgian pralines and chocolate nearby

🖼️ Art museums: Two museums also call Avenue Louise home:

  • Royal Museums of Fine Arts showcases works by Belgian surrealists like René Magritte
  • Musée Horta provides tours of the seminal Art Nouveau architect Victor Horta’s preserved house

As a mainly pedestrian area, Avenue Louise is very walkable. Visitors can easily explore the avenue itself, plus attractions like the European Quarter a bit further north. For sights that do require public transportation, there are metro, bus, tram, and rail options all close by.

Best Hotels near Avenue Louise 🏨

Expensive hotels:

Medium price range:

6. Saint Gery – Best Neighborhood to Stay in Brussels for Nightlife 🍸

Saint Gery is one of Brussels’ most charming neighborhoods. This historic locale offers a mix of lively nightlife and Belgian cuisine.

🏛️ Medieval origins: The area traces its origins back to the 7th century, when Saint Gery built an abbey here. While little remains of that original structure, the narrow cobbled lanes and traditional buildings give you a taste of Saint Gery’s medieval past.

Saint Gery
Saint Gery
Saint Gery
Saint Gery

👣 Central location: From Saint Gery, it is just a 10-15 minute stroll north to sights like The Grand Place, The Galleries Saint Hubert and The Manneken Pis Fountain. Additionally, several top Brussels museums are only about a mile west in the Royal Quarter, such as the Magritte Museum and the Royal Museums of Fine Arts.

🍴 Foodie heaven: However, you need not leave Saint Gery to experience the best of Brussels. The area has become a hub for great restaurants, cafes, and nightspots:

  • Le Corbeau – Cozy tavern since 1892, serving traditional Belgian fare
  • Nüetnigenough – Trendy eatery dishing out creative small plates
  • La Bécasse – Michelin-starred, but unpretentious bistro focusing on seasonal flavors
  • À la Mort Subite – Specializing in Belgian ales in a vintage, wood-paneled pub

🎉 Nightlife hotspot: After dark, Saint Gery really comes alive. Brunch bars and dance clubs make it a vibrant hotspot for night owls.

All hotels in Saint Gery →

Where to Stay in Saint Gery? 🏩

Expensive hotels:

  • Hotel des Galeries – an elegant boutique hotel with sophisticated design and upscale service, located in a historic building.
  • The Dominican – a luxury hotel with modern design and a great location near the Grand Place.

Medium price range:

Inexpensive hotels:

7. Saint Gilles – Best Area in Brussels for Art & Culture Lovers 👨‍🎨

🌈 Colorful hood: Saint Gilles is one of the most colorful area of Brussels. District is very conveniently located right next to the Louise metro station, which serves lines 2 and 6.

🖼️ Art lovers will feel right at home in Saint Gilles! Some top attractions include:

  • Maison Pelgrims – View gorgeous Art Deco architecture
  • Saint Gilles Town Hall – Gaze at the ornate exterior and interior design

🍽 Local flavors: The neighborhood also has charming cafes, restaurants, shops and Sunday markets to explore. Don’t miss the food stalls at the Place du Jeu de Balle flea market!

🌳 Green space: And with Parc de Forest park located on the southern edge of the neighborhood, you have a nice green space for leisurely strolls.

⚠️ Caution: Many areas of Saint Gilles are completely safe for tourists. However, it’s best to exercise some caution at night, especially around the Brussels-Midi station zone.

All hotels in Saint Gilles →

Where to Stay in Saint Gilles? 🏨

Expensive hotels:

Medium price range:

Best Hotels near Brussels Airport 🛫

Sheraton Brussels Airport Hotel

Sheraton offers convenience and comfort for travelers. With modern amenities and spacious rooms, you’ll feel right at home here.

Whether you’re in town for business or leisure, Sheraton provides everything you need for a relaxing stay. Plus, their on-site restaurant serves delicious meals, perfect for refueling after a long flight.

Novotel Brussels Airport

Novotel combines style and convenience for travelers seeking a comfortable stay near Brussels Airport. Their contemporary rooms offer the perfect retreat after a day of exploring the city or attending business meetings.

You’ll appreciate the friendly staff and top-notch service that Novotel is known for. Additionally, their fitness center and sauna provide opportunities for relaxation during your stay.

NH Brussels Airport Hotel

The hotel boasts spacious rooms with contemporary décor, ensuring a restful night’s sleep. You can start your day with a delicious breakfast buffet before heading out to explore nearby attractions or catch your flight.

NH Brussels Airport Hotel also provides shuttle services to and from the airport, making your journey hassle-free.

Best Areas & Hotels in Brussels on a Map 🗺

FAQs about Visiting Brussels, Belgium ❔

Is Brussels a walkable city?

Yes, the historic center of Brussels is very walkable. The cobblestone streets and quaint neighborhoods lend themselves well to exploring by foot. Many main attractions like the Grand Place, Manneken Pis, and BELvue Museum are in a compact, walkable area. However, be ready for some hills! Brussels is built on a steep incline in parts.

Where to stay in Brussels on a budget?

Good budget options to stay in central Brussels include hostels like the 2GO4 Quality Hostel, which has modern rooms and good reviews, or Hotel Made In Louise, which has stylish decor and is near shopping. The Jacques Brel Youth Hostel offers basic rooms starting under 30 euros per night.

Where to stay in Brussels for one night?

For a one night stay, I recommend splurging a bit on a hotel right on the Grand Place, the main square, to enjoy luxurious accommodations in the heart of the action. Options like Hotel Amigo and Radisson Collection Grand Place offer 5-star luxury with stunning views of the historic buildings on this UNESCO site.

How many days to stay in Brussels?

With main attractions, museums, cuisine, waffles, chocolate, beer and nightlife, Brussels deserves at least 3 days to visit properly. This allows enough time to see top sights like Grand Place, Atomium, and museums, take a day trip to places like Ghent or Bruges, and enjoy Brussels’ lively restaurant and cafe culture.

Areas to avoid in Brussels?

Areas for travelers to avoid in Brussels include parts of Molenbeek, Schaerbeek, and Anderlecht which have higher crime rates. While violence is rare, petty crimes like pickpocketing occur more frequently in these areas. Stay alert in Brussels North Station at night as well. Overall Brussels is quite safe if you use basic street smarts. Simply be aware of your surroundings after dark.