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Where to Stay in Brussels: Best Areas, Hotels & Insider Tips

Where to Stay in Brussels: Best Areas, Hotels & Insider Tips

Visiting Brussels in Belgium and wondering where to stay in Brussels? In this guide, you can find insider recommendations for the best areas to stay in and hotels in Brussels, depending on what you are looking for: sightseeing, shopping, nightlife, a short one-night stay, etc. We also feature the most popular hotels in Brussels city center, unique accommodations & more. Take a look!

Brussels is quite a big city and deciding where to stay, might look a bit overwhelming at first. But as it often goes, if you are a visitor traveling to the city for the first time, there are just a few areas that you should really consider. The ones that are close to the landmarks, shops, restaurants, and with good transport connections.

We’ve lived in and near Brussels for a long time and know the city quite well. So these recommendations are based on our personal experience and insights. Basically, if friends visit Brussels and ask where to stay, this would be our no-nonsense advice.

I hope that our tips will help you decide on the best area to stay in Brussels and help you plan a more memorable trip. Take a look!

Good to know: If there are any big EU or NATO meetings, the prices in Brussels usually skyrocket, and hotels in Brussels get fully booked. I know someone who once had to stay in Antwerp for the EU meetings in Brussels because there were no free hotels anywhere in or around Brussels anymore. So keep this in mind when planning a trip to Brussels and if accommodation availability is already limited, book asap.

READ ALSO: Best Things to Do in Brussels

   

Where to stay in Brussels for first time & sightseeing

If you are visiting Brussels for the first time, you’ll likely want to do some sightseeing and explore the best that Brussels has to offer.

So for the first-time visitors to Brussels, we recommend staying in the heart of the city center, close to the Grand-Place and the Central Station. This is the best location in Brussels for sightseeing because you can simply walk to all the best landmarks in the city center. It’s also easy to take a metro or a hop-on hop-off bus for the places that are located further away.

Grand-Place is also home to various events (Brussels Christmas Market or Brussels Flower Carpet, to mention just a few). It’s also always nicely lit at night and often there are music and light shows in the evening as well. So it’s nice to stay nearby and visit here a few times, also when the day tourists leave.

In addition, staying close to the Central Station in Brussels saves you headaches about airport transfers. You can just take a direct train – the fastest and most convenient way to get from the airport to the city.

And finally, this location is also great if you are planning day trips to Antwerp, Bruges, Ghent, or other cities in Belgium. With direct train connections from Brussels Central Station, you will be able to make the most of your days without having to waste extra time for the commute.

TIP: Using the map below, you can compare all hotels and accommodations in the center of Brussels. Simply insert your travel dates and group size, and you’ll see all the best deals available at this moment. This map compares all the prices across various websites and shows the best options. Take a look!

Or read on for our personal suggestions for the best hotels in this area and more info on other great neighborhoods to stay in Brussels.

 

Best-located hotels for sightseeing in Brussels

Here is our hand-picked selection of the best-rated hotels in the heart of Brussels city center. There are SO MANY hotels in this area, so it’s not easy to pick the ‘best’. Below, we only feature really well-located and best-rated hotels, one per budget category. Take a look!

  • €€€€€ Rocco Forte Hotel Amigo. The best-rated 5* boutique hotel in the heart of Brussels.
  • €€€€ Warwick Brussels Grand Place. The most popular 5* hotel in the center.
  • €€€+ Hilton Brussels Grand Place. Right at the central station – excellent location for sightseeing.
  • €€€ Hotel Hubert Grand Place. The most popular 4* hotel in the heart of the city.
  • €€ Motel One Brussels. Modern 3* hotel, a bit further away from the Grand-Place than others in this selection, but still a very good location. This is the most popular hotel in Brussels.
  • Bedford Hotel. 3* lower-budget hotel in a very good location. Also extremely popular.
  • Budget: Hotel The Moon. This 2* hotel is the most affordable hotel right in the heart of the city center.

READ ALSO: Most Popular Hotels in Brussels City Center

Brussels Grand-Place lit at night - this central area is the best place to stay in Brussels
Grand-Place is always nicely lit at night
 

Where to stay in Brussels for shopping

Brussels has several popular shopping areas. But by far the nicest area to stay for shopping in Brussels is the area around the intersection of Avenue Louise and Boulevard de Waterloo. This is one of the chicest neighborhoods in Brussels.

Here, you’ll find all the chicest luxury boutiques such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, or Tiffany & Co., the more affordable luxury brands such as Michael Kors, Longchamp, or Max Mara, and also the popular main-street shops such as Zara or H&M. In other words, there’s really something for everyone here.

In addition, the shopping area around Av. Louise has many nice hotels and lots of restaurants. Just as with the shops, there are restaurants, cafes, and all kinds of eateries here for all budgets. However, real estate in this area is quite expensive and so the hotels are on the pricier side as well.

Good to know: Av. Louise is a long street, but the main shopping area is located just a short walk from the main landmarks in the city center. So this is also a good location for sightseeing, just a 20-minutes walk from the Grand Place in the heart of the city.

TIP: Hotels here tend to be more affordable than the comparable hotels close to Grand-Place.

Best hotels near Av. Louise

Here are some of the nicest and best-rated hotels that are well-located for the Av. Louise shopping area:

  • €€€€€ Steigenberger Wiltcher’s. This 5* hotel is the nicest hotel in the Louise area. Very popular.
  • €€€€ The Hotel. This is the hotel where President Barack Obama stayed when he visited Brussels. And also Donald Trump’s and Joe Biden’s staff stayed here recently (while the presidents stayed at the US Embassy).
  • €€€ Citadines Toison d’Or Brussels Aparthotel. Popular 3* modern hotel, featuring studios and apartments.
  • €€ Hygge Hotel. A Very nice 3* design hotel, the most popular and very highly rated hotel in the area.
  • Vintage Hotel Brussels. A nice lower-budget 3* hotel.
Steigenberger Wiltcher's hotel on Avenue Louise in Brussels
Steigenberger Wiltcher’s hotel on Avenue Louise, one of the chicest neighborhoods in Brussels. Photo Ale_Mi/Depositphotos.com
 

Best neighborhoods with a more local atmosphere

One of the nicest areas to stay in Brussels for a more local atmosphere is the Sablon neighborhood. It’s a trendy and artsy place with chic fashion stores, nice cafes and restaurants, art galleries, small boutique shops, and the better chocolate shops.

Sablon is located about halfway between the main central area (Grand Place/ Central Station) and the nicest shopping area (Av. Louise). From here, you can easily walk to the main landmarks in the city center on foot, and you can also go shopping and dining in the Louise area.

TIP: If you are in Brussels on a weekend, check out the Sablon Antiques Market on Place du Grand Sablon. It’s a great place to find some very unique and quirky items.

Best hotels in Sablon

There are just a few hotels in Sablon, so we also feature some private accommodations:

Square of Petit Sablon in Brussels
Square of Petit Sablon
 

Another really nice local area to stay in Brussels is around Sainte Catherine, the western side of the city center.

There are lots of restaurants and bars here and it’s a really nice lively place where you’ll truly mingle with the locals. It’s also not too far from the Grand-Place, and you can also take a metro for the areas that are located further away.

Because it’s located a bit outside of the main areas (still very central), you also get much better value for your money here.

Best hotels in St Catherine

  • €€€€ Fish Market B&B. One of the nicest accommodations with a true local feel. Breakfast included.
  • €€€ Novotel Brussels City Centre. Quite central location, a very popular 4* hotel.
  • €€ Citadines Sainte Catherine. Modern 3* hotel with great reviews and a beautiful and convenient location (metro just next door). One of the best price-quality wise.
  • Hotel Noga. A simple, but very nice 3* hotel. Excellent value for the location.
Brussels St Catherine neighborhood at night
Brussels St Catherine neighborhood at night
 

Where to stay in Brussels European District

If you are visiting Brussels for the EU Parliament or meetings at the EU Commission, etc. it’s best to stay in the Berlaymont area (around Schuman Railway Station) or potentially also Leopold Quarter (close to Luxembourg Railway Station).

This is where all the main EU buildings are located, and you’ll find some nice business hotels in this area. There are also plenty of excellent and trendy places to eat, from Starbucks or local friteries selling Belgian fries to fancy gourmet restaurants.

Best hotels in the European Quarter

Here are some of the best hotels for visiting the EU headquarters in Brussels:

  • €€€€+ Aloft Brussels Schuman. Trendy design hotel with a very central location for everything EU-related.
  • €€€€ Thon Hotel EU. One of the best-rated 4* hotels located between the city center and the EU Quarter.
  • €€€+ NH Brussels EU Berlaymont. The most popular business hotel in the EU – area.
  • €€€ First Euroflat Hotel. A very popular hotel with spacious rooms and less-formal atmosphere.

Good to know: There are not many low-budget options in this area. You might be able to find some privately-owned apartments, but most of them don’t have great reviews. There are, however, quite a few other hotels, all quite similar in terms of what they offer and the prices are very comparable too.

EU Commission building Le Berlaymont in Brussels
EU Commission building Le Berlaymont in Brussels
 

Where to stay in Brussels on a budget

Brussels has a lot of different accommodation options and often, hotels located a bit further away from the heart of the city center offer better value for your money. But this is mostly the case for mid-budget hotels. So a 3-4* hotel at St. Catherine will usually cost quite a lot less than a similar hotel next to Grand-Place.

This is not always the case for the lowest-budget accommodations however and there are quite a few budget options right in the heart of the city (but the quality of accommodation might not always be great).

Best Brussels hostels in the city center

Here are some of the best hostels in Brussels city center:

TIP: For better quality budget accommodations, you may want to check out privately rented apartments instead of hotels or hostels. However, sometimes you’ll also find better hotels offering exceptionally good rates – it’s all about offer and demand in Brussels. If you are looking for a nice hotel on lower budget, check out Ibis at Grand Place – the location can’t be beaten.

Ibis hotel at Grand Place in Brussels
Ibis hotel at Grand Place Brussels is one of the best lower-budget hotels in the heart of the city center.
 

Where to stay in Brussels with kids

If you are visiting Brussels with kids, we recommend staying in the heart of the city, so that you can walk to most attractions.

But instead of choosing smaller boutique hotels, look at the bigger hotels that offer family rooms, and sometimes also connecting rooms.

TIP: Look for a hotel with a pool – it’s always nice with children. There are just very few hotels in Brussels city center that have a swimming pool, however. Below are some of the best options.

Best central hotels with family rooms & a pool

  • €€€€€ Steigenberger Wiltcher’s. A beautiful luxury hotel with an idoor pool in the Av. Louise area.
  • €€€€ 9Hotel Sablon. This centrally located 4* hotel is one of the few that has affordable family rooms and a (small) indoor pool.
  • €€€ Renaissance Brussels Hotel. This big 4* hotel is located in the EU neighborhood, has connecting family rooms and a big indoor pool. If you don’t mind being a bit outside the city center, this is a really nice choice.

If you don’t care about a pool and just want family rooms, you’ll find many more suitable options – see below. However, many hotel rooms in the center aren’t very spacious, and not many hotels have rooms for bigger families. Often, it might be simpler and more enjoyable to stay at a self-catering apartment instead. See here for self-catering options.

Central hotels with family rooms

In addition to the hotels with a pool listed above, there are a few other options in the city center with family rooms:

Kids at the Royal Galleries in Brussels
Royal Galleries in Brussels
 

Where to stay when visiting Brussels by car

While we do not recommend visiting Brussels by car, sometimes it’s difficult to avoid it. Especially if you are making a road trip and Brussels is part of your itinerary.

Good to know: The traffic in and around the city is usually horrendous, especially during the working days and that the whole day long, from around 7 AM to 7 PM. It might get a bit quieter for a few hours around noon, but don’t count on it. Furthermore, Brussels now has introduced some serious speed limits (30km/h for the biggest part) and high fines, plus parking is not cheap either.

So if you are visiting Brussels by car, you should consider a hotel in the outskirts of the city and close to the railway or metro station. Alternatively, if you decide to drive to the city center, be sure to check that your hotel has either private parking available or a big public parking garage just nearby.

Good to know: There’s a big car parking right next to Hotel Novotel Brussels Off Grand Place. Two more hotels at this same location are Ibis at Grand-Place and NH Brussels Carrefour de L’Europe. And there are several others nearby.

TIP: Sometimes it might be nicer to stay in a smaller city or town nearby and visit Brussels by train for a day. But keep in mind that traffic is busy everywhere in Belgium, also in and around smaller towns.

Ibis Grand-Place and NH Brussels Carrefour de L’Europe hotels in the center of Brussels
Ibis Grand-Place and NH Brussels Carrefour de L’Europe hotels are located right next to Grand-Place, the Central Station, and the big public parking.
 

Where to stay in Brussels for one night

If you are just visiting the city for one day and are looking for a well-located place to stay in Brussels for one night, we recommend staying in the area that’s most convenient for your planned itinerary or transfers.

So, for example, if you are in Brussels for one night on your way to Paris or London, it might be convenient to stay next to Brussels-South Railway Station (Bruxelles Midi). Especially if you have an early train to catch. For this area, we recommend Pullman Brussels Centre Midi Hotel – right next to the station.

Whereas if you have an early or late meeting at the EU Parliament, it’s probably best to stay close to Schuman.

But in general, for a one-night stay in Brussels, we also recommend the area close to Grand Place & Central Station. It’s the best neighborhood to stay in for sightseeing, there are plenty of restaurants nearby, and you can easily catch a train to wherever you are going next.

Where to stay in Brussels for nightlife

If you are looking for dancing, music, and partying all night long, then the best place to stay for that is the Brussels city center, pretty much the same area as for sightseeing.

There are several popular nightclubs in Brussels, but they are not all located in one area. So I recommend simply picking a nice centrally located hotel, from where you can easily walk to whichever place you decide to go each night.

If you are looking for a neighborhood with a bit more trendy atmosphere and lots of bars and restaurants nearby, I’d stay either in the direction of the St Catherine neighborhood, Sablon, or closer to Avenue Louise. We already shared some hotel suggestions for these areas higher above, so take a look there.

Where to stay for Brussels airport

Brussels International Airport (BRU) is located in Zaventem, about 10km northeast of the city. It takes just 15 minutes to travel between the airport and the city center by train and – during the peak hours – almost an hour by car or taxi…

The best areas to stay for the airport are the ones closest to the three main railway stations along the airport railway line: Brussels North, Brussels Central, and Brussels South. The nicest of the three is the area around the Central Station. For the recommended hotels in this area, see the ‘where to stay in Brussels for first time’ section above.

However, if you have to catch a very early flight or if you are arriving really late at night when there are no buses or trains available, the best place to stay are, of course, the airport hotels. Or you can always catch a taxi to the city – the traffic should be ok at night ;).

The best hotel at the Brussels International Airport is Sheraton. It’s located right at the terminal – 1-minute walk. Novotel Brussels Airport and Crowne Plaza Brussels Airport are located nearby, offer a free airport shuttle, and are much cheaper than Sheraton.

FAQ

Here is some more info on the best areas to stay in Brussels, areas to avoid, etc.

Where is the best area to stay in Brussels?

There are several really nice areas to stay in Brussels. For sightseeing and easy public transport connections stay in the heart of the city center, close to Grand Place. For shopping – in the Av. Louise area, for the EU meetings – in the Leopold Quarter or close to Schuman. And for a more local atmosphere – in the Sablon neighborhood.

Where should I not stay in Brussels?

Some neighborhoods in Brussels don’t have the best reputation when it comes to safety. Often, it’s just a perception, but sometimes just the feeling of insecurity might ruin your vacation. So if this is your first time in Brussels and you don’t know the city very well, we recommend avoiding the neighborhoods of Sint-Jans-Molenbeek, Saint-Josse-ten-Noode, and the wider surroundings of the Brussels-South Station (Brussels-Midi) and also some areas close to the Brussels-North Station. The bigger hotels close to the South railway station are ok, but you shouldn’t go wandering these areas alone at night if you don’t know the city well.

How many days do you need in Brussels?

While you can see the ‘musts’ of Brussels in a day, we recommend at least 2 full days, 3 nights in Brussels. This will give you enough time to see all the musts in the city center, visit the area around the Atomium and/or EU headquarters, and check out one or two museums. If you also want to visit other Belgian cities as a day trip from Brussels, plan at least 2 days extra – one for Antwerp and one for Ghent and Bruges.

 

So, this is our guide to the best areas to stay in Brussels, for any trip and all budgets. Hope that this gives you a better idea of where to stay when visiting Brussels and helps you choose the perfect place for your stay.

If you are still not sure which hotel to choose, check out our selection of the 10 most popular hotels in Brussels. This guide features the most-booked hotels for all budgets. Take a look!

TIP: If you are not sure how to plan your trip to Belgium, take a look at our recommended itinerary for first-timers. It shows you how to see the ‘musts’ in just 3-4 days. Check it out via the link below!

LEARN MORE: Belgium Itinerary: how to see the best of Belgium in 3-4 days

More travel inspiration for Belgium:

Some travel inspiration for Luxembourg & the Netherlands:

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Where to stay in Brussels - best neighborhoods and hotels for all budgets
Best places to stay in Brussels Belgium
 

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