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Where to Stay in Brussels for First Time Visitors?

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Are you planning on heading to Belgium’s capital city, and feeling confused by all the choices and options for where to stay? This is definitely not a unique issue, as many travelers may feel overwhelmed when selecting the right accommodation. Don’t worry, as this is literally our job — to give you tips and guidance on where to stay in Brussels for first-time visitors. 

Royal Palace Brussels
Beautiful Brussels

Brussels is one of the most incredible cities in Europe, famous for its chocolate shops, fine dining restaurants, art nouveau architecture, and as the administrative center of the European Union. 

Just keep reading as we guide you through the best hotels and tourist attractions in beautiful Brussels. 

Where to stay in Brussels for first time visitors | Best hotels & areas

Where to stay in Brussels for first time visitors

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In a rush? Here is a quick list of our favorite places to stay in Brussels,

HotelArea FeaturesBook Here
Warwick Brussels-Centrally located (Grand Place)
-Perfect for first-time visitors
-Touristy area
-Luxury stay
Book Here
Hotel La Grande Cloche-Centrally located (Grand Place)
-Modern hotel
Book Here
Hotel Hubert Grand Place– Centrally located (Grand Place)
-Pet friendly
Book Here
Stanhope Hotel-European Quarter (At the political quarter)
-Boutique hotel with a sauna
and a fitness centre
Book Here
Aloft Brussels Schuman -European Quarter (At the political quarter)
-Live music and events on-site
Book Here
Ibis Hotel Brussels Expo Atomium-Europe Expo area
– See the Atomium
-Away from the centre
-Luxury hotel
Book Here
Hotel La Roseraie– Europe Expo
– Lovely boutique stay
-Away from the centre
– Peaceful area
Book Here
Le Louise Hotel Brussels-Avenue Louise
-Best for shopping
-Full of elegance, has a cocktail
bar onsite
Book Here
Steigenberger Icon Wiltcher’s-Avenue Louise
-Best for shopping
-Michelin-star restaurant onsite
Book Here
Pullman Brussels Centre Midi-Centrally located
-Near the main train station
Book Here
Hotel Manos Premier-District of Saint-Gilles
-Artsy neighborhood
-Boutique hotel with spa
Book Here
The Scott Hotel-Saint-Gilles district
-Boutique hotel
-Book a room with a view here
Book Here
Hygge Hotel -Ixelles district
-Close to central areas of Grand Place
and Avenue Louise
Book Here
NH Collection Brussels
Grand Sablon
-Sablon neighborhood
-Good for foodies
-Away from the centre, but still close
-Family-friendly hotel
Book Here

For first-time visitors wanting to get the most out of their stay, we recommend staying in Brussels City Centre. This is a central location in Brussels and is just a short walk from major attractions, such as the Brussels Town Hall, the Grand Place, and Mont des Artes. 

City Centre: Where to stay in Brussels for first time visitors

For a more authentic experience of Belgian life, consider staying in one of Brussels’ most diversified international neighborhoods, Ixelles. There are many friendly locals here and a more relaxed vibe.  

If you’re looking for a more affordable area, consider staying in Gare du Midi, a popular choice for budget travelers and backpackers. 

Lastly, for the best nightlife scene and bar culture, stay in Saint Gery for a whale of a time.

Luxembourg Square in Ixelles

Sometimes being spoiled for choice can feel like more of a curse, as you have to look through tons of different options to find your ideal hotel. Don’t worry; we’ve got your back and will find you some brilliant places to stay while visiting Brussels.  

Tip: Need help figuring out what to do in this Belgian city? Check out our Brussels in One-day itinerary.

Brussels City Centre: The best area for first timers

Brussels City Center is the best area to stay in Brussels if it’s your first time here. It’s within walking distance of the city’s major tourist attractions. 

These include Grand Place, the main town square of Brussels, the Royal Palace, and the Brussels City Museum. It’s also great if you’re looking to go on day trips from Brussels, as it’s close to Bruxelles Central train station.

Girl in Brussels City Centre in Where to stay in Brussels for first time visitors
City Centre: Where to stay in Brussels for first time visitors

Besides its convenient location, it’s also got a vast range of accommodation options, from luxury boutiques to budget-friendly hotels. Finally, it’s also got fantastic restaurants and chocolate shops. 

Top Hotels 

The city center has some of the most luxurious hotels in Brussels. Here are just a few of the best we found. 

Warwick Brussels – This luxury hotel is perfect as a resting spot after a busy day of sightseeing. It’s got modern amenities, such as air-conditioned rooms, a fitness center, an on-site restaurant perfect for quick breakfasts, and a piano bar to soothe your soul.

Hotel La Grande Cloche – Located just walking distance from Manneken Pis is this stylish modern hotel. It’s full of quirky design, bold colors, free WiFi, and spacious rooms with comfy beds (and it’s budget-friendly).

It’s also got a brilliant restaurant inside with pizza and craft beer, perfect for a simple dinner!

NH Brussels Grand Place – This luxurious hotel has it all, from air-conditioned rooms with coffee- and tea-making facilities and flat-screen TVs to a breakfast buffet and room service.

We love its flexibility as it offers family rooms, is pet-friendly, and has a 24/7 snack bar (perfect for a late-night craving). 

Rocco Forte Hotel Amigo – Immerse yourself in the history and culture of Brussels by staying at Amigo Rocco Forte Hotels’ luxurious accommodation.

From its prime location adjacent to Grand Place to beautiful rooms including bridal suites and soundproof walls, you also have access to a fitness centre, a bar, and amazing staff! 

Hotel Hubert Grand Place – This pet-friendly hotel is centrally located and is one of the affordable options for staying close to the Grand Place. 

Hilton Grand Place Brussels – Another luxurious and popular city centre hotel is the gorgeous Hilton Brussels Grand Place. Suites are modern, yet it has a royal-like ambiance. You will also find amazing dining facilities such as the Sentro restaurant and the fun Godiva Café Chocolat with a terrace!

Top Highlights

Grand Place: This town square is one of the most iconic landmarks in Belgium. It’s full of opulent buildings and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as it’s a huge symbol of Belgium’s prosperity. 

Belgian Comic Strip Center: Brussels is the home to various famous cartoons/comics, such as the beloved Tintin, the Smurfs, and Spirou. You’ll find murals dedicated to them across Brussels, but especially in this museum. ​​Children and young adults (12-25) pay 7 euros, while adults pay 10 euros.

European Quarter – Political center of Brussels

Brussels is an incredibly important city for world politics, and the European Quarter is where many important administrative buildings are found, including the European Parliament. It’s one of the best areas to stay in Brussels if you love museums and green parks. 

European Quarter
European Quarter: Where to stay in Brussels first time visitors

Besides this, there is also a huge variety of culinary offerings in the European Quarter from all cuisines, given the international diversity of people here. There are also numerous different hotels, which may be pricier than other areas, but we’ve still got some great options, perfect for any budget.

Top Hotels 

Stanhope Hotel – This 5-star boutique hotel is ideal for the most relaxing stay in Brussels. You’ll be at total inner peace with the luxurious Molton Brown toiletries, comfy robes, spacious rooms with cooling tones, and a sauna in the fitness center.

After a fantastic sleep, you’ll be able to enjoy a full English breakfast on the peaceful courtyard terrace. 

Aloft Brussels Schuman – Just minutes from the European Parliament is this hip hotel. It’s perfect for young adults as it is a vibey bar called W XYZ, with live music and events.

It has modern rooms with walk-in showers, Marshall speakers, and coffee machines. Plus, it’s re: fuel snack bar is fantastic for those in a hurry to go sightseeing. 

Radisson Red Brussels – This modern hotel is full of character, from the cartoon-painted walls to the games area. It’s also got all the necessary modern amenities, including free WiFi and TV with streaming services.

It’s terrific, no matter who you are, as it has family rooms and meeting facilities for those traveling on business. 

Top Highlights

Place du Luxembourg: This is a neoclassical station square full of restaurants and serves as a meeting point for many at the EU institutions. It has a fantastic cosmopolitan energy at the end of the day and is a great spot to taste a locally-made beer.

Musée Wiertz: This is a must-visit for any art lover. Antoine Wiertz is one of Belgium’s most famous painters of the romantic era in the 1800s. He is known for his dramatic paintings and huge canvases. Also, it has free entry, making it a perfect budget-friendly activity.

European Parliament: Taking a guided tour of the European Parliament is a fantastic activity to do if you want to learn more about EU politics. The guides are very experienced and will be able to answer any of your questions. 

Brussels Expo

The Brussels Expo district hosted Expo 58, a World’s Fair, in 1958. It was a massive success for Belgium and Brussels, and as such, this area became demarcated for fairs and notable events in the capital city.

Atomium: Where to stay in Brussels first time visitors

Nowadays, you can still see remnants of the past, from the Atomium (built for Expo 58) to the Brussels Exhibition Center, which still hosts various exhibits and events. It’s also close to various parks, the Brussels Planetarium, and the Design Museum Brussels. 

Besides this, when it’s not peak event season, Brussels Expo is quite a relaxed area to be in the city and has various hotels, restaurants, and bars to visit.  

Top Hotels 

Ibis Hotel Brussels Expo Atomium – This is one of the best hotels in the area for a laidback and affordable stay. It’s a convenient location if you’re wanting to explore the Brussels Expo, as it’s directly opposite it and only about 900 m from the Roi Baudouin metro station. Lastly, it’s got free WiFi, cable TV, and air-conditioned rooms.

Hotel La Roseraie – This quaint hotel is located just moments away from the tourist attractions at Brussels Expo but is perfect for a tranquil stay in Brussels. It’s in a beautiful mansion with uniquely-decorated rooms, a stunning garden, and a buffet to start your day off right.  

Hotel Expo – This hotel offers modern rooms with minimalist design choices and cool green tones. You’ll love its elegant simplicity, its fitness center, and its proximity to metro stations. It also has a bar, 24-hour front desk service, and a breakfast buffet, so you can get a snack no matter the time.

Top Highlights

Atomium: Atomium is a giant 102 m structure made to represent an iron crystal that has been enlarged 165 billion times. This shape was a way to represent the importance and faith people had put into scientific progress in 1958 when it was made for the 11th World’s Fair. It’s more than just a structure, however, as it houses restaurants and museum exhibits. 

Brussels Expo: The Brussels Exhibition Center is a mammoth space with over 115, 000 square meters of exhibit space. There are all kinds of exhibitions and events here, from car shows to art fairs and film festivals. It’s no surprise that over 5 million visitors come here every year, as there’s always something to see.

Avenue Louise – Best area for shopping

Avenue Louise is the major shopping street in Brussels. It’s full of upmarket accommodation options, art nouveau buildings, fine dining restaurants, and designer shops.

Busy Avenue Louise in Where to stay in Brussels for first time visitors
Busy street Avenue Louise: Where to stay in Brussels for first time visitors

These shops include big European names, such as Lacoste, Chanel, and Michael Kors, as well as Belgian designers like Diane von Furstenberg and Delvaux. Close by Avenue de la Toison d’Or are more budget-friendly options, such as Zara and Arket.

After you shop ’til you drop, you may want to grab a bite to eat or a coffee. You’re in luck, as this area is full of cafés and Belgian bistros where you can people-watch.  

Top Hotels 

Le Louise Hotel Brussels – This luxury hotel is just around the corner from Avenue Louise, making it perfect for shopaholics looking to get their full day’s worth. This hotel is full of elegance, from the welcome chocolates and L’Occitane toiletries to the swanky on-site restaurant and cocktail bar. 

Steigenberger Icon Wiltcher’s – This luxurious hotel matches its location perfectly with its stylish modern design and Michelin-starred on-site restaurant, La Canne en Ville. What’s more, it’s full of modern amenities, such as a spa, fitness area, 24/7 room service, and the comfiest beds. 

Top Highlights

Louise Tower: This is one of the most iconic buildings in the Brussels skyline. Standing at 85 meters, it stands out as a beautiful feat of modern architecture in Brussels. Inside, you’ll find offices and hotels. 

Place du Chatelain: Very close to Avenue Louise is the charming Place du Chatelain, full of shops and cafés. It’s the ideal spot for a foodie, as it has an outdoor artisan market with some of the best local cuisine and wine. 

Gare du Midi – Best area for one-night stays

If you’re only visiting Brussels for a night or two, the area around Gare du Midi is probably the best place to situate yourself. It’s centrally located in Brussels and is an excellent choice if the Belgian capital city is part of your western Europe itinerary

Gare du Midi is the busiest public transport hub in Brussels and has both national and international trains stopping here, which include the Eurostar. And while there aren’t many major attractions here, there are a variety of accommodation options for all budgets. 

Top Hotels

Pullman Brussels Centre Midi – This luxury hotel is centrally located with a direct entrance to Gare du Midi. The chic simplicity will calm any restless traveler with plush furniture, modern finishes, and a beautiful sauna. It’s also got rooms with high-speed free WiFi, Chromecast-linked TVs, and rain showers. 

Novotel Brussels Centre Midi – Located close to the south railway station or Gare du Midi entrance is this classy hotel. It has spacious rooms with neutral tones and bamboo finishes inspired by Oriental decor. You will find zen in the comfort of this hotel, as well as the plethora of breakfast options offered. 

Top Highlights

Despite it being known primarily for its metro station, the area around Gare du Midi can seem a bit desolate. However, there are still quite a lot of things to do nearby, as mentioned below. 

Gare du Midi Market: This is the third biggest market in all of Europe and is full of things to do. You can find food from all over the European continent and famous Belgian treats, including chocolate, cheese, and fresh produce. It’s held every Sunday morning from 7 am to 2 pm. 

Musée Bruxellois de la Gueuze: This is a must-visit for beer lovers, as it’s part of a very traditional brewery in Brussels, which has been making beer since 1900. They offer tours of the brewery, which cost 7 euros and include a sample of three beers.

Saint-Gilles – Best area for cool art galleries and culture vultures

In the south of Brussels is the trendy and relaxed district of Saint-Gilles. It’s locally known as the “village within the city” due to its cobblestone alleys and Art Nouveau architecture. 

Saint-Gilles is full of these architectural beauties and is known for being the area where the leader of the Art Nouveau movement, Victor Horta, lived. In fact, you can visit his house, as it has been turned into a museum.  

Besides this, Saint-Gilles is also a brilliant spot to stay in Brussels if you’re an art lover, as it has a buzzing art scene and numerous art galleries. 

Top Hotels

Hotel Manos Premier – You feel like you’re in heaven in this boutique hotel. It’s full of fantastic amenities, such as tea-making facilities, spacious rooms, and a spa. What’s even better is the expansive garden, perfect for decompressing after a busy day. 

The Scott Hotel – For a more mid-range option, consider this lovely boutique hotel. It’s got beautiful rooms that are soundproofed, allowing you to sleep like a log. For a truly memorable stay in Brussels, splurge on a room with a terrace for a beautiful view of the city.

Top Highlights

Horta Museum: This museum is full of delights, from colorful stained glass to ornate wall decorations. It’s truly a way into Horta’s mind, as you can see all that inspired him. Tickets cost 12 euros per person, and who knows, you might even be inspired to change your interior design.

Friterie de la Barrière: Belgium is famous for its frites, and this may be one of the best spots to try them while visiting Brussels. They’re also a perfect on-the-go meal, as they’re served in a paper cone. We recommend trying them with mayonnaise, as this is the traditional Belgian topping.

Ixelles – Best area for a multicultural feel

If you want to truly understand how multicultural the city is, one of the best areas to stay in Brussels is Ixelles. It is full of expats, students, and artists, so it has a terrific atmosphere.

Luxembourg Square in Brussels
Luxembourg Square: Where to stay in Brussels for first time visitors

To add to this, it’s got quite a central location in Brussels and is close to Avenue Louise and the city center/Grand Place. 

It’s also close to Brussels-Luxembourg railway station, in case you want an easy way to get around. We love Ixelles, as it’s full of green parks, vibey cafés, and art nouveau buildings.

Top Hotels 

Hygge Hotel – This artsy hotel has a relaxed feel to it, with various outdoor plants and funky lighting dotted around the lobby. Its Scandinavian design will put you at ease, while its wide selection of tasty breakfast options will refuel you for a day of visiting tourist attractions. They’ll be easy to get to, as you’re close to public transportation stops.  

Jardin Secret – This garden-themed hotel is perfect for those looking to detox from the busyness of life. It has also got a brilliant pool, which is ideal if you’re visiting Brussels in the summertime. And those industrial bedrooms offer the perfect oasis for rest. 

Top Highlights 

The Flagey Building: This building is used as a recording studio and a cultural hub of the area. It’s perfect for culture vultures, whether you want to catch a movie or simply enjoy Art Deco architecture. 

Tenbosch Park: If you’re planning to stay in Brussels in the summer, then keep this park on your to-visit list. It’s a popular spot in the sweltering heat, as it’s got a lake perfect for refreshing yourself and shade to escape the heat. It’s also perfect if you want a break from shopping, as it’s right next to Avenue Louise.

Sablon – Best area for chocoholics 

The Sablon neighborhood is known for its chocolatiers and waffle stalls, perfect for sweet tooths and foodies. It’s also a quieter area of Brussels while still being close to the city center and the Central Station. 

Notre Dame Cathedral in Sablon Brussels in Where to stay in Brussels for first time visitors guide
Église Notre-Dame du Sablon or Cathedral of Our Blessed Lady of the Sablon in Brussels, Belfium

Besides this, it’s also famous for its magnificent Gothic architecture and various landmarks, such as the historic Grand Sablon Square. So, it’s a great place to base yourself, especially if you’re looking for more affordable rooms.

Top Hotels 

9Hotel Sablon – This hotel is a terrific place to stay in Brussels, as it has spacious rooms with work desks for business people, comfortable linen bedding, and a relaxing wellness space. It’s also within walking distance from Brussels Central Station and Place du Grand Sablon. 

NH Collection Brussels Grand Sablon – This modern hotel is great for those looking for brilliant service, cozy beds, and modern amenities. It also offers family rooms and “kid-friendly” breakfasts, making it ideal for a family trip. It’s not far from Central Station or tourist attractions, such as Avenue Louise or Grand Place.

Top Highlights

The Sablon neighborhood is full of things to do and places to eat, but here are a few of our favorites.

Magritte Museum: This is home to over 230 artworks by arguably Belgium’s most famous artist. René Magritte, a surrealist painter, made all kinds of art, from paintings to sculptures, which you can see here. The entrance costs 10 euros, which is well worth it for all art lovers, and it is open from Tuesday to Sunday.

Notre Dame du Sablon: This Gothic church dates back to the 15th century and is one of the main landmarks of Brussels. It’s made in the gothic architectural style and has a beautiful interior, including ornate stained-glass windows and a majestic wooden pulpit. 

Jewish Museum of Belgium: This museum explores Jewish history and culture in Belgium, exhibiting objects dating back to the Middle Ages. It’s a brilliant place to visit, especially if you want to learn more about Judaism in Europe. Tickets start at 10 euros for adults, and children under 12 enter for free. 

Additional travel tips for accommodation in Brussels Belgium

Where is the main area of Brussels?

The Grand Place is the centrally located – main area of Brussels. This neighborhood is touristy and has lots of attractions to see (including many free ones), restaurants, and shopping spots. If you visiting Brussels for the first time, you can’t miss this area. 

La Grand Place dates back to the 11th century, and it was completed by the 17th century making it the city’s central square. The complex oozes grandeur and wealth with ornate guild houses and its vibrant atmosphere. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site today.

How many days in Brussels is enough?

With full 2 days in Brussels, you can explore the central attractions such as Grand Place, City Museum, Mannequin Pis, go shopping, etc. on day one, and then venture outside to Atomium and Mini Europe, and even indulge in a chocolate-making workshop on day 2!

Where should I stay in Belgium?

Belgium is very compact. You can stay in the capital city – Brussels and then take trains to explore nearby cities and countries in Western Europe. Hotel prices in Brussels will be slightly higher as compared to Ghent or Antwerp, but it is possible to find 3 star properties for around $100 USD or less.

Is it worth staying in Brussels?

Brussels has its own charm. It may not feature on most European bucket lists, but it is one of the quintessential fairy places that are definitely worth visiting. The Grand Place is gorgeous, and it has cute and charming lanes and cafes. Brussels has good museums and it is a nice city break option without breaking the bank!

Is Brussels cheaper than Paris?

It is. Brussels is about 25% cheaper than Paris – hotels, food, and tours. Statistics show that the cost of living in Paris is 27% more expensive than in Brussels.

Where not to stay in Brussels?

There are a few areas in Brussels that are to avoid, and it includes the following – Molenbeek, Anderlecht, Saint-Josse, Anneessens, Schaerbeek, and Forest.

Final thoughts on where to stay in Brussels for first-timers

Brussels is an incredible city in Europe and is full of things to do and places to stay, from Saint Gilles to the city center. What’s more, its public transport system makes visiting Brussels a breeze, as it’s easy to find a train station near you.

Brussels City Centre: Where to stay in Brussels first time visitors

You’ll love Brussels’ hotels as there are so many to choose from, with multiple options for accommodation, from family rooms to the most luxurious hotels in Grand Place. It truly is a grand place to be (pun intended), whether for one night or a whole week. 

Well, what are you waiting for? Book a trip to the capital city of Belgium. And don’t stress about packing, as we’ve made the ultimate packing list for Europe.

Are you a fellow lover of Brussels? Where did you stay? We’d love to hear more about the best places to stay in Brussels for a first-time visit. 

Read more of our Belgium travel guides:

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Where to stay in Brussels for first time visitors

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