How to spend a weekend in Brussels, Belgium, without spending a fortune! Including plenty of chocolate, museums, and architecture.
All I need right now is vegetables and a horizontal bed, because I just spent the weekend in Brussels, Belgium.
This statement may not make any sense yet, but after I summarize the highlights of this trip you will understand my needs.
My two friends and I just took a weekend trip from London to Brussels, the capital city of Belgium.
We were excited to explore the city and treat ourselves to some Belgian chocolate. We’re also students and don’t have lots of money, so we wanted to figure out how to explore Brussels on a budget without missing out on anything fun!
So here is a recap of our weekend, were I’ll highlight how to spend a weekend in Brussels, Belgium on a budget!
How To Spend A Weekend In Brussels, Belgium (On A Budget!)
I’ll include transportation to Brussels, where to stay for a cheap price, and the best Brussels attractions that won’t break the bank.
Cheap Transport to Belgium
We chose the cheapest form of transport we possibly could when traveling to Belgium: an overnight bus from London.
We used Megabus, and the round-trip journey only cost about $25.
So although the bus was cramped and didn’t have reclining seats and I barely slept, you can’t beat that price!
Budget Accommodation in Brussels
Even hostel dorm rooms in Brussels are a bit pricey, with the cheapest ones costing $23 per night for a dorm bed. But that’s pretty standard for western Europe, and it’s still cheaper than a hotel.
We stayed in Youth Hostel Van Gough, which was walking distance from the city center and allowed us to lock our valuables up in reception.
The Best Affordable Things To Do In Brussels
After arriving in Brussels and checking into the hostel, we were ready to explore Brussels on a budget!
Here are all the best things to do in Brussels that were either free or overall very affordable.
Even though we didn’t pay for any guided tours or treat ourselves to any lavish meals, we still had so much fun.
1. Eat Belgian Waffles
One of the best things to do in Brussels is eat Belgian waffles. You simply cannot skip this. There are waffle shops and cafes everywhere in the city center and they all sell freshly-made waffles with a wide array of toppings.
We experienced our first Belgian waffles at Gaufres de Bruxelles, a tiny little restaurant with amazing food.
The flaky pastry topped with strawberries and melted chocolate made for an incredible first meal in Brussels.
2. Tour the Museum of Musical Instruments
After exploring more of the city’s architecture and strolling through parks littered with crisp fall leaves, we paid six euros to tour the Museum of Musical Instruments.
This turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the trip, due to the exquisite beauty and history of the instruments, and the headphones given to us that played recordings of the instruments as you walked by them.
This interactive museum was so entertaining, and once you reached the tenth floor of the building you could enjoy an amazing view of the city.
3. Eat Belgian Chocolate
We did a lot of eating on this trip, in case you hadn’t noticed yet.
The rich delicacy that is Belgian chocolate clearly represents a central part of the culture in Belgium, seeing as we couldn’t walk two feet without coming face to face with a decadent chocolate shop.
After admiring the picturesque displays of sweets, we decided to tour the Museum of Cocoa and Chocolate and indulge in endless free samples.
We also bought our own chocolate from one of the enticing shops in the street, filling a three euro bag full of interesting flavors. The most delicious dark chocolates I tried were a green tea and lime truffle, and an apple, pear and speculoos truffle.
While I obviously don’t regret any of the incredible chocolate I consumed, by the end of the trip my body was craving celery to combat the excessive sweetness of my diet choices.
4. Admire the Grand Place and Architecture in Brussels
Belgium not only appealed to my taste buds, but the stunning sights also excited my eyes every time I turned a corner. Being an old city with lots of history, much of the architecture of Brussels has hints of medieval and baroque influence.
The most incredible area of the whole city was the Grand Place, a large square lined with magnificent structures that were decorated with shimmering gold.
The Brussels Town Hall stood out in the square as a powerful masterpiece with a tall, ornate tower and detailed carvings of people and images. I stared at this building for so long and still could not absorb all of the decoration.
The best thing about admiring the Grand Place: it’s free!
5. Eat Belgian Fries
Our unhealthy eating continued when we tasted the classic Belgian fries from Belgian Frites.
The fries were crispy yet soft, and deliciously salty.
I was lucky that one of my friends spoke French so she helped us order and navigate around all of Brussels, as french is as common as the native Flemish.
Belgium is actually the creator of fries, not the French. Another great place to try classic Belgian fries is Fritland.
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Overall, Brussels contains all the best elements of a European city.
Open-air markets with fresh food and aromatic flowers, adorable shops selling interesting, hand-made goods, and local musicians serenading you with inspiring music as you meander through the cobblestone streets.
There are other famous Brussels attractions like Mannekin Pis or Atomium that of course make a great addition to any Brussels itinerary. But they weren’t particularly highlights of the city, in my experience, so I didn’t want to go into too much detail.
Brussels was the perfect city to experience during a short weekend trip because it is small most of the attractions are near the beautiful Grand Place.
It is an easy city to explore on foot, so it’s perfect for budget travelers with little time.
I mean, the chocolate alone is enough incentive to come to Brussels, but all the other amazing qualities simply add to the experience.
Before traveling to Belgium…
- Visit iVisa.com to find out if you need a visa
- Buy some reliable travel insurance! My favorite company is Squaremouth Insurance because they have a helpful live chat and affordable plans.
For more budget travel guides around Europe, check out these articles: