Brussels is the perfect destination for travelling on a budget. Flights are super cheap, hotels are affordable and central, and the food and drink is budget friendly! Here’s how we spent a day in Brussels.
We took an early flight from Manchester airport at 6:15am on Saturday morning and landed in Brussels South Charleroi airport at 8:35am, giving us plenty of time to explore Brussels! We took the shuttle bus from Brussels Airport to Brussels Midi train station. There was quite a long line for the shuttle bus, however the buses came every 20 minutes so we didn’t wait too long. The shuttle bus took us to Bruxelles-Midi, a 25 minute walk away from Brussels centre, or alternatively a 3 minute train. We decided to walk to Brussels city centre to stretch our legs.
At around 10am we arrived in Brussels centre and our first stop was the garden of Mont des Arts. We walked through the garden to see the beautiful flowers planted there, then walked up the steps to see an amazing panoramic view of the city, a great spot to stop for a picture!
We then found JAT cafe, not far from the Palais de Bruxelles and stopped inside for some coffees and croissants.
After refuelling we took a short walk to the Palais de Bruxelles, which we viewed from outside. The huge garden was beautiful, and we managed to get a good view as around this time it wasn’t busy at all. Unfortunately, we were unable to enter the Palace or its gardens, as it is only open during the summer. However, if you are visiting Brussels between 21st July and early September, entry is free and definitely worth the visit!
Facing the Royal Palace is the Royal park, beautiful to walk around and spot the statues. When you come out the other side of the gardens, you will see the Palais de la nation.
We stumbled on the Cathedral of Saint Michael and Saint Gudula while strolling around Brussels. The Gothic architecture of this cathedral is truly something to be marvelled. Entry inside is free and you can see the archaeological site for €1. We spent around half an hour walking around the cathedral, taking in all its beauty.
When visiting Brussels, you have to see the Grand Palace! The Grand Palace is a truly impressive building and there is so much going on around it! If you need a quick break, there are restaurants, shops, and pubs on the square, as well as a chance to take a horse drawn carriage. We sat at the outdoor seating of the La Brouette Café, which had an amazing view of the Grand Palace, with budget-friendly coffee and croissants in the sun.
While you’re in the square you will also see the gorgeous gothic architecture of the King’s House, facing the Grand Palace. This building really stands out as it contrasts the bright gold and white of the Grand Palace.
Seeing all the Belgian waffle shops when walking around, we decided it was time we tried one! We walked a couple of streets away from the Grand Palace square and found an amazing smelling waffle shop, so bought a delicious waffle with strawberries and chocolate sauce, which we then sat and ate with a view of the Grand Palace.
There are so many chocolate shops on the streets of Brussels, with all types of chocolate so we took a look in some, and tried some samples!
The Mannekin Pis is another popular tourist site in Brussels, which was super busy with tourists! There is also the lesser known Jeanneke Pis and Zinneke Pis in other areas of the city!
For a quick and cheap lunch or snack, frites are the way to go! We visited Fritland twice during our stay in Brussels and we were not disappointed! The frites are delicious and the portions are good sizes with amazing prices if you’re on a budget. Fritland has outdoor seating with a great view of Saint Nicholas Church, one of the oldest churches in Brussels.
After checking into our hotel and freshening up, we stopped at L’Express, a Lebanese restaurant, for food. The food here was good and budget-friendly.
After food, we checked out Brussels’ nightlife. Brussels has a great selection of unique bars and amazing nightlife.
First up was Delerium village is made up of 4 lively pubs, with 2000 beers to choose from!
Next, the Toon pub and theatre, a great quirky bar, which is also a puppet theatre, with a range of belgian beers. The décor in this pub makes it so unique, with puppets hanging from the walls.
Le Cercueil is another quirky bar, close to the Grand Palace with a dark spooky vibe. To enter, you walk down a dark corridor, into the dark windowless bar, with skeleton filled coffins for tables and rock music playing! This was our favourite bar we visited!
The next day after checking out of our hotel we took the train into Brussels city centre, ate some frites at Fritland and relaxed in La Brouette cafe on the Grand Palace square until taking the train to the pick up spot for our coach to the airport.
Our trip to Brussels was short but filled with food, drink, and sightseeing. We will definitely be back again and highly recommend Brussels for a budget friendly trip!