Here's a quick go-to guide so you won't "Pis" away your spending money.
Budget Tips: Brussels
Information on the Brussels Card
The Brussels Card can be purchased as a one-day, two-day or three-day pass. Prices are as follows: €40 (three days), €34 (two days), and €24 (one day). You can buy the card on-line or at participating locations like the Museum of Ancient Art or the Museum of Modern Art.
The card gives you free access to more than 30 museums (including the dressing room of Manneken Pis), discounts at countless shops and restaurants, and even free beer and transportation. It's a great deal if you plan to whip through the city in a few days time, a bad deal if you want to linger a bit longer over comic strips and cold pints.
We think that the Grand Place is one of the best free sights in Europe. During the summer months, visit when the square gets decked in flowers. In the winter, the square hosts Christmas markets and is decked in twinkle lights. Make sure to look up at the guild hall facades, many of which are the originals from the middle ages.
Brussels is also the seat of the European Parliament, which you can enter for free and take a 30-minute audio-guided tour (also free) at 10 a.m. or 3 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and at 10 a.m. only on Fridays.
Each year, during July and August, Brussels dumps a bunch of fresh sand into the canal shoreline (at Quai des Peniches) and declares it official beach blanket time! During the months that the Brussels Beach (Bruxelles des Bains) is up and running, free activities abound, including group volleyball, yoga lessons, and outdoor concerts. The gig first started as a way to give those unable to make the trek for a family vacation a chance to sit back, relax and soak up the sun.
The International Student Identity Card (ISIC) is the most widely accepted form of student ID and provides discounts on sights, accommodations, food, and transportation. Many museums in Brussels offer admission discounts of 20-50% to ISIC members. Applicants must be working toward a degree at a secondary or post-secondary school and must be at least 12 years of age. The card costs US$22 and is valid until the end of the year issued. All cardholders have access to a 24-hour emergency helpline. In the United States call 1-800-223-7986 or click onto ISIC's web site.
For non-students 25 years and younger, the International Youth Travel Card, IYTC, also offers many of the same benefits as the ISIC. The card costs US$22 and is valid for one year from the date of issue.
In addition, travelers with student cards, such as ISIC and IYTC, qualify for big discounts from travel agencies. Most flights from budget agencies are on major airlines, though peak season deals might be on less reliable chartered aircraft.
Senior travelers will find some discounts in Brussels, but not as many as in other cities and countries. For the most part, seniors must be EU citizens in order to receive discounts. Members of the AARP get discounts on hotels, airfares and car rentals. They can be reached in the United States at 1-800-424-3410 and via the AARP web site.
Most popular hotels in Brussels (by views)
Brussels blog posts
- 8 unusual cheap hotels in Europe
- Paris to Brussels and Beyond: Essential Thalys
- Terminal Retreats: Railway station lounges
- Holland and Belgium: Consider smaller destinations beyond the capitals
- Eurostar Expands its Network: London to Aix-en-Provence from £109 return
- 3 Rail Tips for 2013: Consider regional passes, return tickets and stopovers
- Train Tickets: Britain to Continental Europe
- Eurostar Sale: 39 euro tickets from Paris – London, for late 2012 travel
- Eurolines: International coach journeys in Europe
- Eurostar Links: Beyond Paris and Brussels