One Woman’s Wander: Solo Travel Tips for Brussels, Belgium

With its rich history and lively culture, solo travel to Brussels promises an unforgettable adventure at every turn.

This solo travel to Brussels guide was written by Tamar Marder. She runs World by Weekend where she helps others transform brief getaways into deep, culturally-rich adventures.

When I booked my flights to Brussels, I knew nothing about it. I saw cheap flights over a weekend I wanted to get away, and that was enough for me.

I booked a solo weekend getaway there and started planning.  

I don’t always travel solo. In fact, with two kids under five at home, I rarely get any free time to myself at all.

So this trip was special. I didn’t care where I went so much as I went somewhere, anywhere, alone.

It wasn’t until I started researching and planning for my trip that I realized I’d stumbled on a destination gem.

The Belgian capital is famous for its architecture. Grand Place, the city’s main square, is renowned as the most beautiful square in Europe.

Brussels also has incredible art museums, delicious chocolates, strong beers, and beautiful parks. Culture, chocolate, and beer? Count me in!

Even though I only spent a weekend in Brussels, I explored the city thoroughly. From the second I got off the train from the airport, I hardly stopped moving.

I started my days early, walking the city streets while crews were still out cleaning up from the night before, and went late into the night.

I thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself in the city’s arts and culture, touring the museums, eating all the Belgian waffles I could find, and trying different Belgian beers.

Brussels is a fabulous city and an easy place to travel solo.

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Quick guide: solo travel to Brussels

  • Country: Belgium
  • Safety Index: 44.54
  • Power Plug: Type A & B
  • Best neighborhood: Marolles
  • Belgium E-SIM: Airalo
  • Belgium Travel insurance: SafetyWing

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Is Brussels safe for solo travel?

Visiting the Royal Palace in Brussels | Photo: Tamar from World by Weekend

As a woman alone in Brussels, I felt safe walking through the city. I started my mornings early and stayed out late into the night, trying to make the most of my limited time there.

Not once did I feel unsafe walking alone, night or day.

I took public transit a handful of times while in Brussels and also found that experience to be safe. When you’re crowded onto a bus or train, that’s often when people, and women especially, may feel uncomfortable or vulnerable.

I thought the public transit was comfortable to ride on and did not see our experience any antisocial behavior while on it.     

I spent most of my time in the city center, and while I recommend keeping your eye out for pickpockets and common scams, I did not encounter any unsavory behavior during my travels

I think Brussels would be a good destination for all types of travelers, from solo female travelers to families and friend groups. 

My key safety advice for anyone traveling to Brussels is to exercise common sense. It is a major city, and crime does happen.

Belgian beers are strong, and they can sneak up on you if you drink them quickly. If you’re out drinking and partying alone, be careful with how much you drink so you can safely get back to your hotel room.

Mind your belongings, especially while riding public transit and in crowded areas, like Grand Place. Lastly, avoid unpopulated areas at night.

The best time to explore new neighborhoods and less-populated areas is in the daytime.

I didn’t have many preconceived notions about Brussels before I visited. I knew it was a major European capital, but not as big as London or Paris.

I did not expect it to be bustling and crowded, or to feel overwhelming in scale. For the most part, these preconceptions turned out to be true.

The main core of Brussels is extremely walkable, not crowded, and generally safe for travelers.

Is Brussels good for solo travel?

The Grand Palace in Brussels | Photo: Tamar from World by Weekend

Brussels is an excellent destination for solo travelers. The city is easy to explore independently and has a wide array of activities to please any style of solo traveler.

I loved visiting Brussels on my own, exploring at my own pace, and not having to adjust my itinerary for anyone else’s wants or interests. 

It’s easy to get around Brussels!

solo travel to brussels

One thing about Brussels that makes it a good solo travel destination is how easy it is to get around the city.

The city core is incredibly walkable. You won’t need a taxi at all, and you’ll hardly need public transit either. 

If you need to you can take buses and the metro to the far-flung reaches of the city, like the Atomium or the EU Parliament building. 

I’m a huge fan of walking, and found walking around Brussels to be such a joy. Plus, the weather was lovely and mild when I was there in late May, so it was pleasant to walk everywhere under the warm sunshine.

I walked from the city core to the EU Parliament, a 30-minute walk, just because I was enjoying being outside in a new city.

You tend to notice more when you walk places versus driving. Brussels is covered in excellent murals, many based on its prolific comic book culture.

Taking advantage of Brussels’ walkability, and having the chance to spot murals along the way, is in my opinion one of the joys of visiting the city.

There are many activities you can do alone in Brussels!

Brussels has many activities for solo travelers to choose from. I loved all the museums in the city, especially the art museums.

I spent an entire afternoon at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts, perusing Dutch masters, medieval Flemish paintings, and the museum dedicated to local surrealist Rene Magritte.

The site is actually a collection of multiple museums, but admission to all is covered on one ticket (or you can pay less to visit one or two museums).

With art spanning centuries, it’s a great destination for art lovers interested in seeing the progression of Belgian artists across hundreds of years.

To learn about Belgian history, I went to Musee BELvue and the Brussels City Museum. Both were excellent.

BELvue focuses on the country’s history and modern-day issues facing current Belgians.

The Brussels City Museum highlights the city’s history, including an exhibit on the history of the Manneken Pis statue.

It was such a joy not having to compromise my travels based on my travel partner’s interests or to cut my time in the museums short.

I spent hours poring over paintings and reading the placards. By the end of the day, I was exhausted from reading, learning, and being on my feet, but it was worth every second!

Easy to meet people

If museums aren’t your thing, you should consider taking a group tour. I debated between a chocolate or a beer tour, and ultimately decided on the latter.

This ended up being a fantastic decision because it showed me how easy it is to meet people while traveling.

I wouldn’t say Brussels is a particularly easy city to meet people in, but taking a group tour is a great way to find kindred spirits in other travelers.

On my beer tour, I met some other Americans who were stationed at a military base in Germany.

We hit it off – we were actually from the same part of California – and spent the rest of the tour chatting amongst ourselves.

After the tour, we grabbed more beers, had dinner together, and got late-night waffles. It was a memorable evening, and an opportunity to make new acquaintances which I wouldn’t have had if not for being a solo traveler.

They speak English in Brussels!

Brussels is also good for solo travel because there are many English-speaking locals.

While most Belgians speak French or Flemish, Brussels, as the home of the EU Parliament, is home to people from across the European Member states.

For many of these people, their only common language is English. Therefore, I found that everyone I interacted with spoke English well.

Even though I only speak English, I was able to order without difficulty at restaurants, ask for directions from locals, and have conversations with strangers.

Moderate daily travel budget

Brussels is not a cheap destination, but compared to other European capitals, it’s not particularly expensive.

If you plan to visit Brussels, set your daily budget between $150-$200.

When you travel will have a big impact on this budget since the hotel makes up the bulk of this cost, and prices vary by season. Staying in a hostel will help keep the budget down.

Plan to spend about $20-$40 per day for activities in Brussels. This would include museum admissions and any tours you’d like to take.

Food in Brussels is pricey, especially if you eat at the restaurants along Grand Place. You’re essentially paying for the view (which is totally worth it, if your budget allows!).

You can save money by choosing restaurants outside the tourist core.

My time in Brussels was filled with discovery. From the masterpieces in its museums to the spontaneous connections with fellow travelers, the city gave me priceless memories I’ll always cherish.

Solo travel to Brussels was easier than I expected. The city is easy to navigate, full of interesting museums, beautiful churches, and quirky murals.

I enjoyed meeting others during my trip and learning about the intricacies of European politics. Brussels is a fantastic European solo travel destination and a wonderful place for solo adventurers.

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