A definitive guide to find accommodation, as told by locals
Last updated: August 2017
How to rent a place in Brussels
Due to the high number of expats and internationals, most international students and interns find searching for accommodation in Brussels challenging. Especially short term stays are difficult and the search from abroad can be exhausting. But, no need to worry! We,
from Housing Anywhere, have the perfect solution - looking for an accommodation has never been easier or safer. To get more information, please check our platform or read our ambassadors’ tips on how to find a place to stay in Brussels and get your exciting journey started!
Hi guys! I'm Kathi and here, I'll give you some insights into Brussels. Since I enjoy meeting different cultures and I study international management, I travelled abroad a lot and lived in the Netherlands, France and Austria. Furthermore, I got the opportunity to spend a summer in Brussels, a vibrant city and the heart of the European Union. Moving to another country is always a very exciting experience, but sometimes can be overwhelming. What area you will live in? What places to see and what to do? Where to meet some locals and get around the streets of Brussels? This guide will help you to get the impression of the city.
Living in Brussels and its neighbourhoods
Transportation in Brussels
If you have time: walk!
Brussels is a well located city in the heart of Europe. Many options are possible to arrive in the Belgian capital: either by plane (Brussels Airport, Brussels South), by train (Thalys) and you can even come by car. Once in Brussels you can travel by metro, tram or bus with the MOBIB card. If you do not have a card you can buy tickets in the metro stations or at the newsagents. However the best way to explore the city is to walk around. Every place in the city centre is accessible within walking distances. Furthermore, the paths are pleasant and distances are short, so go out and enjoy a nice Brussels tour!
What to do?
A dynamic city
Grab a Belgian waffle and visit Brussels! The local architecture will amaze you, especially if you stop by the Grand Place. The square will impress you by its beauty and grandeur, it is the relic of the 17th century. Located right in the center of Brussels, there are a lot of restaurants and bars nearby to taste a local beer. The nightlife in the city is also dynamic: bars have their own theme and atmosphere to enjoy the local experience to the fullest! If you’re looking for a peaceful time the heart of the city, don’t worry Brussels has many parks and green spaces throughout the city.
Taste the local food
The country is divided into two parts: the French speaking part in the south and the Flemish speaking part in the north. With this unusual situation, Brussels is one of the rare bilingual capitals of the world. A big part of the Belgian culture is the food! The Belgian beer is a must try when travelling to Brussels! There is between 400 and 800 different types of beers. Be ready to go for a beer anytime: families and friends often gather around one or more! If you do not like beer you can always catch up on the food. When going to Brussels you will have to try waffles and the Belgian chocolate.
Quality of life
Brussels, a multicultural city
Brussels is an international city that attracts expats and international students from all over the world to come enjoy the Belgian way of life. It is said to be the most multicultural city of Europe. Brussels is a human-sized capital and green-oriented which makes it joyful and pleasant for its inhabitants. It also offers a lot of cultural activities: museums, concerts, movies. There’s always something to do no matter what your interests are, so you’ll never be void of activities in Brussels!
The neighborhood where people from different cultures live together
In the North of the city you will find the Saint-Josse-ten-Noode neighbourhood that is only a 15 minutes walk away from the heart of downtown Brussels – De Brouckère and close to “Brussels Nord” train station. The area is the most densely populated in Brussels, dynamic and multicultural. Furthermore, it has the population with the lowest average age. People from different cultures live and work alongside each other. Since it used to be a bourgeois area you can find small town houses and pavements with multi-colored tiles. Apartments are affordable, small boutiques selling specialties from Turkey or Maghreb can be found on every corner and the neighbourhood offers a variety of cafés.
Woluwe-Saint-Lambert & Woluwe-Saint-Pierre
A residential area with a lot of parks
Both neighborhoods are in the east and one of the swankiest and residential areas of the city. They’re well connected by public transport to the city centre and European quarter. Therefore, the areas are popular amongst people working for the European Union. If you want to escape the big city life, these neighbourhoods are perfect for you. You will find small town houses with gardens and little shops. The Parc de Woluwe is perfect for walks, running or just relaxing in the grass. Even though the neighbourhood may not be centrally located, rents are slightly higher.
The second city center
Ixelles/Elsene is one of the liveliest and most popular areas in Brussels and known for their trendy cafés, restaurants, bars and upmarket shops. The area has very distinct neighbourhoods and is the centre of culture and nightlife. The area around Toison d’or and Porte de Namur is a shoppers paradise as it is home to big brands and high-end stores. It is considered as Brussels second centre thus the connection to public transport is great. You’ll find large townhouses in this part of the city hence prices for housing are also a bit more expensive. Nevertheless, it is the area where most of the students tend to party and live.
A hip, vibrant and upcoming neighbourhood
St. Gilles is one of the upcoming neighbourhoods in Brussels – it’s diverse and vibrant. The area is known for its beautiful Art-Nouveau buildings and cafés on several squares that have amazing terraces in summer. Due to its rising popularity more and more shops and restaurants have been opening up. The Parvis St. Gilles is a famous square in the neighbourhood that hosts nearly every day another market. Besides stands with fruits and vegetables, you will find delicious food in food trucks. Another advantage of the neighbourhood it’s got great public transport links and the proximity to the city centre and the trendy neighbourhood, Ixelles.
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