Belgium: Top cities to visit & travel costs

Although Belgium is a small country, it has a lot to offer. Travelers can choose between modern cities, like Brussels or Antwerp, or fairy-tale destinations, such as Bruges.

Belgium can be pricey, but with some tricks up your hat, you can find it a proper destination to budget travel Western Europe. In my opinion, when you visit Belgium, you should try to visit Antwerp, Bruges, Brussels (the capital), and Ghent. You can find more details about budget traveling to each of these Belgian cities below.



View over Antwerp in Belgium, Western Europe

Antwerp

Antwerp may be well-known as a center for diamond trading and fashion, but it’s not limited to that. This beautiful city has a well-preserved medieval architecture to spark up your interest by day, and a vibrant nightlife to keep you up till late.


How much does it cost to visit Antwerp?

A budget traveler should aim to spend around € 44 per day while visiting Antwerp. Please note that this price does not take into account the accommodation costs for that day. Below, you can get more details on the everyday average costs of visiting Antwerp:


Accommodation costs in Antwerp

Hotel or hostel for one person€ 25 – 114
Typical double room€ 49 – 228

Antwerp food & drinks costs

Meal in an inexpensive restaurant€ 12 – 20
Meal in a mid-range restaurant€ 25 – 40
Local beer (0.5 liter, draught)€ 3 – 4.50
Water (0.33 liter, bottle) *€ 1 – 2.60

* Tap water is safe to drink in Antwerp.


Antwerp transportation costs

One-way public transportation ticket€ 2.10
Taxi (price per kilometer)€ 2 – 2.10
Gasoline (1 liter)€ 1.28 – 1.53

Antwerp visiting costs

Top attractions in Antwerp
Cathedral of Our Lady€ 6
De Koninck Antwerp City Brewery€ 17
Grote MarktFree
MAS – Museum aan de Stroom€ 5
Museum Plantin-Moretus€ 8
City pass *
24h Antwerp City Card€ 27
48h Antwerp City Card€ 35

* The Antwerp City Card includes free transportation on buses and trams of De Lijn. It also provides you with free access to Cathedral of Our Lady, De Koninck Antwerp City Brewery, DIVA – Home of Diamonds, Eugeen Van Mieghem Museum, FOMU – Photo Museum, House of Literature, Library Hendrik Conscience, M HKA – Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp, Maidens’ House Museum, MAS – Museum aan de Stroom, Museum Butcher’s Hall, Museum De Reede, Museum Platin-Moretus, Museum Mayer van den Bergh, Red Star Line Museum, Rubens House, Snijders & Rockox House, St. Andrew’s Church, St. James’s Church, and St. Paul’s Church.




Bruges, in Belgium, Western Europe

Bruges

A medieval town in northwest Belgium, Bruges (or Brugge) looks like it’s taken out of a storybook. Its beautiful buildings, canals, and cobblestone streets make it a great travel destination, especially for couples on a romantic getaway.

You can get a preview of this beautiful Belgian city by watching the movie In Bruges. However, expect it to be a lot more tranquil in reality!


How much does it cost to visit Bruges?

If you’re traveling on a budget to Bruges, you should aim to spend around € 41 per day. This cost, however, does not take into account the accommodation costs for that day. If you look below, you can get a few more details on the everyday average costs of visiting Bruges:


Bruges accommodation costs

Hotel or hostel for one person€ 20 – 96
Typical double room€ 41 – 192

Bruges food & drink costs

Meal in an inexpensive restaurant€ 10 – 20
Meal in a mid-range restaurant€ 20 – 40
Local beer (0.5 liter, draught)€ 1.80 – 4.50
Water (0.33 liter, bottle) *€ 1 – 2.60

* Tap water is safe to drink in Bruges.


Bruges transportation costs

One-way public transportation ticket€ 3
Taxi (price / km)€ 1.24 – 2.50
Gasoline (1 liter)€ 1.12 – 1.53

Bruges visiting costs

Top attractions in Bruges
Historic Centre of BruggeFree
The MarktFree
Belfort (Belfry & Carillon)€ 10
De Halve Maan Brewery€ 12
Basilica of the Holy BloodFree

There is a Discover Bruges Card, but it is provided only by specific hotels after check-in. In addition, it only offers discounts instead of free entry to museums and other attractions.




Brussels in Belgium, Western Europe

Brussels

The city of Brussels is the capital of Belgium. It is also one of the most expensive cities in Europe, with a cost of living almost 90% higher than that of my home city, Bucharest.

Brussels is also the capital of the European Union and a business center. Its regular visitors are very well-paid and therefore can afford the high costs of hotels and restaurants available in Brussels.

How much does it cost to visit Brussels?

When visiting Brussels on a budget, aim to spend around € 45 per day. That is without including any accommodation costs. Look below for more information on the everyday average costs of visiting Brussels:

Brussels accommodation costs

Hotel or hostel for one person€ 21 – 124
Typical double room€ 42 – 248

Brussels budget travel advice:
Accommodation costs in Brussels peak during the week, so it’s best to book your stay over the weekend.


Brussels food & drinks costs

Meal in an inexpensive restaurant€ 10 – 20
Meal in a mid-range restaurant€ 25 – 35
Local beer (0.5 liter, draught)€ 3 – 4.50
Water (0.33 liter, bottle) *€ 1 – 3

* Tap water is safe to drink in Brussels.


Brussels transportation costs

One-way public transportation ticket€ 2.10
Taxi (price / km)€ 1.80 – 2.50
Gasoline (1 liter)€ 1.35 – 1.60

Brussels visiting costs

Top attractions in Brussels
Grand PalaceFree
Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and of Military History€ 10
Les Galeries Royales Saint-HubertFree
St. Michael and St. Gudula CathedralFree
Parc du CinquantenaireFree
City pass *
24h Brussels Card€ 27
48h Brussels Card€ 35

* The Brussels Card provides you with free access to 41 museums. For a fee, you can add the optional unlimited travel on public transport or unlimited access to hop-on hop-off buses.




Ghent in Belgium, Western Europe

Ghent

Ghent is thought to be one of Western Europe’s best-kept secrets. This port city is also a university center and a cultural hub. It’s well worth spending a couple of days exploring this hidden gem of Belgium, discovering its beautiful medieval architecture and cool events.


How much does it cost to visit Ghent?

If you are a budget traveler heading to Ghent, aim to spend around € 39 per day, without accommodation costs. More information on the everyday average costs of visiting Ghent is available below:


Ghent accommodation costs

Hotel or hostel for one person€ 23 – 113
Typical double room€ 46 – 326

Ghent food & drink costs

Meal in an inexpensive restaurant€ 10 – 17
Meal in a mid-range restaurant€ 25 – 37
Local beer (0.5 liter, draught)€ 3.50 – 5
Water (0.33 liter, bottle) *€ 1.80 – 2.50

* Tap water is safe to drink in Ghent.


Ghent transportation costs

One-way public transportation ticket€ 3
Taxi (price / km)€ 1.80 – 2.30
Gasoline (1 liter)€ 1.27 – 1.50

Ghent visiting costs

Top attractions in Ghent
Ghent City CenterFree
St. Bavo’s Cathedral€ 4
Graslei and Korenlei areaFree
Gravensteen€ 10
St. Michael’s BridgeFree
City pass *
48h CityCard Ghent€ 30
72h CityCard Ghent€ 35

* The CityCard Ghent provides you with free access to all the museums and attractions in the city. In St. Bavo’s Cathedral, you will only need to pay € 1 for the audio guide normally included in the cost of the regular ticket.





Belgium accommodation deals

Booking.com

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Belgium travel costs sources

  • Accommodation costs via Budgetyourtrip.com
  • Food, drinks, and transportation costs via Numbeo.com
  • Tap water safety researched separately via Google answers for each city in Belgium. Tap water seems to be safe to drink all over Belgium, though.
  • Top attractions selected using TripAdvisor. Each attraction name is a link to the official website page of that attraction, if available.
  • Ticket costs / free access information via the official websites of the attractions. I mentioned the cost of a regular adult ticket, for permanent exhibitions. Discounts and temporary exhibition prices are available on their official websites.
  • City pass information about prices and what each includes is from the official website for each travel pass. A link is available for each pass in order to easily find more information and/or to purchase a pass.

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