Brussels, the unofficial political capital of Europe, has more to it than diplomats darting between meetings – you can gawp at the Grand Palace, hit the brasseries for garlicky mussels, bargain hunt at the Jeu de Balle flea market and, of course, guzzle down chocolate. Whether you’re coming for just a weekend, or long enough to explore the hidden corners of the city, an Airbnb-style stay lets you experience it like a local. To help you out, we’ve picked the best vacation apartments in Brussels – and they’re all bookable on Culture Trip.
Set between the art nouveau treasures of Châtelain and the attractive Churchill district, this one-bedroom flat is as good-looking as the surroundings: vintage wood furniture dots the lounge, and a wall of windows opens up to a lush garden oasis. It’s great for the warmer months, when you can make the most of the sun-dappled lawn, and the perfect size for a couple. Cook up breakfast in the kitchenette, then head out to sample the many nearby restaurants in the evening.
Want to be at the heart of the political action? These apartments – sleeping four to six people, across one to three bedrooms – are within walking distance of a roster of essential sights, including the Royal Palace, the monumental Triumphal Arch and the European Parliament. But while they may be primely placed for visiting diplomats, don’t imagine they’re stuffy: quirky wallpaper and colourful throw cushions jazz up neutral interiors to make them fun for holidaymakers too. One apartment even comes with a furnished patio.
Parquet floors, soaring columns and decorative mouldings give these apartments in the business district a regal, old-world air. They sleep from two to four, in a studio or one-bedroom space, and are fully modern, fitted with a proper kitchen, dining area and contemporary pendant lights. Concierge, dry cleaning and parking are on tap; the European Parliament and Royal Palace are less than 15 minutes’ walk away.
Shopaholics, take note: you’re right in the thick of the Brussels shopping district here, with everything from French emporium Fnac to Louis Vuitton within a few minutes’ stroll. Perfect for a family or group of friends looking to hit the stores, these apartments sleep six people across two or three bedrooms, and are decorated in cool monochrome tones. Looking for culture instead? You’re also right by the neoclassical Egmont Palace and the Camille Lemonnier Museum, dedicated to the celebrated Belgian author.
No visit to Brussels is complete without a stroll along Avenue Louise, the shopping thoroughfare with everything from designer homewares to antiques, brunch spots and sushi bars. These spacious two-bedroom apartments, sleeping four, are just a few paces from the buzz, but they feel like tranquil hideaways with their greenery-fringed balconies and minimalist modern stylings. A cot can also be provided.
One of the most frequently snapped sights in the city, the Manneken Pis – a bronze fountain sculpture of a young boy urinating – is only a short hop from these cosy studio apartments sleeping two. Another, the baroque guildhall-lined Grand Place, is also nearby, making these simple but comfortably furnished pads a natural pick for couples who like to sightsee. The apartments feature kitchens, so you can cook, but with so many nibbles nearby (from waffles to Belgian beer bars) there’s no pressing need to self-cater.
If you like people-watching, you’ll love this studio apartment sleeping three – a leafy balcony overlooking the street lets you watch locals strolling to work as you sip your morning cuppa. Set in the Upper Town, near the Royal Palace and Parliament, it’s also close to one of the most unique attractions in Brussels: the Comics Art Museum, which charts the rise of characters such as Tintin and Asterix. Meanwhile, the leafy Brussels Park is a great spot for a picnic.
Book into this stylish flat and you’ll see the local side of Brussels. It’s set in the handsome Churchill neighbourhood – an area often missed by weekending tourists that’s filled with quiet streets and photogenic buildings. The flat is compact, best suited to solos or couples, though it technically sleeps up to three. Amenities such as laundry and kitchenettes let you make yourself at home, while a clever layout maximises the space.
Nestled in the trendy area of Châtelain, this apartment has a charming bohemian vibe. Guests of this Airbnb are welcomed into a living room adorned with gorgeous vintage furniture, an open-plan kitchen and a renovated bathroom. Suitable if you’re looking to stay in a lively neighbourhood, the apartment is close to the Michel Rein gallery, the Horta Museum and many restaurants, bars and cafes.
A chic apartment that doubles as a furniture store
If you’ve ever loved a piece of furniture in an Airbnb so much you wished you could take it home, look no further than this Brugmann Quarter apartment. The spacious pad is filled with custom-made furniture that comes with a price tag; just purchase the pieces that catch your eye. In the bedroom, folding wooden doors let in plenty of morning light, highlighting the chic furnishings and black feature wall. Floor-to-ceiling windows give access to a lovely backyard that’s perfect on sunny days.
James Taylor contributed additional reporting to this article.
These recommendations were updated on April 22, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.