I'm planning a visit to Brussels in December this year, for business. Can anybody advise on low-cost stay, maybe hostels or B&Bs. Also, if I can get an idea of what to expect in terms of daily expenses. How much should I expect to spend on food, travel etc.
I wont have a lot of spare time expect for the weekends so there wouldn't be a lot of sightseeing but are there any places close by that are worth seeing?
Any information is appreciated.
I stayed in the Van Gogh (CHAB) youth hostel recently - not too expensive, by Brussels' standatds, I paid about 18€ a night. This was for a 4 person room; rates for dorms are cheaper. It's a 5 min walk from Botanique / Kruidtuin métro station, and a 15-20 min walk to the city centre (further to the touristy areas).
A day ticket for the public transport (which covers métro, trams and STIB busses) is about 4€, or 9€ for a 3 day ticket. If you're going to be there for longer, I reckommend a monthlong pass. You need to get these from one of the offices, and you need ro take a passport photo and your ID card / passport with you. I had one of these when I lived there, and it worked out much cheaper - I paid 26€ a month, whereas I managed to spend 20€ just in one week before I bought it. www.stib.be is the website for the Brussels public transport, just available in French and Dutch.
Food in the supermarkets can be quite expensive. Dehaize is the most expensive chain, Colruyt is the cheapest though you have to buy everything in bulk. I preferred GB, as this was cheaper than Delhaize, but was a normal supermarket. There are also a few branches of Carrefour in Brussels, but these are located on the edge of the city. There is a branch of GB very close to the hostel I mentioned, in City 2 shopping centre.
Sightseeing in Belgium is actually very easy as the country is so small - from Brussels, you can get anywhere in the country quickly, easily and cheaply on the train. In December, I reccomment just sticking to Flanders for sightseeing, Wallonia is 'seasonal' and most things will be closed. Go to the ice sculpture show in Bruges, that's good. And visit Leuven, a small university city 20 mins by train from Brussels.
Thanks for the info, Jennah. Its very helpful.
Depending on the dates you are in Brussels, you may be able to go to the Christmas markets and music concerts that are on in December. I went last year and enjoyed it, especially eating food in the outdoors and trying Belgian gin (jenivers)! The link is www.plaisirsdhiver.be
Also recommend Bruges and the Ice Sculptures.
[ Edit: Edited on May 10, 2007, at 3:45 AM by hamsterfox ]
A couple of years ago I stayed at the same hostel jennah mentioned (Van Gogh Hostel). It was pretty quiet so you were able to get a good nights sleep (at least it was when I was there).
Bruges is definitely worth a visit if you can get a bit of spare time.