A trip to Brussels doesn’t have to cost you a fortune, and saving money doesn’t have to mean sitting in a park all day. With a few insider’s tips, you can visit museums, join a walking tour or listen to music, all without spending a cent.
Free walking tours
Several companies in Brussels offer free walking tours of the city. Sandeman’s New Europe has a daily tour lasting 2.5 hours, taking in all the central sights. Viva Brussels is another name to look out for, leading groups along similar routes every day except Sunday. Most tours are run by volunteers who will appreciate a tip at the end, but the amount you give is entirely up to you.
Plan carefully and you can visit most museums without a ticket. The first Wednesday of each month is a date to remember. Arrive after 1pm and you’ll have free access to many star attractions. Among these are the Magritte Museum, the Royal Museums of Fine Arts and the Musical Instruments Museum. If you have children, you’ll appreciate that the Toy Museum is free on the first Sunday of every month. Going one step further, the Wiertz Museum – dedicated to the work of Belgian Romantic painter, sculptor and writer Antoine Wiertz – is always free.
Many bars in central Brussels have local band performances at night, and very few charge admission. Classical fans can visit the Chapelle des Minimes, near Place du Grand Sablon. At 10:30am on the last Sunday of each month from September to June, the chapel choir performs Bach cantatas. Up for something more contemporary? There’s no mistaking the music you’ll hear at Jazz Station. Ticketed concerts are held on Saturdays, but at other times you can listen in on free rehearsals and jam sessions.
Other free stuff
- In July and August, canal wharves around Place Sainctelette are covered in sand to create Brussels Beach, with free music and open-air movies.
- Many exhibitions and activities at the Recyclart gallery are free.
- One evening each month, Brussels Science Apéro lets you debate with a panel of expert scientists on different topics. Ask them whatever you’d like.
- If you fancy learning to tango, Be Tango organises regular free trial lessons at various locations.