Budget Wise :: Brussels (mini-version)

1 10 2008

Since we didn’t stay at any hostels, didn’t eat at any actual restaurants, and didn’t even stay the night in any other cities, I’d say that our Belgium budget was a little too… uh, well, maybe focused on the necessities of Belgian life – chocolate, waffles, beer and the occasional sandwich. Therefore, due to our admitted obsession, this city’s budget wise will be a mini-version.

Our 8 day daily average :: $64.78 USD (for two people: one couple) :: 1 USD = 0.714 Euro

As mentioned above, this average isn’t a true reflection of traveling in Brussels because we had free accommodation, got some free home-cooked meals from our generous hosts, and didn’t really spend enough time in Brussels or other cities to really know the costs of things. This budget reflects a couple of people visiting friends in a lovely country, seeing a few sites (mostly free walking tours), day tripping to a couple cities (by car [free] or by bus), eating cheap (but tasty) metro stand food and indulging in a few chocolates, waffles and beers per day. So here’s what we found out:

Chocolate :: Truffle avg ~1 Euro/piece :: We read some reviews and went out to two of the most highly regarded Chocolatiers in Brussels, Pierre Marcolini and Wittamer, and bought some samples packs of chocolate to last us the week. They were excellent of course but, there are gazillions of other chocolate stores in town and some of them offer free samples, like Chocopolis and some other place right of the main ‘Grand Place’ square in the old town area. You can get cheaper chocolates by buying lesser name brand products, but then you may as well stay home.

Waffles :: Plain waffle avg 1.5 Euro/each:: Forget what you know about waffles, these things are like a warm, dense, sweet pastry. You can find them at many bakeries, in metro stations, at tourist-street-front cafes and at the wise street vendor’s stand. They’re everywhere where that many people go – and they should be. For a plain waffle (gaufre au sucre) you should expect to pay 1.5 Euros, for chocolate coated 1.8 Euros, and I think you can get them fully-loaded with fruit and whipped cream for around 4.5 Euros. In my opinion, the fully-loaded version is over the top and completely unnecessary, stick the plain or chocolate version and you may save yourself from a sugar hangover.

Beer :: Bar avg 3 Euros/beer (1.25 Euro at the grocery store) :: We didn’t visit a lot of different bars and we went to zero clubs. We were there for the beer, not for the buzz and the ladies. But most menus we looked at in bars and restaurants had reasonably priced beer compared to some other European capital cities. It seems that most beers ran around 2-4 Euros and up to 30 Euros if it’s a crazy special brew. You can save a little money by ordering what’s on tap, and it’s usually still great beer. You can save even more by buying your barley sodas from your local grocer. They vary in price, but I saw many of them right around 1 Euro. Stay away from the tourist-trap beer shops, unless your looking for a hard to find specialty beer, because they cost the same as getting it at the bar – chilled to right temperature and in the correct glass. The best value is to buy from the grocery store, but the best experience for your Euro is heading to a place like Delirium Cafe. They have an amazing selection, cool bartenders, good music, nice pub atmosphere, the correct glasses, and of course – good prices.

Metro Food :: Avg snack 3 Euros :: The Metro stations have surprisingly good food and at low prices. You can get waffles, sandwiches, pastries, pasta – all sorts of crazy goodies. Everything we got received our taste buds’ seal of approval and you can find grub for just a couple Euros. This is a great option when you’re on a busy schedule of tasting beers and chocolates all around Brussels.

We hope this helps your travels and please feel free to ask us any Brussels budget questions and we’ll do our best to answer them.

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2 responses

3 10 2008
Scott Pope

Chocolate….waffles…beer…beer…beer…sounds like my kind of town! Jamie and I will have to bring Duff and our baby there.
Baby scheduled to be done cooking around the end of April (directions said bake for 9 months at 98.6 degrees??? seems like a long time??) …stay tuned.

9 09 2009
Sandra R

Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

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