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Things to do in Brussels for free!

Once you’ve booked your flight to Brussels and booked a fancy hotel, spending money in this Belgian city can hit your budget a bit. Fortunately, Europe’s capital has something for everyone, and many of them won’t cost you a dime! Here is our list of the 8 best free activities you can do in Brussels.

Take a free Art Nouveau tour

Bravo Discovery offers free Art Nouveau and Victor Horta walking tours in Brussels every Saturday at 10 am. After meeting your guide at the Grand Place, you can visit the city’s most beautiful Art Nouveau buildings, and get detailed information about the intricacies of style and one of the most famous architects, Victor Horta. Aren’t you very into art? Bravo Discovery also organizes free walking tours of Brussels twice a day. Be in front of the Grand Place at 10:30 am or 2 pm in your most comfortable shoes and get ready to explore the city.

Participate in one of many free events

With events ranging from royal ceremonies to beer festivals and boisterous summer carnivals, it’s fair to say that the odd Belgians have a soft spot for celebration. The main festival season is summer, of course, but you can find free events in Brussels all year long. In June, you can drop by the Beursschouwburg, the most popular arts center in Brussels, which offers free movie screenings and live music on its fantastic terrace for a month. Do-It-Yourself festival, where thousands of local people gather for workshops, street art, handicraft markets and shows, is among the alternatives in June. Cartoon lovers can also find the opportunity to see famous Belgian cartoon heroes at the Balloon’s Day Parade in September. The best of the free events is the Belgian National Day, which features details such as a military parade, free entry to the Royal Palace, games and demonstrations in the streets.

Go “vintage” hunting in Sint-Gorikshallen

Every first Sunday of the month, vintage lovers flock to the free vintage market in Sint-Gorikshallen to buy something cheap or find a popular new item. It is always possible to find an innumerable variety of vintage items here, ranging from clothing to jewellery, objects or trinkets. All this will cost you just a few euros, and joining the popular designers of the city’s youthful population, the bohemians who take care of their image is an invaluable experience. The vintage market is open from 12 noon to 7 pm. If you go close to closing time, you may witness the vendors laying out old items at ridiculous prices.

Trace the old city walls

Although few people know this, you can follow the remains of the old city walls surrounding Brussels in a day of walking, or if you wish, the most interesting part of the walls – the section between the Grand Sablon and Place Sainte-Catherine – takes only a few hours. While parts of the 13th-century walls are still clearly visible, some are hidden behind new buildings and alleys. In the sections where the wall was removed, the signs drawn on the ground show where the wall used to be. By following the wall you will have taken a free journey through the history of the city!

Find murals scattered throughout the city

Comics have an important place in Belgium. Brussels has not one but two museums dedicated to comics: the Belgian Center for Caricature and the Museum of Original Figures. Unfortunately, these museums are not free to visit, but do not despair! You can find the country’s rich history of cartoons spread across Brussels and beyond, with huge street and mural paintings. In 1993, city planners and the Belgian Cartoon Center started the Brussels Comics Road movement and hired artists to paint scenes featuring famous comic book heroes like Tintin, Red Kit and Asterix on countless walls throughout the city.

Visit La Cambre Abbey

The Bois de la Cambre is actually part of the lush Sonian Forest, which stretches all the way to the capital and is the lungs of the city. This place offers both citizens and visitors an opportunity to escape the crowded city. A fact known to few people is that there is actually a monastery in Bois de la Cambre. It’s now home to the National Geographic Institute and the National College of Visual Arts, but the church and its scenic gardens are free to the public, making this abbey one of Brussels’ must-visit, oddly appealing places.

Go to concert

Brussels is as lively at night as it is during the day, with its cultural stages, performance halls, nightclubs and bars. If you’re looking for live music when you’re short on money, you’ve come to the right city. Brussels is brimming with countless live music stages and street music spots. Notre-Dame du Finistère Church gives a free organ concert every Monday afternoon between 12.45 and 1.30pm, and jazz enthusiasts can also stop by the Jazz Station, whichoffers artists a chance to rehearse before a public audience. Traveling with your trombone? A great traditional Belgian bar, Café Kafka opens its doors every Tuesday night for live impromptu jazz shows and everyone is welcome.

Hang out with a local

Meet the Greeters is a community that loves their city and wants to share that love with you. This community of volunteers, not official guides, will show you around and take you to places they love and think you’ll want to see too, often more wonderful than you’d find with a regular guide. The fun part is, where each Greeter takes you depends on their view of the city. All you have to do is contact them, set a date and time, and enjoy!


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