Brussels is one of the favourite cities for students who decide to take part of the Erasmus programme. Located in the centre of Europe, it is one of the administrative offices of the European Parliament. If you are thinking about doing your Erasmus here or you have already decided to do it, here we have the definitive guide for Erasmus in Brussels.
Once you know your Erasmus destination, it's time to do the most boring part for any participant of the programme. However, we couldn't omit it for this guide for Erasmus students in Brussels. Doing all the paperwork to confirm your mobility, among them the Learning Agreement or the Erasmus Motivation Letter. By the way, if you need an example to write yours, check our guide to write an Erasmus Motivation Letter.
Looking for accommodation
Maybe, the most important decision during your Erasmus is going to be choosing your new home. Whether you prefer to stay in a residence, share a flat or even rent a studio for yourself, we recommend that you look for your new home before arriving to Brussels. You will feel more relaxed when you know where are you going to live. New technologies such as the Erasmus Play student accommodation search engine is the perfect tool to search, compare and virtually visit your new home from your computer screen.
Here are some of the most popular student neighbourhoods:
- Ixelles: is a neighbourhood located in the south of the city, one of the most popular neighbourhoods among students, especially in the south of the neighbourhood itself, where one of the city's largest ULB campuses is located.
- Etterbeek: also known as the 'European Quarter' as many EU officials, diplomats and NATO collaborators live here. It is one of the most expensive neighbourhoods in the city, but also offers unique architecture, museums, parks and gardens.
- Saint-Gilles: one of the city's most multicultural and artistic neighbourhoods, famous for its independent galleries and Art Nouveau buildings.
What to do in Brussels
Brussels is a city full of life with endless leisure options, here are some of the most attractive options for any Erasmus student in Brussels.
Tourism in Brussels
Grand Place and stroll through the centre
One of the most emblematic points of the city and worth visiting both day and night, the architecture of its buildings and a warm and lively atmosphere make it one of the points of reference for any visitor.
Near this square, there is another of the icons of the city, the small statue of the Manneken Pis, if you have the opportunity to visit it frequently you will be able to see part of his wardrobe of more than 800 outfits.
Last but not least, the Galleries Saint Hubert, the first commercial galleries in Europe, a meeting point for artists of the time and which nowadays houses mostly luxury shops and chocolate shops.
Here you can find the Palais de Justice, a former neoclassical and neo-baroque palace. Next to it, the Place Poelaert has spectacular views of the Palais and the city. In addition, there are other tourist attractions in the neighbourhood such as the garden of the Place du Petit Sablon, the Gothic church of Notre Dame du Sablon and business such as cafés, chocolate and pastry shops where you can stop for a break.
Royal Park of Brussels
An 18th-century French-style park with ponds, fountains and sculptures. It is especially recommended to visit it during the weekend, when you can find a warm and nice atmosphere. The Royal Palace in the park can be visited from Tuesday to Sunday during the summer months.
Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula
The Brussels' Cathedral is one of the most emblematic buildings in the city. This Gothic building was started to be built in the 13th century and was completed two centuries later. It is located in the city centre and can be visited any day of the week.
One of the most best parts of the Erasmus experience is the capacity it gives you to travel and get to know other parts of Europe, in this case from Brussels we will be able to know other important cities of the country with a great tourist attraction.
Antwerp is the most populated city in Belgium. A city with a unique architecture that includes medieval buildings such as the town hall, modernist architecture and the contemporary Palace of Justice.
Also known as the 'Venice of the North', its notable for its navigable canals within the city, remind us the Italian city. Every year (until the covid-19 disruption) it used to attract millions of tourists every year, becoming the most visited city in Belgium. In addition to its canals, its medieval architecture is one of the best preserved in the world.
Ghent is also known for its canals and medieval buildings, the Castle of the Counts of Ghent (Gravensteen), located in the city centre, a real must if you decide to visit Ghent.
One of the most popular cities among students, Leuven is known for the ease with which students adapt and the great atmosphere among them.
Gastronomy, eating and drinking in Brussels
As part of the Erasmus experience, one of the most important parts is getting to know the local gastronomy. While it is impossible to ignore the Belgian waffles that perfume the city with their sweet aroma, there are much more than that.
It is one of the most popular foods in the country, Belgians consumes more than 60,000 tonnes of mussels every year. Cooked white wine sauce and vegetables, they can be found in almost any restaurant in the city.
They are usually served in a paper cone, so you can enjoy them while walking around the city. They can also be found served in a sandwich known as "mitraillette" or served as a side with mussels.
Although typical of the province of Liège, they are quite popular throughout the country. They are larger than usual and are served by the so-called 'rabbit sauce', which is not really rabbit sauce.
Maybe the most well known and international recipe. Belgian waffles are famous all over the world and surely deserve an article for them. You can find them, just with sugar, or if you prefer, you can add toppings such as fruits, chocolate or ice cream.
Belgian chocolate, pralines and truffles are known for their high quality. In the streets of city centre of Brussels you can see why Belgian chocolatiers are so famous, they turn chocolate into art.
These Christmas biscuits are especially traditional in Belgium and the Netherlands. They have a distinctive taste due to the mixture of spices: cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and ginger.
Belgian beer is quite popular due to the variety of tastes and types. In fact, the Delirium brewery, probably the most popular in Brussels, holds the Guinness record for having the most varieties of beer in the world, more than 2500. You could go every single day of your Erasmus and you wouldn't be able to drink all of them!
Brussels is one of the ideal destinations to participate in the Erasmus programme, a city with lots of leisure options, spectacular city, but also amazing surroundings that you can reach by train. Also, located in the centre of Europe, in case you have the opportunity to make a longer trip, you could visit almost every place of Europe. Have you been to Brussels before? We are looking forward to hearing from you in the comments to see how you would improve this guide to Erasmus in Brussels.