By | 16th January 2018

Do you need a car in Brussels?

Do you need a car in Brussels > Should you rent a car in Brussels Belgium > Brussels ( BRU )

The Belgian capital is often overlooked on the way to other touristy cities in Belgium such as Bruges. This is a shame as Brussels also has plenty to offer. As Belgium is a relatively small country, the advice here applies to Belgium as a whole as well as just Brussels.

Do you need a car in Brussels? Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Why should you rent a car in Brussels?

In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Brussels?

Brussels Car hire summary

Overall drive rating



Cheapest rate for one week




How much should I expect to pay in the peak season?





Free parking score

Total 449 - of which 19 have free parking. [full notes - parking]



  •  Flexibility — as with anywhere else, a car will give you the flexibility to explore Belgium at your own pace. Belgium has an excellent network of high intensity train services between the major cities. However, this is concentrated on what approximates to a cross shape leading out Brussels. Travelling between other cities is not always so easy. To enjoy smaller Belgian towns and villages, a car is a much better idea.
  • Brussels suburbs — architecture pundits will love the variety of designs on display in the suburban areas around Brussels. Heading out to and around the suburbs by tram can be tortuously slow. A car could be good idea for this kind of architectural tourism. However, you may prefer just to walk around anyway, and not worry too much about those trams!
  • Battlefields — a car is a more flexible choice for independent touring around the battlefields of Belgium and neighbouring northern France.

Why not? Visiting Brussels without a car

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Brussels public transport quick facts

Train score



Water travel score


Overall public transport score


Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

(walking + cycling)


  • Eurostar additions — passengers arriving from London on Eurostar trains can pay a very small amount of extra to enjoy onward travel to and from anywhere within Belgium. This needs to be a journey in a continuous direction. Travel must take place on the same day as the Eurostar journey.
  • Brussels airport — for travellers taking flights to Brussels, the airport is easily connected to all the main stations in Brussels city centre. You have easy links onwards to the rest of Belgium.
  • Beer — One of Belgium’s biggest exports is its beer, and Belgian beer can be particularly strong. This is simply not something to mix with a driving tour! It’s much better to sit back and relax, and let someone else provide transport between bars.

Super stations!

For those that appreciate genuinely grand designs, Belgium offers two of the most impressive medium-sized stations in Europe.

  • For the classicists, Antwerp has a delightfully eclectic cathedral of a station. Then there is the more recent addition of two tiers of underground platforms stacked on top of each. These cater for high speed through trains and other services.
  • Meanwhile, in the southern city of Liège is arguably the finest work of Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, featuring a delightful arched station hall.

Brussels to Bruges

  • Belgium’s most famous tourist honey trap is the beautiful city of Bruges.
  • Like its Dutch counterparts , Bruges has an extensive canal network.
  • The best way to appreciate a city like Bruges is on a bike. These can readily be hired at the station and at other locations in Bruges.
  • There are also plenty of boat tours available around the city.
  • Bruges is easily accessible by train from Brussels or anywhere else in Belgium.
  • If you drive there, you will only end up parking in an edge of town car park.


Car rental in - Brussels Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Brussels?

Based on comparison with transit, walking and cycling.

Is it worth hiring a car in Brussels?

Based on value for money

Should you rent a car in Brussels?

Weighing up the above, if you are asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?

Who is travelling?

Is it worth renting a car in Brussels if I am a solo / budget traveller?

What about for 2 people travelling together?

For families?


Where are you staying?

Do you need a car in Brussels if we are staying in a central area?

What if we are staying on the edge of the city/resort?

Or in a rural area?


What is your attitude towards driving?

Should I hire a car in Brussels if I prefer not to drive?

If I am easy either way?

If I prefer to drive?



Final score:


Go back up to:
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Do you need a car in Brussels? Conclusion: – Due to the excellent public transport in Belgium, which is supported by plenty of opportunities for cycling, or indeed just for walking around at a more leisurely pace between beers, there really is no need to hire a car in Brussels.

Verdict – No.

Would you hire a car in Brussels?

Have you driven in Brussels? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Brussels?
Tell us what you think using the comments section below:

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