What Are the Best Brussels Neighborhoods for Expats?
Brussels has many neighborhoods which appeal to international expats. You’ve aced your interviews, the job offer is in hand, and the countdown has begun. Your Brussels adventure is about to begin! Next up? Finding a new place to call home.
But which Brussels neighborhood is right for you?
Each postal code in the greater Brussels region delivers a unique lifestyle, chock full of pros and cons, depending on your housing preference, commute, local amenities, social options, transportation, and more.
Let’s take a bird’s eye view of the city—and then zoom in on some of the most popular locations to feather your new nest
Saint Gilles 1060 (Parvis)
Truth be told, we’re partial to Saint Gilles…it’s where our Morton Place homes are based! But while it’s a favorite for us, Saint Gilles is a top Brussels neighborhood for lots of expats who want to live like locals.
Here, a bit off the beaten path, you’ll find a village that exudes a youthful, cool, even bohemian, vibe. Many artists, musicians and writers find common cause here, embracing the quirky cafes, vintage shops, independent art galleries, hip cocktail bars and boutiques.
Saint Gilles shines against the backdrop of grand Art Nouveau houses—many designed by Victor Horta, including his own home and now Horta Museum—and the famous Parvis de Saint-Gilles with its beautiful café terraces and authentic brasseries. For more of our tips on favorite cafés in St Gilles click here.
On Sundays, venture to the colorful food stalls at the Gare du Midi market, the train station which also serves as a transportation hub to explore Belgium and nearby France, U.K. and The Netherlands.
Ixelles 1050 (Chatelain, Flagey, Cimetière)
Ixelles is a large commune that’s popular with expats, families and locals alike.
Set your sights here and you’ll be spoiled for choice, between the trendy neighborhood of Châtelain or Flagey, with its freshwater ponds, historic abbey, and beautiful green spaces of Bois de la Cambre. Not to mention the buzzy Chaussée d’Ixelles—which includes the African quarter of Matongé and the charming St. Boniface square, just steps away from bustling Avenue Louise and Place Stefanie. Further afield, the upper Boondael district and Cimetière neighborhoods cater to a diverse student community.
This commune hosts several weekly food markets, including Châtelain on Wednesday, Place Luxembourg on Thursday, and Flagey on Saturday & Sunday. Housing options include a mix of apartments, shared homes, and some of the city’s most traditional & elegant maison des maître.
Read about our favorite Chatelain market stall tips here.
If going out is your thing, Ixelles boasts many of the trendiest restaurants, bars, specialty food & beverage shops and clubs in Brussels. You’ll be well connected to popular tram, bus and metro lines and Morton Place homes are just a hop, skip and a jump to the best of Ixelles!
Brussels 1000 (European Quarter, Avenue Louise, Historic Center)
Some Brussels neighborhoods are neatly contained—but one look at a map of Brussels is all it takes to see that the “City of Brussels” is not among them.
Winding wildly from the north to south of the city, this district spans from the historic center (which includes the elegant Grand Place and hipster Dansaert neighborhood), down along Avenue Louise, out to the Bois de la Cambre, up to Laeken—where the Royal family lives—and even reaches the European Quarter, with its stately Parliament and EU institutions.
Generally, most expats choose to live closer to the shopping, bars, and cultural opportunities near the Louise and EU areas—or even find themselves in the heart-of-downtown near Avenue Dansaert and the historic center.
So when you see postal code 1000 on a prospective apartment or house, make sure you determine exactly where you’ll be on this Brussels continuum!
Etterbeek 1040 (Cinquantenaire, Place Jourdan)
Etterbeek combines the best of vibrant city living with easy access to the European Quarter, Schuman district and Montgomery—making this neighborhood a popular option with the wider international and expat community.
While Etterbeek exudes a residential charm, you’ll find several excellent shopping areas, easy access to public transportation, and the renowned Place Jourdan, home to one of Belgium’s most famous frites stands: Chez Antoine.
Parc du Cinquantenaire and its magnificent arch anchor this neighborhood, providing a beautiful green space surrounded by a cultural arcade that houses the Royal Military Museum, Art & History Museum, and the Autoworld vintage car showcase. This park is also host to many festivals and events throughout the year.
Brussels is a city of villages – each with their own character and green areas. The region is investing considerably in public transport and bike lanes, while transforming more and more areas into pedestrian friendly walkways. We can’t think of a better time to be living here and we invite you to enjoy the city with our fellow residents at Morton Place.
New to Brussels and looking for a place to live? Why not consider joining Morton Place Coliving? Our community of international professionals is welcoming and respectful, eager to explore this new city together!