In the 2022 Mercer Cost of Living survey, Brussels was ranked 39th out of 227 cities in the world. This makes Brussels less expensive than other European cities such as Copenhagen and Dublin but more expensive than cities like Barcelona and Stockholm.

Housing and electricity are particularly expensive, but expats will be able to save a significant amount on food and public transport. In addition, the cost of eating out in Brussels is lower than in many other major cities. 

Cost of accommodation in Brussels

Housing is usually the most significant expense for expats in Brussels. Those moving to the city will find that some landlords are willing to negotiate lease prices. Prospective tenants should ask how long a property has been vacant and may have some leverage if the figure is above six months.

The cost of apartments and houses in Brussels varies dramatically and depends on size, quality and proximity to the city centre. Utilities such as heating and electricity are generally expensive and additional expenses.

Certain neighbourhoods are more expensive than others. Ixelles, Uccle and Woluwe St Pierre are among the most costly in the city. There are many choices for finding a place to live in Brussels, and there is something for every budget. Further outside the city, in areas such as Waterloo, Tervuren and Overijse, expats can expect to find more family-friendly homes with large gardens, garages and sometimes pools.

Cost of entertainment and eating out in Brussels

Brussels provides no shortage of entertainment options for expats. Some of the best bargains in Brussels are inspired by food, and good restaurants are abundant. The snack stands around town sell local specialities such as the famous Belgian frites in heaped quantities for a few euros. Waffles are best bought from the trucks set up in tourist locations and the main squares.

For high-end fare, many of the finer restaurants around the city offer a great chance to try the food at a fraction of the cost of the dinner menu on the prix fixe lunch menu. Dining in Brussels is a pleasure that will not disappoint any taste or budget.

Brussels is a city rich in culture and history, providing a wide array of attractions and activities for residents and visitors alike. The iconic Grand Place is a must-visit, renowned for its ornate Baroque buildings and vibrant atmosphere. The city also hosts numerous annual festivals and events celebrating its diverse culture.

Cost of transport in Brussels

Many people drive in Brussels, and this might be unavoidable depending on where an expat lives. If someone works and lives in the city centre, however, public transport is affordable with metro, bus and tram connections.

Using public transport in Brussels is less of a headache than driving since it prevents one from having to deal with expensive and limited parking or parking fines. Expats regularly using public transportation can also save money by buying multiple-ride cards.

Cost of groceries in Brussels

There are dozens of speciality stores in Brussels. The leading supermarket chains are Delhaize and Carrefour. These both offer everything from meat and fish to laundry detergent and cat food. In general, items are similarly priced to those in the US and other EU countries. Fresh produce can be expensive in the winter, but prices are better in season.

Cost of education in Brussels

The cost of education in Brussels varies depending on the type of institution. International schools, often preferred by expats for their world-class curricula and expanded slates of extracurriculars, can be pretty costly. Scholarships and financial aid programmes are available at some schools, making them more affordable.

On the other hand, state-funded Belgian schools are free of charge, although additional costs for things like textbooks, school trips and extracurricular activities can add up. There are also private schools that follow the Belgian curriculum. These charge a tuition fee, but this is typically less than international schools. Bilingual (French-Dutch) education is also widely available in Brussels, offering another option for parents looking for a cost-effective solution.

Cost of healthcare in Brussels

Healthcare in Brussels is of high quality, but the cost can vary. Expats working in Belgium must contribute to the state healthcare system through social security deductions from their salary. Once registered, a large percentage of their medical costs are reimbursed, making the out-of-pocket expenses quite manageable. Still, medicines and certain procedures can be an additional expense.

Many expats opt for private healthcare insurance to cover the costs not fully reimbursed by the state or for services at private clinics and hospitals. The cost of private insurance depends on the coverage level chosen and the individual's health condition, but generally, it ensures more comprehensive coverage and quicker access to specialists. Dental care, while not fully covered by the state, is also generally affordable, particularly in comparison to countries like the UK or the US.

Cost of living in Brussels chart

Prices vary depending on the product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Brussels in May 2023.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre

EUR 1,680

Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

EUR 1,460

One-bedroom apartment in the city centre

EUR 960

One-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

EUR 800

Food and drink

Dozen eggs

EUR 4.10

Milk (1 litre)

EUR 1.15

Rice (1kg)

EUR 1.99

Loaf of white bread

EUR 2.15

Chicken breasts (1kg)

EUR 10.46

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)


Eating out

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

EUR 75

Big Mac meal

EUR 10

Coca-Cola (330ml)

EUR 2.36


EUR 3.39

Bottle of beer (local)

EUR 2.15


Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

EUR 0.21

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

EUR 32

Basic utilities (average per month for a standard household)

EUR 260


Taxi rate/km


City-centre public transport fare

EUR 2.45

Gasoline (per litre)

EUR 1.83