The cost of living in Belgium is not as high as in other prominent European destinations. For instance, Brussels ranked 77th out of 209 countries in the Mercer Cost of Living Survey 2019, while London and Paris ranked 23rd and 47th, respectively. 

That said, the Belgian tax and social security systems are well-developed and this ensures that incomes are distributed fairly evenly across most industries. Furthermore. for many non-EU nationals, living in Belgium is particularly expensive in the initial transition stages due to the disparity between the euro and weaker currencies.

Cost of accommodation in Belgium

Rent payments usually account for a large percentage of a worker’s monthly expenditure in Belgium. Accommodation in Belgium’s cities is generally expensive. However, expats who are willing to venture outside major urban centres will find that their rental costs are substantially lower.

Energy prices in Belgium are very steep. The country is known as having some of the world's highest rates for utilities.

Cost of entertainment in Belgium

There are a number of entertainment options in Belgium to suit every budget. Museum and gallery entrance fees are generally low. Expats can also visit most of Belgium’s many public parks and historic buildings free of charge.

High-end clubs and restaurants are available in all major urban centres, as are smaller bars and cafes. Service charges and VAT are almost always included in prices, but it is customary to give additional tips for excellent service. Brussels is generally a lot more expensive than other cities in Belgium like Antwerp and Ghent.

Cost of transport in Belgium

The public transport system in Belgium is efficient and affordable. Its extensive network of bus, tram and metro routes make getting around major cities a relatively hassle-free experience. There are also a number of bicycle hire schemes available for those who prefer to avoid public transport. Transport between major urban centres is often available at a relatively low cost. 

Owning a car is not a necessity. This should save new arrivals some money when moving to Belgium. 

Cost of living in Belgium

Prices vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Brussels in March 2020.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

 One-bedroom apartment in city centre

 EUR 840

 One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

 EUR 690

 Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

 EUR 1,440

 Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

 EUR 1,150


 Dozen eggs

 EUR 2.80

 Milk (1 litre)

 EUR 1

 Loaf of bread (white)

 EUR 1.70

 Chicken breasts (1kg)

 EUR 9.40

 Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

 EUR 6.70


 Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

 EUR 0.25

 Internet (uncapped ADSL or Cable – average per month)

 EUR 45

 Electricity, heating, water (average per month for a standard household)

 EUR 125

Eating out and entertainment

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

 EUR 60

 Big Mac Meal

 EUR 8


 EUR 3.20

 Coca-Cola (330ml)

 EUR 2.50

 Local beer (500ml)

 EUR 4


 Taxi (rate per km)

 EUR 2

 City centre public transport

 EUR 2.10

 Petrol (per litre)

 EUR 1.45