Rent a Car for Travel in Brussels

As the capital of Belgium and the European Union, Brussels blends medieval charm with modern urban energy. Having your own set of wheels makes it easy to explore this fascinating city and access nearby highlights like Bruges, Ghent, and Waterloo. Here’s a guide to renting a car for travel in Brussels.

Benefits of Renting a Car in Brussels

Renting a car provides these key advantages:

Freedom and Flexibility

Visit sights at your own pace instead of relying on public transit schedules. Easily take day trips to places like Bruges on your timeline.

Escape Crowds

Drive to serene countryside, quaint villages, and outdoor spaces when you need a break from packed tourist areas.

Comfort and Convenience

Driving yourself allows comfort in a private, temperature-controlled space versus crowded buses, trams, and metros.

Transport Purchases

Fill up on beer, chocolate, lace, and waffles! A rental car makes it easy to transport Belgian souvenirs and purchases.

Potential Cost Savings

For longer stays, having a rental car could save money compared to paying for trains, taxis, and tours.

Booking Your Brussels Rental Car

If renting a car in Brussels, keep these tips in mind:

Reserve Early

Book your rental car well in advance for best availability and rates, especially during peak summer travel season.

Pickup/Dropoff Spots

A downtown location is best for Brussels exploration. Know parking costs and policies if getting/returning at a hotel.

Compare Rates

Shop rental companies and aggregators for the best deals. Joining loyalty programs provides discounts.

Understand Insurance

Verify requirements for Belgium coverage. Many personal policies don’t include international rentals.

Choose Vehicle Wisely

Reserve a smaller car for an easier time navigating Brussels’ narrow streets, unless you need extra space.

Seek Discounts

Look for promo codes and coupons to lower your total rental costs. Sign up for travel deal alerts.

Driving Tips for Brussels

Brussels driving requires attention to these key nuances:

Beware Aggressive Drivers

Local drivers can be impatient. Don’t engage with road rage. Just let aggressive drivers pass.

Master Roundabouts

Traffic circles are common – know how to safely enter and exit. Yield to traffic already in the roundabout.

Use Apps to Navigate

Apps like Waze and Google Maps provide real-time navigation help for Brussels’ confusing streets.

Watch for Pedestrians and Bikes

Drive slowly in crowded city areas. Watch for pedestrians and cyclists crossing suddenly.

Leave Distance

Tailgating is common. Don’t get frustrated, just maintain safe distance from the vehicle ahead.

Get an International Driving Permit

Acquire an IDP to accompany your native license for simplified police interactions if pulled over.

Top Day Trips from Brussels

A rental car allows easy access to popular day trip destinations outside the city:


Wander charming cobblestone streets and canals of this well-preserved medieval town less than 1 hour away.


Explore Ghent’s iconic medieval architecture, lively student vibe, and historic center in under an hour’s drive.


Visit Antwerp’s ornate guildhalls, Cathedral of Our Lady, and renowned diamond district within 1-1.5 hours.


Site of Napoleon’s defeat in 1815, Waterloo battlefield and museum sites are about 1 hour south.


Marvel at dramatic cliffside Citadel fortress looming over the Meuse River in Dinant, 1.5 hour drive.

Types of Rental Cars in Brussels

Brussels agencies offer diverse rental car choices:


Best for solo travelers or pairs focused on affordability and fuel efficiency. Examples: Toyota Aygo, Fiat 500.


Decent legroom and cargo space for 2-4 passengers. Easy parking and maneuverability. Examples: VW Polo, Renault Clio.

Intermediate Sedan

Comfortable room for 4 adults plus luggage. Good for road trips outside Brussels. Examples: VW Passat, Opel Astra.

Passenger Van

For groups and families with seating for up to 9 and abundant luggage room. Examples: Mercedes Vito, Ford Tourneo.


When you want to cruise in style and comfort. Leather seats, top safety ratings. Examples: BMW 5-Series, Audi A6.

FAQ About Renting Cars in Brussels

What documents do I need to rent a car?

You’ll need a valid driver’s license, passport, International Driving Permit, credit card for deposit, and proof of insurance.

How old do I need to be to rent a car?

The minimum age to rent a car is usually 21-25 years old in Belgium. Age restriction varies by agency and car class.

Are automatic cars available?

Yes, are common for Brussels rentals but reserve early for best availability as they are in high demand.

Can I use my US driver’s license?

Yes, but getting an International Driving Permit is recommended as it provides a certified translation.


While public transportation in Brussels is very efficient, having your own rental car opens up additional opportunities to fully experience this fascinating European capital and nearby sights. Reserve early, inspect insurance needs, and rely on navigation apps to confidently cruise your Brussels travels!


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