Brussels Shopping

    Where to ShopWhat to BuyOpening HoursTax Refund  



Brussels is a city that retains its neighbourhoods, each with their own distinctive shopping areas. For the visitor this means that shopping in Brussels is a fun and rewarding experience, and as much a process of exploration as acquisition.

Certain shops will close on public holidays.


Where to Shop Where to Shop  

Best Areas

The main shopping area in Brussels is along the Rue Neuve and it's here that you'll find most of the large, international chains as well as Inno, the wholly Belgian department store. The offerings along the Rue Neuve are quite mainstream however and you'll have to look elsewhere for more unusual items.

Galeries Royales Saint-HubertBrussels's designer stores have made their home around Avenue Louise and Avenue de la Toison d'Or. Though not super stylish, the area has a number of smart shops selling a good mix of clothing and accessories. For contemporary Belgian fashion you should take a stroll along the Rue Antoine Dansaert, although the young Belgian designer stars here don't sell their wares cheaply. If you're looking for a bargain you should probably retreat back to the Rue Neuve; if you're looking for quality clothing however, there's nowhere better in the city.

Brussels is an educated place and bookshops abound, with English-language books available in the larger ones.

Shopping Centres

The best - and most elegant - of Brussels's ever-increasing number of shopping malls is Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert (Rue des Bouchers), allegedly Europe's first covered shopping centre. The light, glass-roofed arcade dates back to the 19th century and has a more selective mix of shops than many European counterparts.


Largely eschewing the allure of multinational companies, Brussels remains a vibrant market city. The Grand-Place is transformed into a brilliantly coloured flower market every morning. The vibrant colours and sounds make it a popular place for a morning stroll.

SablonThe Place du Grand Sablon is one of Europe's premier locations for quality antique shopping. At the weekend, the area is taken over by an enormous antiques market, which appeals as much to locals taking leisurely strolls as it does to tourist shoppers in search of a bargain. The market runs Sat 09h00-17h00 and Sun 09h00-13h00.

Just round the corner from Sablon is the Place de Marolles, where an enormous junk market is held every weekend. The market is as fascinating for people-watching as it's for trawling the eclectic range of merchandise.

The largest market appears at the Gare du Midi on Sunday mornings. With an A-Z selection of clothes, household goods, souvenirs and foodstuffs, the only downside is its limited time-span: most stallholders have gone by lunchtime.


What to Buy What to Buy  

chocolatePralines are Belgium's unique contribution to the world's chocolate industry. Thankfully, the city seems indifferent to their generous calorific content, and chocolate pralines have integrated themselves seamlessly into the average citizen's diet. Mary is a charming independent retailer, while any of the numerous Leonidas or Godiva stores have an extensive selection. Die-hard chocoholics will love the style of Planète Chocolat where you can see how the delicious masterpieces are laboriously made by hand.

BeerOf course, Belgium's other great gastronomic export, beer, can be found across the city and usually makes a welcome souvenir. There are plenty of off-licences selling a range of bottled beers, or if you go on a brewery tour, you can usually pick up some of their own produce.

Lace has been produced in Brussels for centuries. F Rubbrecht and Louise Verschueren both offer expertise as well as a large selection.

Antique hunting can be a full-time pursuit in Brussels and though you're not always going to find bargains, there are certainly some great collectors' items for sale around the Place du Grand Sablon. For 60s and 70s retro homewares and the like, try Bernard Gavilan on Rue des Pierres.

It's also worth looking in the various second hand stores for cartoon books and comics: Belgium is the European capital of the cartoon after all. Rare items of cartoon art are very highly prized - and highly priced - in both original ink and prints.

Mary, 73 Rue Royale
Planète Chocolat, 24 Rue du Lombard
F Rubbrecht, 23 Grand-Place
Louise Verschueren, 16 Rue Watteeu


Opening Hours Opening Hours  

In general, shops open from 09h00-18h00/19h00 Mon-Sat. Stores in the Grand'Place area stay open later, until about 20h00. Note that some shops close for lunch between 12h00-14h00.


Tax Refund Tax Refund  

Value added tax (TVA and BTW in Belgium) of 21% is added on to the price of all consumer goods and services. When leaving Belgium, tourists from outside the EU can apply for a tax refund on goods bought. In Belgium, the minimum purchase to qualify for a refund is EUR125.01, spent in one store.

To reclaim tax you need to request an itemised invoice, indicating the item, price and amount of tax. On departure from Belgium, take the items and invoice to the customs office to be stamped. Once home, send the stamped invoice to the store where you purchased the items who will then send the tax refund to you.

Alternatively, you can purchase goods from shops participating in the Europe Tax-Free Shopping programme (look out for the Tax-Free Shopping logo displayed in the window). Simply show your passport when you make a purchase and you will be given a Tax-Free Shopping cheque showing the refund you are owed. As you leave the country, customs officials will stamp your cheques. You can claim your refund from the Europe Tax-Free Shopping desk or have the refund sent to you. Note that not all shops participate in the refund scheme, so it is best to ask before you buy.



Local Time 09:40pm
Wednesday 27 May
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