Brussels vs. Amsterdam: Which Should You Pick for a Weekend Trip?

So you’re thinking of planning a quick weekend trip abroad? That’s great, but now you’re faced with a conundrum; do you go to Brussels or Amsterdam? Both are great cities that offer plenty of things for tourists to do.

However, choosing which to visit comes down to personal preference, budget, and specific activities you might want to do. If you’re having trouble, our guide will provide some insight to help ease your decision.

Quick Overview

Before outlining activities, knowing a bit about each city is good. Brussels is known as the capital of Europe because it’s the base of operations for the United Nations and NATO. So it’s home to many international workers, meaning you can expect a vibrant culture when you walk around the city.

Amsterdam is a famous city because of the multiple canals that connect the city. But it’s also known as the bike capital of the world because of the various cycling lanes you’ll see throughout the city. Yes, there are cars, but cycling is the preferred method of transportation. Furthermore, the accessibility makes it easy to get around.

What to Do

Brussels may not be known for its touristy prowess like Amsterdam, but plenty of quirky attractions remain for you to enjoy. For example, there are over 70 museums with different exhibitions for anyone to enjoy. There’s also the Grand Palace, considered one of the most beautiful squares in Europe. Plus, since Brussels is smaller than Amsterdam, walking is the best way to get around. So use luggage storage in Brussels, which is safe and secure, to maximize your experience.

Many know Amsterdam for one thing: cannabis. Since it’s legal there, you’ll often catch a whiff of the plant in the air while walking or cycling around. There’s much more to Amsterdam than cannabis. For example, you can hop on a boat and cruise down one of the canals. You can also visit the Van Gogh Museum or the Anne Frank Huis.

Eating and Drinking

Regarding food, both Brussels and Amsterdam have something for everyone. Since it’s home to many international people, you’ll find culinary delights from all over. But you should expect to see two staples: waffles and French fries covered in mayonnaise. Adults can also try their hand at a few tasty Belgian beers.

Amsterdam has plenty of cuisines you can try too. You can visit local restaurants to get a taste of Dutch specialties. Or you can go to the Foodhallen, which has something for everyone. However, it’s an even better city if you love sweets. On almost every corner in the city, you’ll see a shop selling crepes and other treats.


Finding somewhere to stay often factors into most trips; you don’t want to spend most of your budget on accommodation. If you plan to go to Brussels, the budget will be manageable since hotels are cheaper there. It’s less popular a tourist destination than Amsterdam, but if you want a premium room, some are available.

As you already know, Amsterdam is always packed with tourists, so hotel prices tend to be more expensive. There are other options, too, like budget hostels and townhouses that are available to rent. You can also stay on the city’s outskirts, so you can spend a little less on accommodation. That might be more financially viable since public transportation makes it easier to get around the city.


Although you’re traveling to see what the cities offer, you might also be interested in the nightlife. Brussels has an excellent multicultural nightlife since UN and NATO workers live there. So there are various clubs and pubs around the city, catering to the needs of many.

Nightlife in Amsterdam is vibrant and has many clubs, cafes, and bars to enjoy. There’s also the famous Red Light District, where you can catch shows and other events along the canal. On the city’s outskirts, there are other popular venues that you can enjoy so you don’t get swept up in the madness around the city center.

Should You Pick Brussels or Amsterdam for a Weekend Trip?

Choosing between Brussels or Amsterdam for a weekend trip can be challenging since both cities offer much to do. Your choice will come down to your budget and the activities you like. If you’d enjoy a more relaxed weekend with great attractions, visit Brussels. On the other hand, for those wanting more hustle and bustle, Amsterdam would be the place for you. Whatever you decide, you’ll still have a great time in either city.

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