A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Bern vs. Brussels for Attractions, Food, Old Town, and Families

Should you visit Bern or Brussels?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Should I visit Bern or Brussels? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Bern

Bern is a beautiful, cultural, and historic city. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. It's also known for shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Brussels

Brussels is a cosmopolitan, authentic, and colorful city. It's an amazing and huge city with tons of activities and things to do. It's also known for nightlife, food, and shopping.

Bern and Brussels: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Big city activities


Is there more to do in Bern or Brussels?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Brussels than Bern, as it is bigger with more sights, attractions, and activities for visitors. Brussels is more popular for its food, shopping, and big city activities, while Bern is known for its impressive beauty. Bern is popular for its well-preserved old town and its reputation as the home of the Lindt chocolate factory. Brussels is popular for its beautiful architecture, grand squares, diverse population, and delicious waffles. It is also home to La Grand Place (Grote Markt).

La Grand Place (Grote Markt)
La Grand Place (Grote Markt)

How is Bern different from Brussels?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Brussels and Bern. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Bern or Brussels?

Bern
Brussels

Both Bern and Brussels have superb landmarks and museums for visitors.

Bern offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. The city is filled with architecture and charming character. While you're in town make sure you visit the Einstein Museum, the Clock Tower, and the Bern Cathedral.

Many visitors head to Brussels specifically to visit some of its top-rated museums and other sights. Popular sights include Saint-Michel Cathedral, Place Royale, and the Belgian Royal Museum of Fine Arts. The city is filled with impressive architecture, fascinating art museums, and innovative science and technology museums.


Is the Food Better in Bern or Brussels? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Bern
Brussels

Brussels is a well-known place for its local cuisine and restaurants. Also, Bern is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its restaurants.

With its innovative style combined with traditional elements, Brussels makes for a great culinary experience. While the city is most known for its waffles and fries, the diversity of dishes and international restaurant selection continues to grow. There are Lebanese, Japanese, and Indian restaurants among others. Popular local dishes include moules-frites, waterzooi (a stew), and stoemp (made with mashed potatoes and vegetables).

Bern has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. The city has cozy cafes, high end fine dining, traditional eateries, and modern venues.

Is Bern or Brussels Better for Nightlife?

Bern
Brussels

Both Bern and Brussels are good when it comes to partying.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Bern. There are bars, Irish pubs, and clubs around town.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Brussels. The city's nightlife is quieter and more mellow than some other major cities around Europe. That doesn't mean there aren't plenty of dance clubs and bars where you can hang out. Keep your wits about you after the sun goes down as some areas are a bit rougher than others.

Is Bern or Brussels Better for its Old Town?

Bern
Brussels

It's fun to wander around the superb old towns in both Bern and Brussels.

Many visitors explore the old town while visiting Bern. The charming old town is filled with quaint alleys and sandstone buildings. It's a compact area that flows down a hill to the River Aare.

There is a nice variety of sights in the old town of Brussels. The old town in the city center is where you'll find the greatest concentration of historic sights. The area is surrounded by tree-lined boulevards and is easy to explore.


Is the Shopping Better in Bern or Brussels?

Bern
Brussels

Brussels is renowned for shopping. Also, Bern is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its shopping opportunities.

Brussels is a famous shopping destination with plenty of stores. Although it's famous for diamonds, the city also has many shopping streets where you can find designer brands, vintage shops, and other unique boutiques that are fun to explore.

Bern is well-known for its shopping. The old town is filled with boutique shops and unique markets. The main shopping streets are Spitalgasse and Marktgasse and popular items to buy include jewelry, art, and watches.

Is Bern or Brussels Better for Families?

Bern
Brussels

Kids will enjoy a visit to either Bern or Brussels.

Bern is a very family-friendly place to visit. This charming town has riverside parks and pools, a zoo, a waterpark, and kid-friendly museums that the whole family can enjoy. You can also visit nearby Gurten, a mountain with tobogganing, concerts, and a mini ski resort.

Because of its large number of kid-friendly activities, Brussels is very family-friendly. The city has a number of unique kid-friendly activities including a Mini-Europe Museum, a Comic Strip Museum, and Train World. The city is also a chocolate lover's dream with many factories and chocolate shops around town.

Is Bern or Brussels Better for Couples?

Bern
Brussels

With fun activities for couples, both Bern and Brussels make for a superb place to visit.

Bern is a very popular place to visit for couples. With charming restaurants, a beautiful rose garden, and nice hotels and spas, this town makes a beautiful romantic getaway.

Brussels makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. From beautiful buildings and museums to shopping, dining, and chocolate shops, there are plenty of romantic spots around town. There's a vibrant nightlife scene and many diverse restaurants that couples can enjoy exploring.


Is Bern or Brussels Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Bern
Brussels

Both Bern and Brussels are superb destinations for backpackers.

Backpackers come from all over to visit Bern. Like most of Switzerland, prices are a bit high, but there are some hostels and free activities that backpackers and budget travelers can enjoy.

Many backpackers visit Brussels. The city has an active nightlife and a number of hostels that are great for backpackers, but do take note that some areas can get a bit rough at night, so make sure you understand where you are.

Is Bern or Brussels Better for Students?

Bern
Brussels

Brussels is a well-known place for students. However, Bern is not popular with students.

Brussels is a very popular city for students and younger travelers. The city has a number of universities that attract students from around the world. The multicultural setting is great for students of the world.

Bern is not popular with students.

Is Bern or Brussels Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Bern
Brussels

Brussels is renowned for its public transit. Also, Bern is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for times when you don't have a car.

Brussels has a great public transit system. Transit options include train, tram, metro, bus, and waterbuses.

The public transit in Bern can get you around easily. There are trams and buses that run around town.


Is Bern or Brussels a more walkable city?

Bern
Brussels

Bern and Brussels both are superb when exploring on foot.

Bern is very walkable. It's fun to explore the old town on foot. It is compact enough to that you can see all of the highlights in a few hours.

Brussels is a very walkable city. If you stay in the historical area, it's easy to walk around and many boulevards are being converted to pedestrian areas.

For even more information, also check out Is Bern Worth Visiting? and Is Brussels Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Brussels or Bern?

How long in Bern or Brussels?

In either Bern or Brussels, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. Most visitors tend to spend more time in Brussels than Bern because of the overall number of sights and activities. Usually, 1-3 days is a good amount of time for Bern, and 1-5 days is enough time in Brussels.

Families should spend more time in Brussels than Bern. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Brussels, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Brussels than Bern. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Brussels that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Brussels than Bern if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Brussels.


  • How many days in Bern or Brussels? Ideal Length of Stay
    Bern 1-3 
    Brussels 1-5

One day in Bern or Brussels?

The beautiful city of Bern offers food and shopping. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. With all of its activities, you can easily fill one day here. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

Brussels is a big city destination where you can fill many days. Visiting the old town is also a must. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One day is usually enough time to experience most activities.

A weekend in Bern or Brussels?

Bern is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have a weekend, this city makes for a great vacation. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Bern, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

Brussels is a fun place to experience. Most people visit for the shopping. If you have a weekend, this is a great place to go. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. A weekend is often enough time to do most activities. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.


Five days in Bern or Brussels?

Bern is a popular choice for travelers. Five days is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Brussels is a cosmopolitan big city where you can fill many days. This city offers something for everyone. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. Plenty of people spend five days in the area when traveling. Five days is often enough time to do most activities.

A week in Bern or Brussels?

Bern is a great place to explore. Visiting the old town is also a must. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This city offers something for everyone.

The cosmopolitan city of Brussels offers nightlife and food. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips.


Which place is cheaper, Brussels or Bern?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Bern is $261, while the average daily cost in Brussels is $148. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Bern and Brussels in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Bern $168
    Brussels $79
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Bern $336
    Brussels $158
Compare Hotels in Bern and Brussels

Looking for a hotel in Bern or Brussels? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Bern


Hotels in Brussels


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Bern Hotel Prices and Brussels Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Bern $35
    Brussels $18

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Bern

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Bern:

  • Private Direct Transfer From Bern to Basel: $214
  • Private Transfer From Bern To Basel With a 2 Hour Stop in Olten: $270
  • Private Transfer From Bern to Zurich, English Speaking Driver: $229

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Brussels

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Brussels are as follows:


  • Subway Pass
    $4.87
  • Atomium train ticket (2)
    $8.66

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Brussels

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Brussels:

  • Airport Transfer to/from Lille City Center: $16
  • Charleroi Airport (CRL): One-Way Bus Transfer to Brussels: $21
  • City hotels to Brussels Airport(BRU) - Departure Private Transfer: $24
  • Brussels to Brussels Airport (BRU) - Departure Private Transfer: $33
  • Brussels to Ostend Airport (OST) - Departure Private Transfer: $40
  • VIP Transfer between City/ Airport and Ghent: $42
  • Private One-way Brussels Airport Transfer To/From Brussels : $44
  • Shuttle Transfer Brussels Gare du Midi <-> Ghent (1 to 8 PLACES): $59
  • Brussels Shuttle Transfer <-> Ghent (1 to 8 PLACES): $59
  • Transfer Brussels <-> Tomorrowland Boom (1 to 8 Places): $59
  • Transfer to Brussels National Airport: $59
  • Airport Arrivals Private Transfer to the City: $60

Is it cheaper to fly into Bern or Brussels?

Prices for flights to both Brussels and Bern change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Bern $63
    Brussels $41

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Bern

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Bern.

  • Bern Food Market: Brunch & Local Food Tour: $65

Typical Food Prices in Brussels

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Brussels:


  • Ice Cream & Macaroons
    $4.98
  • Dessert (Turkish Delights)
    $5.14
  • Cheese
    $6.06
  • Olives and Snacks
    $7.55
  • Waffle
    $3.25

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Brussels

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Brussels.

  • Hard Rock Cafe with Set Menu for Lunch or Dinner: $28
  • Hard Rock Cafe Brussels with Set Lunch or Dinner : $30
  • Chocolate and Beer Food Tour of Brussels: $43
  • City Center Guided Food Tour with Tastings: $60
  • Experience Authentic Belgian Cuisine: Cooking Lesson and Meal with a Ghent Local: $90
  • Food Tour in Brussels - Do Eat Better Experience: $105
  • Secret Food Tours Brussels: $113
  • The 10 Tastings of Brussels With Locals: PRIVATE Food Tour (B-Corp certified): $159
  • Market Tour and Cooking Lesson with a Belgian Gourmet Meal in a Brussels Home: $160
  • Private Food Tour – 10 Tastings with Locals: $165
  • Brussels Private Custom Food Tour with a Local Foodie : $193
  • Private Trip to Bruges & Food Tour with 6 Tastings: $292

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Bern $35
    Brussels $25

Tours and Activities in Bern

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Bern are as follows:

  • First Discovery Walk and Reading Walking Tour: $3.25
  • Bern Scavenger Hunt and Best Landmarks Self-Guided Tour: $4.41
  • Bern Highlights Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt and Walking Tour: $7.03
  • Escape Game and Tour: $8.66
  • Self-Guided Tour of Bern's Fountains, Clocktowers, and Legends: $9.99
  • Self-Guided Audio Tour: $11
  • City Sightseeing Self-Guided Walking Tour Game: $16
  • Fribourg Scavenger Hunt and Sights Self-Guided Tour: $16
  • Bern Scavenger Hunt and Sights Self-Guided Tour: $16
  • Thun Scavenger Hunt and Sights Self-Guided Tour: $16
  • Zytglogge - Tour through the Clock Tower: $23
  • Private Custom Tour with a Local Guide in Bern: $57

Tours and Activities in Brussels

Here are a few actual costs in Brussels for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • First Discovery Walk and Reading Walking Tour: $3.25
  • Evening Tour: The Dark Side of Brussels: $3.30
  • Essential Brussels Tour: $3.30
  • The Most Complete Tour Of Brussels: $3.30
  • Free Tour of Brussels in Italian (with booking fee): $3.30
  • Historical Walking Tour: The Story of Brussels - by Legends: $3.30
  • A Self-Guided Tour of Brussels' Secret Places and Untold Stories: $5.99
  • 600 Years of History and Heritage: A Self-Guided Walking Tour of Leuven: $5.99
  • City Exploration Game and Tour: $6.49
  • Highlights Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt and Tour: $7.03
  • Museum Halle Gate Entry Ticket: $7.58
  • Brussels’ Noble Beginnings: An Upper Town Audio Tour: $7.99

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Bern $28
    Brussels $14

Typical Alcohol Prices in Brussels

Some typical examples of the costs for nightlife and alcohol in Brussels are as follows:


  • Bottle of Wine
    $11
  • Beer
    $6.49

Sample the Local Flavors in Brussels

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Brussels:

  • Brussels Pub Crawl - Nightlife & Party Experience: $18
  • Pub Crawl and Nightlife Party Experience: $18


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Bern and Brussels, we can see that Bern is more expensive. And not only is Brussels much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Brussels would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Brussels and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Bern would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Bern than you might in Brussels.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Bern Expensive? and Is Brussels Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Bern or Brussels?

Brussels has a larger population, and is about 8 times larger than the population of Bern. When comparing the sizes of Bern and Brussels, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Bern or Brussels?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Bern or Brussels in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Bern and Brussels. Most visitors come to Bern for the family-friendly experiences during these months. Also, the summer months attract visitors to Brussels because of the city activities and the family-friendly experiences.

Bern is a little warmer than Brussels in the summer. The daily temperature in Bern averages around 21°C (70°F) in July, and Brussels fluctuates around 18°C (65°F).

In Bern, it's very sunny this time of the year. Bern usually receives more sunshine than Brussels during summer. Bern gets 250 hours of sunny skies, while Brussels receives 186 hours of full sun in the summer.

In July, Bern usually receives less rain than Brussels. Bern gets 63 mm (2.5 in) of rain, while Brussels receives 75 mm (3 in) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Bern 21°C (70°F) 
    Brussels 18°C (65°F)

Should I visit Bern or Brussels in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Bern as well as Brussels. The autumn months attract visitors to Bern because of the shopping scene and the natural beauty of the area. Also, the city's sights and attractions and the shopping scene are the main draw to Brussels this time of year.

In the autumn, Bern is around the same temperature as Brussels. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Bern in October average around 13°C (55°F), and Brussels averages at about 12°C (54°F).

In the autumn, Bern often gets more sunshine than Brussels. Bern gets 126 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Brussels receives 114 hours of full sun.

Bern usually gets less rain in October than Brussels. Bern gets 49 mm (1.9 in) of rain, while Brussels receives 70 mm (2.8 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Bern 13°C (55°F) 
    Brussels 12°C (54°F)

Should I visit Bern or Brussels in the Winter?

Both Brussels and Bern are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. The museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Bern this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Brussels for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

Be prepared for some very cold days in Brussels. It's quite cold in Bern in the winter. In January, Bern is generally cooler than Brussels. Daily temperatures in Bern average around 3°C (37°F), and Brussels fluctuates around 3°C (38°F).

Bern usually receives more sunshine than Brussels during winter. Bern gets 65 hours of sunny skies, while Brussels receives 49 hours of full sun in the winter.

In January, Bern usually receives less rain than Brussels. Bern gets 54 mm (2.1 in) of rain, while Brussels receives 67 mm (2.6 in) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Bern 3°C (37°F) 
    Brussels 3°C (38°F)

Should I visit Bern or Brussels in the Spring?

Both Brussels and Bern during the spring are popular places to visit. Many travelers come to Bern for the natural beauty. Furthermore, many visitors come to Brussels in the spring for the activities around the city.

Bern is a little warmer than Brussels in the spring. The daily temperature in Bern averages around 11°C (52°F) in April, and Brussels fluctuates around 10°C (49°F).

In the spring, Bern often gets more sunshine than Brussels. Bern gets 164 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Brussels receives 147 hours of full sun.

Bern usually gets around the same amount of rain in April as Brussels. Bern gets 59 mm (2.3 in) of rain, while Brussels receives 57 mm (2.2 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Bern 11°C (52°F) 
    Brussels 10°C (49°F)

Typical Weather for Brussels and Bern

Bern Brussels
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 3°C (37°F) 54 mm (2.1 in) 3°C (38°F) 67 mm (2.6 in)
Feb 4°C (40°F) 51 mm (2 in) 4°C (39°F) 53 mm (2.1 in)
Mar 8°C (46°F) 50 mm (2 in) 6°C (43°F) 72 mm (2.8 in)
Apr 11°C (52°F) 59 mm (2.3 in) 10°C (49°F) 57 mm (2.2 in)
May 15°C (60°F) 76 mm (3 in) 14°C (57°F) 71 mm (2.8 in)
Jun 19°C (65°F) 74 mm (2.9 in) 17°C (62°F) 79 mm (3.1 in)
Jul 21°C (70°F) 63 mm (2.5 in) 18°C (65°F) 75 mm (3 in)
Aug 20°C (69°F) 80 mm (3.1 in) 18°C (65°F) 63 mm (2.5 in)
Sep 18°C (64°F) 55 mm (2.2 in) 16°C (60°F) 59 mm (2.3 in)
Oct 13°C (55°F) 49 mm (1.9 in) 12°C (54°F) 70 mm (2.8 in)
Nov 7°C (45°F) 58 mm (2.3 in) 7°C (45°F) 76 mm (3 in)
Dec 4°C (38°F) 55 mm (2.2 in) 4°C (40°F) 76 mm (3 in)