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

Should you visit Istanbul or Brussels?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Istanbul or Brussels, this travel comparison, which includes costs, can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison down below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.

Istanbul

Istanbul is a historic, diverse, and beautiful city. It's an amazing and huge city with tons of activities and things to do. 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 multicultural, historic, and cosmopolitan 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.

How is Istanbul different from Brussels?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Is Istanbul or Brussels better for Museums and Historical Sights?

Both Istanbul and Brussels have interesting landmarks and museums for visitors.

Visitors will find world class museums and historical sights in Istanbul that are not to be missed. With such a long and diverse religious and political history, it has many museums, mosques, churches, and archeological sites that you can visit. Some of the most famous sights include the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Sarayi, and the Blue Mosque.

Visitors can fill many days exploring the museums and attractions around Brussels. Popular sights include Saint-Michel Cathedral, Place Royale, and the Belgian Royal Museum of Fine Arts.


Is Istanbul or Brussels better for Food?

Picking the best between Istanbul and Brussels can be difficult as they are each unique in their own way.

Known for it's food scene, Istanbul is always at the top of any foodie's travel list. From Turkish classics to sweet desserts the city has it all. Popular dishes include Turkish style pizza, kebabs, and doner, which you'll find everywhere for affordable prices.

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. Other popular dishes include moules-frites, waterzooi (a stew), and stoemp (made with mashed potatoes and vegetables).

Is Istanbul or Brussels better for Nightlife?

Evening events are similar in both Istanbul and Brussels.

Istanbul has plenty to do after the sun goes down. Dancing, dining, and partying have all become part of Istanbul's culture. Top nightclubs in the city include Reina, Sortie, and Supperclub.

Brussels has an active nightlife scene for those who seek it out. 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 Istanbul or Brussels better for its Old Town?

Istanbul and Brussels both have historical old towns that attract visitors.

Istanbul offers visitors a world-class historical old town to explore. The Old City in Istanbul is the most historic part of the city. It's where you'll find most of the city's historic sights. The area around Sultanahmet Square is the most popular tourist area to explore.

There are many historical things to see 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 Istanbul or Brussels better for Shopping?

Both Istanbul and Brussels are good shopping destinations.

Istanbul is an extremely popular place for shoppers. It is the capital of culture and fashion in Turkey, and there are many shopping areas that carry all kinds of brands. For a more traditional, but touristy experience head to the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Market. For modern brands, Istiklal Caddesi is the most popular area for shopping.

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.


Is Istanbul or Brussels better for Families?

Istanbul and Brussels are both fun destinations for the whole family.

Istanbul is a family-friendly place to visit. The city has several kid-friendly museums, a couple of aquariums, and fun theme parks.

Brussels is a very family-friendly place to visit. 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 Istanbul or Brussels better for Couples?

Istanbul and Brussels are both fun to visit as a couple.

Istanbul is a very popular place to visit for couples. Couples who enjoy history, culture, and vibrant neighborhoods will enjoy a romantic stay here.

Couples visit Brussels frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. From beautiful buildings and museums to shopping, dining, and chocolate shops, there are plenty of romantic spots around town.

Is Istanbul or Brussels better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Both Istanbul and Brussels are popular destinations for backpackers.

Backpackers and budget travelers come from all over the world to visit Istanbul. There are plenty of hostels and budget accommodation options, and there's also plenty of ways to meet other travelers. You'll find plenty of hostels concentrated in the Sultanahmet area.

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 Istanbul or Brussels better for Students?

Istanbul and Brussels are both good destinations for students and younger travelers.

Istanbul is a great city to visit as a student. Students appreciate the city's vibrant neighborhoods, constant activity, and diverse population.

Many students visit Brussels. The city has a number of universities that attract students from around the world. The multicultural setting is great for students of the world.


Is Istanbul or Brussels better for Public Transit?

Both Istanbul and Brussels offer public transit options.

Public transit in Istanbul is top-notch. It has a comprehensive and diverse public transit system that includes buses, trams, minibuses, ferries, funicular, and more.

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

Is Istanbul or Brussels a more walkable city?

Istanbul and Brussels both are comparable when exploring on foot.

Istanbul is very walkable. Although it is huge, most of the neighborhoods that tourists visit are incredibly walkable and pedestrian-friendly.

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

Istanbul and Brussels: Pros and Cons

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


Should I spend more time in Brussels or Istanbul?

How long in Istanbul or Brussels?

In either Istanbul or Brussels, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. Most visitors tend to spend more time in Istanbul than Brussels because of the overall number of sights and activities.

The ideal length of time for a trip to Istanbul is 3-7 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to Brussels is 1-5 days.


  • How many days in Istanbul or Brussels? Ideal Length of Stay
    Istanbul 3-7 
    Brussels 1-5

One day in Istanbul or Brussels?

Istanbul is a big city with plenty to do. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

The city of Brussels 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.

A weekend in Istanbul or Brussels?

Istanbul is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than a weekend exploring. Take your pick from the many activities offered around the area.

Brussels 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 Brussels, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered around the area.


Five days in Istanbul or Brussels?

Istanbul is a popular choice for travelers. Five days here is typical. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Istanbul, five days is sufficent for most. The entire area has lots to do.

Brussels is a popular choice for travelers. Five days here is typical. It's no surprise that shopping is why people visit. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Brussels, five days is sufficent for most. The entire area has lots to do.

A week in Istanbul or Brussels?

Istanbul is a great place to explore. It is common to spend one week here. Visiting the old town is also a must. One week is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Istanbul has to offer. This city offers something for everyone.

Brussels is a great place to explore. It's no surprise that shopping is why people visit. 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.

Which city is cheaper, Brussels or Istanbul?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Istanbul is $48, while the average daily cost in Brussels is $114. 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 city. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Istanbul and Brussels in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Istanbul $30
    Brussels $60
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Istanbul $60
    Brussels $120

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Istanbul $2.81
    Brussels $14
Typical Local Transportation prices in Istanbul

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


  • Ferry
    $0.17
  • Local Bus
    $0.18

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Istanbul

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Istanbul:

  • 2 Ways Istanbul Airport Transfer: $109
  • 2 Ways Istanbul Airport Transfer: $56
  • 2 Ways Sabiha Gokcen Airport Transfer: $56
  • 2-Hour Bosphorus Yacht Cruise with Transfers: $500
  • 2m Transfer: $85
  • 4-Day Istanbul City Package including Full-Day Istanbul City Tour plus Airport Transfers: $350
  • 4-Day Wonderful Istanbul Including Accommodation Plus Transfer: $474
  • Air Transfer Lines | Airport Transfer Service: $44
  • Airport Transfer, Hotel Tranfer, Shuttle Service, Taxi Service: $26
  • Airport private transfer to hotel and back: $109
  • Arrival Private Transfers from New Airport IST to Istanbul in Business Car: $123
  • City Center to Istanbul Airport (IST) Departure Transfers: $87

Typical Local Transportation prices in Brussels

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


  • Subway Pass
    $4.69
  • Atomium train ticket (2)
    $8.34

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Brussels

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Brussels:

  • Private Airport Transfer: from Brussels to Brussels Airport (BRU): $25
  • Private Departure Transfer from Brussels City Center to Brussels Airport (BRU): $32
  • Private Airport Transfer to the City: $36
  • Private Departure Transfer: Brussels Hotel to Brussels Railway Station: $46
  • Private Business Transfer from Brussels Hotel to Brussels Airport (BRU): $49
  • Private Transfer to/from Brussels Airport (BRU): $50
  • Airport (BRU) Private Transfer: $53
  • Private Airport Transfer: Brussels to Charleroi Airport (CRL): $55
  • Private Airport Transfer: Brussels to Brussels Airport (BRU): $56
  • Departure Private Transfer from Brussels to Brussels Airport in Business Car: $57
  • Brussels City all area to Brussels Airport BRU - Private Airport transfer 1-7pax: $60
  • Brussels City all area to Brussels Airport BRU - Private Airport transfer 1-3pax: $60

Is it cheaper to fly into Istanbul or Brussels?

Prices for flights to both Brussels and Istanbul 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
    Istanbul $12
    Brussels $32
Typical Food prices in Istanbul

Some typical examples of dining costs in Istanbul are as follows:


  • Juice
    $0.12
  • Turkish Delight
    $0.04
  • Dessert
    $0.51
  • Pastries
    $0.09

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Istanbul

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

  • Istanbul Dinner Cruise & Show: $29
  • Istanbul Dinner Cruise Show: $30
  • Bosphorus Dinner Cruise Inc. Dinner and Belly Dance Show with Hotel Transfer: $34
  • Alaturca Ottoman Dramatic Stage Show & Dinner Cruise ( Non - Alcoholic ): $35
  • Bosphorus Dinner & Show Cruise (All Inclusive): $36
  • Bosphorus Dinner Show Cruise With Non Alcoholic Menu ISTANBUL Dinner cruise: $36
  • Bosphorus Dinner Cruise An Unforgettable Experience in Istanbul: $36
  • Bosphorus Dinner Cruise & Night Show from Istanbul: $37
  • Istanbul Cruise&Show with Dinner: $37
  • Dinner Cruise on the Bosphorus: $38
  • Istanbul Dinner Cruise & Show: $39
  • Istanbul Dinner Cruise with Sema Ceremony: $40

Typical Food prices in Brussels

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


  • Ice Cream & Macaroons
    $4.80
  • Dessert (Turkish Delights)
    $4.95
  • Cheese
    $5.84
  • Olives and Snacks
    $7.28
  • Waffle
    $3.13

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Brussels

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

  • Classic Belgian cooking class and lunch: $79
  • Your Private Tailored Belgian Food Tour with a Local: $93
  • Private Food Tour – 10 Tastings with Locals: $112
  • Cooking Lesson and Gourmet Belgian-Inspired Meal with a Local in Brussels: $115
  • Private Brussels Food Tour (walking lunch or dinner): $373

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Istanbul $18
    Brussels $19
Typical Entertainment prices in Istanbul

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Istanbul are as follows:


  • Bosphurus Boat (for 2)
    $1.19
  • Yerebatan Cistern for Two
    $1.19
  • Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts for Two
    $0.60
  • Hagia Sofia entrance
    $1.79

Tours and Activities in Istanbul

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

  • Just Hagia Sophia Tour /Skip The Lines: $8.71
  • VR Dervish Experience: $10
  • Museum of Illusions Istanbul Ticket: $11
  • Piri Self-Guided Audio Tour: Istanbul, Historical Peninsula: $11
  • Old City Insider Walking Tour: $11
  • Bosphorus Cruise with Audio App: $11
  • Basilica Cistern VIP Tickets: $12
  • Vip Ticket For Hagi̇a Sophi̇a: $12
  • Hagia Sophia & Blue Mosque&Hippodrome Guided Tours Everyday /No que / No line!: $12
  • Istanbul LEGOLAND Discovery Center Entrance Ticket: $14
  • SEA LIFE Istanbul Entry Ticket: $14
  • Hagia Sophia: Entry with Guided Tour: $14

Tours and Activities in Brussels

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

  • Brussels Autoworld Museum Entrance Ticket: $15
  • Pick Up from your Hotel in Brussels to Departure point Brussels City Tours: $22
  • Beer Tour: $27
  • Brussels 2.5-Hour Belgian Beer Tasting Experience: $29
  • Highlights and Hidden Gems Guided Bike Tour: $34
  • Private Tour with a Local: $40
  • Kanal and Molenbeek Runnning Tour: $44
  • Running Tour of the Historical Center: $44
  • The Best Of Brussels Walking Tour: $54
  • Belgian Chocolate Tasting Tour: $62
  • Private Tour w/ Locals – Highlights & Hidden Gems: $66
  • Artistic Bruges on a Private Tour with a local: $75

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Istanbul $4.30
    Brussels $11

Sample the Local Flavors in Istanbul

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Istanbul:

  • Daily Tekirdag Wine Tasting Tour from Istanbul: $427

Typical Alcohol prices in Brussels

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


  • Bottle of Wine
    $10
  • Beer
    $6.26

Sample the Local Flavors in Brussels

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Brussels:

  • Brussels Pub Crawl: $14


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Istanbul and Brussels, we can see that Brussels is more expensive. And not only is Istanbul much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Istanbul would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Istanbul 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 Brussels would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Brussels than you might in Istanbul.

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Istanbul vs. Brussels Travel Comparison

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