A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Belgium vs. Ireland for Families, Museums & Attractions, Nightlife, and Backpackers

Should you visit Belgium or Ireland?

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

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Belgium and Ireland can help. It includes a travel cost comparison in addition to other factors. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

We'll start with a quick overview, and below we will go into all of the details.


Belgium Ireland
Culture & History check
Nightlife check
Hiking check
National Parks check
Outdoor Activities check
Families check
Backpackers check

Belgium

Ghent, Belgium Ghent, Belgium

Belgium is a diverse, quaint, and prosperous country. It's a beautiful place to visit, too. And you can't forget about the theater, history and culture, nightlife, and food.

Belgium is a smaller but diverse nation with a long history, lots of attractions, and a mix of cultures. As it's at a crossroads in Europe, visitors can see influences from the native Belgian and Flemish people as well as from nearby France, Germany, and Holland. Historic and world-class cities such as Brussels, Antwerp, and Ghent offer amazing cuisine, historic art and architecture, and fun activities for all types of travelers. Smaller cities such as Bruges, Liege, and Leuven let you delve into history in their historic old towns with cathedrals, charming cafes, art galleries, and carriage tours. And as a smaller country, it's easy to get around to see everything on the trains in just a few hours at the most between destinations.

Ireland

Dingle, Ireland Dingle, Ireland

Ireland is a proud, green, and historic country. Many visitors also come because of it's amazing beauty. Other reasons to visit include nightlife, food, water sports, and hiking.

Ireland is a unique country with a deep historic culture, a beautiful countryside with rolling green hills, exciting cities, and friendly people. You'll find good food, interesting natural landscapes such as the Giant's Causeway, terrific hikes through the countryside, surfing at the beach, and cultural experiences in the cities.

Belgium and Ireland: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Great culture, history, and arts
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Cons
  • Less attractive beach
  • Less hiking options
  • Not as many national parks
  • Less outdoor activities
  • Not as many road trip options
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Great culture, history, and arts
  • Good for hiking
  • Beautiful national parks
  • Numerous outdoor activities
  • Great road trips
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Cons
  • Less attractive beach


Dublin, Ireland Dublin, Ireland

How is Belgium different from Ireland?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Below we will examine the differences and similarities between Belgium and Ireland. With this information, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Is Belgium or Ireland Better for Museums and Historical Sights?

Belgium
Ireland

Spend time exploring the sights and museums in either Belgium or Ireland.

You'll find a good number of museums and monuments packed into Belgium. From art to history to culture, you'll find something for everyone. Some of the most popular art museums include The Magritte Museum in Brussels, François Duesberg Museum in Mons, and the Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art (SMAK) in Ghent. But it's not all about art, as visitors also love the Museum aan de Stroom (MAS) in Antwerp which focuses on the city's history as a maritime port. Also, science lovers should check out the Euro Space Center and the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences. For interesting history lessons, visit the Gallo-Roman Museum, Dossin Casern, and the In Flanders Fields museum.

Visitors can fill many days exploring the museums and attractions around Ireland. Visitors will find a variety types of museums all across the country. History, science, art, and kid-friendly museums are everywhere, showcasing the culture, history, and life of the Irish people. A few of the best in Dublin are the Little Museum, the National Museum of Ireland with its multiple branches, the Irish Whiskey Museum, the Kilmainham Gaol, Dublinia, and the Jeanie Johnston Tall Ship and Famine Museum, among others. If you're visiting Galway, check out the Galway City Museum, Lynch's Castle, Monkey Business Children's Museum, or the Fisheries Watchtower Museum. Also, in Cork, the Cork City Gaol and the Crawford Art Gallery are visitor favorites, although there are many more.


Is Belgium or Ireland Better for Culture, Arts, and History?

Belgium
Ireland

You'll find fairly similar levels of culture, arts, and history when visiting both Belgium and Ireland.

Belgium is a terrific destination to visit for history, arts, and culture, as it has many sights worth visiting. Although it's a smaller country, the history and culture here is packed into its cities and small towns. You'll find museums that focus on art, history, science, and more in many of the cities and town. For example, visit the Grand Palace in Brussels, the Castle of the Counts in Ghent, or the grand cathedrals of Antwerp. Large castles dot the countryside, many with grand views such as the one in Bouillon. Theaters are everywhere, too, so you can take in a play, opera, or the ballet in addition to enjoying the cafe culture and the unique cuisine.

See also 14 Free Things to do in Brussels.

Ireland is known for its world-famous historical and cultural sights and attractions. Plenty of historical attractions are popular destinations for visitors, especially the castles, small historic towns, and huge monuments. At the Rock of Cashel, you can see the ruins of this historic and beautiful castle from the 12th century. Reginald’s Tower in Waterford is said to be the oldest building still standing in Ireland, and can be toured while also exploring the surrounding city. Glendalough is the home of a monastery and famous tower, as well as stunning natural landscapes. And at Newgrange, you can see this ancient 5000 year old megalithic cemetery. The Blarney Castle is home of the Blarney Stone, and is one of the most famous sites in the country. In Dublin, don't miss the Dublin Castle, the St. Patrick's Cathedral, or the Kilmainham Gaol, all of which showcase a selected period of Irish history. No matter which area of the country you visit, Ireland offers historic sights and attractions of all types for every age.

Is Belgium or Ireland Better for Big City Activities?

Belgium
Ireland

Belgium and Ireland both are comparable with their activities in larger cities.

Since Belgium has large cities, you'll find plenty of things to do. Brussels and Antwerp are both popular destinations for visitors because of the large number of attractions and activities. In both of these cities you'll find a wide array of hotels, restaurants, historical sites, museums, and activities for every type of traveler. In Brussels, tour the Grand Palace, climb the Atomium, and go shopping at the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert. In Antwerp, after admiring the historic railway station, check out the Meir area for some shopping and chocolates, the Cathedral of Our Lady Antwerp, and the windows of the Diamond District.

Ireland has a few large cities with many activities to entertain visitors, too. Dublin and Cork are the largest cities in Ireland, followed by Limerick and Galway, but even these last two have small populations compared to other cities in Europe. In Dublin you can find plenty of restaurants, cafes, museums, universities, and historic sights. Outside of this city, it's hard to find the same urban vibe. The rest of the country has smaller cities and towns and plenty of rural areas with stunning landscapes, but lacks the large city environments.

Is Belgium or Ireland Better for Small Towns and Villages?

Belgium
Ireland

Belgium and Ireland both are comparable with their activities in villages and small towns.

Belgium is a great destination to visit small towns and villages just waiting to be explored. Some of the more popular small towns to visit draw large crowds to see the old cathedrals, local markets, narrow canals, historic homes, and delicious local cuisine. Bruges is one of the most popular towns for travelers because it has several gorgeous cathedrals, scenic canals, museums, and terrific restaurants all packed into a small walkable area. Other popular smaller towns include Spa, where you'll find relaxing hot springs; Bouillon, home of a beautiful castle; Durbuy, with its winding narrow streets; Dinant, with cliffs above a scenic river; and Rochefort, famous for its beer from the historic monastery. But dozens more small towns are dotted around the countryside, and if you have the time, are worth visiting.

You'll find plenty of local activities in all of the small towns and villages in Ireland. A few of the smaller towns in Ireland are some of the country's most popular travel destinations. Kilkenny has a nearby castle, abbey, a gorgeous cathedral, and a historic medieval area of town. Kinsale has a quaint harbor and colorful houses. Tralee on the southern coast has beautiful seaside views and stunning cliffs. And the ring of Kerry offers even more stunning coastal views and small towns such as Portmagee. Exploring the small towns of Ireland is an absolute requirement for any itinerary, as here you'll find the true local culture and history of the island.

See also 10 Easy and Ambitious Day Trips from Dublin Ireland.

Is Belgium or Ireland Better for Theater?

Belgium
Ireland

There are theater venues available in both Belgium and Ireland.

If you have some extra time in Belgium, take in a show. While Brussels has the most theater productions, Antwerp, Ghent, and others host a variety of shows and concerts, too. The most popular theaters in Brussels include the Théâtre Royal du Parc, Vaux-Hall, and the KVS. For other interesting performances, don't miss the Royal Toone Theatre with its myriad of puppets or La Montagne Magique (Magic Mountain) which offers youth and children's productions in French. In Antwerp, a few of the most popular theaters are Koningin Elisabethzaal, De Roma, Stadsschouwburg, and Bourla, among others.

Ireland offers a few theater venues for visitors. Local theaters with community productions can be found in many smaller cities. In Dublin, if you're looking for a show, check out the Abbey Theatre, the Gaiety Theatre, the Smock Alley Theatre, or the Olympia Theatre. Elsewhere in Ireland, make sure to visit the National Folk Theatre in Kerry (Siamsa Tíre), or the Druid Theatre in Galway.


Is Belgium or Ireland Better for Food?

Belgium
Ireland

Dining out at restaurants in both Belgium and Ireland can be an enjoyable experience.

There are plenty of up and coming restaurants around Belgium. While Belgium is famous for waffles, beer, and chocolate, plenty of other traditional dishes should be on your list as well. Furthermore, as a modern and diverse nation, you can find cuisine from all over the world in the big cities such as Brussels and Antwerp. World-class chefs have started terrific restaurants serving a wide variety of dishes. But if you're after some traditional fare, try the mussels (moules), fries with garlic-mayo, Flemish stew, or Croquettes, and Vol-au-vent.

Visitors will find a budding food and restaurant scene in Ireland. Traditional Irish foods can be found at many restaurants around the country. One of the most popular dishes includes various forms of Irish stew that use meat, potatoes, and vegetables. Shepherd's Pie takes this stew and adds a layer of mashed potatoes to the top. Colcannon and Champ is a form of mashed potatoes that mixes in cabbage, onions, and sometimes bacon. If you're tired of potatoes, salmon in various recipes is also common and popular. Also try the black and white pudding, which is actually blood sausage and not dessert. Other popular dishes include vegetables cooked into stews with local herbs. Of course, the local beer is quite popular, too. And don't miss the more interesting forms of Irish soda bread as well.

Is Belgium or Ireland Better for Nightlife?

Belgium
Ireland

If the nightlife is your priority, you'll find comparable options between Belgium and Ireland.

The nightlife in Belgium has something for everybody. As the largest city, Brussels not only draws the biggest crowds in the evenings, but has also earned itself a reputation as a party-oriented city at night. With dozens of nightclubs offering every type of music, to the vibrant bar and pub scene, as well as the theater and fine dining offerings, Brussels has an active scene for both locals and visitors alike. Some of the best spots in Brussels include Madame Moustache, the Music Village, Fuse, and Spirito. Antwerp also offers its share of nightlife. Dozens of bars and clubs come alive at night here also. Ghent, Bruges, and other tourist destinations also offer plenty of bars and theaters, although the nightlife scene is not as active later in the night.

Ghent: With its young student population, you'll find plenty of lively bars and clubs around town. There are many places where you can party or dance into the early hours of the morning and some of the best places are around Oude Beestenmarkt, De Overpoort, and De Vlasmarkt. There's also the famous Ghent Festival every July.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Ireland. Dublin and Galway, as the two largest cities, are the obvious choices for nightlife. Dublin claims to be one of the party capitals of Europe, and offers a variety of venues from bars and pubs to undergrounds nightclubs, as well as theater, fine dining options, and relaxed bars and cafes where you can have a drink with friends. Galway has a similar scene with a mix of bars, pubs, and nightclubs, many with live music and plenty of dancing. In Cork, much of the nightlife scene is dominated by the student population of the area, as large universities are nearby. Check out SoHo and the other spots on the Grand Parade. Plenty of other towns and smaller cities offer an array of pubs, bars, and clubs, too.

Dublin: Temple Bar is where you'll find the greatest concentration of pubs and nightlife. The city is among the friendliest and most welcoming, and this is seen even in the vibe around town at night.

Is Belgium or Ireland Better for Beaches?

Belgium
Ireland

Both Belgium and Ireland are considered to be good beach destinations.

Belgium has a beach you can visit. The relatively short stretch of coastline here has some beautiful beaches which can be enjoyed during the warmer months. Some areas are more natural with sand dunes and open spaces, while others have stretches of hotels, restaurants, cafes, and seaside attractions. Knokke-Heist is a popular area with plenty of activities and hotels. De Panne and Nieuwpoort are also extremely popular with wide, white beaches and a diverse selection of dining options. On the other hand, Bredene is more secluded for those that want to escape the crowds.

You can check out the beach in Ireland. With a huge amount of coastline, this island nation has plenty of beaches. Some are in protected coves, while others are more exposed and have large waves popular with surfers. Despite the colder temperatures, the beaches here can still be fun because the natural scenery is beautiful. Some of the beaches are in natural coves surrounded by cliffs, rocks, and epic views. Swimming is very possible and popular in the summer months with locals and visitors alike. A few of the most popular beach areas include Inchydoney Beach in County Cork, Dog's Bay near Galway, Strandhill near Sligo, Silver Strand in Country Donegal, and Portmarnock Beach near Dublin. However, there are many more to explore.

Is Belgium or Ireland Better for Shopping?

Belgium
Ireland

If you're looking to go shopping, Belgium and Ireland both offer plenty of spots.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Belgium. Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, and other major cities offer plenty of trendy shops, fashionable boutiques, art galleries, and chocolate shops. Also, you can't miss all of the diamond stores in Antwerp. Even if you're not buying, it's fun to peruse the window displays. In Brussels, make sure to visit the Royal Saint Hubert Galleries not just for the shops, but also for the architecture and history of the building. Another nice indoor spot is Passage du Nord, and Boulevard de Waterloo has plenty of upscale shops. In Antwerp, the diamond shops are located not far from the historic train station, while more of the clothing boutiques are found in De Modewijk, the fashion quarter of the city.

Brussels: 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.

Antwerp: The city has become known for its fashion scene. The main shopping street is Meir, which is where you'll find a variety of European fashion chains. It's also fun to buy chocolates, art, or other souvenirs around town. You'll find both locals and tourists perusing the main shopping areas around town.

Ireland offers some nice shopping areas. While the larger cities and towns such as Dublin and Galway have more variety of shops such as clothing boutiques, souvenir shops, and local galleries, even the smallest towns have nice shopping options. Some of the more popular local arts and crafts for purchase include tweed fabrics in Donegal, Aran Wool clothing items, and hand-crafted pottery. In Dublin, visitors can find several large shopping malls such as Dundram Centre, and more shops in George's Street Arcade, Liberty Market, and Cow's Lane.


Is Belgium or Ireland Better for Christmas?

Belgium
Ireland

With various activities, both Belgium and Ireland are good places to visit during Christmas.

Plenty of visitors enjoy Christmas activities while in Belgium. The large public squares of Brussels, Antwerp, and other historical cities raise large Christmas trees and decorate their town centers with lights and decorations. Many towns have festivals and parades, especially during the arrival of Sinterklaas or Pere Noel (depending on the region). Also, many small towns and big cities host Christmas markets with food, drinks, gifts, crafts, ice skating, and more. Brussels has a Winter Wonderland Christmas Market where the buildings are illuminated. Other touristy towns such as Bruges host special events with entire sections of town covered in lights and special market shops.

Ireland offers some nice Christmas activities. Dublin, Galway, Cork, and many of the other towns and cities put on huge light displays during the holidays. The public squares and town centers have Christmas trees, markets, festivals, and other activities. There's even a polar swimming plunge in Dublin. Some of the famous castles and manor houses also have holiday decorations and festivities which bring in large crowds. The local pubs in many small towns become the center of activity as people gather in the warm and brightly decorated establishments. Also, many of the hotels and smaller B&B's decorate their grounds and have special dinners and parties. For the best Christmas markets, head to Cork or Galway, or even Belfast in Northern Ireland.

Is Belgium or Ireland Better for Hiking?

Belgium
Ireland

While Belgium and Ireland both offer hiking, overall Ireland is considered to have more to offer.

Plenty of visitors go hiking around Ireland. The rolling mountains and beautiful green countryside provide stunning hikes in all parts of the country. From the cliffside walks with epic views to the peaks in the interior of the island, there's a trail for everyone. Some of the most popular routes include the treks around Glendalough where you'll see the Spinc cliffs, waterfalls, and distant views of the lake. If you're looking for a mountain to hike, Diamond Hill in County Galway, Carrauntoohil in Kerry, or Slieve Gullion all provide stunning views, physical challenges, and plenty of wilderness opportunities.

A few hiking trails can be found near Belgium. Many hiking trails are within easy reach of nearby cities and towns, making them accessible. Many are also easy hikes since Belgium has a fairly low elevation. Some of the best areas to hike include Deux Ourthes Natural Park, Southern Ardennes Natural Park, or Eifel Natural Park.

Is Belgium or Ireland Better for National Parks?

Belgium
Ireland

While Belgium and Ireland both have national parks worth visiting, overall Ireland is considered to have more destinations.

Plenty of travelers enjoy the national parks of Ireland. The 6 national parks here offer stunning beauty and a variety of sights and attractions both within the parks and nearby. Five of the parks are along the western coast, and it might be best if you had your own vehicle to see some of all of them. Killarney National Park is part of the Ring of Kerry and was the first park. You can find historic manor houses, the largest mountain in the country, and a variety of wildlife. Wicklow Mountains National Park is on the eastern side, and in the area you'll find Powerscourt Gardens, Glendalough with its famous round tower, and the beautiful Glenmacnass Waterfall. In all of the parks, you'll find hiking trails, epic views, camping, castles, gardens, local wildlife, and other activities such as bird watching, horseback riding, and more.

Belgium has some national parks and wilderness areas for those that seek them out. With only two national parks and 10 other large natural protected areas, most visitors don't come here to see the wilderness. But a variety of beautiful scenery can still be found in this small country. Hiking trails and camping spots providing opportunities to see the rivers, hills, and native birds of the region. They make for a good escape from the cities if you're looking for somewhere nearby to get into nature.

Is Belgium or Ireland Better for Watersports?

Belgium
Ireland

Both Belgium and Ireland offer an fairly equal range of watersports for travelers.

Belgium is a good destination to participate in watersports, as there are some fun activities. The beach along the coastline offers surfing, kite surfing, wind surfing, and swimming during the warmer months. Also, plenty of the canals and rivers through the country are great spots for kayaking, boating, or swimming, too. While you can explore the waterways of the countryside by kayak or canoe, don't forget that you can often do this in the cities and towns as well, which offer a fun perspective on the historic urban areas.

Ireland is a great destination for participating in watersports. With a huge stretch of coastline, many visitors here participate in a variety of activities despite the relatively cooler weather. As long as you have the proper equipment for the activity, there's no reason why you can't enjoy the stunning beauty of the water. Surfing is very popular on the beaches, as the waves can be consistent and strong in many areas. Kayaking both on the coast and inland is also a great way to see Ireland from a different angle. Stand-up paddle boarding is another good option for areas with calmer waters. And many of the bays and harbors have clear waters with unique marine life, which makes wild swimming, scuba diving, and snorkeling a fun activity after putting on a thick wetsuit. Wind surfing and kite surfing are also possible. As with many other activities, you'll find plenty of surf shops and tour providers that can take you to the right places with the right equipment.


Is Belgium or Ireland Better for Outdoor Activities?

Belgium
Ireland

Overall, Ireland is considered to offer more outdoor activities and attractions to visitors.

Ireland offers fun and exciting outdoor activities for visitors. As Ireland is a fairly sparsely populated country with wide open spaces and beautiful landscapes, visitors will find plenty of outdoor activities of all types. The national parks are a good place to start, as you'll find hiking, camping, horseback riding, climbing, and more. And along the lengthy coastline, visitors can experience kayaking, surfing, swimming, hiking along the cliffs, and perusing gardens and castles. Visiting farms and the other agricultural regions are also quite popular. There's no shortage of outdoor activities in Ireland, so make them part of your itinerary.

Belgium offers some fun outdoor activities and attractions for travelers who seek them out. Wildlife areas and parks are very accessible to the larger cities and towns, many by public transit. So, if you're looking to get out of the urban areas, these parks are a good option. Hiking trails, boating, swimming, and other fun activities are found all over the country. And while the country is smaller than many others, it still has scenic outdoor spots such as the West Coast (Westkust) cycling route from De Panne or the Zwin walking route in Knokke-Heist, or the Eifel Nature Park.

Is Belgium or Ireland Better for a Road Trip?

Belgium
Ireland

Overall Ireland is considered to be better for road trips, as it has more opportunities.

Ireland is an extremely popular destination for those that want to take a road trip. The numerous small towns, natural scenic spots, castles, agricultural areas, and other out-of-the-way places make Ireland a terrific place for a road trip. In fact, in many ways it's easier to get around this country by car than with public transit if you're planning to visit many of these smaller sights and attractions. Many visitors make a large loop around the country from Dublin, stopping off at cliffside viewpoints, beaches, castles, small towns, and national park areas with mountains and hiking. The Ring of Kerry is a very busy area for a road trip for obvious reasons - it combines natural beauty with historical towns. The Dingle peninsula is another popular drive for similar reasons. Rental cars are generally easy to hire in Dublin or Galway, so planning a road trip through Ireland is quite easy.

Belgium is generally not the best destination for road trips, but it has a few options. To see some of the small towns in the countryside, taking a road trip might be a good option. Since the distances between cities and towns are not large, driving can be quite quick between destinations. The roads are great, and having your own car means that you can see some of the small and quaint places that are not as easy to reach by train or bus. Don't miss some of the castles (such as in Bouillon, or the monasteries that produce beer such as the one in Rochefort. Keep in mind that visiting the big cities with a car is generally not recommended since parking is limited.

Is Belgium or Ireland Better for Families?

Belgium
Ireland

Both Belgium and Ireland are fun to visit with kids.

Belgium is a very family-friendly destination. From fairy-tale cities such as Bruges to the large cathedrals filled with lights, and from the horse-drawn carriage rides and playgrounds to the old Castle of the Counts in Ghent, kids will be very entertained here. After all, this is the country of waffles and chocolate, and the adults can have a Belgian beer on the side, too. Many of the cities are also bike-friendly, which adds to the fun if you want to take a tour on two wheels. Or hop on a boat tour as Ghent, Bruges, and many others have canals and rivers with scenic views, too. And Brussels offers the Pixel Museum which is all about gaming and technology, as well as a puppet theater and various other art and history museums. You can also get into the outdoors to visit hiking trails and national parks, as well as interesting caves. And any kids interested in military history should visit Waterloo as well as the trenches of Ypres

With a huge array of activities for kids, Ireland is very family-friendly. Long cliff walks, castles, stunning beaches, gardens, lighthouses, and terrific museums are all some of the best things to do with families in Ireland. In Dublin, you'll find the Imaginosity Childrens Museum, the Dublin Zoo, the Natural History Museum, and Dublin Castle to name a few. Not far from Dublin you can find more castles, the Medieval Museum in Waterford, and Viking history. On the west coast, don't miss the cliffs of Moher, with their epic views, or the ancient stones of the Burren. And the small towns of the Ring of Kerry and Dingle Peninsula are fun for everyone, too.

Is Belgium or Ireland Better for Couples?

Belgium
Ireland

Both Belgium and Ireland are good destinations for a couple's getaway.

Belgium is a nice destination for couples. While it might not be the first place that couples think of, the big cities such as Brussels and Antwerp offer plenty of charming and romantic activities. Furthermore, many of the castles and chateaus in the countryside have been turned into luxury hotels, so you can experience history and luxury together. Hikes from some of the small villages to nearby castles are common any time of the year, especially in the spring and fall. And whether you're in a small town or one of the big cities, you'll find chocolate, waffles, and beer all over, not to mention plenty of other gourmet food options for that romantic evening out on the town. Theaters are also common, so take in a show or a concert after dinner.

See also Hostels for Solo Travellers, Couples, & Groups in Bruges, and Hostels for Solo Travellers, Female Travellers, & Couples in Brussels.

Ireland makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. The larger cities as well as the countryside offer plenty of romantic places such as Powerscourt Gardens, the famous and well-photographed Wicklow National Park, the many castles and manors around the island, and the fine dining restaurants and theaters of the cities. Many of the small towns are very picturesque and have plenty of activities for couples, not to mention the quaint bed and breakfasts and walking trails out into the countryside. Don't miss Ashford Castle, Adare Manor, or the Latin Quarter of Galway full of boutiques and cobblestone alleyways. Whether you're on a honeymoon in Ireland or just looking for a romantic weekend getaway, you'll find plenty of romantic opportunities here.

See also Hostels in Galway, Ireland for Backpackers, Couples, and Groups, and Hostels in Killarney for Solo Travellers, Couples, and Small Groups.


Is Belgium or Ireland Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Belgium
Ireland

For backpackers, both Belgium and Ireland are fairly comparable places to visit.

It's common for backpackers to visit Belgium. Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, and other major tourist destinations might not be the most budget-friendly places, but plenty of hostels and low-cost accommodations can be found in and around the cities. Furthermore, food at most restaurants is reasonably priced, especially if you avoid the touristy areas and the higher-end establishments. In generally, there's plenty of activities which are free or low in price. And younger travelers tend to enjoy Belgium's vibrant nightlife and bar scene, which is especially popular in Brussels as well as Antwerp, Ghent, and elsewhere. Transportation is also cheap and readily available.

See also Brussels Hotels & Hostels Near Grand Place, Hostels for Large Groups and Parties in Brussels, and Hostels for Solo Travellers, Couples, & Groups in Bruges.

Ireland is a great country to visit for backpackers. Ireland can be a very affordable destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the large number of lower-cost accommodations, affordable public transportation, and variety of cheaper food options. Hostels are common, especially in the larger cities and towns, as are budget-friendly hotels. Also, many of the sights and attractions are outdoors which means that they are often free or have cheaper entrance fees. Many of Ireland's best attractions are the cliffside or wilderness hikes such as those at the Cliffs of Moher (around €10), Glendalough in Wicklow Mountains National Park, or the Howth Cliff Walk loop. For food, if you eat your meals at a pub or small sandwich shop, you can save plenty of money. Many pubs also have a set menu as an early dinner which is cheaper if you arrive before 6:00 p.m. The trains and buses are also very affordable, especially since the country is not so large that every destination is just a few hours away at the most.

See also Dublin Hostels Near Temple Bar, Social Hostels in Dublin, Ireland, and Hostels for Groups in Dublin, Ireland.

Is Belgium or Ireland Better for Students?

Belgium
Ireland

For students, both Belgium and Ireland are fairly comparable places to visit.

It's common for students to visit Belgium. With major universities attracting students from all over the world, along with an active nightlife and bar scene, as well as affordable travel options, this country is a pretty good place for students. You'll find hostels, affordable food, fun cafes, and cheap activities in Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, and other cities. The largest university areas are found in Brussels, Leuven, Liege, Ghent, and Antwerp, so you might want to focus on these areas if you're visiting or are interested in studying abroad.

Ghent: The city is very popular with international students so it has a young and energetic vibe with plenty to do throughout the year.

See also Hostels for Backpackers and Students in Belgium.

Ireland is a good country to visit for students. With a variety of affordable accommodation options and active student neighborhoods featuring nightlife, cafes, and activities, it's easy to see why Ireland offers a lot for students. Various universities around the country draw large number of students both from Ireland and around the world. Dublin, Galway, and Limerick all have multiple universities and active student scenes.

See also Hostels in Ireland for Students and Backpackers.

Is Belgium or Ireland easier for Transportation?

Belgium
Ireland

Belgium and Ireland both offer transportation to get you around.

Visitors in Belgium can get around quickly with the extensive transportation system. The combination of the national train system, city trams and buses, great roads, and a good network of bike paths makes this one of the easiest countries to get around. Belgium is fairly small as a country, so the major cities and towns are not too far apart. The trains run frequently and efficiently, as do the local city trams and buses. Roads are well built for those that want to drive, too.

Is it easy to travel around Belgium?

  • It's very easy and convenient to travel by train.
  • Traveling by bus is very common and fairly easy.
  • It's possible to travel with an organized tour.
  • Travel by car is possible.
  • It's possible to travel by airplane.

The public transit in Ireland can get you around easily. The train system in Ireland can take you almost anywhere you want to go, and fairly quickly and efficiently too. The bus system is also great, and can get you to many more destinations if the trains can't. The prices are affordable and the trains are safe and clean, just as anywhere else in Europe. The roads are also very good and it's easy to rent a car to get around the country. In fact, if you're planning to visit many of the smaller towns along the coastline, such as in the Ring of Kerry, having a car is necessary because of a lack of transit options. Some of the national parks are also difficult to visit without a car, too. Otherwise, every larger city and town is accessible with trains or buses.

Is it easy to travel around Ireland?

  • Traveling by train is extremely popular.
  • It's quite common to travel by bus.
  • Travel on ferry boats is possible.
  • It's possible to travel on cruise ships and excursions.
  • It's quite common to get around if you join an organized tour.
  • Traveling by car is very common and fairly easy.
  • Travel by airplane is possible.

Is Belgium or Ireland more Comfortable for a Trip?

Both Belgium and Ireland are very comfortable to travel around, and offer plenty of amenities for visitors.

People often come to Belgium because it is such a comfortable and luxurious destination. Modern European comforts and luxuries are found everywhere here, so whether you're traveling to the cities or the countryside, you can expect modern conveniences. The larger cities have the most variation in price ranges for accommodations and restaurants, but at any price range you can expect modern facilities and quality service. Transportation is efficient and safe, and a large network of infrastructure for both locals and tourists alike can be found everywhere. The food is also excellent, clean, and safe no matter where you visit in Belgium. So, whether your a family looking for comfortable places for the kids, a couple on a romantic break, or a younger backpacker on a tight budget, everyone can expect to travel around efficiently and in comfort.

Ireland is extremely comfortable for travelers as it is a modern destination with plenty of amenities. Ireland is a modern and prosperous country with a high standard of living. So, as a traveler you can expect plenty of modern comforts no matter your price range, as even budget hotels will have clean, modern facilities and nice amenities. The public transportation network as well as the road are of high quality and are very efficient. Visitors will find plenty of infrastructure for tourists such as tours, taxis, hotel concierges, and more. And of course, plenty of luxury hotels and tour providers are also available if you seek a higher level of comfort.


Is Belgium or Ireland more Touristy?

Both Belgium and Ireland are very touristy.

Belgium is somewhat touristy. Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, Bruges, and Liege are the most popular destinations for visitors. They each see fairly large numbers of travelers, especially in the summer months. However, the cities themselves are large enough so that any particular area isn't overcrowded and the cities are easily manageable. Bruges is an especially popular place to visit, as this smaller city offers many attractions, so it can feel much more touristy than other places. Also, specific areas of each city are popular, such as the Castle of Counts in Ghent which sometimes has a long queue to enter. Other popular attractions include the Grand Palace in Brussels, the Belfry in Ghent, Bouillon Castle, and Waterloo. It's common to experience crowds at these locations and other popular spots, but again, it's usually manageable.

Ireland has a reasonable number of visitors. Most visitors arrive in the summer months when the weather is warmer, but even then, the tourist crowds are not too bad. Even so, visiting in the shoulder season or in the winter will lead to a trip with less crowds. The most popular tourist attractions are the Cliffs of Moher, the Ring of Kerry, Glendalough, Powerscourt Gardens, The Rock of Cashel, Killarney and its surroundings, and the Blarney Castle. In Dublin, some neighborhoods can be quite busy such as Grafton Street, as well as the museums, Trinity College, and the Kilmainham Gaol. And while all of these places do see plenty of visitors, it's still manageable and accessible during the busy summer months.

Antwerp Antwerp

Should I spend more time in Ireland or Belgium?

How long in Belgium or Ireland?

Belgium and Ireland both offer a nice selection of activities for visitors. Many people usually spend more of their time in Ireland than Belgium.

The ideal length of time for a trip to Belgium is 3-7 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to Ireland is 5-14 days.


  • How many days in Belgium or Ireland? Ideal Length of Stay
    Belgium 3-7 
    Ireland 5-14

A weekend in Belgium or Ireland?

In Belgium, you'll find museums, theater, and history and culture. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. Since there is so much to do in the area, a weekend is probably not enough for all of it.

In Ireland, you'll find nightlife, food, and water sports. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. One reason most visitors come is for the history and culture. Since there is so much to do in the area, a weekend is probably not enough for all of it.

Five days in Belgium or Ireland?

Belgium is a great place to explore. It is common to spend five days here. Five days is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Belgium has to offer. Anyone can find something fun to do here.

Ireland is a great place to explore. It is common to spend five days here. Five days is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Ireland has to offer. Anyone can find something fun to do here.

A week in Belgium or Ireland?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Belgium. In Belgium, you'll find history and culture, nightlife, and food. With all of its activities, you can easily fill one week here.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Ireland. In Ireland, you'll find water sports, hiking, and shopping. One reason most visitors come is for the history and culture. With all of its activities, you can easily fill one week here.

Two weeks in Belgium or Ireland?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Belgium. Many people enjoy the history and culture, nightlife, and food when visiting Belgium. Two weeks is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Ireland. In Ireland, you'll find water sports, hiking, and shopping. One reason most visitors come is for the history and culture. Two weeks is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Ireland has to offer.

Ghent, Belgium Ghent, Belgium

Which country is cheaper, Ireland or Belgium?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Belgium is €114, while the average daily cost in Ireland is €109. 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 country. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Belgium and Ireland in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Belgium 56
    Ireland 50
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Belgium 112
    Ireland 100
Compare Hotels in Belgium and Ireland

Looking for a hotel in Belgium or Ireland? 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 Belgium


Hotels in Ireland


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: Belgium Hotel Prices and Ireland Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Belgium 14
    Ireland 18
Typical Local Transportation prices in Belgium

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


  • Subway Pass
    4.50
  • Five Day Bus Pass
    15
  • Bike Rental for Day
    8.00
  • Atomium train ticket (2)
    8.00

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Belgium

Also for Belgium, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Brussels Airport (BRU) To Amsterdam: VIP Transfer: $522
  • Brussels: Airport (BRU) Private Transfer: $53
  • Brussels: Private Airport Transfer to the City: $36
  • Brussels: Private Transfer to/from Brussels Airport (BRU): $50
  • Brussels: Private VIP Transfer to/from Bruges: $260
  • Brussels: VIP Transfer between City/ Airport and Ghent: $44
  • Private Transfer from Amsterdam to Antwerp: $238
  • Private Transfer from Amsterdam to Brussels: $303
  • Private Transfer from Brussels to Amsterdam: $532
  • Private Transfers Between Brussels Airport and the City: $74
  • VIP Transfer between Brussels Airport (BRU) and Antwerp: $136

Typical Local Transportation prices in Ireland

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Ireland:


  • Rental Car for a Day
    15

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Ireland

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Ireland:

  • Private Transfer Dublin City Centre to Dublin Airport: $91
  • Private Transfer Dublin Airport to Dublin City Center: $91
  • Dublin: Private Transfer to/from Dublin Airport: $68
  • Rossaveel, Galway: Ferry Transfer to Inis Mór (Aran Islands): $34
  • Connemara/Galway: Inis Meáin Return Ferry Transfer: $34

Is it cheaper to fly into Belgium or Belgium?

Prices for flights to both Ireland and Belgium 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
    Belgium 34
    Ireland 32
Typical Food prices in Belgium

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Belgium:


  • Ice Cream & Macaroons
    4.60
  • Cup of Tea
    2.00
  • Sandwich for Lunch
    3.25
  • Dessert (Turkish Delights)
    4.75
  • Cheese
    5.60
  • Olives and Snacks
    6.98
  • Waffle
    3.00

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Belgium

For Belgium, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Bruges: Private Food Tour – 10 Tastings with Locals: $93
  • Brussels: Private Food Tour – 10 Tastings with Locals: $112
  • Brussels: Private Trip to Bruges & Food Tour with 6 Tastings: $177

Typical Food prices in Ireland

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


  • Lunch for Two
    32
  • Fish & Chips Dinner
    8.12
  • Lunch Lynam's Pub
    3.95

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Ireland

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

  • Dublin: Delicious Walking Food Tour: $74
  • Galway Food Tour: $75

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Belgium 16
    Ireland 15
Typical Entertainment prices in Belgium

For Belgium, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:


  • Groeninge Museum Entrance
    8.00

Tours and Activities in Belgium

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Belgium.

  • Bruges: Old Town Guided Walking Tour: $2.27
  • Brussels: Capital of Beer Exploration Game & Old Town Tour: $7.93
  • Bruges: Frietmuseum Entry Ticket: $9.07
  • Ghent: Medieval Center Guided Boat Tour: $10
  • Ghent: 40-Minute Historical Boat Tour of City Center: $10
  • Ghent: Guided Walking Tour: $11
  • Bruges: 2-Hour Guided Tour: $11
  • Bruges: Choco-Story Chocolate Museum Tour: $12
  • Brussels: Fin-de-Siècle and Old Masters Museum Entry Ticket: $13
  • Brussels: Magritte Museum Entry Ticket: $13
  • Tervuren: AfricaMuseum Entry Ticket: $14
  • Brussels: Train World Museum Entrance Ticket: $16

Typical Entertainment prices in Ireland

Here are a few typical costs in Ireland for activities, ticket prices, and tours that come from previous visitors:


  • Wild Wicklow Tour
    26
  • Guinness Brewery for Two
    27
  • St Pauls Cathedral
    4.50
  • Dublin Writer's Museum
    6.30

Tours and Activities in Ireland

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

  • 4-Day Grand Atlantic Rail Tour from Dublin: $813
  • 5-Day Tour of West Blarney Stone & Cliffs of Moher: $1,040
  • An Insider's Best of Malta - Half Day Tour: $169
  • Belfast & Giant's Causeway: 2-Day Rail Tour from Dublin: $344
  • Belfast: Full-Day Tour with Titanic Experience: $133
  • Best of Ireland 6-Day Backpackers Economy Tour: $590
  • Blarney Castle Full-Day Tour from Dublin: $72
  • Blarney and Cobh Tour from Cork: $40
  • Boyne Valley: Full-Day Celts and Castles Guided Tour: $48
  • Burren Discovery Ticket 7-Day Pass: Wild Atlantic Way: $28
  • Christ Church Cathedral Entrance Ticket & Self-Guided Tour: $9.61
  • Cliffs Cruise, Aran Islands & Connemara in One Day: $89

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Belgium 13
    Ireland 12
Typical Alcohol prices in Belgium

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


  • Bottle of Wine
    10
  • Beer
    6.00

Sample the Local Flavors in Belgium

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Belgium:

  • Brussels Pub Crawl: $14

Sample the Local Flavors in Ireland

Also in Ireland, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Dublin: Authentic Brewery Tour: $11
  • Dublin: Generation Pub Crawl: $14
  • Dublin: Pearse Lyons Whiskey Distillery Experience: $23
  • Dublin: Private Distillery Trail with Irish Whiskey Tasting: $316
  • Dublin: Private Pub Crawl Tour: $333


When comparing the travel costs between Belgium and Ireland, we can see that Belgium is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in Europe, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

Dingle, Ireland Dingle, Ireland

When is the best time to visit Belgium or Ireland?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

The Belgian climate in northern Europe experiences four seasons with cooler summers and cold wet winters. While the temperatures are often cold in the winter, it only snows periodically near the coast. And because the summers are not too hot, the weather is very pleasant during this popular time to visit.

Ireland can see its share of cold weather, especially on the coast during the wet winters. The summer months are mild with temperatures that are comfortable but not too warm. This makes it a great place to escape the summer heat from other destinations while taking in the country's history and culture. In fact, the weather can be wet at times and change suddenly, too. But it rarely snows in the winter, so don't be afraid to visit during the off season, too.


Should I visit Belgium or Ireland in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Belgium as well as Ireland. Many travelers come to Belgium for the family-friendly experiences. Additionally, many visitors come to Ireland in the summer for the beaches, the hiking, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences.

In the summer, Brussels is a little warmer than Dublin. Typically, the summer temperatures in Brussels in July are around 18°C (65°F), and Dublin is about 16°C (60°F).

In the summer, Brussels often gets more sunshine than Dublin. Brussels gets 186 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Dublin receives 166 hours of full sun.

Brussels usually gets more rain in July than Dublin. Brussels gets 75 mm (3 in) of rain, while Dublin receives 50 mm (2 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Brussels 18°C (65°F) 
    Brussels 16°C (60°F)

Should I visit Belgium or Ireland in the Autumn?

Both Ireland and Belgium are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. Many visitors come to Belgium in the autumn for the shopping scene and the natural beauty of the area. Also, most visitors come to Ireland for the hiking trails, the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area during these months.

In October, Brussels is generally around the same temperature as Dublin. Temperatures in Brussels average around 12°C (54°F), and Dublin stays around 11°C (52°F).

Brussels usually receives more sunshine than Dublin during autumn. Brussels gets 114 hours of sunny skies, while Dublin receives 97 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, Brussels usually receives around the same amount of rain as Dublin. Brussels gets 70 mm (2.8 in) of rain, while Dublin receives 70 mm (2.7 in) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Brussels 12°C (54°F) 
    Brussels 11°C (52°F)

Should I visit Belgium or Ireland in the Winter?

Both Ireland and Belgium during the winter are popular places to visit. Most visitors come to Belgium for the museums, the Christmas ambience, the shopping scene, the theater shows, and the cuisine during these months. Also, the winter months attract visitors to Ireland because of the museums, the Christmas ambience, the shopping scene, the theater shows, and the cuisine.

Brussels can be very cold during winter. Brussels is much colder than Dublin in the winter. The temperature in Brussels is usually 3°C (38°F) in January, and Dublin stays around 6°C (42°F).

In the winter, Brussels often gets less sunshine than Dublin. Brussels gets 49 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Dublin receives 56 hours of full sun.

Brussels usually gets around the same amount of rain in January as Dublin. Brussels gets 67 mm (2.6 in) of rain, while Dublin receives 69 mm (2.7 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Brussels 3°C (38°F) 
    Brussels 6°C (42°F)

Should I visit Belgium or Ireland in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Belgium and Ireland. The spring months attract visitors to Belgium because of the natural beauty. Also, the beaches and the natural beauty are the main draw to Ireland this time of year.

In the spring, Brussels is a little warmer than Dublin. Typically, the spring temperatures in Brussels in April are around 10°C (49°F), and Dublin is about 8°C (47°F).

Brussels usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Dublin during spring. Brussels gets 147 hours of sunny skies, while Dublin receives 157 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Brussels usually receives more rain than Dublin. Brussels gets 57 mm (2.2 in) of rain, while Dublin receives 51 mm (2 in) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Brussels 10°C (49°F) 
    Brussels 8°C (47°F)

Typical Weather for Dublin and Brussels

Brussels Dublin
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 3°C (38°F) 67 mm (2.6 in) 6°C (42°F) 69 mm (2.7 in)
Feb 4°C (39°F) 53 mm (2.1 in) 6°C (42°F) 50 mm (2 in)
Mar 6°C (43°F) 72 mm (2.8 in) 7°C (44°F) 54 mm (2.1 in)
Apr 10°C (49°F) 57 mm (2.2 in) 8°C (47°F) 51 mm (2 in)
May 14°C (57°F) 71 mm (2.8 in) 11°C (52°F) 55 mm (2.2 in)
Jun 17°C (62°F) 79 mm (3.1 in) 14°C (57°F) 56 mm (2.2 in)
Jul 18°C (65°F) 75 mm (3 in) 16°C (60°F) 50 mm (2 in)
Aug 18°C (65°F) 63 mm (2.5 in) 15°C (60°F) 71 mm (2.8 in)
Sep 16°C (60°F) 59 mm (2.3 in) 14°C (56°F) 67 mm (2.6 in)
Oct 12°C (54°F) 70 mm (2.8 in) 11°C (52°F) 70 mm (2.7 in)
Nov 7°C (45°F) 76 mm (3 in) 8°C (46°F) 65 mm (2.5 in)
Dec 4°C (40°F) 76 mm (3 in) 6°C (44°F) 76 mm (3 in)


Budget Your Trip

Budget Your Trip has average travel costs for thousands of cities around the world, all provided by other travelers. You can also register to organize your spending by category and location with graphs, maps, charts, and tables.

Share This Page
Pin This Page
Belgium vs. Ireland Travel Comparison

Some of the links on this website are sponsored or affiliate links which help to financially support this site. By clicking the link and making a purchase, we may receive a small commission, but this does not affect the price of your purchase.