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Brussels Safety: Am I Safe to Travel to Brussels, Belgium in 2024?

When planning a Brussels trip, safety is key. Beyond waffles and Manneken Pis, it's about exploring freely in Europe’s heart and cultural melting pot safely.

Tobi Miles
March 31, 2024
Brussels Safety: Am I Safe to Travel to Brussels, Belgium in 2024?

But how does Brussels really stack up when it comes to safety? It's a question that deserves a closer look, especially if you're gearing up for a visit. With its bustling streets, historic sites, and vibrant nightlife, understanding the safety landscape is key to enjoying all that Brussels has to offer. Let's dive into what you need to know to make your trip not just memorable, but also safe.

Key Takeaways

  • Brussels Crime and Safety Overview: Brussels experiences moderate crime rates, with pickpocketing and theft being the most common concerns, especially in crowded tourist areas and public transportation.
  • Safety Precautions in Brussels: To ensure safety, travelers should stay vigilant in crowded places, secure their belongings, and use reputable taxis or public transport during the night. Awareness and preparation are key to enjoying Brussels safely.
  • Neighborhoods to Exercise Caution: Certain neighborhoods like the Brussels North Station area and Molenbeek should be approached with caution, particularly after dark, due to higher rates of petty crimes and safety concerns at night.
  • Public Transportation Safety: Brussels' public transport system is generally safe but requires vigilance against pickpocketing, especially during rush hours and in busy stations. Using secure bags and staying aware of surroundings can enhance safety.
  • Tips for Solo Travelers: Solo travelers should keep devices charged for emergencies, choose well-reviewed accommodations with good security, learn basic local phrases, and use only verified transportation methods to ensure a secure visit.
  • Enjoying Brussels Safely: Despite safety concerns, Brussels remains a vibrant and welcoming city. With the right precautions and awareness, travelers can safely enjoy its rich history, culture, and culinary delights.

Crime Rate in Brussels

When you're planning a trip to Brussels, it's wise to take a close look at the crime rate in the city. Understanding the safety landscape is key to ensuring your visit is both enjoyable and worry-free.

Brussels, like any major city, has its areas of concern. The primary issues you might encounter are petty crimes such as pickpocketing, especially in crowded tourist destinations and on public transportation. However, when comparing Brussels to other European capitals, the crime rates are relatively moderate.

Key Statistics

Here's a quick glance at some notable crime rate statistics in Brussels:

Crime Type

Incidence Rate



Violent Crimes


Drug-Related Crimes


Safety Walking Alone

Night: Moderate; Day: High

Despite these figures, Brussels remains a city where many feel safe walking alone at night in most neighborhoods. The key to navigating the city safely lies in staying informed and prepared.

  • Be vigilant in crowded places: Tourist spots, public transport, and busy markets are hotspots for pickpockets.
  • Avoid walking alone at night in less populated or unfamiliar areas.
  • Keep your belongings secure: Use bags that can be securely closed and never leave your items unattended.

Law enforcement in Brussels is proactive about maintaining public safety, with a visible presence in many areas. The local police also run campaigns aimed at reducing petty crimes, especially targeting tourists who are often seen as easy targets.

Remember, while it's crucial to be aware of these crime rates and take precautions, don't let fear overshadow your experience. Brussels is a vibrant, diverse city with so much to offer, from its stunning architecture to its rich history and delicious cuisine. Being cautious and informed will allow you to fully enjoy what this beautiful city has to offer.

Safety Tips for Travelers

When visiting Brussels, your experience can be both enriching and safe with the right precautions. Stay informed and prepared with these proven safety tips.

Firstly, awareness is key. Busy tourist spots like the Grand Place are notorious for pickpocketing. Keep your valuables secure and out of sight. Consider using a money belt or a cross-body bag that closes securely.

Avoid walking alone at night in less populated areas. While Brussels is relatively safe, some neighborhoods outside the city center can feel less welcoming after dark. Opt for well-lit routes or use reputable taxi services or public transportation.

Stay alert on public transport. While the STIB-MIVB service is efficient, petty theft can occur, especially during rush hour. Be mindful of your belongings and maintain a cautious awareness of your surroundings.

Brussels hosts numerous events and festivals throughout the year. While these are great cultural experiences, they can also draw large crowds, making it easier for thieves to operate. Stay vigilant during events, and don't let your guard down amidst the festivities.

Emergency numbers are crucial. Keep a note of the local emergency number (112) and the number for the nearest embassy or consulate.

Emergency Service




Fire Brigade/ Ambulance


General Emergency


These tips, grounded in cautiousness and awareness, can significantly enhance your safety. Alongside these practices, regularly check travel advisories and local news for any situational updates in Brussels. Remaining informed and vigilant will ensure that your visit is as safe as it is enjoyable, letting you focus on the rich culture and history that Brussels has to offer.

Public Transportation Safety

When you're exploring Brussels, public transportation can be a convenient and efficient way to get around. However, like any major city, it's crucial to stay alert and prioritize your safety.

Brussels boasts a comprehensive and user-friendly public transport system, including trams, buses, and the metro. While these services are generally safe, incidents of pickpocketing and petty theft can occur, particularly in crowded stations or during peak travel hours.

To protect yourself, always keep your belongings secure and stay vigilant, especially while navigating busier stations like Gare du Midi, Gare du Nord, and Gare Centrale. These hubs are notorious for higher theft rates due to the heavy foot traffic.

Here are a few practical tips to enhance your security on public transportation:

  • Keep Valuables Out of Sight: Avoid displaying expensive gadgets or jewelry that might attract undue attention.
  • Use Secure Bags: Opt for bags with zippers or locks and keep them in front of you at all times.
  • Stay Aware: Keep an eye on your surroundings and be wary of distractions that could be a setup for theft.

Recent statistics reveal the effectiveness of staying cautious:


Reported Incidents in Public Transport





This data indicates a positive trend, showing a decrease in reported thefts, which suggests that awareness and precautionary measures are making a difference.

Remember, if you ever feel unsafe or witness suspicious activity, do not hesitate to contact the local authorities. Brussels' public transport operators also have security personnel and help points where you can report incidents or seek assistance. Engaging with the vibrant city of Brussels is largely a matter of using common sense and being alert in public spaces, ensuring that your travel experience is both enjoyable and safe.

Neighborhoods to Avoid

When visiting Brussels, awareness of which neighborhoods to steer clear of can significantly enhance your safety. Like any major city, Brussels has areas that are less safe than others, especially at night. While the city is generally safe for tourists, knowing the spots with higher rates of crime can help you stay out of trouble.

One of the primary areas to be cautious about is the Brussels North Station area, particularly after dark. This area has a higher rate of petty crimes like pickpocketing and purse snatching. Although there's a police presence, the bustling nature of this transport hub makes it a hotspot for thieves.

Another neighborhood often mentioned is Molenbeek, known for its vibrant multicultural atmosphere during the day. However, it has gained notoriety in recent years due to its association with crime and has been under more scrutiny. While it's crucial not to stigmatize any community, staying vigilant if you find yourself in this area, especially at night, is advisable.

The table below highlights crime rates and safety concerns in specific Brussels neighborhoods:


Crime Rate


Brussels North Station


Petty theft



Safety at night

Remember, data and safety ratings can change. Always check the latest travel advisories and local news before your trip. If you're venturing into less familiar parts of the city, consider traveling in groups. Additionally, sharing your location with a friend or family member can provide an extra layer of safety.

While these areas deserve a mention for their safety concerns, it's also crucial to note that most parts of Brussels are welcoming and do not pose significant risks to travelers. A bit of caution and common sense go a long way in ensuring your visit is both enjoyable and safe.

Safety Precautions for Solo Travelers

Exploring Brussels as a solo traveler offers a unique and thrilling experience, but it's vital to prioritize your safety. Being on your own in a new city means you should take extra precautions to ensure a secure trip.

Stay Connected

Always keep your mobile device charged and data-enabled. This not only helps you navigate through the city but also ensures you can make emergency calls or use safety apps. It's also wise to share your daily itinerary and location details with someone you trust back home.

Choose Accommodations Wisely

When selecting where to stay, prioritize locations with positive reviews and robust security measures. Areas well-connected by public transportation and with good lighting at night are preferable. Many solo travelers find comfort in staying at hostels or hotels with communal areas, as these places offer the opportunity to meet other travelers.

Key Consideration



Well-lit, close to public transport, and with good security.

Community Spaces

Hostels and hotels with communal areas to meet fellow travelers.

Reviews and Ratings

Select accommodations with high ratings and positive safety reviews.

Learn Basic Phrases

Knowing basic phrases in Dutch or French, such as "Help" or "I need a police officer," can be incredibly helpful. Being able to communicate, even minimally, can make a significant difference in unexpected situations.

Mind Your Belongings

Be vigilant about your personal belongings, especially in crowded places like Brussels North Station or popular tourist areas. Wearing a cross-body bag and keeping valuable items like your passport and credit cards in a secure pocket or money belt is recommended.

Use Verified Transportation

Only use verified forms of transportation. This includes official taxis, recognized rideshare apps, and public transportation. Avoid accepting rides from unmarked vehicles or individuals offering unsolicited assistance.

By following these safety tips, you'll be in a better position to enjoy everything Brussels has to offer without compromising your security. Stay aware, stay informed, and make your solo trip to Brussels a memorable one for all the right reasons.


Brussels awaits with its rich history, vibrant culture, and culinary delights. By arming yourself with the right precautions, your solo adventure in this Belgian gem can be both safe and unforgettable. Remember, the key to a worry-free experience lies in staying informed, prepared, and aware of your surroundings. So pack your bags, embrace these safety tips, and get ready to explore Brussels with confidence. Your incredible journey is just a step away, and now you're fully equipped to enjoy it to the fullest.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the key safety tips for solo travelers in Brussels?

For solo travelers in Brussels, it's crucial to stay connected with someone about your whereabouts, choose accommodations with good reviews for security, learn basic Dutch or French phrases, be mindful of your belongings, and use only verified transport options. These steps significantly improve safety while exploring the city.

How should I choose accommodations in Brussels?

Choose accommodations in Brussels by looking for places with high ratings, particularly in terms of safety and location. Opt for well-reviewed hotels or Airbnbs in secure neighborhoods to ensure a safer stay.

Is it important to learn Dutch or French when traveling solo to Brussels?

Yes, learning basic phrases in either Dutch or French can be very beneficial when traveling solo to Brussels. It helps in navigating the city more smoothly, interacting with locals, and can be particularly useful in emergency situations.

What precautions should I take with my belongings in Brussels?

Always keep a close eye on your personal belongings, especially in crowded areas like markets or public transport. Use anti-theft bags or backpacks and avoid flashing valuables in public. It's better to carry a copy of your important documents instead of the originals when out exploring.

How can I use transportation safely in Brussels?

Ensure safe transportation in Brussels by using official and verified options only. This includes licensed taxis, recognized ride-sharing services, and public transportation networks. Always double-check the vehicle and driver details before starting your trip.

Tobi Miles
Article updated:
March 31, 2024
A nomadic wordsmith savoring the world's flavors and penning stories that turn every journey into an epic.
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