Matonge Travel Guide

Matonge is a lively neighborhood in Brussels that is popular for its urban culture, nightlife, and Afro-European vibe. Read this guide to plan your trip to Matonge, including places to visit, hiking/biking routes, food and drink scene, where to stay, local culture, safety tips, and more.

Matonge Travel Guide - Explore the Heart of Brussels

Welcome to Matonge, a vibrant Belgian neighborhood that blends the cultures of Africa and Europe. With its colorful street art, crowded cafes, and multicultural markets, Matonge is a must-visit destination for any traveler seeking an offbeat experience in Brussels. This travel guide will provide you with all the information you need to plan your trip to Matonge, including places to visit, hiking/biking routes, food and drink scene, where to stay, local culture, safety tips, and more.

List of Places to Visit in Matonge

Matonge is a small neighborhood that spans across the communes of Ixelles and Saint-Gilles in Brussels. Despite its size, it offers plenty of interesting sites and landmarks to explore, including:

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  1. Musee des Lettres et Manuscripts: A unique museum dedicated to the history of writing, featuring original manuscripts by famous authors such as Rimbaud, Verlaine, and Kafka.
  2. Musee d’Ixelles: A fine arts museum located in a beautiful Art Nouveau building, showcasing the work of Belgian and international artists from the 19th and 20th centuries.
  3. Matonge Market: A bustling open-air market held every Sunday in the heart of Matonge, selling everything from African fabrics and crafts to Belgian delicacies and vintage items.

Natural Attractions of Matonge: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  1. Bois de la Cambre: A vast urban park located at the southern edge of Matonge, featuring a lake, a forest, and several walking and cycling paths.
  2. Parc Tenbosch: A small but charming public garden situated in the middle of Matonge, perfect for a picnic or a stroll.
  3. Avenue Louise: A wide boulevard that runs along the eastern border of Matonge, lined with luxury shops, restaurants, and art galleries.

Hiking/Biking Routes in Matonge

Matonge is an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering several hiking and cycling routes that allow you to explore the natural beauty of the area. Some of the popular routes include:

  1. Bois de la Cambre Loop: A 10-km loop that takes you around the Bois de la Cambre park, passing through forests, meadows, and a picturesque pond.
  2. Watermael-Boitsfort to Matonge Bike Trail: A 6-km bike trail that connects the quaint village of Watermael-Boitsfort with the vibrant Matonge neighborhood, passing through scenic green spaces and historic landmarks.
  3. The Matonge Walking Tour: A self-guided walking tour that takes you through the colorful streets of Matonge, introducing you to its vibrant nightlife, music scene, multicultural markets, and street art.

Best Things to Do in Matonge: Activities and Tours

Matonge is a vibrant neighborhood that offers plenty of exciting activities and tours to entertain all types of travelers. Some of the best things to do in Matonge include:

  1. Join a street art tour: Matonge is known for its vibrant street art scene, with colorful murals and graffiti adorning the walls of many buildings. Join a guided tour to discover the hidden gems of Matonge’s street art scene and learn about the artists who create them.
  2. Visit the Matonge market: Every Sunday, the streets of Matonge come alive with the vibrant Matonge market, selling everything from fresh produce and handmade crafts to vintage clothes and African art.
  3. Enjoy the nightlife: Matonge is a popular destination for young people looking for a party, with a wide selection of bars, clubs, and music venues that cater to all tastes.

Week-Long Itinerary for Matonge

If you’re planning to spend a week in Matonge, here’s a sample itinerary that will help you make the most of your trip:

Day Activity
1 Arrive in Brussels and check in at your hotel
2 Explore the Matonge neighborhood, including the street art scene, markets, and nightlife
3 Visit the Musee d’Ixelles and the nearby Bois de la Cambre park
4 Take a day trip to the nearby town of Waterloo, site of the famous battle
5 Visit the Musee des Lettres et Manuscripts and take a guided walking tour of Matonge
6 Enjoy a relaxing day at Parc Tenbosch and indulge in some shopping on Avenue Louise
7 Depart Brussels for your next destination

Food and Drink Scene in Matonge

Matonge is a melting pot of cultures, and its food and drink scene reflects this diversity. Here are some must-try dishes and local beverages to taste when you’re in Matonge:

Must-Try Dishes

  1. Mafé: A traditional West African dish made with meat (usually beef or chicken) and a rich peanut butter sauce, served with rice or couscous.
  2. Moules-frites: A Belgian classic that consists of mussels cooked in white wine and served with crispy fries and mayonnaise.
  3. Carbonnade flamande: A hearty beef stew made with beer, onions, and bread, served with bread or fries.

Local Beverages

  1. Kwak: A strong Belgian beer with a rich, malty flavor and a distinctive glassware that requires a wooden stand to hold it.
  2. Jupiler: A popular Belgian lager beer that is often served in bars and pubs.
  3. Chocolat chaud: A comforting hot chocolate made with high-quality Belgian chocolate and served with whipped cream or marshmallows.

Where to Stay in Matonge: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Matonge offers plenty of accommodation options for all budgets and preferences, from luxury hotels to budget-friendly hostels. Here are some of the top places to stay in Matonge:

  1. Hotel Izan Avenue Louise: A stylish boutique hotel located on Avenue Louise, offering comfortable rooms and excellent amenities.
  2. Hostel Bruegel: A cozy hostel located in the heart of Matonge, offering affordable dorms and private rooms.
  3. B&B Le Jardin de Marie-Jeanne: A charming guesthouse situated in a quiet residential area of Matonge, offering tastefully decorated rooms and a beautiful garden.

What to Buy in Matonge: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Matonge is a fantastic destination for shopping, with a wide range of souvenirs, crafts, and local products available at the neighborhood markets and shops. Some of the best things to buy in Matonge include:

  1. African fabrics and crafts: Matonge is known for its vibrant African culture, and you’ll find plenty of beautiful fabrics, jewelry, sculptures, and other crafts to choose from.
  2. Belgian chocolates: Belgium is famous for its high-quality chocolates, and you’ll find plenty of chocolatiers in Matonge who offer a wide variety of delicious treats.
  3. Vintage clothing and accessories: Matonge is also a popular destination for vintage lovers, with a range of boutiques and shops offering unique clothing and accessories from past decades.

Local Culture and Customs of Matonge

Matonge is a unique neighborhood that blends the cultures of Africa and Europe, resulting in a rich and colorful local culture. Here are some of the customs and traditions that define life in Matonge:

  1. Music and dance: Matonge is known for its lively music scene, with local musicians performing a wide range of genres, including zouk, reggae, hip-hop, and traditional African rhythms. Dancing is also an important part of Matonge’s culture, with many clubs and bars hosting dance events and parties.
  2. Multiculturalism: Matonge is a melting pot of cultures, home to a diverse community of people from all corners of the world. As such, respecting and celebrating cultural diversity is an essential part of life in Matonge.
  3. Street art: Matonge is famous for its colorful street art scene, with many local artists expressing their creativity through murals, graffiti, and installations. This art form is an important part of Matonge’s cultural heritage and identity.

Best Time to Visit Matonge

Matonge is a lively neighborhood that is worth visiting any time of the year. However, the best time to experience the vibrant energy and multicultural atmosphere of Matonge is during the summer months (June to August), when the weather is warm and sunny, and outdoor activities and festivals abound.

Do’s and Don’ts of Matonge

When visiting Matonge, there are certain cultural norms and etiquette to be aware of. Here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind:


  1. Respect cultural diversity: Matonge is home to a diverse community of people from all over the world. Respect and celebrate this diversity by being open-minded and tolerant towards others.
  2. Learn some French: French is one of the official languages of Brussels, including Matonge. Learning some basic French phrases will help you communicate with the locals and enhance your travel experience.
  3. Explore the neighborhood on foot: Matonge is a small neighborhood that is best explored on foot. Take the time to wander its colorful streets and discover its hidden gems.


  1. Be loud and disruptive: Matonge is a lively neighborhood that is known for its nightlife and music scene. However, be respectful of the locals and avoid being too loud or disruptive, especially late at night.
  2. Take photos without permission: Matonge is a neighborhood with a vibrant street art scene. However, be respectful of the artists and their work by asking for permission before taking photos of their murals and installations.
  3. Engage in illegal activities: Matonge, like any other neighborhood, has its share of illegal activities. Be aware of your surroundings and avoid engaging in any illegal activities, such as buying drugs on the street.

Safety and Health

Matonge is generally a safe neighborhood to visit, but like any other urban area, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions to ensure your safety. Here are some safety and health tips to keep in mind:

Safety in Matonge

  1. Be aware of pickpockets: Matonge is a crowded neighborhood, and pickpocketing can be a problem. Keep your valuables close to you and avoid carrying large amounts of cash or other valuable items.
  2. Use common sense: Be aware of your surroundings and avoid walking alone after dark, especially in deserted areas.
  3. Follow local customs: Respect the local customs and norms to avoid offending the locals or putting yourself in unsafe situations.

Health in Matonge

  1. Carry a first-aid kit: It’s always a good idea to carry a basic first-aid kit with you when traveling, including items such as band-aids, pain relievers, and antiseptic wipes.
  2. Stay hydrated: Brussels can get hot and humid in the summer, so be sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  3. Seek medical attention when needed: If you feel unwell or have any health concerns, seek medical attention from a qualified healthcare professional.

Getting to Matonge: Transportation Options and Logistics

Matonge is located in the heart of Brussels and is easily accessible by a variety of transportation options. Here are some of the ways to get to Matonge:

Airports Near Matonge

  1. Brussels Airport: The main airport serving Brussels, located 12 km northeast of Matonge.
  2. Brussels South Charleroi Airport: A secondary airport serving Brussels, located 50 km south of Matonge.

Bus Stations Near Matonge

  1. Brussels North Train Station: A major train station located 4 km north of Matonge, offering connections to other parts of Brussels and the rest of Belgium.
  2. Brussels South Train Station: A busy train station located 2 km south of Matonge, offering connections to other parts of Brussels and international destinations.

Other Options

  1. Car rental: If you prefer to have your own transportation, you can rent a car from one of the many car-rental agencies in Brussels.
  2. Taxi: Taxis are abundant in Brussels and can be hailed on the street or booked in advance.

How to Get Around in Matonge

Matonge is a small and walkable neighborhood, and most of the popular attractions can be reached on foot. However, if you prefer to use public transportation, here are some options:

  1. Tram: The tram network in Brussels is efficient and affordable, with several lines passing through Matonge.
  2. Bus: The bus network in Brussels is extensive, and several lines connect Matonge with other parts of the city.
  3. Metro: The metro network in Brussels is limited but still offers a few options for getting around, including the nearby Louise and Porte de Namur stations.

Where to Go Next from Matonge: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Matonge is located in the heart of Brussels and offers easy access to other nearby destinations and excursions. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Grand Place: The central square and heart of Brussels, situated just a few kilometers north of Matonge.
  2. Atomium: A unique structure representing an iron molecule, housing a museum and offering panoramic views of Brussels, located 10 km north of Matonge.
  3. Waterloo: A historic town located 30 km south of Matonge, known for the famous battle that took place there in 1815.


Matonge is a vibrant neighborhood that offers a unique blend of African and European cultures, making it a must-visit destination in Brussels. With its colorful street art, bustling markets, lively music scene, and multicultural cuisine, Matonge offers something for every type of traveler. We hope this travel guide has provided you with all the information you need to plan your trip to Matonge, including places to visit, hiking/biking routes, food and drink scene, where to stay, local culture, safety tips, and more. Enjoy your travels!