Just moved to Belgium? Make your new life as an expat easier by downloading these top must-have apps in Belgium onto your phone.
Whether you’re an American in Antwerp or a Brazilian in Brussels, knowing how to go about your everyday life if you’re new in Belgium can be challenging. However, it helps if you have the right apps on your phone. From knowing how to get around the local public transit system in Ghent to finding the best takeaway pizza in Charleroi, apps can make your life a lot more manageable.
To help you download with confidence, here are the top must-have apps in Belgium:
- Learning the local language
- Finding accommodation
- Getting around: public transport apps
- Eating and food delivery
- Belgian admin apps
- Living a sustainable lifestyle
- Travel and holiday planning
- Handling your finances
- Mobility apps in Belgium
- Out-and-about in Belgium apps
Looking for a home away from home in Belgium? Airbnb is a global online community offering accommodation and experiences. They have a selection of over 6 million unique properties available through their secure booking service. So, whether you're moving to Brussels or Bruges, Airbnb has the right short-term let for you.
Learning the local language
When it comes to learning the local language, there are few countries in the world quite like Belgium. Depending on where you move to, you could be faced with French, Dutch, or even German in your everyday life. Therefore, it is even more important to have a solid grasp of the local lingo to help you settle into your new home.
Babbel is a language-learning app that can help you brush up on your French, Dutch, and German, along with a range of other languages. Its easy-to-follow courses are created by professionals, so you know you’re in good hands as soon as you open the app. You can also learn at your own pace and practice in between when you’re out and about.
Learn German, French, and Dutch with Duo the owl on Duolingo. With courses testing your reading, speaking, and listening skills, this app’s game-styled lessons will have you speaking other languages in no time.
If you believe that conversation is the best way to learn a language, then Tandem is for you. The app connects you to native speakers from Belgium so you can practice your language skills. With its chat and video features, this app will help you build your confidence in speaking a new language.
Finding the right home for you and your family in a brand-new country can be tough, even for the most seasoned expat. In a country like Belgium, you not only have the language barrier to contend with, but you also need to navigate the unique aspects of the Belgian housing market. But you shouldn’t let that stop you from finding the home of your dreams – these apps are here to help you in your search.
Immoweb can help make your housing dreams a reality. You’ll find a range of properties to rent or buy across Belgium on this easy-to-use app. Whether you’re looking for a family townhouse in Ghent or a studio apartment in central Brussels, you’ll be able to search through thousands of listings to find your new home.
One of the most popular renting apps, Airbnb can help you find short and long-term rentals across Belgium. With their filters, you can set your preferences for location, type of property, dates, and prices to make your search easier and faster. With plenty of options to choose from, you’re bound to find a property in no time.
Find rentals across Belgium with the help of Spotahome. Offering rooms, studios, apartments, and student residences for rent, this trusted app offers you virtual tours of your accommodation of interest. This is ideal if you can’t make the journey to the viewing in person.
Getting around: public transport apps
Do you know when the first train to Bruges leaves in the morning? How about which metro train will take you and your family to the ever-popular Mini Europe? As an expat, getting your head around public transportation in Belgium can be tricky – but it doesn’t have to be with the right app on your phone.
Citymapper is one such app that will help you move around Belgium just like a local. Operating across the country, the app helps you get from A to B with ease; whether you’re taking the bus, train, or simply cycling around the capital. You can even keep track of your journey stats and compare them with other users in your city.
Plan your train journey around Belgium with SNCB. Operated by Belgium’s national train operator, this app will help you plan your commute, buy tickets, and give you access to train timetables in real-time. You’ll also receive notifications if there’s been a change with your train times.
If you’re in Brussels, the STIB-MIVB app is your go-to for navigating transport in the city. Run by the capital’s public transit operator, the app offers real-time travel information for buses, trams, night routes, and more.
To get that wanderlust flowing, Omio is a fantastic travel app that can help you find all the ticket and journey information you could ever need for your next trip. With the app, you’ll be able to compare a variety of international travel options, including planes, trains, and buses. You can even book tickets and sign up for price alerts that notify you if there are discounts on your favorite routes, so you never have to miss out on great travel deals again.
Eating and food delivery
Think of Belgium and you’ll often be met with images of beer, chocolate, waffles, and, of course, the ever-popular moules-frites. For a small country, Belgian cuisine certainly packs a flavorsome punch. As an expat, you’ll probably be tempted to try some and recreate some of these delicacies at home after you’ve bought groceries from your local Belgian supermarket.
Download the HelloFresh app and have meal kits delivered straight to your door. This food delivery app lets you pick from a wide range of innovative, colorful recipes. The fresh ingredients are then delivered straight to your door at a time that suits you. From vegetarian classics to modern twists on family favorites, you’ll find something for everyone on this handy app.
Do you want fast food delivered straight to your door? Takeaway.com can help you with that. Simply download the app, put in your location, and choose from the abundance of restaurants offering their services in your area. What’s more, you can also track your order in real time until it reaches your door.
Belgian admin apps
Modern life can seem like a never-ending memory test when it comes to the number of usernames and passwords we all have these days. Whether you’re signing into your social media accounts, accessing government portals, or checking your utility bills online, remembering all that information can be tough. Thankfully, there are a couple of apps for that if you live in Belgium.
itsme is an app that acts as your digital ID. Instead of having a long list of usernames and passwords, you’ll be able to log in simply and securely using your phone. Fortunately, some of Belgium’s biggest companies are also accessible through the app, including retail bank KBC, health insurer Business & Expats Health Insurance, and telecoms provider Proximus.
Have all your official correspondence in one place with Doccle. This app helps you store all your administration directly onto your phone so you’ll never miss out on an important email, bill, or appointment. If you need to authorize a document, you can also use the app to sign any admin forms.
Google Translate is a handy tool for translating your admin from a foreign language to your mother tongue. Whether it’s documents or street signs, you can use the app’s camera feature to hold your phone up to the text and translate on the go.
Living a sustainable lifestyle
We all try to be a little greener in our everyday lives, but it can be tough to get into good habits in a new country. For many, simply understanding how the local recycling system works is challenging enough. However, with a few taps on the right button, you can download some great sustainability apps onto your phone. This will make those all-important green choices a lot easier.
Free tap water Belgium
Free tap water Belgium is an app that does exactly what you might expect: it connects you to sources of free tap water across the country. And this includes some restaurants, too. Traditionally, free tap water is not on the menu at most Belgian eateries, but an environmentally-minded campaign looks to change that. For now, the app helps you find cafés and restaurants that have signed for the scheme.
Save costs and help the environment with the Scone app. Measure your carbon footprint and get tips and goals personalized for greener habits. You can also use the app for your family, community, or workplace to get tailor-made group tips.
Too Good To Go
Want to save on food before it goes in the trash? Look no further than Too Good To Go. This app connects you with local cafés, bakeries, and eateries in Belgium to buy their food at a discounted price before it is disposed of. Not only will you help the environment in this way, but you’ll also become familiar with your local food scene.
Travel and holiday planning
There are some great places to visit in Belgium, including the picture-perfect Bruges and the modern port city of Antwerp. But the country is also conveniently located near some of Europe’s best destinations. World-famous cities like Amsterdam, Paris, London, and Berlin are only a train ride away, and Belgium is a great base to explore the continent.
If you like navigating your holiday behind the wheel, Rentalcars.com can get your ride sorted. Offering rental cars in Belgium and beyond, you can use the app to find the perfect car model and brand for you. Operating in over 60,000 locations with customer support on hand, you’ll be driving hassle-free in no time.
For flight bookings, download Skyscanner. The app places flights side-by-side, allowing you to compare flight prices and times so that you can find the journey that works best for you. They also have hotel and car-renting features to sort out your holiday accommodation and travel needs.
Handling your finances
Setting up a bank account in Belgium is probably high up on the to-do list of many expats arriving in the country. Not only will having a local bank account make you feel more settled in your new home, but it will also make your everyday life that little bit easier. From paying for your internet to paying for your Belgian phone, you might be surprised just how convenient life becomes.
Hello bank! is a Belgian mobile bank that lets you set up an account in minutes. Powered by the banking giant BNP Paribas, the app offers a range of banking options, including current accounts, credit cards, and even mortgages. You’ll also find the latest mobile payment options, including Apple Pay and Google Pay, at your fingertips.
If you’re new to mobile banking in Belgium, the N26 app is a great place to start. You’ll be able to apply for an account in minutes from the comfort of your phone. This will give you access to a wide range of banking services, including current accounts, mobile payments, and more. The app can even give you insight into your spending habits, helping you better manage your money.
Looking to make international money transfers? Download Wise. Operating in over 175 countries and 50 currencies, you can use Wise to send your money from Belgium all across the world with ease.
Mobility apps in Belgium
Want to help the environment by leaving your car at home but don’t feel like traveling on a busy tram or metro train during rush hour? Thankfully, these days there are more options than ever when it comes to greener travel in Belgium. While some expats prefer to cycle, others might be tempted to try something a little different by jumping on an electric scooter.
Lime is an electric scooter-sharing platform that operates in Brussels. On the app, you’ll be able to locate your nearest dockless electric scooter in the city, hop on board, and ride to your next destination. The scooters are modern and easy to use, offering a great alternative for residents making short journeys around the city center.
One of the most popular ride-sharing apps, Uber can help you get around Brussels with ease. Once you’ve downloaded the app, simply put in your destination, pick your vehicle of choice, and a driver will come to pick you up. You can also see how much the ride comes to before stepping foot in the car – all from the comfort of your phone.
Looking for an easy way to get around Antwerp? Velo – the city’s bike-sharing scheme – can help you out. You can use their app, you can locate Velo docking stations near you, rent your bike of choice, and sustainably explore the city.
Out-and-about in Belgium apps
What better way to explore your new home than by getting out and about and discovering the best Belgium has to offer? Whether you want to pamper yourself at a local spa or try your hand at some city activities you’ve never considered before, you might be surprised at what’s on offer. And, of course, there’s an app that helps you get more from your new life in Belgium.
Groupon helps you explore your surroundings by offering amazing discounts and deals on several activities, days out, and more. By downloading the app, you’ll get notified of the latest deals, ensuring you and your family don’t miss out on the things you love. From family days out to red-letter days and discounts at some of Belgium’s best restaurants, you’ll find it all on Groupon.
thefork is perfect for foodies wishing to explore the Brussels restaurant scene. With this app, you can discover and book tables at the best Belgian restaurants. What’s more, you can use the app to see the average meal price per restaurant, perfect if you’re trying to budget efficiently.
Looking to make new friends in Belgium? The Meetup app helps you meet up with like-minded people who share your interests and hobbies. With both locals and expats using the app, you’re bound to make friends from all over the world.