6 days in Belgium

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Jan 27th, 2017, 06:52 PM
  #1
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6 days in Belgium

We will have 6 days in Belgium in May. Wanting to visit Antwerp, Ghent and Bruges. Thinking of having 3 nights in Antwerp and 3 nights in Ghent and just doing day trips by train to Bruges and elsewhere.. Or should we just stay in one place and do day trips. We will be going to Lille after and picking up a car to drive to Meman and Ypres for another day trip.
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Jan 27th, 2017, 07:46 PM
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I wasn't a big fan of Antwerp. It's one of those places that some people love, others not so much. Before committing to three nights there, try to understand why some people love it and make sure you are likely to share their kind of mindset and travel preferences.

I just didn't find much charm in Antwerp. The waterfront is basically abandoned. There are some nice squares and some great museums; the museums might be essential for some. The old train station is beautiful, though. I understand that Antwerp has a good restaurant scene, but this was of no real interest to me.

Bruges (very touristy especially during the daytime) and Ghent are much more charming and pretty, with canals lined with beautiful buildings and scenery. Conventional wisdom says stay in Ghent and avoid staying in Bruges because of how touristy Bruges is - but keep in mind that if you stay in Ghent and day trip to Bruges, you'll be there at the worst time, when the day trippers are there. Bruges is much quieter at night, but I'm sure Ghent is lovely at night also (I stayed in Bruges and day tripped to Ghent.) The Ghent train station is not in the center of town, so keep in mind that you'll probably need to catch a tram from there to get to/from the town center. Bruge's main station is maybe slightly closer; I did walk to the station once from my B&B, and it was actually quite a nice walk with some lovely scenery. I don't recall the tram ride (that I could have walked, a fairly long walk) between central Ghent and its train station being all that special.
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Jan 27th, 2017, 08:15 PM
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I spent a couple of nights in both Antwerp and Ghent. I spent 3 nights in Bruges. Antwerp was my least favorite. I enjoyed seeing the beginige (sp?) and the beautiful train station in Antwerp and a bit of the old town but little else.

I would split between Bruges and Ghent with a day trip to Antwerp.
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Jan 27th, 2017, 08:38 PM
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Here is a place we liked very much in Gent.

http://www.snoozinn.be/

If you go, tell him the guy with the parking ticket problem sent you.
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Jan 28th, 2017, 12:25 AM
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Beguinage in French, Begijnhof in Flemish.
I spent 3 months in Antwerpen and it is avery nice and lively city.
Now it is also a very busy port.

OP : if you drive, please get used to the flemsih spoelling or use a good GPS !
Ypres is Ieper, Bruges is Brugge, Meman is actually Menen, Antwerp is Antwerpen (easy) Ghent is Gent and Lille is .... Rijsel.
(that one is a subject of discord between French drivers and Flemish : Lille is in France but we keep the old flemish name and confuse every driver ... ehehe).
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Jan 28th, 2017, 12:34 AM
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I don't know how people can recommend one place over another without knowing anything about the OP's interests. If you're looking for pretty, quaint, touristy - then Brugge is an obvious choice. If on the other hand you're more into architecture, fashion, and like to go off the beaten path, then Antwerp fits the bill.

http://nypost.com/2017/01/24/dont-mi...d-second-city/

With 3 nights, perhaps also visit one of the smaller towns, such as Mechelen or Lier.
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Jan 28th, 2017, 04:02 AM
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and there is also a Flemish village called Lille. So follow WoinParis' advice.

Signs on the motorway will point you to Rijssel instead of Lille (France).

Bergen - Mons is another one that sometimes confuses travelers.
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Jan 28th, 2017, 04:20 AM
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It also confuses us. I used to live in Mons and I found myself one talking to a cop who asked me where I was staying. Answering Bergen, he thought first I was from Norway. He was not accustomed to having Wallons giving the flemish name of their towns.

And I nearly missed my exit lately when I saw the signs 'S'gravenbrakel'. I told my wife : err, wait : Graaf is 'comte' - Brakel is translated into Alleud : we go to Braine-Le-Comte, that's it !

Crazy country.

Ps : I think you mean Lillo, close to Antwerpen, quaint little old small fishermen' village. Now an enclave in the industrial area of Antwerpen.
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Jan 28th, 2017, 05:52 AM
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No there's also a 'Lille' pronounced in a Flemish way. Famous story about people traveling to the European Cup or something like that and ending up in the Flemish countryside instead of Lille/Rijssel. I don't think that the OP is staying there, though.


Anyway, advice for Demon22; it all depends on what your interests are. My mom would say Brugge, my 20-something kids would say Brugge is sooo boooring and go for Antwerp. Or Gent.
Or spend a day at the beach is the weather is nice. Or go cycling from Brugge to Damme.

And beware of the holidays in May; May 1 and 25. The latter is a Thursday and many people take the Friday as well.
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Jan 28th, 2017, 07:46 AM
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I spent 5 days in Belgium. I booked an hotel in Bruxelles. In my opinion Bruxelles is a beautiful city. I visited the museum of comic "Muséé Belge de la Bande Desinée" that is very nice. In this museum there are the comic of Tin Tin and Puffi with a reproduction of Puffi's village. In Bruxelles you must visit "La Grand Place" which is the most important square of city (I suggest to visit it in the night because when it's lighted it's very nice). I suggest to eat the shellfishs with rochefort ( a type of cheese very good) and to drink the typic belgian beer.
The name of restaurant is "Chez Moi Restaurant".

In Bruxelles another thing that you can't lost,in my opinion, is the Atomium. The Atomium is a very original building that you can reach by metro.

Bruges is the most beautiful city that I visited in Belgium. You can walk around the city in order to take photo of wind mills. The part of city with canal is very characteristic and it remembers Amsterdam.
A nice pub where you can drink good beer in Bruges is "La Garre".
Antwerp is the city that I like less. The only two things beautiful are the train station and the diamond museum.
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Jan 28th, 2017, 12:48 PM
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Demon22, I'll also have 6 days in Belgium in May, and like you I am still trying to decide exactly where to spend them. Since I love quaint and pretty, Bruges will definitely be one of them, even if touristy! Since I'll be coming by train from Paris to Brussels I may spend a night or two there, as I'm interested in the museums. My dilemma is whether to split Bruges with Ghent. I'll probably skip Antwerp, but would love to see the train station there. Wish I had more time.

Report back what you decide to do!
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Jan 28th, 2017, 12:56 PM
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Thank you Woin and Tulips, now you get me more confused than before, I don't know which Lille is which anymore.
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Feb 2nd, 2017, 04:27 AM
  #13
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Thanks all - especially for the tips on the spelling of the towns.
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