6 Days in Belgium

Jun 9th, 2019, 11:12 AM
  #1  
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6 Days in Belgium

My wife and I are planning a 6 day journey to Belgium at the end of September.
Our tentative itinerary:
Brussels- 1 night
Antwerp- 2 nights
Bruges- 1 night or 2 nights
Ghent- 1 night
Brussels- 1 night.
We will be traveling by train, possibly renting a car to visit WWI battle fields in Flanders Fields. We would like to rent bikes in Bruges. Any suggestions on accommodations and restaurants.
nicolos1 is offline  
Jun 9th, 2019, 11:19 AM
  #2  
 
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for train info check www.seat61.com; BETS-European Rail Experts and www.ricksteves.com. No seat reservations on Belgian trains and flat fare so no need topre-book though there are day passes I think if traveling a lot in one day. You could base in Gent and easily do them all as day trips.
PalenQ is offline  
Jun 9th, 2019, 11:45 AM
  #3  
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thank you for the information.
nicolos1 is offline  
Jun 9th, 2019, 12:01 PM
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If you want a great tour contact Patrick at www.2xplore.be The best tour of the battlefields in Leper area. Our first stop was Essex farm cemetery where the poem was written by Dr John McCrae. We met him at the tourist office and he took us on a private tour. We could have never covered that much ground without him. He was raised there but speaks perfect English. He has a nice vehicle and we highly recommend him. Menin Gate is there and we went soon after Armistice day so many memorials still in place. Flemish stew is divine. Great cafe inside the museum there. Brussels, Cafe Delirium but so many more great places if you like Belgium beer. Best street food/fries and waffles.
Macross is offline  
Jun 9th, 2019, 12:57 PM
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I'm sorry, but I find that a really hectic and rushed itinerary . . . You are packing and moving almost every single day and staying in Brussels two different one night stands.

Makes no sense - even though Belgium is a small country and some of your travel times aren't very long -- it will still eat up half a day every time you move. (packing/checking out/getting to station/getting to next accommodations/checking in/unpacking. And it is even a bit worse than that - since you most likely will be arriving in each new city in the morning - your room likely won't be ready so you'll have to go to the hotel, drop the bags, ten return later in teh day to actually check in.

Out of six days you are spending fully 2.5 to 3 days of it in transit - so nearly as much time as you will BE in any one place.
janisj is online now  
Jun 9th, 2019, 01:32 PM
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Tours of battlefields make sense since public transit is so poor in those areas.
PalenQ is offline  
Jun 9th, 2019, 03:55 PM
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You could possibly make Brussels a hub and take day trips out from there; that would eliminate the need for packing and unpacking and actually everywhere you nominate is within an hour to an hour and a half from Brussels by rail. However, if you wanted some overnights maybe you could make two hubs, such as Brussels and Bruges. Bruges makes sense because it is better at night when the day-trippers have gone. But Brussels is a rail hub and Ghent, Antwerp and Leuven radiate from it, so it would be a good hub too.

In Brussels stay near Bruxelles-Central station. It is a nice area for tourists, a good choice of hotels and it is easy to get to the trains.

Take a tour of the battlefields. You can do it alone but you would need a car, no question. I think most of the tours leave from Ieper (Ypres), which is in the west of the country but not really near the other cities you mention; closest would be Bruges.

It is a bit rushed but you might at least have a crack at this itinerary if you come at it like this. Better would be 2 -3 days more!

Lavandula
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Jun 9th, 2019, 04:29 PM
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I'd stay overnight in Bruges because the town is most enjoyable after all the bus tours and day trippers have departed and the town's old port section with ancient Flemish facades and white humpbacked bridges are sublimely illuminated. Thus,I'd base in Bruges and day rip to Gent. Put another day on Brussels at beginning and go right to airport from Antwerp - actually not much slower than Brussels with direct trains too I believe. No need to return to Brussels and make Antwerp 2 night stop just before flying out.
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Jun 10th, 2019, 06:21 AM
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We were just in Bruges for two days, did a free english walking tour, very very nice LegendTours, rented bikes, rode the canal out to Damme for lunch, great 2day stay !!!!!!!
kgveteran is offline  
Jun 10th, 2019, 06:50 AM
  #10  
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Thank you, you make a lot of sense. I'll have to re-evaluate. Any suggestions?
nicolos1 is offline  
Jun 10th, 2019, 09:25 AM
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come up with a final itinerary and present it to us.
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Jun 10th, 2019, 01:51 PM
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To help you along: When you land in Zaventem, go straight to Bruges by train.
Hub 1: Bruges -see Bruges, Ieper / battlefields (and Ghent)
Hub 2: Brussels - see Brussels and Antwerp (or Ghent)

You decide how many days, when to do what. Add in days for travelling; if you want all those destinations you need more than 6 days. You need a day to move between bases and a day to arrive and a day to go home. Some of your sights warrant more time (Brussels and Bruges). If you ditch a destination to spend more time on one of those sights don't beat yourselves up, just enjoy the fact that you are not rushing anything. You will come back, and you can always come and see what you have missed out on. Ghent you can do easily from either base. Some people might just pick a single base (Ghent or Brussels), but Ghent is not a comfortable base IMO because the town is a long distance from the railway station and you need to take a tram. This can be remedied somewhat by staying in a hotel near the station but then you need to take a tram any time you want to go for dinner in the town. Anyway, you can consider that for yourselves. Go away and do your homework, see if you want to keep all those stops, see if you can't add in some travelling time, and we will critique it for you.

Lavandula
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Jun 10th, 2019, 10:20 PM
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Do what Lavandula says; it's a much better plan. You can easily visit Antwerp from Brussels, there are frequent trains up to 23:30 at night, and it takes 40 minutes.
Tulips is offline  
Jun 11th, 2019, 03:18 AM
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Quasimodo Tours offer excellent battlefield tours out of Bruges. - owned by Phillipe and Sharon . Phillipe's grandmother lived in Paschendale during WW1 and Sharon is from NZ .
I recommend Den gouden harynck for a special meal in Bruges .
northie is offline  
Jul 27th, 2019, 07:22 AM
  #15  
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6 days in Belgium

Hello,
I did take the advice to take a train to Bruges after we land in Brussels. We will spend 2 days in Bruges, 2 days in Antwerp, and 2 days in Brussels. We will do our traveling by train. Any other suggestions will be appreciated. Thank you everyone for your input.
nicolos1 is offline  
Jul 27th, 2019, 01:52 PM
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Did you add days for travelling or do you have two fewer days to see your destinations?

What sort of tips would you like? Food? Sights? Hotels? Art? (apart from what you have already received from the Fodors community?) What are your interests? Can you walk a great deal? What motivated you to see Belgium in the first place? These questions are just to help us refine our tips to you. Diverse country, lots of options!

Lavandula
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