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Amsterdam or Brussels for 1st Europe trip..

Amsterdam or Brussels for 1st Europe trip..

Dec 21st, 2011, 01:04 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 185
Amsterdam or Brussels for 1st Europe trip..

Hi, Both of these cities seem nice and interesting in their own ways. Just considering if one is easier than the other for getting around independently, , cheap food options, etc. I love art and historic architecture - castles, palace, churches/cathedrals etc. I know that Amsterdam seems a lot more popular overall, but I think that Belgium offers a lot of good things to see and do. I'd like to try some Belgian beer and chocolate, while I am there.

I would also like to do a 2 day and 1 night trip to Dusseldorf, Germany. I hope to see 1 or 2 castles there and do a short boat ride on the Rhine river. I see that Dusseldorf is only a 2 hour train ride from Amsterdam. I imagine the travel time is short from Brussels also, but I haven't checked yet.

I'm hoping to fit all this into a 8-10 day period, with first and last days being travel days. Please let me know what you think so far. I don't want to try to do both cities in one trip, so please don't suggest that. Thanks, Greg
gregs317 is offline  
Dec 21st, 2011, 02:15 PM
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eurocheapo.com/amsterdam my fav far prettier city more walkable lots to see and do Brussels home of EU more of
a big expensive euro city good chocolate and waffles

Happy deciding!
qwovadis is offline  
Dec 21st, 2011, 02:17 PM
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www.phildutch.net cheap fun place to stay for me.
qwovadis is offline  
Dec 21st, 2011, 02:38 PM
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I prefer Antwerp over Brussels as a city to enjoy food, drink and chocolate. I also like Ghent, but it doesn't have the same high quality eats. However, the Grand Place in Brussels is a very beautiful place, so it is still worth popping into Brussels just to see the Grand Place even if you end up staying some place else in Belgium.

But to more narrowly answer the question you asked, Amsterdam is easier to get around than Brussels.
zeppole is offline  
Dec 21st, 2011, 03:27 PM
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Amsterdam would be a much better choice over Brussels.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Dec 21st, 2011, 04:37 PM
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These are major centers with unique things to offer. Amsterdam is far more vibrant - - Brussels is kind of uneventful. That said, Amsterdam is a giant whirlpool of tawdry (plus high-culture) delights and masses of tourists, and Brussels is kind of uneventful. The nearby burghs of Utrecht, Haarlem, Leiden, Antwerp, Ghent, and Bruges are actually more easy and have more beautifully reflective atmosphere - - really nice places, with great character, and great highlights, and lots of locals. But AMS and BRU are great fun if being in cosmopolitan mainstays are more the attraction.
dfourh is offline  
Dec 21st, 2011, 04:57 PM
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Pegontheroad is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2011, 09:22 AM
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As much as I liked Brussels, I would have to choose Amsterdam too.
november_moon is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2011, 04:12 PM
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Thanks for the replies. If I can, let me throw one more city into the mix. Barcelona - how does it compare to Amsterdam in terms of cheap eats, ease of getting around, etc.? Are street signs, publications, etc. printed in Spanish as well as Catalan? I know some Spanish, so that would probably be helpful. Greg
gregs317 is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2011, 08:15 PM
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Forget about the cheap eats. Every city can offer you cheap eats. Now that we have that out of the way, let's talk about the art.

Brussels has great art museums. So does Amsterdam. The architecture is Amsterdam is okay.

Barcelona! Now you're talking. Barcelona has great architecture. I love Gaudi. Up the road you can go to the Dali Museum and it's easy to get around. Europe is easy to get around.

Don't plan a trip with limitations in mind. Plan a trip for what you want to do and see. Let the limitations take care of themselves. You'll eat, you'll sleep.

Now where do you really want to go?
When you think of Europe, what does it look like to you?
LSky is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2011, 10:53 PM
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Well, besides exploring some art and architecture, I'd like to have lunch in the park, by a river. I'd also enjoy drinking beer/wine with the locals. Less cobblestone streets would be good, and more flat sidewalks are preferred also.
gregs317 is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2011, 07:15 AM
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The food in Barcelona is about 90 times better than the food in Amsterdam. I prefer the ambience of Amsterdam (and the beer is delicious) and I find Gaudi's architecture really tedious, and Dali is kinda 10th rate to me. Before going to Amsterdam, however, I would check to see if the museum you most interest you are open. Some have been under renovation for quite some time.

The problem with a message board is you need to discount deeply for how incredibly personal travel is. I would rather spend a month in Belgium than a day in Barcelona (I live in Italy). But other people feel very differently. Only about a dozen people who post here have been to all the places you are considering, so many people who respond don't have any basis for comparison. Even if they did, it's better to go with your own interests.

By the way, if you are considering Spain and you like castles, Barcelona is the place to go in Spain to see them. But flat sidewalks often to mix with castle touring.

Barcelona has lots and lots of flat sidewalks. Problem with Amsterdam is having to watch out for bikes all the time. Germany is great for flat sidewalks and castles.
zeppole is offline  

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