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An evening in (between Brussels and Osnabruck?)

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Dec 7th, 2015, 05:59 PM
  #1
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An evening in (between Brussels and Osnabruck?)

Hello friends, my wife and 20 and 21 year old sons will arrive at the Brussels airport on a Friday afternoon in July where we rent a car. We went to arrive near Osnabruck in northwestern Germany the next day around 1pm.

Where might we stay Friday night? We're looking for a charming place, to walk through an interesting area, have a nice meal, and maybe see a historic site the next morning for an hour or so before continuing our trip.

At first I thought of just staying in Brussels, but it appears to be a commercial city without a lot of tourist appeal from the little I read. Plus, the whole ISIS thing doesn't look enticing right now.

So, looking at the map, some of the cities between Brussels and Osnabruck could include:
Antwerp, Eindhoven, Venlo, Aachen, Cologne etc.

I've been to Cologne (just the train station and cathedral) and could go back, but seems like a lot of traffic to fight and its a bit out of the way.

This is just a stop over for one night, and am not familiar with the area, so wonder if anyone had any suggestions on a charming/scenic city to hang out in for a few hours.

Thanks,

Chris
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Dec 7th, 2015, 11:06 PM
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Don't discount Brussels. The Grand Place is one of the most beautiful town squares in Europe.

If you are arriving on a Friday afternoon in Brussels, you will be facing heavy traffic everywhere you drive from the Airport. I would stay in Brussel and pick up your car on Saturday morning.

Otherwise, Maastricht would make for a nice stopover.
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Dec 8th, 2015, 12:22 AM
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head just a bit further north in The Netherlands and you will find Utrecht http://www.visit-utrecht.com
or Dordrecht http://www.vvvdordrecht.nl/en/home
Both on the route taking the A59- A28- A1
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Dec 8th, 2015, 01:58 AM
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Utrecht and Dordrecht are very nice towns, well worth a visit.

But do see what time your sons arrive in Brussels. After you've rented a car, you'll hit rush hour. Though July may be a little quiter due to holidays, I wouldn't want to drive Brussels - Utrecht any later than 3 pm on a Friday. Or after 7 pm.
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Dec 8th, 2015, 02:25 AM
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The fastest route takes you near Maastricht, which would meet your requirements more than say Eindhoven, but again you have to consider rush hour, which can be a total pain.

Utrecht is a long way out of your way so I wouldn't choose to stay there, lovely as it is. Plus traffic there is almost permanently horrible at the moment.

If you don't want to stay in Brussels, and don't want to drive too far after arrival, consider Leuven, and then head off the following morning.

It takes about 3 and a half to 4 hours to drive from Zaventem to Osnabruck, so you can leave after the worst of the morning rush and still get there on time.
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Dec 8th, 2015, 02:38 AM
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Driving from Brussels to Osnabrück takes 4 hours if traffic is smooth. 5 to 6 hours are more realistic, especially since it may take an hour alone to leave Brussels.

As said, you find Maastricht on the way which has a charming Old Town. We usually do not stay in Maastricht but in a charming country hotel with excellent cuisine just on the Belgian side of the border: http://www.labutteauxbois.be/site/en/

Very close to Maastricht is Aachen. The cathedral where Charlemagne was crowned 800 A.D. is spectacular. If you are in the area you should not miss it.

An alternative, which is already very close to Osnabrück, is Münster. Münster has a charming Old Town, a medieval City Hall where the Westphalian Treaty was negotiated that ended the 30 Years War, a magnificent cathedral and a beautiful open-air museum with lots of farmhouses and other historical buildings.
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Dec 8th, 2015, 02:44 AM
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I disagree that Brussels has little tourist appeal, Grand Place and the surrounding area offers what you are looking for. The traffic around Brussels can be terrible, I've been caught in it many times, esp around the airport area & not just on a Friday. During August of this year, we got caught up in alot of traffic around Antwerp on our epic road trip from the UK to Sweden which follows the route from Antwerp to Osnabruck and beyond.
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Dec 8th, 2015, 04:27 AM
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Antwerp is to be avoided at rush hour any day of the week, by car. The roads between Antwerp and Brussels even more so.
Luckily OP doesn't need to go anywhere near it.

If OP and family are arriving after a transatlantic flight, or any long flight for that matter, the drive on arrival should be as short as possible.
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Dec 8th, 2015, 06:37 AM
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****Utrecht is a long way out of your way***
KM wise it is very little and Utrecht is far better then Maastricht IMHO.
http://tinyurl.com/nrp6ldz
http://tinyurl.com/pu64j98
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Dec 8th, 2015, 06:49 AM
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It's not the KM, it's the roads. For Utrecht you would drive passed Antwerp, Breda, Gorinchem. On a Friday late afternoon/evening that could be one big traffic jam.
The road to Maastricht is easier.

I prefer Maastricht to Utrecht, but they are both nice cities, with a totally different vibe. Maastricht is perhaps less 'Dutch' than Utrecht.
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Dec 8th, 2015, 06:52 AM
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Utrecht involves Antwerp too, which is best avoided, especially if you have just come off a long flight - the ring needs all your wits to negotiate, and the afternoon traffic is horrible. Likewise driving into Utrecht is not easy, even if you are not tired. Too many road works and reorganisations going on in the centre. If they stay outside the centre then they don't have much time to see anything of it. Parking costs a fortune too.
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Dec 8th, 2015, 06:52 AM
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I'd still opt for staying a night in Brussel and picking up your car on Saturday morning. Have a nice dinner and some good beers on Friday evening, and a relaxed drive on Saturday. Beats being stuck in your car on the motorway on a nice summer evening.
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