Go Back  Fodor's Forum > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page > Antwerp - Ghent - Both, which one, how long?
Notices

Antwerp - Ghent - Both, which one, how long?

Reply

Nov 13th, 2011, 05:20 AM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,141
Antwerp - Ghent - Both, which one, how long?

I am researching a trip for summer 2012 - the focus of which does not even include Belgium - but Belgium is geographically in between the others so now am thinking of stopping for a few days and even after some initial research can't decide whether I want to stop in Antwerp or Ghent or both and for how long.

I like to just wander around and take photos - I'll stop into churches and museums but they are not my focus. Photography is my main interest, that and just 'soaking up the atmosphere'. I also like castles and see that both cities have one. So questions - does it make more sense to do one night in one of them and two in the other or is that too rushed. Or should I do three nights in one and day trip to the other? If so which? I don't need to see every last sight or spend hours on dining.

The trip starts with two weeks in Italy and Slovenia/Croatia after which my husband flies home (from Milan) and I want to spend roughly another two weeks. I was thinking of about five days in Holland and I would fly home from Amsterdam. I have always wanted to go to Luxembourg and it never fits in any trip I've taken so was thinking I could go from Milan to Luxembourg and then to Amsterdam - which puts Belgium right in the middle. So since I'm going through there anyway.....

Have already been to Bruges and Brussels
isabel is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 13th, 2011, 05:50 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 9,422
It's a hard call, because the places are really very different in character. Since you'll be there by yourself, maybe the question is whether you'd like the charm of smallish Ghent with its birkenstock-university vibe, or prefer the sophistication of Antwerp. (It is really markedly sophisticated.)

The most picturesque, historic part of Ghent is actually quite small (smaller than its equivalent in Brugge). It is quite easy to tour, so if you spent a day enjoying it, you wouldn't be rushed or footsore.

I find Antwerp fascinating beyond its stunning historic core, and the food there is sublime. (Ghent, being a university town, has lots of student-friendly cheap eats and veggie treats, but fewer marvelous restaurants). I don't know if you would find it interesting to photograph its historic port and diamond district as well as its antique architecture, or its residential suburbs with Queen Anne architecture, or its Art Nouveau, but Antwerp has lots of variety.

So my own feeling would be to spend all my nights in Antwerp, and day trip to Ghent, partly because I would just want to eat dinner every night in Antwerp and drink its jenever. (You can also drink fine jenever in Ghent). But that may be less important to you than hanging out in bookstores and cheap cafes getting to know Ghent.
zeppole is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 13th, 2011, 05:53 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,831
If you travel from Belgium to Amsterdam, it makes more sense to stay in Antwerp because there are hourly direct connections Antwerpen Centraal - Amsterdam (presuming you will travel by train).
From Antwerp you can easily make a daytrip to Gent. It's a 50 min. train ride.
Both cities have a lot in common: beautiful architecture of various eras, lots of photo opportunities, great restaurants, ...
Note that the yearly summer festival in Gent 'Gentse Feesten' involves major crowds all over the city. In 2012 the festival will take place from July 16th until July 25th.
MyriamC is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 13th, 2011, 09:30 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 19,726
If staying in Ghent, I can recommend this place:

(from my trip report)

We started our trip in Belgium, staying in Ghent at the recommendation of friends who felt that Ghent or Antwerp was preferable to Bruges. From the Brussels airport we had a direct train connection to Ghent. We found our B&B through the Ghent web page, choosing first by geographical location and then by what was available in the area. The location was perfect, the room was in the "courtyard" and was very quiet. I put courtyard in quotation marks because we were on the second floor and what had been a courtyard was now a covered space with a deck on top. The weather was perfect for us to have breakfast on the deck every morning. Had the weather been otherwise the room had a large sitting area in front of a fire place with a small table for writing or having breakfast. The one quirkiness: the bathroom was behind a wall but had no door. For availability, contact Anne Gourhant Steyaert ([email protected] mail com) Burgstraat 25, 9000 Gent. Ghent has a nice old town and a wonderful museum of decorative arts. Meals were nothing to rave about except for a very nice one in the old town called The Blue House (?), in Flemish of course. Our hostess had recommended it.
Michael is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 13th, 2011, 06:55 PM
  #5
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,141
Thanks for your answers. Sounds like I would like the ambiance of Ghent more, but the location of Antwerpt. Thanks for the dates of the festival - I'll be there just the week before (around the 11th to 14th) - I wonder if things will be getting crowded by then. I suppose I could do just one night in Ghent and then move on to Antwerpt. I'll check out that B&B Michael, that might sway me.
isabel is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 13th, 2011, 11:12 PM
  #6
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 19,726
http://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca/...57622960079007
Michael is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 14th, 2011, 03:55 AM
  #7
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 9,422
If you don't already know this website, you might find it useful:

http://belgianexperts.com/category/belgian-travel/
zeppole is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 14th, 2011, 04:22 AM
  #8
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,831
No, it won't be crowded in Gent the week before the festival. As there will be stages all over the city, the stage builders will certainly be at work by then.
MyriamC is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 14th, 2011, 01:50 PM
  #9
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,141
Thanks for those links.

Myriam - will staging be set up in the main squares and all? If it's not going to look 'like itself' that might influence whether or not I go there. I remember once being in Venice when Piazza San Marco was full of staging and seating for some big concert and I felt so sorry for the people who were seeing it for the first/only time that they weren't seeing it the way it really looks. I'd been there twice before so I just walked through and enjoyed other parts of Venice, but if that had been my first time I would have had a very different impression. On the other hand, I was in Siracusa one year when they were setting up for a big theatre festival the following week but everything was in sort of out of the way places and it didn't really change the ambiance or restrict my seeing the main areas. So it would be helpful to know what to expect. Thanks
isabel is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 15th, 2011, 04:17 AM
  #10
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,831
Isabel, yes, staging will be set up in the main squares, too. The main stage is at St. Jacobs Church which is the very centre.
MyriamC is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 15th, 2011, 04:23 AM
  #11
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,831
Oops ... I didn't give you the correct dates for the 2012 festival. It's from July 14th until July 23rd.
MyriamC is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:18 PM.