Antwerp or Bruges

Old Jan 31st, 2005, 04:00 PM
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Antwerp or Bruges

Hello.

I'm thinking about being in Brussels for three full days, and I would want to take a day trip, giving me one day for the day trip and 2 for Brussels.

I was considering either Antwerp or Bruges and looking for opinions. I really enjoy seeing museums, especially art galleries, and cathedrals, and it seems like both cities have great ones of both to offer.

I was just looking for opinions as to preferences.

Thanks!
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Old Jan 31st, 2005, 05:38 PM
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If you have never been to Belgium before, I would pick Brugge. Otherwise, you will wonder what all the fuss is about. The guide books generally rave about Brugge.

Brugge emphasizes medieval Belgium. Antwerp (also Ghent) are modern cities with medieval gems hidden away in places.

A few years ago, my wife and I did Ghent and Brugge as a single daytrip from Brussels, so you might be able to do both Antwerp and Brugge in a one day. Plan on getting up early and getting back late. I should mention, however, that in our case it was not our first trip to Brugge and we therefore didn't feel compelled to see "everything."

Incidentally, you should be able to visit Brugge and/or Antwerp easily be train from Brussels. No car necessary. Same for Ghent.
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Old Jan 31st, 2005, 10:59 PM
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smueller is right. If you've never been to Brugge, maybe you better do Brugge. There are a few churches and museums but Brugge does not have a big cathedral like Antwerp!

I don't think it's a good idea to do both Brugge and Antwerp in one day, especially if you want to visit museums etc. during your daytrip.
The journey will take too much time: training from Brussels to Brugge is about one hour. It's a bit of a walk to the city centre. Brugge / Antwerp is one and a half hour. Same here: a bit of a walk to the historical centre. Antwerp / Brussels is 45 min. Which means more than 3 hours for a roundtrip Brussels/Brugge/Antwerp/Brussels ...
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 12:40 AM
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Brugge is picture-postcard pretty, Antwerp is a major city, with a beautiful cathedral, several good museums (Fine arts (Schone Kunsten) and Rubens House for example). It depends on your interests, but for one day, perhaps Brugge would be best.
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 01:38 AM
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Even though Brugge is very touristy, it is worthwhile going to the city! I have never been to antwerp so I can't compare - but Bruge is definately a gem!
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 01:41 AM
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Bruges, with hardly a doubt. Also good for museums: Flemish primitives paintings, Memlinc museum.
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 02:23 AM
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For a day trip from Burgssels, Brugge hands down. It is beautiful place and a nice change for Brussels.

I will, however, speak up for Antwerp. The old core is lovely -- the cathedral is one of my favorites in Europe -- last trip we attended a Sunday morning mass there and were very moved.Antwerp is also a city that is alive -- it is a center of fashion and has an active theater life. AND it has a river [I LOVE rivers ]
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 02:32 AM
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You don't say which days of the week you'll be in Brussels but Thursday is probably the best day to visit Bruges/Brugge. Everything is open, but you don't have the week-end crowds of day trippers. The trains are less busy, too (except at rush hour), so going second class is fine (we never go second class on week-ends).
Try to stay as late as you can in Bruges...the city is beautiful at night (also very safe). Take advantage of the plentiful ATMs in Brussels to get cash before you go. ATMs aren't as widely available in Bruges and the one on the Grote Markt has the annoying habit of running out of cash on a regular basis.
My favorite museum in Bruges is the Groeninge.
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 02:33 AM
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Oops.. that wsa Brussels -- reminder to self -- DO NOT post before your morning caffeine
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 04:12 AM
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My husband and I went to Bruges last May and LOVED it. We stayed at the Absoluut Verhulst and Freida and Benno were AWESOME. Great breakfast and great location - walking distance to everything. Bruges will not disappoint - such a GREAT and beautiful city. Go to Dumon for chocolate. Mmmmmmmmm.
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 04:24 AM
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It's Brugge, no contest! Quaint,romantic, relaxing. Great and very friendly shops. You'll love it.

Antwerp is nice, but I wouldn't do both the same day. Better to stay in Brugge and sidetrip into Brussels or Antwerp.

All depends on what you want your vacation to be.Antwerp and Brussels have a very urban, city feel to them Brugge is more like an old European village.

Check out the Romantik B&B for a super place to stay, not ultra expensive either.

Enjoy the trip!
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 05:22 AM
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Thanks very much. I would probably stay in Brussels, and then take a day trip into Bruges, since it seems to be coming out on top. I would be going on a Wednesday.
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 05:41 AM
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JoeTro, you may already have done this, but conduct a search here on Bruges or Brugge and you'll find quite a few previous postings (including a couple that I made). There have been lots of suggestions for museums, churches, galleries, and restaurants.

I hope you enjoy your trip there. We found it a treat.

Anselm
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 09:24 AM
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I have visited both Bruges and Antwerp (Brugge and Antwerpen) on a number of occasions, and of course both are certainly worth visiting.

However, as you mentioned that your interest in in museums, art galleries and cathedrals, my recommendation would be for Antwerp.

Antwerp has a number of major museums, including the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, the Mayer Van den Bergh, the Rubenshuis, and the Plantin-Moretus. There are also specialized museums which I have visited, such as the Maritime museum, a brewery museum and the diamond museum. The museums in Bruges, while interesting, simply cannot compare to the riches of Antwerp's collections. As well, the Antwerp Cathedral is home to a number of first class Rubens.

Much will depend on the weather as well, as Bruges is best enjoyed through walking and touring the canals. A heavy rain could certainly detract from your enjoyment.

While Bruges is certainly a gem, the old town in Antwerp is not without its charms either.

I know that most people are captivated by Bruges (as am I), but Antwerp would be my choice for your preferences.
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 11:12 AM
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A day in both Brugge and Antwerpen is preferable over 2 days in Brussels, one of Europe's LEAST inspiring cities from a visual standpoint.
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 02:55 PM
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Thanks for the advice so far. I wanted to follow-up with a question about Antwerp and safety. I have read (in Frommers - am I allowed to use that word here?) that the area around the train station is pretty unsafe at night, which makes me a bit anxious should I decide to go there (I'm a male, but traveling alone).

Thanks.
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 11:21 PM
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I think this is true about train stations in most large towns; you do get some undesirable people hanging around at night. However, I live near Antwerp, and think it is very safe. I wouldn't hesitate taking an evening train out of Antwerp Central station even if I were on my own (I'm a woman). There is very little violent crime in Antwerp.
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Old Feb 17th, 2005, 07:07 AM
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SRice- Thanks for mentioning Absoluut Verhulst. Their loft suite would be perfect for myself, my daughter and her husband when we are in Bruges! I already e-mailed them to ask about availability.
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Old Feb 17th, 2005, 08:45 AM
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I'm so excited - I get to do both this weekend - actually, all three, as I'll be staying in Brussels. See you soon, Myriam!
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Old Feb 17th, 2005, 10:05 AM
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Can't wait, CD!
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