Antwerp or Brugge?

Old Apr 16th, 2003, 05:45 AM
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Antwerp or Brugge?

I am traveling to Amsterdam in mid May, and would like to take a day trip to Belgium. I have heard some negative things about Brussels, but am considering either Brugge or Antwerp. Any suggestions, opinions, etc...?
Thanks!
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Old Apr 16th, 2003, 07:06 AM
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I spent several years stationed in Belgium. Even the locals would agree, if you only had one day to spend in Belgium, Brugge would be the city.

Great lace shopping, lots of outside cafes, nice canal ride, walk up the bell tower for a fantastic view, and have a nice lunch.

When in Amsterdam, if you get a chance, take the Heineken brewery tour. After you taste the Heineken over in Holland, you will not like the stuff that is exported to the U.S.

Enjoy!
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Old Apr 16th, 2003, 07:09 AM
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While I admit Brugge should not be missed, I also enjoyed Antwerp a great deal. It is very different from both Brussels & Brugge in that it seems a much smaller city than Brussesls, yet has lots of charm, history and still a strong sense of modern style.
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Old Apr 16th, 2003, 08:45 AM
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Brugge - no contest
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Old Apr 16th, 2003, 08:48 AM
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On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd put Brugge at 9, Antwerp at 3.
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Old Apr 16th, 2003, 08:51 AM
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Another vote for Brugge---and we visted both. Antwerp is very nice, but if you can only do one, it should be Brugge.
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Old Apr 16th, 2003, 09:12 AM
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have been to both and if you can only go to one -- it would definitely be Brugge
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Old Apr 16th, 2003, 09:31 AM
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Brugge, Brugge, Brugge!!

I just returned last week from 14 days in Paris, Brugge and Germany, both pleasure and business.

I cannot say enough about Brugge. What
a mystical, magical town. We were absolutely taken away and would go back in a heartbeat.

We stayed at a wonderful B&B, the Artist's House #11. I thank the Fodor's
posters for this great place. Our host
Annie was just wonderful and our room
was just beautiful. Below is a link to
her B&B. I highly recommend it and will return.

We walked the entire town. Saw the windmills, hit the market's on Saturday.
The Beguinage was truly a site to behold with thousands of Daffodil's adorning its grounds. The sound of the
horse drawn carriages everywhere.The
30 minute boat ride through the canal's
was just wonderful.

We ate the frite's, waffles and candy.
Had 2 wonderful dinners at great Restaraunts, Rock Fort and Bistro De Eetkamer. Toured the Straffe Hendrik Brewery and just sampled all the Belgium Beers one could imagine. Our favorite Beer Pub was 't Brugs beertje, at Kemelstraat 5ur. Over 330 different
varieties.

To anyone considering a visit to Brugge, I highly recommend it. Just a
spectacular weekend we had and the town folks are absolutely charming to boot.

Number 11 Artists House
http://users.pandora.be/number11

Brugge Tourism Site
www.brugge.be

Hope this helps.
KJL
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Old Apr 16th, 2003, 09:45 AM
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kjl - You bring back fond memories. I just love all the Belgium beers.

That B&B looks delightful -- I'll have to bookmark it for my next trip.

That was a wonderful trip report -- I would post it as such making a new thread. Your report is the "quality" of the stuff people look for on this site when they travel. Well done!!!
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Old Apr 16th, 2003, 05:56 PM
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Definitely Brugge! It is like walking into a fairy tale. We loved it although 2 days was enough. If you like beer (actually even if you don't like beer)go to t'Brugs Beertje - 300 different Belgian beers. friendly people. we had one of our most memorable nights there drinking beer with local people which turned into dinner and clubbing until 5:00 a.m. very fun!
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Old Apr 17th, 2003, 05:15 AM
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Thank you all so much for your helpful and insightful responses! I guess Brugge is the city to see. Does anyone know the approx. time /cost to take the train from Amsterdam (Centraal) to Brugge? Also, any suggested walking tours or must sees would be appreciated.
Thank you!
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Old Apr 17th, 2003, 05:26 AM
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There is a wonderful walking trail around the canals. I am not sure of the name of the trail but it goes past the windmills,under beautiful trees and past old men fishing. It really is a fantasy walk. Be sure and stop and enjoy all the windows covered with lace and take a bag of chocolate with you for energy! No need for much of a map just get lost and enjoy. We found a wonderful little pub down by the windmills several years ago and return there every visit. It kind of feel like "Cheers" Blegian style.
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Old Apr 17th, 2003, 06:01 AM
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We just returned from a trip to Amsterdam/Brugge/Maastricht last week. We also stayed at the Number 11 B&B and I agree, it was hands-down the best place I have ever stayed. I would move in!!! Brugge is fantastic - beautiful town with great shops and great cafes! I have never been to Antwerp so I can't comment on that. I have only spent one evening in Brussels - on business- the cafe district was nice but most people admitted there was not a lot else to do or see. I will definitely return to Brugge!
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Old Apr 17th, 2003, 06:09 AM
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We've done the "Unsurpassed Bruges" walk (see www.brugge.be) with US friends. You come along all the highlights of the city. All the city walks have their starting point on the Burg (a square close to the Market Square). Also, you will find the tourist office at the Burg where you can buy detailed city walks maps.

Since I'm posting on this subject: if you have an extra day left, you should visit Antwerp as well. It's a lovely city with a beautiful and well preserved historical centre. Antwerp is much underrated! The difference between Brugge and Antwerp is that Brugge is for tourists only (it's totally dead at night) and Antwerp is alive day and night. Just because many people actually live in the city centre.
Guess where I'm from ...
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Old Apr 17th, 2003, 07:02 AM
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Brugge is small, charming, touristy, scenic. Antwerp is cosmopolitan, sophisticated. Antwerp is best if you like to shop and go out on the town. Go to Brugge if you want to relax and poke around.
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Old Apr 21st, 2003, 02:18 PM
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Antwerp is underrated, but doesn't have the charm of Brugge (but beats Brussels). Some of the locals in Brugge told us they were worried they'd have to start dressing in period costumes -- a bit like Williamsburg, VA!
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Old Apr 21st, 2003, 07:07 PM
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I have to be completely honest and say I've never been to either.

Yet after checking some travel times the only one I would consider is Antwerp and probably only if I had a car. www.bahn.de says 3.5 hours one way to Brugge, 2.5 hours to Antwerp. www.viamichelin says 2.75 hours driving one way to Brugge, 1.75 hours to Antwerp. I can't imagine spending at least 5 hours on the road to drive to Brugge and back. Combine travel time with the fact that you'll see Brugges at its worst, loaded with daytrippers like yourselves, I wouldn't do it.

There are lots of lovely towns in the Netherlands that would be much closer and give you time to actually do something other than sit in a car or train. I spent two nights in Katwijk aan Zee a lovely seaside community. It was delightful and I was able to take a sight seeing boat through the canals.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2003, 05:31 AM
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I've been to both years ago but remember Brugge as the nicer of the two.
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Old Apr 30th, 2003, 05:01 AM
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Went to both places last Fall. Brugge is the more interesting by far. In fact, it is the premier destination in Belgium. However, Antwerp was also very nice and is certainly underrated as a destination. Brussels is just a big European city. The Grand Place is very attractive, but once you've see that, I would not spend any more time there.
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Old Apr 30th, 2003, 05:35 AM
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Brugges for sure... The Quasimodo Tours our excellent... a variety of bus and bike tours. Highly recommended.
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