Antwerp or Brussels

Old Apr 15th, 2004, 11:02 AM
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Antwerp or Brussels

I will be in Belgium for about 3 days (2 nights) in September. I will be staying in Bruges and spending the first 2 days there. On the third day I have about half of the day free (I have to be in Amsterdam by 4:00 pm) and would like to see either Brussels or Antwerp. I've heard many good things about both places, but I can't seem to decide which city to visit, and I'm looking for some good advice. I like museums, art, architecture, historical places, walking around, people watching and getting a good meal. In offering your opinions, please give a good reason why you would choose one city over the other.
Thanks!!
kdunn is offline  
Old Apr 15th, 2004, 12:22 PM
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having been to both I would hope you had other options. others may think differently but I thought both sucked as compared to other european cities. I would go to brussels but it does not seem you have enough time. all you would have time for is to go the the grand palace square, see the manequin piss, walk around the old town which I did in all of 6 hours and wished I had taken the advice from others and spent another night in amsterdam or luxembourg. whatever you do, do not do the city bus tour. the worst I have ever been on and quite frankly, laughable as to how little there is outside brussels city centre.
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Old Apr 15th, 2004, 01:29 PM
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I'm thinking about some of the same issues. I've never been to Antwerp. Now it's closer to Amsterdam than Brussels is (it's the next time on the Thalys line from Brussels to Amsterdam, I believe). So if you head there after Bruges, it could save you a little time, if that's what you're after.

I've been to Brussels. I was there for only a day and I didn't care much for it. However I've never been to Antwerp, so I can't really compare the two. I think that the museums may be better in Antwerp (this is where Rubens was born, if I remember correctly). But I'm sort of interested in reading the responses because I'm wondering if I should spend time in Antwerp.
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Old Apr 15th, 2004, 01:30 PM
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By the way, you also have the option of stopping somewhere else en route -- like Den Haag, Delft, Rotterdam, etc., unless you're wired to Brussels or Antwerp. That's the question I'm facing now, actually, regarding where I should stop in a similar trip I'm making.
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Old Apr 15th, 2004, 02:04 PM
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I spent 2 days in Antwerp without expecting much and absolutely fell in love with the city. I'd go back in a minute and really spend some time. It's small enough to get a feel for in a short period of time, the old town is charming and the architecture lovely, Rubens' house and garden is very interesting and a main pedestrian shopping street near there, the name of which I can't recall, had lots of nice shops and cafes. The small Plantin-Moretus Museum is the preserved 17th century house of a printer who was a patron of Rubens and has an interesting collection. The cathedral, the largest Gothic one in Belgium, and another Jesuit church (St. Charles Borromeus?) were outstanding.

With just a half day, I would take a walking tour of the old town, organized by the Tourist Office in the main square, visit Rembrandt's house and the Cathedral and spend some time walking around. A fabulous place for a meal would be the rather upscale Sir Anthony Van Dyck-great food in a wonderful old building. I much prefer Antwerp to Brussels, particularly if you only have a limited time.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2004, 07:01 AM
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Antwerp would be more on the way to A'dam. They are working on the ring around A'werp for the next 2 years so that could be a bit messy. Normally it should take about 2 - 21/2 hours driving from A'werp to A'dam outside rush hour!

I support shellio's choice of museums, they are both great. The shopping street is the Meir and is right in the city centre and close to the central station.

For breakfast I recommend 'Le pain quotidien', check it out : www.painquotidien.com. maybe the homemade jams and spreads could be something to bring back to you...
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Old Apr 22nd, 2004, 07:30 AM
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If you only have half a day, Antwerp will be much easier to see than Brussels, although you will not have time to see much. Walk around the old centre, see the cathedral and Carolus Borromeus church as mentioned by Shellio. How are you traveling? Although there are lots of roadworks in and around Antwerp, on most days it's not too bad. Driving to Amsterdam will take a minimum of 1 1/2 hours, could be 2 1/2 if traffic is bad. Pain Quotidien is a good idea; several of them in Antwerp, one just around the corner from the new fashion museum.
I live near Antwerp.
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Old May 1st, 2004, 12:06 PM
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"The shopping street is the Meir". Indeed, it is. But it's absolutely not the nice shopping area. The Meir is just a boulevard lined with shops you'll find anywhere in the world.
The nice (mostly pedestrian) shopping streets can be found west of the Meir (Schuttershofstraat, Huidevetterstraat, Korte Gasthuisstraat, etc.).
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Old May 1st, 2004, 12:41 PM
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Antwerp has an interesting marine museum, The Steen, at least one museum of Flemish art, and an impressive cathedral. The mussels and beer are great. The centraal train station (there are 2 stations) has just been modernized inside, and the outside is a classic. Because it is not on the 'tourist mainline' you will be in with the locals, not a bunch of fanny-packers.

Brugge is so small that I would spend the 2 nights in Antwerp and do Brugge as a day tour, preferably a weekday with an early start. For people-watching you better like watching tourists with guidebooks when you are in Brugge.
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