Belgium - Amsterdam - Dusseldorf

Old Mar 26th, 2015, 11:29 AM
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Belgium - Amsterdam - Dusseldorf

We will be arriving Brussels Charleroi at 6pm on May 5th. Have 4 1/2 days (6th thru 9th and 1/2 day on 10th) to split between Belgium and Amsterdam. 1/2 day to make way to Dusseldorf on May 10th for our flight to US on May 11th. Was thinking of combination of 3 nights in Brussels and 2 nights in Amsterdam (6th night at Dusseldorf airport for flight home).

However also considering Bruges as an alternative to Brussels, maybe spending 2 nights, then Brussels 1 night and then Amsterdam 2 nights. Or just bypass Brussels entirely and do 3 Bruges and 2 Amsterdam or vice versa.

Recognize lot of moving around but trying to see (and I understand seeing isn't necessarily experiencing).

So my questions are these :

1 - choosing Bruges for 2 or 3 nights and skipping Brussels. What are the advantages of each city.
2 - doing just 2 nights in Belgium and 3 in Amsterdam

Appreciate any feedback Fodorites can offer.
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Old Mar 26th, 2015, 12:58 PM
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3 in Amsterdam for sure and 2 is enough for Bruges, a small but quaint town - Amsterdam has so many things to see and do. and try to get to du'dorf early enugh to enjoy the lures of that city - especially the Altstadt with all its beer gardens and restaurants - kind of like a Latin Quarter - the Du'dorf airport is even a manageable walk from the town center but trains go all the time.

Stay at the airport but spend some time in Du'dorf itself if possible - Du'dorf is only a few hours by train from Amsterdam.

Go to www.bahn.de/en to nab some nifty discounted tickets from A'dam to D'dorf - like 29 euros instead of more than twice the price for just showing up.

Bruges to Amsterdam is via a change of train in Antwerp - bpu your bags in a station locker and stroll a few hours thru this amazing city - then take IC trains to Amsterdam - These trains have a pretty much flat fare so buying tickets once there is the thing to do.

For lots of good stuff on Benelux and German trains check these informative sites: www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.
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Old Mar 27th, 2015, 05:31 AM
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about the discounted tickets - they are sold in limited numbers on each train and are train specific and cannot be changed and have a hefty refund fee - so be sure of your train time and book ASAP because what's available today may not be tomorrow and you could pay $50 or so more by waiting. You can always get tickets at full fare right up to the train IME - reservations are not required on any trains you are riding so you with a full fare ticket can always board any train.
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Old Mar 27th, 2015, 10:32 AM
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Amsterdam to Dusseldorf full fare is about 60 euros vs 29 euros the lowest discounted fare - 31 euros more p.p. but if 60 euros does not dent your budget much just wait until Amsterdam to buy those tickets, which again never sell out as you can always board trains since seat reservations are not required.
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Old Mar 27th, 2015, 10:59 AM
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It would be a pity not to see Düsseldorf! At least spend the evening in downtown: Stroll along the splendid riverwalk along the Rhine, walk under the gaslights through the historic Karlstadt, visit the baroque Maxkirche, where Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (wedding march!) and Schumann worked, and browse the plethora of bars and restaurants in the Altstadt.

It is a ten-minute taxi ride from downtown to the airport. There are two hotels practically within the airport, the Sheraton and the Maritim. All other so-called airport hotels rquire a taxi or shuttle ride. In this case, you are in the same time at the airport as from a downtown hotel.

Right in the midst of things, there is beautiful boutique hotel which I recommend:
http://www.hotel-orangerie-mcs.de/index_en.html#Home
If possible, stay there and enjoy the evening in Düsseldorf. And maybe the afternoon, too: Düsseldorf has world-class museums of modern art - the K20 for 20th century art and K21 for contemporary art.

For further information, look here:

http://www.duesseldorf.de/de/eng/index.shtml
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Old Mar 27th, 2015, 12:06 PM
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Du'dorf also has the famous Ko - Konigsallee - where all the famous fashion boutiques are located - the sauve street with an old canal - defunct or just a showpiece in the middle of it.

Dusseldorf is often linked with Paris and Milan as European fashion centers - window shop or bust your budget!
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Old Mar 27th, 2015, 01:54 PM
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Bruxelles - Amsterdam is done via Thalys, a fast train - best fares 90 in advance - already past.
From Brussels day trip to Brugge.
I'd spend 3 days in Bruxelles and 2 in Amsterdam.
But I'm biased : I live close to Bruxelles and as a good Belgian, I won't say, even under torture, anything nice about Dutchland.
We kicked them out in 1830, don't ask me to recommend them.
Amsterdam is a very beautiful city.
But full of Dutches.
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Old Mar 28th, 2015, 05:38 AM
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Many foreigners are totally underwhelmed with Brussels - a large modern busy city without much of the old-world charm that Bruges exudes and Amsterdam in its own way too. dusseldorf itself is a rather modern blah city overall IMO and went there yearly on business for several days a time but as some say some nice things and a typical large German city that because of WW 2 has lost much of its old-world romance too though it has vest-pocket vestigagtes of it in its re-created Aldstadt.
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Old Mar 28th, 2015, 12:08 PM
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@pariswat. Belgians? what are those?
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Old Mar 28th, 2015, 02:25 PM
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They say there is only one real Belgian - the King (or queen) - the rest are either Flems or Walloons or immigrants - the Flemish have the upper hand economically and prop up the poorer Wallonnish rust-belt sectors I hear.
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Old Mar 28th, 2015, 08:15 PM
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I also wonder where "close to Brussels" exactly is. Makes a lot of difference in "Belgium"
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Old Mar 29th, 2015, 07:55 AM
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as a good Belgian, I won't say, even under torture, anything nice about Dutchland.
We kicked them out in 1830, don't ask me to recommend them.>

This sounds like a bad Belgian not a good Belgian to harbor such animosities long after the fact. Bad Belgian - bad Belgian - get over it.

and yes near Brussels could include the vast majority of places in Belgium - one of the world's densest coungtry population wise with most within a waffel throw of Brussels/Bruxelles.
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Old Mar 29th, 2015, 09:06 AM
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I'm saying this in the context of BHV. Our good Belgian knows what I'm getting at.
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Old Mar 29th, 2015, 09:43 AM
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde

Interesting - thanks for enlightening moi!
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