Belgium & Netherlands 8 days

May 2nd, 2014, 09:35 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2014
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Belgium & Netherlands 8 days


I'm a poor 22 years old student who bought a ticket to Belgium. I usually read a lot about the places I'm going to visit and plan the general aspects of my trip, but this one I don't have enough time and I don't know almost nothing about Belgium and Netherlands travel.

I'm arriving in Brussels on 15th of May, morning, and I plan to travel back to London on May 23, probably from Eindhoven(Ryan Air), but I haven't booked the return flight yet.
Basically I would like to visit Brussels, Bruges and Amsterdam. What else to include? Do I have enough time? (Ghent? Utrecht?)

I plan to stay at hostels, and I usually do 1/3 museums, 1/3 city sights and 1/3 local food (food that local people really eat, not expensive tourist traps restaurant), in case of Belgium also craft beers. I'm most interested in city architecture/history, culture and food. No shopping, no clubs and no places that people go just to take a picture in front of, if you know what I mean...
So I ask your help trying to put this itinerary altogether passing through the right cities, keeping the lowest cost as possible (train?bus?).

Thanks in advance!

P.S. Sorry for any mistakes, it's my first post, and for my bad English, I'm not a native speaker.
Gallotti is offline  
May 3rd, 2014, 12:53 AM
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Substitute Antwerp for Brussels. Or maybe Gent. If you stay in Gent, you can easily do a daytrip to Brugge. Then stop in Antwerp on your way to Amsterdam.

Gent is a student city, it will be easier to find inexpensive lodging and restaurants. Same for Antwerp. In Antwerp there's a new youth hostel called 'Pulcinella' right in the center of town.

Trains are easy in Belgium and the Netherlands. Unless you take the expensive Thalys, you do not have to book in advance.
Tulips is offline  
May 3rd, 2014, 01:01 AM
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Utrecht is a great city, and it really wouldn't be out of your way on the trip from Amsterdam to Eindhoven.
bvlenci is offline  
May 3rd, 2014, 08:33 AM
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I think you might also enjoy a day trip to Leuven, a university city very close to Brussels.
This trip report has some details about it and Antwerp, another city I would recommend visiting, plus a link to another thread with beer recommendations
Vttraveler is offline  
May 4th, 2014, 02:40 AM
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Fully agree with Tulips.
Base in Gent, daytrip to Brugge (by train).
Then move to Antwerp for a day or two.
Both Gent and Antwerp have a pretty compact historical centre. Although in Antwerp you shouldn't miss the 'Eilandje' quarter and, since you like architecture, the 'Zurenborg' quarter with its Art Nouveau houses (mainly Cogels-Osylei and surrounding streets). This is a totally un-touristy neighbourhood with some good restaurants/cafés.
Then on to Amsterdam for the remainder of your time.
Try to fly back home from Amsterdam. You will lose a lot of precious time if you first have to travel all the way to Eindhoven.
MyriamC is offline  
May 4th, 2014, 04:01 AM
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Look at Easyjet from Amsterdam - from about 43 euros one way.
Both Easyjet and Ryanair fly to Stansted - so there's the cost of the train to Liverpool Street station to add to the cheap fare.

If you do end up in Eindhoven; the city is not as pretty as Amsterdam or Utrecht, but has a good vibe. There's a lot of high tech and design-related industry; the city has done very well out of this. Since Philips moved their headquarters out of Eindhoven, the office space has been taken over by start-ups. I don't know what you are studying, but Eindhoven could be interesting.
Tulips is offline  
May 4th, 2014, 04:19 AM
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keeping the lowest cost as possible (train?bus?)>

buses are not really an option - Belgium is said to have the densest rail system in the world or at least one of them and Holland not far behind. Buses go where trains do not save some infrequent Eurolines type buses.

Check these sites for oodles of great info on Benelux trains -; and Pretty much just buy your tickets as you go along is the best bet.
PalenQ is offline  
May 4th, 2014, 01:31 PM
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Thanks everyone, you were really helpful!

Unfortunately I have already booked the flight from Eindhoven, I always make this same mistake, the price will be almost the same as flying from AMS, but I'm fine with that.

After all your tips my plan right now is:

15.[Gent] Arrive in Brussels in the morning and look around the city, then go to Gent (late afternoon? evening?)

16.[Gent] Gent the whole day

17.[Gent] Day trip to Brugge (Best time to go and come back?)

18.[Antwerp] Go to Antwerp in the morning, sleep there

19.[Amsterdam] Amsterdam the whole day

20.[Amsterdam] Day trip to somewhere?

21.[Amsterdam] Amsterdam the whole day

22 Option 1.[Eindhoven] Go to Utrecht in the morning, then go to Eindhoven in the afternoon, sleep there to catch the flight 8:00 a.m. next day.

22 Option 2.[Utrecht] Go to Utrecht in the morning(or maybe morning in AMS?), sleep there and go to Eindhoven early in the next day to catch the flight.(Train? Terravision bus?)
Gallotti is offline  
May 4th, 2014, 02:22 PM
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Utrecht is a far FAR more interesting city for tourists than Eindhoven - I've been to each several times and Utrecht in a heart beat - even if you end up staying the night in Eindhoven spend the day in Utretch or nearby Gouda, a neat old cheese town.
PalenQ is offline  
May 5th, 2014, 07:13 AM
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Antwrp could also be a stop en route to Amsterdam - like you are doing with Brussels - put your bags in train station lokcer and everything of interest is a short walk away (well everything of major interest - Antwerp is a fascinating town you could spend days in and not be bored - but re-locating sleeping takes a lot of time so you may consider spending most of the day in Angtwerp and heading to Amsterdam to stay the night.

And a night in Amsterdam beats spending a night anywhere else IMO for anyone your age.
PalenQ is offline  
May 5th, 2014, 08:51 AM
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In any case don;t just rush out of Antwerpen Centraal station - one of the grandest train sheds in the world! Called by locals the Railway Cathedral or some such wording:
PalenQ is offline  
May 5th, 2014, 12:04 PM
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17.[Gent] Day trip to Brugge (Best time to go and come back?)>

Bruges swarms with crowds during the whole day but tour buses materialize late in the morning - go really early or stay late - actually I'd say stay in Bruges rather than Gent - Bruges is best savored after the tour group mobs have left - at night the town takes on a surrealstic beauty - the humpbacked drawbridges wondrously illuminaed as are the ancient facades of Flemish warehouses lining the old canals in the old port area.

Gent is nice but I'd say do a day trip there - it does not have the suffocating crowds of Bruges so you can go anytime.

Why are you basing in Gent - the vast majority of average tourists would prefer Bruges.

I have taken over 1,000 people thru Bruges and Gent, staying overnight in each city and the vast majority if not all vastly preferred Bruges over Gent - they liked Gent but they loved Bruges.
PalenQ is offline  
May 5th, 2014, 01:23 PM
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I really think that a 22 yr old will appreciate Gent, being a university city, much, much more than Brugge! As indicated in his initial post, this 'poor student' is not interested in the touristy stuff ('no places that people go just to take a picture in front of').
Trains from Brugge to Gent run until very late (23:38 hrs) ... daytrippers will be long gone by then!
As far as I can understand, Gallotti isn't the average (US) tourist to which you (PalenQ) refer.
MyriamC is offline  
May 5th, 2014, 02:57 PM
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OK Myriam - I agree with you with that overlooked info. But the youth hotels in Bruges are great bohemian places to meet other younger folk - but I agree with you after you tell me what I missed!

Since Gallotdti is not the average tourist go for Gent. Even forget Bruges because it is all touristy - spend more time in Antwerp and eschew Bruges all together.
PalenQ is offline  
May 8th, 2014, 10:27 AM
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If OP were an average young backpacker he would find some really neat youth hotels - backpacker hostels really - in Bruges like the famous Snuffle - I stayed there years ago and it was a meeting place for young folk from all over. Folks meet in the common rooms and bar!

Q - Does Gent have such cool places for younger travelers?
PalenQ is offline  
May 8th, 2014, 12:46 PM
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I don't know nothing about hostels, but if you google you will see that Gent has plenty of nice hostels, located in the very heart of the city. Such as Uppelink - a historic building - which is on the corner of Korenlei, the best spot in the city!
Or Hostel 47, Kabahostel, Ecohostel Andromeda, etc. etc.
Mid May there will still be lots of students in the city. It will be much more lively, especially in the evenings, than Brugge.
MyriamC is offline  
May 8th, 2014, 01:54 PM
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sounds like Gent has similar non-HI hostels sans the rule of HI hostels.

Uppelink sounds great (and looks great!) -

If I were that young I'd stay in Gent!
PalenQ is offline  

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