Bruges alone? Bruges + Ghent? +Antwerp?

Old Jun 21st, 2012, 10:00 AM
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Bruges alone? Bruges + Ghent? +Antwerp?

I've wanted to see Bruges for a long time and will finally get my chance but I can't tell even from guide books how much time is enough. I'll be training from Schiphol, so I could spend six nights there, or five and stay at Schiphol the night before I fly home. Or divide my time between Bruges and Ghent, or Bruges and Antwerp.

I prefer staying in one place and doing day trips rather than switching hotels/cities. I love churches, museums, cafe lolling. Should I base myself in Bruges and see if I get bored there, and if so, take short jaunts to either Ghent or Antwerp? Or is a few days in Bruges enough to have one's fill?
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Old Jun 21st, 2012, 10:32 AM
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If you are going to stay longer than 3 days in Bruges, I think you would want to plan on some day trips to Ghent, Brussels and/or Antwerp. If memory serves, the Bruges station is a bit of a hike (or cab ride) from the main square (in Brussels).

If you could fly out of Brussels that would be slick. (15 minute train ride from the main station.)
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Old Jun 21st, 2012, 10:47 AM
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Why not spend some time in Amsterdam or elsewhere in the Netherlands if you are flying in and out of Schiphol?

Or fly into Brussels.

Six nights in Brugge is too long imho.
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Old Jun 21st, 2012, 11:01 AM
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Thanks for the info.

I've been to Amsterdam many times, Brussels ditto. So I really don't want to go somewhere I've already been. It's also easier for me to get flights to Amsterdam than Brussels.
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Old Jun 21st, 2012, 11:04 AM
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P.S.--I can fly direct to Amsterdam from where I am, have to change planes to fly to Brussels, so Amsterdam makes more sense and the faster train ride to Bruges is less than three hours.
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Old Jun 21st, 2012, 12:58 PM
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I'm going to Belgium this summer. After lots of thought to the topic, I'll divide my time among Brugge, Ghent and Brussels.
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Old Jun 21st, 2012, 01:34 PM
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Bruges, Antwerp, Brussels and Gent, they are all worth visiting. Bruges is great, but I think that one day there would be just enough. Actually, it depends on how thorough your sightseeings are, but if you are an ordinary tourist, you won't need more than one day.

I spent a week in Belgium, had my base in Brussels and did organized bus tours to other cities. I was sorry for not having more time in Antwerp, because I liked it very much.
If you have six days for Belgium and you've never been there before, maybe it would be the best choice for you too.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 03:24 AM
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It's about dreams. I've dreamt of Bruges for years, but Antwerp and Ghent have never been of interest to me, so thanks to the advice here, I've decided to take 4 nights in Bruges. The first half day theere will be for for chilling and getting over jet leg, the next three full days to enjoy one of those 72-hour passes for museums, etc. I also looked up a NYT Travel article on Bruges that recommends things people don't typically do, and between that and the DK and other guides I have, I know I'll have enough for the 4 nights. I don't like to rush my sight-seeing. Happy summer to all!
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Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 04:53 AM
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Thomas--It sounds as though you have made your plans, but I thought I'd share our observations.

When we went to Bruges, it was as a side trip from our stay in Brussels, which acted as our touring hub. I felt bad before we went that we would have only a day in Bruges; afterwards, we felt that we had pretty much exhausted the best parts of the place.

What we felt bad about not seeing more of--ANTWERP! We were totally surprised by it--it is one totally underrated city. The mix of old and exciting new was enchanting. We would have used this as our "hub central" for our day trips if we had only known, and its location on the rail line would have made it work wonderfully well.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 05:18 AM
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AlessandraZoe, thanks! I'll bear that in mind, and if I'm finding I've got time on my hands in Bruges, I'll take a day trip to Antwerp. But I'm not one to rush about. When I'm in Europe, two sites/sights a day can be enough for me. I like to spend a lot of time at meals, over coffee, in cafes, taking notes, reflecting (I'm an author). When I was recently in Florence, one perfect day was a church, a long lunch, another church, a nap, and a long dinner. My needs are simple.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 05:30 AM
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Good for you, Thomas. In addition to its square, tower, churches and museums, Bruges is a great town to just walk around and hang out. Enjoy some frites with Mayonaise on the main square for me! Evenings are almost magical after many of the tourists leave.

2-3 years ago we went to Ghent on our way back to Brussels from Bruges. The city was torn up (construction), but I really liked it and the Gravensteen castle. We only spent a few hours there but I bet you could spend a day trip or two there if you need a change of scenery.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 08:45 AM
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I loved Bruges when we visited.

Tops on our list were the Halve Maan brewery tour, climb to the top of the belfry, and a bike tour with Pink Bear. The Frites museum was also surprisingly interesting.

Definitely keep your options open for day trips. We aren't fast sightseers either, and were in Bruges for 2.5 days and thought that was plenty.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 03:07 PM
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I think 4 nights is a great idea. I spent 3 nights there and didn't see everything I wanted and I go, go, go all day long.

Loved Bruges! Enjoy your trip.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 05:08 PM
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We stayed in Bruges 5 nights and used it as a base to tour other places - but by car. We needed 2 full days in Bruges - but we like to see what there is and prefer the charm to a city which is kind of - dare I say it, boring. One day in Brussels was enough. We did one in Ghent - could have done more. Did not get to Antwerp but it's on the list.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 06:04 PM
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A few days in Brugges sounds perfect. I have been there twice and always wanted to have more time to wander, especially in the evening when the day tours are gone. I recommended a visit to friends many years ago and they loved it so much they have returned several times in the off season. There are lots of small museums to enjoy.
Gent has a few gems, but I would recommend Antwerp for some one who is interested in museums, as well as cafes, a mix of the old and the new
enjoy your trip
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Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 06:59 PM
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Thanks to one and all. The more I read about Brugge, the more I want to see, and the more places I want to eat, like Chez Vincent and Tete Pressee.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 09:18 PM
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Here's a link to my blog about our 3 nights in Brugge (and later Amsterdam):

http://ukfrey.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04...amsterdam.html

Scroll to the end for food photos and reviews. Our favorite restaurant was actually Cambrinus (and its 400+ beers). It pays to make a booking if you are there over the weekend.

http://www.cambrinus.eu/

We enjoyed our stay at Gallery Yasmine; Albina couldn't have been a nicer host.

http://www.gallery-yasmine.be/

Enjoy your trip.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2012, 06:24 PM
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Thanks indy_dad--great photos! I love Belgian chocolate, p[articularly Neuhaus, and Belgian beers and ales: Chimay, Leffe, Hoegaarden. Can't wait to try the one they make in Brugge. And go to Chez Vincent. The more I read about Brugge, the more I know I won't be bored. I'm going in May, which I hope won't be terribly crowded, but hey, I just got back from Florence, which gets several times as many million tourists per year, so it should feel quiet by comparison.
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Old Jun 24th, 2012, 04:08 AM
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Here is a good thread about Belgian beer I started last fall when we were headed to Belgium
http://www.fodors.com/search/results...h=belgian+beer

I hope you have a great trip. Four nights would be too long in Brugge for me but there are plenty of easy day trips to take if you decide you want to do that.

My husband and I took a day trip to Antwerp from Brussels last fall and really enjoyed the city--my TR has details on what we did.
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