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Bruges for the full day? Or stopover in Ghent or Antwerp for a few hours first?

Bruges for the full day? Or stopover in Ghent or Antwerp for a few hours first?

Old Nov 22nd, 2003, 03:43 PM
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Bruges for the full day? Or stopover in Ghent or Antwerp for a few hours first?

Hello,

We will be taking a day trip from Brussels (via train) to Bruges next week. We do not have to return from Bruges back to Brussels until late that evening. (We cannot stay over in Bruges due to the fact that our return flight is the following afternoon.) Is it worth stopping over in Ghent or Antwerp for a few hours on our way to Bruges? Perhaps we could take a walk about, and see a few of the historic sights for a few hours, and spend the afternoon into late evening in Bruges. Any thoughts? (I'm not giving up Bruges, however!)

Another option is to stay the night in Antwerp rather than in Brussels. Would this affect your opinions? Any advice appreciated!

Thanks in advance,

Chels
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Old Nov 22nd, 2003, 05:31 PM
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Chels,

I'm not too sure how this post fits in with your other one re: getting to the airport from Antwerp, but anyway I think this is something you can decide on the spur of the moment, as your train back from Bruges to Antwerp or Brussels will stop in Ghent, so if you leave Bruges with enough time & energy to see Ghent as well, you can just do it. I found that each town easily provided a day's worth of siteseeing on its own, but your mileage may vary

Hope this helps,
Andre
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Old Nov 23rd, 2003, 04:00 AM
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Of course you can spend a half day in Brugge and a half day in Gent (Antwerp is in the other direction if you travel from Brussels). But ... what can one see in only a few hours time? Both cities are worth more than a day so I would suggest you to just go to Brugge and have a relaxing day walking around the city, having a nice lunch, maybe taking a canal boat tour (if the temp. remains as is now, the boats will still be running) or a city tour by bus, having dinner and get back to Brussels.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2003, 04:45 AM
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One more vote for doing Brugge by itself.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2003, 05:15 AM
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If you do Gent in Brugge in 1 day, you won't be happy with either of the visits. Go to Brugge for the entire day! It is more than worth it!

I don't understand your claim you can't stay overnight in Brugge because your plane leaves the next day in the afternoon, or did I get that wrong?
From Brugge train station to Brussels airport, it takes between 1h30 and 2 hours to get there. So if you leave Brugge at 10 am, you are in the airport at roughly 11.45 am, let's say about noon. Sounds doable, no?
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Old Nov 23rd, 2003, 05:46 AM
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I agree with the above poster that you should spend the night in Brugge if at all possible. It is a different place after the daytrippers leave. J.
 
Old Nov 23rd, 2003, 06:28 AM
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My wife and I spent three days in Brugge and three days in Antwerp and felt as if we had barely scratched their surfaces because there is so much to see and enjoy. As one poster observed, Brugge in the evening is a treat in itself, after the noisy crowds have left. Antwerp, in our opinion, is one of Europe's truly great cities and does not get nearly enough travelers' attention. Either city (we did not visit Ghent) has some of the best eating places we found in our month within Belgium and the Netherlands. Museums, scenery, day trips -- you could fill days compiling the lists of places to see and things to do. One of our most memorable day trips out of Brugge was a tour by minivan of the Ypres battlefields of World War I, guided by a local man who took us down back roads to places almost no travelers ever see.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2003, 01:07 PM
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Hello,

Thank you for all the replies!

Based upon popular opinion, I will probably do Bruges for the day. I wanted to stop in either Ghent or Antwerp to see one of the Castles, but I suppose that can wait until another time.

As for spending the night in Bruges, I did consider that. (My flight departs about 2:30 p.m.) However, it is a 1.5 hour train ride to the airport. I felt that the time in the morning could be better spent walking about Brussels (or possibly Antwerp if we base there instead). The trains run from Bruges to Brussels until 10:00 pm; I cannot see what I would be doing in Bruges after that time. Should that not be enough time in Bruges?

Thanks in advance,
Chels
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Old Dec 9th, 2003, 09:13 AM
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Well, we are back!

We followed your advice, and skipped both Antwerp and Ghent. We took an early morning train from Amsterdam to Brugge, with a change in Antwerp; we arrived in Brugge by mid-day.

Brugge was beautiful! What a lovely place! We stored our luggage at the station, took the bus to the Markt, and just enjoyed Brugge until about 10:00 p.m.

Although I have read about the multitude of tourists in Brugge, I was unprepared for the deluge of people - in early December! At times it felt a bit Walt Disneyesque. (Both the line for the canal tour and the ride itself reminded me of Pirates of the Caribbean, and gift shops selling the same wares are everywhere...)

Howevever, true to the advice rendered here, the town actually seemed somewhat deserted after about 6:30 pm when the tourist buses left. Therefore, I am glad we did not take an organized day tour to Brugge, and that we went on our own schedule. We passed a few more hours in the evening, caught the bus back to the station, and took an easy train ride on to Brussels.

Much thanks to all those who steered me towards Brugge for the day!

Cheers,
Chels
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