Bruges or Antwerp?

Old Feb 9th, 2020, 09:05 PM
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Bruges or Antwerp?

We will be visiting Europe (married, 2 kids ages 6,8) end of April-early May.
We will be arriving in Belgium after a short stay in Amsterdam on 5/1 and will fly out of Luxembourg early on 5/6.
We had planned on staying in Bruges 5/1 - 5/3 (dep) and Brussles 5/3 - 5/5 (dep)

After reading these forums, I noticed a few people mentioned considering staying in Antwerp vs. Bruges and just daytrip to Bruges. We were planning on doing the opposite. I am realizing now that we would be in Bruges on a weekend, and I'm wondering if it's going to be chaos. I wasn't expecting swarms of people in Bruges, but it sounds like maybe I'm totally mistaken. Do you think there is a better option for us between our stay in Amsterdam and flight out of Luxembourg? We were pretty excited to see Bruges, but now i'm wondering if we are ignorant to what it's really like there. We are not afraid of a busy city with kids as they are well-traveled and we visit cities often. However, I don't want to fight Disneyland-style crowds during the day (like Venice). If there is a good reason for me to not stay in Bruges, i'm all ears! We are trying to book our hotels and don't want to make a huge mistake.
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Old Feb 9th, 2020, 09:40 PM
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Brugge is a very pretty town, but also very busy. Staying in town gives you the advantage of seeing it in the morning and evening when the day trippers and busses have left. Just to put it in perspective, the city has 110.000 inhabitants and more than 8 million visitors per year. All of those visitors are in the small center of Brugge.
May is a busy time, and May 1st is a national holiday. Shops and restaurants in Brugge will be open, Since it's a long weekend, hotels may be busy. If you are traveling by train, these will be on a Sunday schedule. It is not a holiday in The Netherlands, though.

Antwerp is different; it's a large city that does not only depend on tourism. There is a pretty old town, but it is not a Disney-type dreamy place like Brugge.
On May 1st shops will be closed in Antwerp, and it will be pretty quiet there. I checked some of the popular museums, and most are closed on May 1st.

I don't know what would be best for you. Brugge will certainly have crowds, Antwerp will be relatively quiet. If you plan your arrival in the afternoon of May 1st, you can explore on foot, and visit some of the museums the next day (and don't miss the Red Star Line Museum).

Another option may be to stay in Gent instead of Brugge; it's very close to Brugge with frequent trains, and a lovely old town with less tourists than Brugge.

By the way if you are in Amsterdam late April, I assume you know about Kings Day April 27.
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Old Feb 9th, 2020, 10:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Tulips View Post
Another option may be to stay in Gent instead of Brugge; it's very close to Brugge with frequent trains, and a lovely old town with less tourists than Brugge.

By the way if you are in Amsterdam late April, I assume you know about Kings Day April 27.
We donít arrive until April 29th in AMS. Iíll look into Gent as a base. Now that I realize May 1 is a holiday, perhaps Brugge is a good choice, knowing things will be open and day trip to Antwerp or Gent from there the following day. Your comments are helpful. Thank you!
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Old Feb 9th, 2020, 11:11 PM
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My feelings - Bruges is at its best in the mornings and late afternoons/evenings when the day trippers are gone. If one does a day trip TO Bruges they will be smack dab in the middle of the tourist hordes. I know I definitely would not have enjoyed Bruges nearly as much if I hadn't stayed there.
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Old Feb 9th, 2020, 11:21 PM
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So helpful!

I think I feel good about our decision to stay in Bruges and if the crowds are too much, we will day trip to Ghent or Antwerp. Thank you!
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Old Feb 10th, 2020, 12:20 AM
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That seems like a good plan. Brugge gets a lot of daytrippers. If you're early risers, you'll see the city at its best.
If there's anything specific that you want to visit, check opening hours, but it looks like Brugge is mostly open on May 1st.
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Old Feb 24th, 2020, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Lanee View Post
We will be visiting Europe (married, 2 kids ages 6,8) end of April-early May.
We will be arriving in Belgium after a short stay in Amsterdam on 5/1 and will fly out of Luxembourg early on 5/6.
We had planned on staying in Bruges 5/1 - 5/3 (dep) and Brussles 5/3 - 5/5 (dep)

After reading these forums, I noticed a few people mentioned considering staying in Antwerp vs. Bruges and just daytrip to Bruges. We were planning on doing the opposite. I am realizing now that we would be in Bruges on a weekend, and I'm wondering if it's going to be chaos. I wasn't expecting swarms of people in Bruges, but it sounds like maybe I'm totally mistaken. Do you think there is a better option for us between our stay in Amsterdam and flight out of Luxembourg? We were pretty excited to see Bruges, but now i'm wondering if we are ignorant to what it's really like there. We are not afraid of a busy city with kids as they are well-traveled and we visit cities often. However, I don't want to fight Disneyland-style crowds during the day (like Venice). If there is a good reason for me to not stay in Bruges, i'm all ears! We are trying to book our hotels and don't want to make a huge mistake.
my wife and I stayed in Antwerp in Bruges, both cities are beautiful, but we prefered Bruges, as Tulips stated, the mornings and evenings are magical ! The restaurants are wonderful, and there is a small town thats a bike ride down the canal Damme thats very nice for lunch. We never saw HUGE crowds in the last week of May. Have fun, the members on this forum are the BEST, i owe them all the thanks for a great vacation last year!!!!!!!!

We also did an English speaking walking tour, the Gentlemans name was Louie, it was wonderful, you meet in the square early, lots of history, Watch the BelgianTriple Beer :0)
its very strong.

mussles,fries,mayo !!!!!!!!

Last edited by kgveteran; Feb 24th, 2020 at 10:54 AM.
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Old Feb 24th, 2020, 12:11 PM
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Have a look at this article and see if it helps you: https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2...ity-break-beer
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Old Feb 26th, 2020, 03:01 PM
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are the tourists that many at beginning of May? I can understand summer but May? Is it the gardens?
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Old Feb 26th, 2020, 09:06 PM
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First weekend in May is a long weekend for Belgium, France and other countries; Europeans do city trips. Brugge is always busy.
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