Bruges or Brussels on a Monday?

Old Jul 18th, 2013, 11:29 AM
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Bruges or Brussels on a Monday?

I've been reading up on these two cities, and I'm trying to decide which to visit on a Monday, when most of the museums are closed. I'm staying in Antwerp and planning to make a daytrip to each city but the only two days I have available is a Monday and a Tuesday. Since they're daytrips, I'll be taking the train in and leaving later that day (maybe dinner time or after dinner).

Which city has more "outdoor" attractions that could pretty much fill a day? I'm more into history and architecture than art.

I know it would depend a lot on personal preference but just looking for some advice. Thanks!
blakejared is offline  
Old Jul 18th, 2013, 12:50 PM
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I'm more into history and architecture than art. >

Then Bruges hands down on any day of the week - renown for old flemixh warehouses lining old quays redolent of the time when Bruges was one of the world's most hopping ports (bringing in amongst other things Cotswold wool for its locals to make it famous cloth and tapestries out of) - but when the port silted up and action moved to Antwerp, still one of the world's largest ports, Bruges stagnated - great for us because today the old Flemish warehouses still line quiet quays - the whole city exudes a medieval look - something nearly totally lacking in Brussels, one of the most modern cities in Europe and a city that actually in the 70s and 80 bulldozed down blocks of old houses and buildings in the city center.

Not to say Brussels, like any European city, offer neat architecture and especially museums (though Bruges museums of old-Flemish masters are tops too.

In Bruges take a boat tour thru the old canals to see the city from the water as many sailors once did when arriving here in its medieval heyday.

Bruges for sure given your requisites.
PalenQ is offline  
Old Jul 22nd, 2013, 12:12 PM
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Have you considered a day in Gent???
Different energy than Bruges- university town, canals, museums, great places to drink, amazing architecture, really nice people and not over-run with thousands of tourists!
If you need more info just let me know!
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Old Jul 22nd, 2013, 01:34 PM
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It would make a long day, but Ghent is an easy stop by train between Bruges and Antwerp; the train will probably stop in Ghent anyway. You can take a tram from the train station into central Ghent - takes only about 10 minutes each way.

I personally would not spend much time in Brussels - would prefer Bruges or Ghent, unless you have picked specific museums or sites in Brussels you want to see. For me, that would mean browsing a tour book (I use Rick Steves) and seeing what looks interesting in each of the cities.

I'm not a museum person myself. though I did visit the Groeninge museum (Flemish paintings) in Bruges. I liked it - not a huge museum and some nice work. I'm guessing art buffs would love it. But it is closed on Monday. In Brussels, I visited the Museum of Musical Instruments (years ago, though I was just back in Brussels in May) and enjoyed it but it would hardly justify a special trip to Brussels.

The one time I'd say Brussels is FANTASTIC is at dusk/early evening when the Grand Place (main square) is all lit up at night - it's beautiful!!! So if you day trip to Brussels, I'd try to time it so you are there at that time. Should be easy to train back to Antwerp even later in the evening. You could spend a whole day in Bruges and a second whole day in Ghent, stop back in Brussels later in the day/early evening, then back to Antwerp.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2013, 03:00 PM
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We visited NO museums in Bruges and still absolutely loved our one very full day there (which happened to be a Tuesday, but it wouldn't have mattered). We just wandered and ate and then wandered some more.
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