Brussels and Brugges in a weekend

Aug 31st, 2007, 01:04 AM
  #1  
DSB
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Brussels and Brugges in a weekend

Hi. My husband and I will be travelling to Brussels for a weekend.I would like to visit Brugges too as I may not get another chance before I head back home. We have not been to either place before.
Do you think it is a good idea to combine both in one trip or do more justice to Brussels over the weekend?
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Aug 31st, 2007, 02:19 AM
  #2  
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TTT
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Aug 31st, 2007, 02:23 AM
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I spent a day in both cities a few weeks ago and I vastly preferred Brugge to Brussels, even if it was more touristy. If I had to do it over again, I would probably go to Antwerp or Ghent and Brugge and skip Brussels altogether.

That said, if you HAVE to spend at least a day in Brussels, I will say this: I think I might've liked it more if I'd spent more than a day there. Unlike Brugge, Brussels isn't the kind of city you can fall for after a nice walk and some cafe time.

I think maybe it takes time to love Brussels... time to dive into the museums, shopping and the famed food/chocolate/beer.
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Aug 31st, 2007, 04:08 AM
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Hi DSB

Having spent time in both Brugges and Brussels, I would vote for Brugges - it's very compact, extremely pretty (even in the rain!) and interesting.

Because of its size, it's much easier to see everything without having to use public transport the way you do in Brussels.

If only spending a day in Brussels, I would recommend the hop-on-hop-off buses. Do a complete loop to get the feel of the city and its history, then just get off at the places that interest you. We stopped of at Atomium (quite unique and fantastic), the Palais du Justice (marvelous building and excellent views over the city), and a couple of other in-between stops. We often got off at one stop, walked through whatever we wanted to see there, then walked to the next stop to hop on and continue the trip.

Brugge is far too interesting to miss out on - when you tire of walking, hop on one of the canal tours to rest your legs and hear some of the city history.

Happy travels, Di
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Aug 31st, 2007, 06:04 AM
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Hi DSB. I vote with the others. For us, Brugges is one of those "don't miss" places. If there is something you really want to see in Brussels, I'd stay in Brugges and do a day trip to Brussels. Brugges takes on an entirely different atmosphere in early morning and evenings when the day tourist aren't there.
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Aug 31st, 2007, 06:41 AM
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DSB
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From your suggestions,I am thinking of heading straight for Brugge from the station and stay the night there, head to Brussels the next morning and have a look at the major sights and leave that night.
Would the major attractions be open on a Sunday ?
Any recommendations for trying out the famous Belgian waffles and mussels in either Brussels/ Brugges?
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Aug 31st, 2007, 07:12 AM
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DSB - for waffles, try one of the Ciska locations. For mussels, we were told Breydel de Coninck was considered the best - but not being mussels fans, I can't give you a personal opinion (!)
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Aug 31st, 2007, 09:19 AM
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Well, should have clarified that my suggestions were in Brugges.
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Aug 31st, 2007, 12:22 PM
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I loved Bruges and had moules provencal at Breydel de Coninck and it was sublime, one of the best meals i've had whilst on a trip.

In a weekend i would head straight there and have a quick look around Brussels on your way back. I didn't like Brussels all that much, however my friend who i was with loved it.
 
Aug 31st, 2007, 12:39 PM
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We are going to Leiden in April and planned to spend two days in Brugges. After looking at the tourist info we received, we decided to stay three days instead. One day will be with the Quasimodo Triple Treat Tour. www.quasimodo.be
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Aug 31st, 2007, 12:40 PM
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I just talked to another European traveller today who agreed with my opinion of Brussels and Brugge. Brugge may be touristy, but it's lovely and relaxing. Brussels isn't.

If you HAVE to spend a day in Brussels, don't make the same mistake I did... see at least one museum. Obviously you should also buy a waffle from a street vendor, walk very quickly through the Grand Place, get chocolate from Wittamer Marcolini (they're in the same square), buy a Belgian beer with dinner (ask for a recommendation) and find a great restaurant for mussels and frites. You can do all of that in one day... I did.

As for Brugge, it's in the Dutch part of Belgium, so they speak Dutch (and English) and apparently prefer to be called Brugge ("Broo-chah" - with the 'ch' pronounced like the 'ch' in Hebrew). I know people will argue with me, but I saw shopkeepers in Brugge be openly rude to French people, so speak English. And speak French in Brussels.

By the way, there is a park between the Brugge station and Brugge city center that I found really beautiful and peaceful. If you're looking for an escape from tourists, look for the big green space on your map close to the station. Also, get to Belfort Tower early. I got there at opening time and had it to myself for approximately 2 minutes before it was flooded with tourists. And don't miss the etched directions on the windowsills of the tower pointing to Paris, Amsterdam, etc.

Have a wonderful time!
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Aug 31st, 2007, 12:41 PM
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Sorry - that should have been Wittamer AND Marcolini... I was typing quickly.
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Aug 31st, 2007, 01:09 PM
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@ DSB
The major attractions are open on Sundays.
The park to which slangevar is referring, is called Minnewater (Lake of Love). It's very peaceful indeed.
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Aug 31st, 2007, 01:24 PM
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I am so glad someone asked this question. We will be in Belgium as part of a longer trip in about 3 weeks and are staying 3 nights in Brussels due to free hotel points with Marriott. Our thought was to take the train and spend one whole day in Brugges, train to Ghent or Antwerp for a day and one day in Brussels. We are flying out of Brussels. Does this sound like it would work? All the cities seem fairly close by train. Also thoughts on Ghent or Antwerp?
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Aug 31st, 2007, 01:27 PM
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MyriamC - thank you for the name! I just stumbled into it on my way to the station and wondered why no one was there.

travel_princess - the cities are really close together - you'll have no trouble going between them on the train. You can buy your tickets at the station... trains leave pretty regularly.

Just try to be in a city with outdoor attractions on a Monday. That seems to be their day of rest.
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Aug 31st, 2007, 01:52 PM
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Thanks! Can't wait for some chocolate!
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Aug 31st, 2007, 01:58 PM
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Wittamer and Marcolini are both outstanding. I found the chocolate in Brugge less inspiring.

If you happen to be in Paris, btw, definitely go to Cote de France and/or JP Hevin. Even my Belgian friend agreed that their ganaches were the best she'd ever tasted.
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Sep 4th, 2007, 08:43 AM
  #18  
DSB
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Thanks everyone for all your suggestions..
My tickets are booked and the accomodation - yes brugges for the night and brussels back on Sunday morning for a days tourism before heading back.
Now need to get the places to visit and the must sees to complete the plan.
Thanks again
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