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Brussels/Brugges vs 1 day off Berlin??

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Aug 26th, 2012, 02:08 PM
  #1
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Brussels/Brugges vs 1 day off Berlin??

My hubby and I (both are 36) are going to Europe in October.

Our trip plans are:
1) USA to Istanbul-4 nights
2) Fly to Berlin-4 nights (plane tix are bought already)
3) Train or Fly to Brussels-2 nights
4) Train to Amsterdam-3 nights (with a quick stopover in Antwerp on the way)
5) Amsterdam to USA

After reading about Brussels and Brugges, now we are debating about whether or not to add a day on to Brussels and chop a day off of Berlin to see Brugges. Any thoughts?

We have been to Munich and love Germany so were thinking that having that extra day in Berlin would be nice to walk around, eat, drink, and chill since we are always so busy on our trips. To note, we are not big museum people and like vibrant, fun, trendy cities. I am just trying to get a feel for Brussels vs Brugges and was thinking it might be like a Madrid vs Barcelona?

Thanks for the help!
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Aug 26th, 2012, 03:08 PM
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Brussels/Brugges = Oranges/Apples. Brussel is a big, white-collar, government-administrative city. Brugges is small and "quaint". The " " are because to some it is a ye-olde punch line to a joke while othes find it charming, another word that is loaded enough for sceptical " ". It depends on your tastes. You are already doing quite a bit of moving around for a short holiday. I'd find a traditional Brussels pub and increase my knowledge of the world's capitol of beer.
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Aug 26th, 2012, 03:10 PM
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Brugge is very small...very Flemish ( sort of like Amsterdam reduced) lovely and very touristy.
Brussels is a good size city ..the biggest attractions the. central square and vicinity...can be seen in a day.
A day in Brussels and a day in Brugge is doable.
I would not cut time in Berlin .
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Aug 26th, 2012, 03:12 PM
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p.s.
I was in all three Bs this summer
Brugge is only an hour by train from Brussels...easy day trip.
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Aug 26th, 2012, 03:13 PM
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That is what we were debating about. Right now we are doing 2 nights in Brussels with one full day and were thinking of chopping a night/day off of Berlin to be able to have 3 nights in Brussels with one day to day trip to Brugges and one day in Brussels.
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Aug 26th, 2012, 03:15 PM
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Is that better than chopping a day off of Berlin?
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Aug 26th, 2012, 03:21 PM
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If it is your first visit to Berlin...don't shorten your visit.
It is a big and fascinating city.
You could see the center of Brussels in several hours in the morning and hop on the train and be in Brugge in an hour
( there AR numerous trains a day). Spend the late afternoon and early evening in Brugge.....
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Aug 26th, 2012, 03:33 PM
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That sounds good and we don't mind being busy but can we really see Brussels and Brugges in one day? We are training to Amsterdam the next day and can leave later in the day if we need to spend time in Brussels that morning/afternoon.
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Aug 26th, 2012, 03:34 PM
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I would not cut a day in Berlin. Too much to see and do.

I would cut out Brussels and Bruegge, and spend the time in Antwerp and Amsterdam.

To see worthwhile places in both Brussels (there is much more to it than the Grand Place, such as the fish market, the Royal Castle grounds, etc.) and Brugge involves a lot of walking. I think these efforts better be spent in Antwerpen and Amsterdam
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Aug 26th, 2012, 03:45 PM
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We don't want to overnight in Antwerp so could day trip from Brussels if we only had one full day? Like I said earlier, he day we train to Amsterdam, we have the morning/afternoon to play around with on our way to Amsterdam. The big questions are 1) if you had one full day in Belgium would you spend it in Brussels or Brugges and 2) is an extra day in Belgium worth cutting a day off of Berlin?
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Aug 26th, 2012, 03:52 PM
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There is always something MORE one can see in any city.....

spending more time in Amsterdam might be a good idea.
Brussels is not nearly as beautiful as Amsterdam ,Brugge has canals and Flemish/Dutch
architecture very much like Amsterdam.
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Aug 26th, 2012, 04:09 PM
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Thanks danon. So would you skip Belgium all together to spend 4 nights in Amsterdam vs 2? My hubby and I move pretty fast and I hate to miss Belgium while being so close to it.
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Aug 26th, 2012, 04:17 PM
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I have another thought...what about skipping Belgium all together and going to another city in Germany for 2 nights?
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Aug 26th, 2012, 05:40 PM
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I liked Hamburg.

If you wish to go to Belgium...go!
See how your time goes in Brussels...
If you have time later in the day to go to Brugge fine, if not
don't worry....Amsterdam will give you a feel for Flemish architecture
and a city crisscrossed with canals.
I would rather spend time in Amsterdam than Brugge any day.
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Aug 26th, 2012, 05:44 PM
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P.s.
I flew Easy Jet t from Berlin to Brussels .
it is an afternoon flight... Allows one an evening more in Brussels.
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Aug 26th, 2012, 07:18 PM
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Thanks danon! Your advice is great! I would prefer to fly from Berlin to Brussels because the train is over 7 hours so I will look into Easyjet. We will just keep our plans as they are and thanks for the input on Brugges and Amsterdam being so similiar!
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Aug 26th, 2012, 07:56 PM
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you. are r welcome.....enjoy your trip.
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Aug 26th, 2012, 09:19 PM
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It's actually a tough choice and you can't go miserably wrong regardless what option you choose.

You may want to keep in mind that the political border between the Flemish community (roughly the northern half of Belgium) and the Southern part of the Netherlands had been and still is artificial.
As a tourist, you will hardly recognize a difference in architecture or how cities and towns are laid out.

Brussels has a somewhat different "flair" but as you are not museum people I am not sure that you will get that much from Brussels.

Transport-wise you can fly low cost from Berlin to Brussels (with easyjet as mentioned, though you should book far in advance) as well as to Amsterdam (transavia.com).

Brugge is one of the most beautiful small Flemish/Dutch towns you can find. The rest of the world knows that, too, unfortunately. Many people who visited liked it best in the evening hours when most day-tripping tourists have left.
And you definetely want nice weather to walk around.

So if you go on a day trip, it is not the worst strategy to spend the AM hours of day 2 in Brussels, leave for Brugge around 1 or 2pm, spend afternoon and evening/dinner in Brugge. And also see Brugge after dark when the lights go on and go back to Brussels at around 10 or 11.

As train travel in Belgium is cheap, and the difference between pre-booked saver fares and walk-up fares between BE and NL is not that much, you can also add more flexibility (think weather) and make Brugge either a day trip from Brussels, or the stopover on your travel day to A'dam.

The latter will take you away from the direct routing, but it is not impossible if you think Brugge a must and don't feel like taking a day of Brussels for a day trip.

To add a bit more confusion/choices, you can also check out Gent on the web.. it also has a great historic old town but gets a bit overlooked by tourists.
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Aug 27th, 2012, 06:35 AM
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I would definitely look at Gent as an alternate choice, it's a beautiful city, set on canals with lots to see and do. Good food and fun bars for beer and jenever-gin! Just take the # 1 tram from the train station into the city town-korenmarkt.
Yes Brugge is lovely but overrun with tourists- constantly!

If you're thinking of stopping in Antwerpen on your way to A'dam you can leave your luggage in the lockers at the station so you don't have to drag it around with you while you play tourist.
Just don't loose the little paper ticket! Large size lockers are about 3.80-4 euros.
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Aug 27th, 2012, 08:46 AM
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we...like vibrant, fun, trendy cities

Those who tout Bruges tend to rhapsodize about its charm when all the tourists are gone and the streets are quiet in the evening.
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