Day trips from Brussels

Old Jun 4th, 2013, 12:19 AM
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Day trips from Brussels

We shall be in Brussels at the end of October. This will be our second visit in Belgium. Except the days for visiting Brussels, we have 5 free days for day trips. I have on my list the followng:

1. Aachen
2. Maastricht
3. Tervuren
4. Tournai
5. Liege
6. Dinant
7. Leuven

I do not want to be in a hurry, so I prefer to visit one town per day. However, is it possible and recommended to visit Tervuren and Leuven in the same day (as they are close one to another)?
We like architecture and art museums. What towns from my list would you eliminate in order to have 5 day trips only?
How would to modify this list (from the most recommended to the least one)/

Thank you in advance.
valtor is offline  
Old Jun 4th, 2013, 12:38 AM
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Keep Liege and Aachen. Can't comment on the others, sorry.
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 08:32 AM
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If you have not yet been to Ghent I highly recommend a day trip here and Bruges.
October may also be a nice time to go out to the shore.. Blankenberg- straight 1/2 hour train ride from Bruges, or Knokke-Heist.
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 08:47 AM
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Thank you Sparkchaser and Beergirl.
Yes, I read a lot of good things about Liege and Aachen and saw some beautiful images.
I already visited Ghent, Bruges and Anvers, as Brussels (where I still have a long list with points of interest).
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 08:52 AM
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Maastricht is lovely, great restaurants too.

The week starting October 26 is a holiday for all schools in Belgium (November 1 is a bank holiday). Probably not a problem for the places you want to visit, but some sites may be busy. I know many people go to the Ardennen that week.
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 09:18 AM
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We did a day trip to Mechelen this May. It is very pretty and easily walkable and the Schepenhuis Museum had a small but lovely exhibit by Rik Wouters. Their museums are open on Monday which was one of the reasons we went. Another plus was that it was only about 20 minutes from Brussels.
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 09:31 AM
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I visited Leuven last month. Lovely town, easily walkable, but it doesn't require a lot of time. There are some great buildings if you love architecture. The Groot Begijnhof - which unfortunately is on the opposite side of town from the train station - is worth the effort to see. I walked all the way (maybe 30 min or 15 from the center of town?) but perhaps you can take a bus or a taxi if you have limited time.
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 10:19 AM
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Oh man you need to take at least a day to check out the Trappist monasteries around Poperinge if you haven't already done so. Some of the best beer in the world is brewed there and it is available with cheese and cured meats and bread and other delicious food items at the monastery cafes. My husband and I took several days in the Poperinge area this spring and it was a veritable food and beer orgy. Must. Do!
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 11:57 AM
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Wow, great ideas! Thank you all!
The problem now is that instead to eliminate some places from my list, I have to add some. So still I have to decide what NOT to visit!

Tulips, thank you, I did not know about the holiday in the last week of October. Any case, I must be there this week, as we have tickets for Adamo's concert on Oct. 31. Now I have to check what is open on 1st of Nov.

Thanks again.
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 01:36 PM
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We have enjoyed trips to Aachen, Leuven, Tournai, Tervuren on your list. also Antwerp
My TR from 2011 describes most of these places we visited (We went to Aachen on a different trip years ago)
I think you could combine Tervuren and Leuven pretty easily although we went on different days. I believe the Museum of Central Africa is closed now for renovations.
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 01:54 PM
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If youre up for a new tickmark nearby check out the Beersel castle just outside Brussels. More like ruins but doesn't take long to reach and isn't very popular
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 03:03 PM
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Hi Valtor, I would possibly miss out Tervuren if the museum is closed. There is a nice park there and the tram ride was voted Brussels' prettiest tram ride, but I don't think it's as significant as some of the others. It is also just a part of the Brussels experience, whereas everything else on the list is a bit more remote. I've been to all bar Tournai, but I've heard the cathedral there is quite significant and there are some tapestries there worth seeing. I also didn't think much of Liège myself (kinda dirty) but someone else on Fodor's showed me a link to the new station, which has been built by an important architect and if you are into that, would be worth seeing. My visit was before the station was built. Leuven is nice but you could just have a walk around and see it in half a day, IMO.

Top of my list: Maastricht, Aachen, Dinant. Maastricht and Dinant for pretty, Aachen for history. There are additionally a few things you can see around Dinant; namely there is kayaking on the river Lesse, there are some caves on the Lesse which are important archaeological sites, and there is a magnificent castle not far from Dinant, at Freÿr.

Beersel is actually a comparatively well preserved medieval castle - while it has been undergoing renovations, it's not a total ruin. You can visit it from Brussels.

So glad you are exploring Belgium - there's so much to see.

Lavandula
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Old Jun 7th, 2013, 11:43 AM
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Visited Tervuren this past May; according to the museum, the African collection will remain open until the end of 2013.
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Old Jun 7th, 2013, 12:07 PM
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Banares, did you enjoy Tervuren (museum and the town)? With my limited time, do you recommend to keep it on my list?
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Old Jun 12th, 2013, 07:20 AM
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hi Valtor,
We enjoyed Tervuren because we are interested in Africa and what happened in the Congo when it was under Belgian control
If you are, you'll like it too.
(Found this amusing in one of the displays "..the locals did not really care to work for pay because it seemed the income was just to pay taxes").
There was not much in the town itself other than the museum. The palace grounds are good for walking. There's an amusement park (treetop adventure) nearby.
I have not been to the other places in your list, and can't help with your choices. Prioritize is what I'd do.
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