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Good base to see Brugge, Ghent and Antwerp

Good base to see Brugge, Ghent and Antwerp

Apr 2nd, 2013, 10:55 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 75
Good base to see Brugge, Ghent and Antwerp

I am visiting Belgium for the first few days of May. I would like to see Brugge, Ghent and Antwerp. Can I realistically visit all three cities in three (full) days? If so, which city would serve as a good base of operation to venture out and see the other two cities? Any hotel recommendations? I would prefer to spend between 100 to 200 euros per night.
jyoung is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2013, 11:15 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
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Gent is in between the other two and is a pleasant enough largish town - Bruges is far more romantic but Gent is a really nice town - a bit more lively than museum-like Bruges to me.

Trains trundle between the three at least hourly so yes one day in each to me would be fine.
PalenQ is online now  
Apr 2nd, 2013, 03:52 PM
Join Date: May 2003
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Ghent would win form a transportation point of view. Brugge and Antwerp are at either end of a line made up of the three places and all trains go through Ghent.

However, the train times - all direct with no changes required - are;

Brugge - Antwerp 1:24
Brugge - Ghent 0:24
Ghent - Antwerp 0:56

so it would be
1:48 (1:24 + 0:24) x 2 (return trip) or 3:36 in total time to if you used Brugge or Antwerp as your base and
1:20 (0:56 + 0:24) x 2 or 2:40 total time of you used Ghent as your base.

With the difference in travel time over the three days equal to less than an hour, you should probably choose by where you want to stay the most.

Brugge - large town, most medieval, very relaxing in the evenings and mornings.
Ghent - small city, medieval core but adjacent to more modernized areas than Brugge much more hustle.
Antwerp - moderate city, all the amenities, and activity that brings.

Brugge offers the most relaxing evenings after your day tripping and would be my choice unless I wanted to be in a bustling city atmosphere.

Like a number of fantastically preserved small towns in Europe there are those who like to criticize Brugge for being ``too touristy`. But that is exactly why you stay for a few nights. The city quiets down and becomes ``yours`` if you want it too. I have spent several magical nights walking the streets and canals (as a couple) and just as many mornings doing the same (alone with a camera). Those same experiences can`t be had in Ghent or Antwerp.
Aramis is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2013, 03:56 PM
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We like Brugge.
fmpden is online now  
Apr 2nd, 2013, 03:57 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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Look for my trip report that starts in Ghent; click on my name to find it. In there I mention the B&B where we stayed--a stone's throw from the main sights in the old town.
Michael is online now  
Apr 2nd, 2013, 04:11 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I have stayed in both Brugge and Antwerp and as stated above, either would be fine, as would Ghent. I was not happy with Ghent but I'm sure it was mostly due to the weather, construction and fact that the major music festival was on. I loved both Brugge and Antwerp. Here's my trip report from my trip last summer, I give hotel info for the hotel I stayed at in Antwerp which I really liked. It was a former 11th century monastery remade into a modern hotel.

isabel is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2013, 12:39 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 75
Thanks all. Glad to know I can fit all three cities into three days. Sounds like Antwerp and Ghent will be a good fit for me. Off to do some more research so I can decide which city I like better as a base.
jyoung is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2013, 01:08 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 77,023
Off to do some more research so I can decide which city I like better as a base.>

better in what criteria? For an interesting city not plagued by too many tourists I would take Gent or Antwerp - transportation wise Gent is about halfway between the two I believe - cuts down on train fares too perhaps.
PalenQ is online now  

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