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Is Bruges too much like Amsterdam?

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Jun 21st, 2015, 02:53 PM
  #1
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Is Bruges too much like Amsterdam?

We're trying to plan a Sept. trip. Thinking of Amsterdam--train to Bruges--train to Paris.

Do you think Amsterdam & Bruges are too much alike with the canals etc?
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Jun 21st, 2015, 03:03 PM
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Amsterdam is really a vibrant compact city which, despite the historic architecture and sleepy canals, really brims with its own modern, progressive culture. By contrast, Bruges is a tableau where the clock stopped long ago, and it is more of a museum stage set, where tourists step back into yesteryear, wandering and strolling the cobblestoned streets and canal paths, watching the swans glide by.

In Bruges favor is that the food is so much better, and its sights are gems and jewels, while Amsterdam's greatest cultural attractions do involve a commitment of time (although the town is enjoyable even if you don't head into the Rijskmuseum or visit the Van Goghs).

Just depends on what you like to do and experience when you travel -- but they are very different places in feeling, and visually too.
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Jun 21st, 2015, 03:04 PM
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well, they are both Dutch so have a lot of similar architecture, etc., and the canals of course. I don't think of them as similar at all due to their sizes, Amsterdam is a major city. I guess it depends on the reason for going to Bruges. If your time is pressed, and there isn't some particular item you want to see there, then I think you can get a dose of Dutch culture just in Amsterdam, as well as plenty of art, museums, etc.

The main thing I remember from Bruges is that Michaelangelo sculpture in a church, the lace museum, and just a cute small town to walk around. There is a small art museum, but you won't miss anythingn there with all the art in Amsterdam.
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Jun 21st, 2015, 03:05 PM
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Very very different places - do both, you'll be happy you did.
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Jun 21st, 2015, 03:10 PM
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They both have canals, and the people in each place speak Dutch; after that, the two places are different as night and day.

Amsterdam is a major city, with a bunch of interesting and distinct neighborhoods that appeal to most tourists (Jordaan, museum district, central shopping streets, etc.). Bruges, to my mind, is more of a jewel-box -- lots of lace, church-oriented sites -- that almost resembles a theme park. Both interesting, and very different.
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Jun 21st, 2015, 03:26 PM
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Do both - some similarities in architecture but enough differences to make a visit to both worthwhile.
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Jun 21st, 2015, 03:41 PM
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Brugge is in Belgium, and is small and quaint. It is very different from Amsterdam, although both have canals. It is worth a visit, but can be seen in a day, in my opinion.
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Jun 21st, 2015, 03:56 PM
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They are very different . . . the only similarity really is the water running through them.

>>but can be seen in a day, in my opinion.<<

Not really unless you just want to share the city w/ all the day trippers. One needs to see it in the evening and early morning before the crowds arrive. But it isn't large so 2 days (or 2 nights/1.5 days) would give a nice taste.

Amsterdam takes more time - partly because it is larger, but also because its museums are massive in comparison to Brugge's
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Jun 21st, 2015, 04:36 PM
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Thanks---very good responses and reasons to visit.
MDH is going "lace museums?--no way!"
OTOH, he loves his photography so that may keep him occupied.

He would spend all of our time in Paris (10 visits so far) but I would like to experience something different, with a few days in Paris.
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Jun 21st, 2015, 04:51 PM
  #10
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"Do you think Amsterdam & Bruges are too much alike with the canals etc?"

No! Not at all! If nothing else, the similarities will make the differences that much easier to see.
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Jun 21st, 2015, 05:17 PM
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Bruges is a photographer's dream. It is very touristy, but for someone who doesn't mind a lot of walking, it's possible to get away from the tourist areas fairly easily.

Amsterdam is quite photogeneic, too, but is a big, busy place, kind of lacking the charm of Bruges.
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Jun 21st, 2015, 05:34 PM
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A very pretty, very touristY place. Visited a couple of times ( not overnight)
..it was packed.
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Jun 21st, 2015, 05:44 PM
  #13
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I thought Bruges magical, day or night -- but then, I saw it before it was mobbed during the day. It is especially magical after day-trippers leave.
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Jun 21st, 2015, 06:12 PM
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Brugge i NOT Dutch - it is Belgian - as proven by the food which is incredible. (Dutch food is fine - Belgian is the best in euorpe).

Amsterdam is a fairly large city that seems very modern - despite the architecture along the inner canals. It has several major museums and a large number of other interesting sights.

Brugge is a small town that has been preserved from not long after the Renaissance, charming and lovely with beautiful sights at every turn - great for any photographer. The feeling is completely different, as are the sights - but you must stay at least one night to appreciated it. If you do go be sure to stay in one of the canal house hotels.
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Jun 21st, 2015, 06:17 PM
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Bruges is like a beautiful and perfectly designed medieval town for a movie set, except it is real.

Amsterdam, lovely city with vibrant city life and great museums.

Except they are both quite beautiful, they are not at all alike, IMHO.
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Jun 21st, 2015, 07:41 PM
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Canal house hotels in Bruges? Any favorites?
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Jun 21st, 2015, 09:01 PM
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Danon: >>A very pretty, very touristY place. Visited a couple of times ( not overnight)
..it was packed.<<

That is the problem w/ not staying overnight. Same as someplace like Venice. Huge crowds w/ all the day trippers. But after about 4PM the hordes start leaving and the place is magical in the evenings/mornings. So if you've only been there during the day -- no wonder you have that opinion.
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Jun 21st, 2015, 09:07 PM
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Prior posters have done justice to the difference. We did your same trip two summers ago: 4 nights Amsterdam, 2 night Bruges, and 5 nights Paris. Check out my trip report under my name. Loved all three cities. Bruges was storybook beautiful! Stayed at Huis Koning on a not-so-busy canal, an 8-minute walk to the main square.
It is #1 on tripadvisor for good reason. Check out Hotel Fita in Amsterdam for a well-located, reasonable bed and breakfast. You will have a wonderful time!
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Jun 21st, 2015, 10:16 PM
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We just spent 3 nights in Brugges, a true picture postcard type of old city, cannot respond about Amsterdam, as we have never gone. We should have taken the 1 hour city bus tour that leaves from the market square hourly on our 1st full day there--did not do it till our 2nd day. Gives you a great overview of the city and lots of ideas for places you might like to explore in more detail. There *were* lots of tourists, but very few of them were Americans when we were there---mostly Europeans.
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Jun 22nd, 2015, 04:24 AM
  #20
 
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@christina
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NO, they are NOT! Bruges (Brugge in Flemish) is in Belgium, Amsterdam is in the Netherlands. Both share (about) the same language but they are in different countries and the culture, architecture, gastronomy, ... of both places is totally different.
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