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Must choose one: Brugge or Antwerp

Old Apr 3rd, 2005, 05:09 PM
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Must choose one: Brugge or Antwerp

My husband and I will arrive in Brugge or Antwerp for just 24 hours of visiting. The travel time to Antwerp would be one hour less, but we must choose one or the other b/c I do not want to do both in such a short time. Which city would you recommend and why?? We just want to be able to go to Belgium for a bit while we are visiting the Netherlands. Please give us your thoughts. Thanks!
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Old Apr 3rd, 2005, 05:19 PM
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The locals would say if you only had one day in Belgium, Brugge would be the place to visit. Canal tour, shopping, lace, chocolate, beer, Bell tour, ambiance, etc.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2005, 06:42 PM
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Though it's been over 20 years ago, I still remember how beautiful Brugge was, so I'd recommend it. In fairness, I've never been to Antwerp.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2005, 06:59 PM
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I've never been to Antwerp but I seem to recall they were the diamond cutting capitol of the world. That right there makes my eyes sparkle.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2005, 07:18 PM
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I've never been to Antwerp, but Brugge is fantastic. I was looking through my photo albums the other day and I couldn't believe how many postcard perfect shots we have of that quaint little town. Like the Budman said, the little boat canal tour is great, the chocolate fabulous and you can't beat the beer.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2005, 07:20 PM
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On a scale of 1 to 100 for your selection, I'd put Brugge at about 95 and Antwerp at maybe 37.
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Old Apr 4th, 2005, 03:58 AM
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Thank you for all of your advice. I think we will have to go to Bruge after those comments!
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Old Apr 4th, 2005, 04:16 AM
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Ok, I´ve been to both several times. Brugge is a nice little town, that has absolutely fantastic canalwalks, old buildings and a romantic atmosphere. My wife was all excited about it, especially at night when the lights went on and you could see houses along the canals mirrored in the still water. By then most of the tourist (there are plenty) have gone and the city is almost asleep. Very nice indeed.

Antwerp on the other hand is three times as big and one of the biggest port-towns in Europe and in the world as well. The harbour is mainly industrial with plenty of trucks coming and going. Some people might be intrested in a tour of the huge harbour. The constant traffic also brings many seamen into town and still there´s a red-light district in the harbour and one close to the railway station as well. The city is also the biggest center for diamond trade in he world. Diamonds are traded by orthodox-jews in the diamond district around the railway station. Arabs have lately become very active in the industry as well. Kind of funny to see these traders.

The city also is home to some great museums. The old town is nice. It´s really nice, but it doesn´t have a special character as Brugge has with the canals. But surely enough to do for a day. No doubt.
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Old Apr 4th, 2005, 04:36 AM
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Well, Brugge is lovely, but overcrowded with tourists, and very Disney-like. It's basically an oversized village. You'll get as much heritage in Antwerp, but wrapped within a real, vibrant, yet manageable city. It's one of Europe's currently hippest cities, with the advantage of stunning Renaissance architecture, plus a living harbour (and not dead like Brugge's). I would only choose Brugge in the heart of the low season: take Montmartre, Mont Saint-Michel or the center of Florence, and you'll get Brugge. So my vote would go to Antwerp without any hesitation.
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Old Apr 4th, 2005, 04:51 AM
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I've been to Brugge dozens of times and while it can be very crowded on weekends and holidays, if you go on a nonholiday weekday, it's not too bad. Also, try and get away from the main squares and poke around the quieter streets.
If your itinerary means it's a weekend or nothing in high season, be prepared for lots of people around the main sights and some very crowded sidewalks.
The trains to Brugge on weekends and holidays can be very crowded as well. We usually traveled first class (not that expensive in Belgium) to avoid the worst of the crowds.
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Old Apr 4th, 2005, 04:56 AM
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I have to add that Brugge is also a "real, vibrant" city. It's not just a tourist town. Some of the more residential areas are delightful, full of historic and beautiful buildings and off the tourist map (in one section, there are some old warehouses that are being converted into terrific apartments). We have several friends living in Brugge, and they wouldn't live anywhere else in Belgium.
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Old Apr 4th, 2005, 05:20 AM
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I think the idea of avoiding cities or places because they are going to be so busy with other tourists is a sad one and a misidirected one. The reason places are busy with tourists is because they have the most to offer. To avoid them means you miss the best places. How sad to determine where you're going based on picking the places that other people have figured out there's nothing much worth going there for.
Don't get me wrong. I went to Antwerp and it was fine. Any city has things worth seeing. But it is a far cry from the charming and enchanting Brugges for example. Picking Antwerp because most other people picked Brugge just seems like a silly idea to me.
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Old Apr 4th, 2005, 05:37 AM
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Brugge for us as well. We stayed there for two week in 2004 in a loft apartment - view of the bell tower from the sitting room, beautiful especially at night. We go back to Brugge whenever we can (five times since 1999).

Antwerp, however, we visited twice since 1999 as a daytrip from Brugge - infact we bought my tennis bracelet there.
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Old Apr 4th, 2005, 11:05 AM
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Brugge,no question.
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Old Apr 4th, 2005, 01:53 PM
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Thank you so much everyone! We are going to go to Bruge. If you have any suggestions for a B&B that would be appreciated!
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Old Apr 5th, 2005, 02:35 PM
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I visited Antwerp over Bruges and really enjoyed my time there, but definitely more people on this form advised Bruges. I think it depends what kind of person you are, i.e. if you like more quaint and pretty versus more city-like atmosphere. Anyways, I enjoyed Antwerp, but it seems you have made up your mind, and I'm sure you will enjoy Bruges.
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