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Need a second city in both Belgium & Holland

Need a second city in both Belgium & Holland

Aug 13th, 2012, 10:20 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 77,663
Bruges by far for most folks is not only a great city but IMO the finest place to spend anytime in Belgium - an old-world fantasy very unlike modern drab IMO Brussels -

In Holland Delft, Haarlem (on the footstep of Amsterdam however), Leiden and Utrecht are all cities that would meet your criteria.

Going by train? Consider the Benelux Railpass, which lets you hop on any train anytime (escept Thalys trains which you do not need to take) - great info on trains in these countries - http://www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com and www.seat61.com. Strongly consider IME of decades of incessantly traveling on Benelux trains of going first class - many of these trains are basically commuter trains and often IME can be nearly SRO in 2nd class but lots of empty seats in 1st class - I base this on literally hundreds of train trips in both countries.
PalenQ is online now  
Aug 13th, 2012, 10:48 AM
Join Date: Feb 2008
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We stayed in Bruges and Brussels during our trip to Belgium and really enjoyed both cities. I know there are quite a few people who didn't love Brussels, but we really did enjoy our time there. Didn't find it drab at all - loved the Art Nouvoueu architecture, the murals, thought the Grand Place was lots of fun... Of course the beer, waffles, and chocolate were lovely.

Bruges was definitely a good counterpoint to Brussels. We enjoyed it very much as well. Antwerpt is on our list for next time around.
november_moon is offline  
Aug 13th, 2012, 11:18 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Holland-Leiden. However, I agree with Neopatrick that you stay in Amsterdam and do seceral easy day trips by train. We have traveled exyensively in Europe and Brussels is probably the least favorite place we've visited there. Antwerp and Brugges a better idea.
HappyTrvlr is online now  
Aug 13th, 2012, 11:20 AM
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the more time you spend in Brussels the better it becomes IMO - tourists taking a quick glance often it seems find it very modern and busy and lacking charm of say a Bruges or Amsterdam - but yes if you ferret out the Art Nouveau areas and the royal palace area on the hill south of the town center and in general the whole area north and northwest of the city center it becomes more nice

And there is a classic Amsterdam Red-Light district just east of Gare du Nord - strung out in picture windows along the streets with scantily-clad bossomy young gals showing their wares - one of the few classic red-light districts left in Europe - assuming it is still there like it was just a few years ago.
PalenQ is online now  
Aug 13th, 2012, 11:21 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
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Oops I meant the whole area south and southwest of the town center not n and now. And do not judge Brussels by the tacky IMO area around the main train station, Midi or Zuid (South) station.
PalenQ is online now  
Aug 13th, 2012, 01:01 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,561
To the OP: as you may be able to deduce from most of the responses, the country name is not HOLLAND, it is NETHERLANDS. Holland is a part of the Netherlands - a major part considering that Den Haag, Amsterdam and Rotterdam are all in the Holland region.

Some Dutch can be picky about this.
BigRuss is offline  
Aug 15th, 2012, 10:01 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 1,350
Well, we settled on Haarlem and a trip to the dunes. So excited.
Tentek is offline  
Apr 16th, 2013, 07:53 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 152
Even though it is many months later, for completeness sake I thought I would post what we actually decided on.

Our trip in September 2012 featured stays in Amsterdam, the Hague, Bruges and Brussels. Be happy to provide further details to anyone reviewing this older thread!

Thanks for all of the information - it really helped!
PurpleNeon is offline  
Apr 16th, 2013, 09:01 PM
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 9
I'm not the biggest fan of Brussels but I did love Bruges! It's really cute and pretty. I've been to Antwerp too but it was about 7 years ago so I do not remember much but regardless Antwerp is nice as well. Holland for me is hard because I used to live in Amsterdam and I could spend days and weeks there without really being bored. The Haag is neat, but you don't really need 3 days for it. Holland is so small though that you can travel by train to different places. I would also recommend Utrecht as well. It's smaller than Amsterdam but it's so cute and pretty
WanderlustBruin is offline  

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