Only 1 day to sightsee: Antwerp or Gent?

Old Feb 17th, 2011, 08:16 PM
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Only 1 day to sightsee: Antwerp or Gent?

Hi,

I'll be in Brussels at the end of February/beginning of March. My flight arrives on a Sunday morning and I'd like to spend the day sightseeing after I check in. (Yes, I booked the room for Saturday night so it will be ready.) I'll only have one day to sightsee so . .. . Which does everyone recommend? Antwerp or Gent? (I've spent time in Brussels and Bruge so I'd like to go somewhere different. ) I expect to spend most time in either city walking - unless everyone recommends otherwise. Many thanks!
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Old Feb 18th, 2011, 08:51 AM
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I preferred Ghent over Antwerp. But Ghent is very similiar to Bruges, just less crowded. So, maybe you want to pick Antwerp.
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Old Feb 18th, 2011, 09:41 AM
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I would agree that Bruge and Ghent are similar so Antwerp might be a better option. It's a port town...so maybe not as quaint but the majority of what you would like to see is close to each other...walking distance. The main square is the most guilded square in Europe I understand. We were there about 2 months ago and enjoyed a night there.
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Old Feb 18th, 2011, 09:51 AM
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That is a tough choice. We very much enjoyed Antwerp, but that is to a large part because we had a fodor's friend who lives there and his wife who graciously gave us a tour of the city that few tourists see. Beautiful places in the city that we would have not thought to see on our own. I don't think we would have thought as much of the city if we had been on our own. On the other hand, the historic center of Ghent is compact, interesting, and can be appreciated without a guide.
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Old Feb 18th, 2011, 05:31 PM
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I like Antwerp, but I am a shopping freak and so enjoy that side of it. It's more of a city, whereas Ghent is more similar to Bruges in size and offerings. In Antwerp you might enjoy the Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, which is a major art gallery. The Grote Markt is also quite impressive although not as imposing as the one in Brussels, but still a nice place to sit in the sun and have a coffee or a beer. There are also some good restaurants in Antwerp.

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Old Feb 18th, 2011, 05:47 PM
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I can't make a comparison between Antwerp and Ghent because I have not been to Antwerp. However, Ghent seemed very different from Bruges to me.

Bruges is like a stage set: perfect, charming, clean, almost unreal. It is like a theme park where you are a guest.

Ghent, OTHO, seemed pretty grity to me: a real city where people are not catering so much to tourists, but rather going about their daily business. I found Ghent very interesting, lots of little restaurants and shops, and I liked the river area very much. I would certainly return to Ghent, probably not Bruges.
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Old Feb 19th, 2011, 07:08 AM
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I can only agree with Sassafrass. Gent and Brugge are totally different. Gent is alive while Brugge is more like an open air museum.
I live in the vicinity of Antwerp, and I love my city, but I also appreciate Gent. Both cities have a compact historical centre and both are worth a visit.

FYI, the Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten (Royal Museum of Fine Arts) will be closed as from May - and until the fall of 2017!! - due to major renovations. Only the library and the archives remain open for the public.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2011, 08:41 PM
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Thanks, everyone! I'm leaning towards Gent. I'll post a trip report when I'm back.
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