recommendation for trip Belgium etc

Old Dec 17th, 2022, 01:08 PM
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recommendation for trip Belgium etc

My wife and I are planning a trip for September 2023. We are considering Amsterdam, Belgium and Normandy. We are thinking up to ~2 weeks. I was thinking 4 days Amsterdam/day trips like Utrecht (including Amsterdam arrival day), then 4 days Brussels/Bruge, Ghent/Namur day trips. I am considering renting a car for travel to Bastogne WWII history, extra day in Belgium.

Also considering then taking train to Normandy for 4 more days, staying in Bayeaux which seems central to day trips (renting a car, WW2 beaches, Mont St Michel, Honfleur), then to Paris for departure.

I recognize we could probably spend 2 weeks only doing two of these locations, for example we could drop Netherlands and focus on Belgium and Normandy; or just do Amsterdam and Belgium and save Normandy for a different Normandy/Brittany trip. But I kind of like the idea of splitting between Belgium and Normandy for the sake of contrast. Save Netherlands and areas east for a different vacation.

Thanks for any suggestions.
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Old Dec 17th, 2022, 05:16 PM
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That is a fairly packed plan - I think you might want to lose some of the stops somewhere along the line. I would also work with bases so you do less unpacking /packing. Give yourself a whole day for relocations between bases as there is actually quite a bit of distance between your (rough) locations.

For Belgium as you are planning trips to the east (Namur, Bastogne), Brussels as a rail hub would make a good base. There is car rental at the airport and from Bruxelles Midi railway station; you will want a car for Bastogne for sure, as the Ardennes is not as densely served by the rail network and the cemeteries are out a distance. I admittedly don't know that corner of the country so well. Many people do just a day for each city and do quite well with that. Nice to have Namur as well, most people just see the Flemish cities.

You are not giving yourself very long to see Amsterdam and day trips. There is a lot to see in Amsterdam, if you do that leg of the trip I would give all my days to Amsterdam just so you don't short-change it.

We once did a holiday driving from Brussels to Bruges to various stops in Normandy and Brittany (Dunkirk, Le Havre, Honfleur, Mont-Saint-Michel, Fougères, Rennes, Rouen), but staying in Tancarville and Rennes. Tancarville was just a very low-key hotel we found as a centre-point, with fantastic food (but a lousy setting). But I did think I would have liked more time in Rouen and it could make an interesting base. However my observation, if I can be critical of our own plans, is that there was a lot of driving and too little sightseeing. Don't worry about investing time in Dunkirk or Le Havre. They were interesting but not remotely aesthetic and we knew too little about the war history to give much context. I was interested to see how far across the French border Flemish food continued and where it petered out.

Anyway, it is an interesting part of the world and it sounds like you have some WWII interests and will have read some history, so don't hesitate, jump right in!

Lavandula



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Old Dec 18th, 2022, 12:43 AM
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With your timespan drop Amsterdam. You aren't giving it or the country of the Netherlands enough time.
Fly in to Amsterdam if it is cheaper and get a train to Brussels, or fly direct to Brussels.
Slow down a bit.
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Old Dec 18th, 2022, 06:28 AM
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Thanks, agree we want to minimize number of packing/unpacking events. We try to have at least 4 nights in any location.
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Old Dec 18th, 2022, 06:29 AM
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Thanks, agree about slowing down. This was first draft and we will likely decide on two countries. Reading to do over the holidays.
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