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Brussels, Bruges or Antwerp??

Travel Forums Europe Brussels, Bruges or Antwerp??

1. Posted by j3nn1f3r14 (Budding Member, 60 posts) 4 Mar '12 03:48

j3nn1f3r14 has indicated that this thread is about Belgium

Hi

I am planning a 2 night stay in Belgium around easter time. I have never been before.

I was wondering about whether to go to Brussels, Bruges or Antwerp? I am looking for a city with lots of cultural things to do during the day and then good night life at night?

Recommendations please??

Thanks

Jen

2. Posted by mamzalbambam (Budding Member, 5 posts) 4 Mar '12 07:55

Hi Jen,
Thanks for the question!If it is your first time to Belgium I would recommend Brussels with a Short day trip to Brugges.

Link to bus tour to Brugges:

If you choose to go on your own, the train is frequent between Brussels and Brugges and not very expensive. Once in Brugges, you can just walk around and visit all the great stuff.

Here is a link to the train route planner for Belgium:
http://www.b-rail.be/main/E//
( you would want to go from Brussel Zuid Station to Station Brugge Sint-Peter)

I would recommend going on your own as it gives you a bit more freedom, however if you go with the bus tours, you have a guide and fellow travellers that could make it more fun. All depend on what you like

I also suggest you visit this website:
http://www.use-it.be/bruges/flight-train-bus/

They have great map with young people in mind( but still used by every age category) for several Belgian destinations including Brussels and Bruges. You can download the maps directly from the website for free. You can also pick up a hard copy in pretty much any youth hostel you come across! They have awesome suggestions, easy directions and they are fun.

I suggest Brussels because if it is your first time to Belgium, it is a perfect 3-flavour-cake-mix of Belgian culture. It is a bit French, a bit Flemish and a bit of typical Brussels.

You can visit Grand-Place, a breathtaking sight when you have never been to a place like this!! Mannekin pis, which always turns out being smaller then people expect :P
The atomium is pretty cool as well. If you are into comic strips, theres the comic strip walk, which is a walk through the city with many comic strip murals along the way.

You can walk down Koningsstraat, and it will take you to the Royal Palace and Park( I think when the flag is flying the king is there).

You can visit the palace of Justice( huuuuuuuuuuuge , worth taking a step inside and looking up !) Also in front of the Palace of justice there is a glass elevator that will take you down to the Marolles( also draws tourists for its unique atmosphere and little shops as well a the sunday market). In the old days, the Justice Palace had been built high above the marolles as a sign or Richer towering above the poor and being menacing.

On a side note.. if you are going on easter, I might suggest you not wander about the Marolles as a precaution. Easter being catholic and the marolles having a high density or Muslim population, there could be some tension , preferable to avoid. Sometimes religious holidays cause scandals within the country, especially Brussels, due to Belgians putting out decorations and extremist Muslims disagreeing with the public displays of the holidays they dont believe in. As long as you stick to the beaten path you should have no problems at all though!

For nightlife, I would suggest the tourist trap of Rue des Boucher area! There is the Delirium bar, where they serve absynth as well as a few bars in that area with tons of great Belgian beers! All that info is in the Use-it maps I linked.

PS rue des boucher...they will ALL try to get you to eat at their retaurants! If you are not interested...just say no and keep walking:P

For Bruges, things to do and visit, chocolate museum, the bruges Zot Brewery (at the end of the tour they give you a glass of beer that hasnt been refined for bottleing yet. It is delicious and strong).
Chocolate shops are everywhere and soooo yummy! The water is FULL of swans, and the architecture is great. One church claims they have the blood of Christ in a little glass thing and being easter, they might have a big thing going on. Usually every hour or so you can go in and go up and touch the glass container the blood is in.

Dont forget to eat waffles and Belgian fries during your stay Nom nom nooom!If you like mussels, they brussels has a specialty dish of Moules-Frites. Mussels and fries and apparently they are beyond delicious!

If you are looking to stay at a hostel, I recommend Auberge de Jeuness Jacques Brel(its a Hostelling International youth Hostel). You can take the metro from Brussels Zuid Station to Madou( you need to be on the post office side of the road when you get out of the metro station). From there its less than a 5 minute walk(just across the round parking/ mini park).

If you have any more questions at all, please ask away! I hope I did not give you an overload of info there :)

Hope you have a great trip!
Shannon

3. Posted by mon.celis (Budding Member, 9 posts) 4 Mar '12 11:22

hi jen,

shannon did already a very good job for promoting the country!!!
it is really a pitty people don't take the time to explore the country!!! why are they like this?
the three cities have each of them enough to present and give the visitor any idea about how we build up our history...
brussels is a bit different from both the others, because of the more metropolitan way of behaviour... large cities or capitals are somewhat aside....
enjoy the visit and be wellcome!
next visit should be loger!
mon

4. Posted by coldwarspy (Travel Guru, 1108 posts) 5 Mar '12 03:56

Can I suggest something different?
I have been to Brugge and find it so boring. Nice to see but thats it.

I have to say one of the nicest cities I have ever seen in Europe is in Ghent.

Why does no one go there? It has everything Brussels offers, aside form the Art art nouveau architecture and galleries.

But you get a vibrant bar scene, a canal, great views, churches and a massive Cathedral and a castle!

Really have a look into it. Its only a short train ride from Brussels too.

5. Posted by bex76 (Moderator, 3533 posts) 12 Apr '12 06:23

Quoting coldwarspy

Can I suggest something different?

I have to say one of the nicest cities I have ever seen in Europe is in Ghent.

Why does no one go there? It has everything Brussels offers, aside form the Art art nouveau architecture and galleries.

But you get a vibrant bar scene, a canal, great views, churches and a massive Cathedral and a castle!

Really have a look into it. Its only a short train ride from Brussels too.

Just wanted to report back to this thread: I've just spent 3 days in Ghent and it is an absolutely fabulous city! Like you coldwarspy, I found Bruges uninteresting, but Ghent is now one of my favourite cities in Europe! I want to tell everyone about it, but I also want it to stay undiscovered as that's part of its attraction. Thanks coldwarspy for your comments about Ghent, as if I hadn't read them I don't think I would ever have thought of going! :)

Post 6 was removed by a moderator
7. Posted by frazierross (First Time Poster, 1 posts) 14 Apr '12 05:52

I would like to third coldwarspy's opinion on Ghent. I lived in Belgium for 2 years to get my masters in Leuven, right outside of Brussels. I've visited all the major cities many many times, my friends are all over the place there. I've been to Brugges four times, and ONLY to take friends or family who were visiting and he**-bent on going there. It's very very touristy, and I just don't enjoy it.

Ghent on the other hand is one of the most amazing cities in all of Europe (and I've traveled extensively in all of Western Europe) - it's incredibly picturesque! If I were you, I would do Antwerp and Ghent. Antwerp is a traditional, big, Flemish city with plenty of culture left. Brussels is getting to the point where almost 70% of the inner-city is foreign and Belgian-borns are moving out, so the percentage continues to rise. As amazing as the city can be (often thanks TO the multi-cultural aspect, I can't possibly recommend it over Antwerp.

TL;DR - My opinion - Antwerp and Ghent, you won't regret it a bit.

8. Posted by coldwarspy (Travel Guru, 1108 posts) 24 Nov '12 04:29

Thanks guys for backing me up on Ghent. Thats what this site is about!