Belgium thoughts?

Last European trip was a bit too much living out of a suitcase for certain family members, so we are thinking of spend a couple days in Amsterdam, a day in Brussels, then setting up basecamp in Bruges (Brugge) and just soaking up the vibe for a week.

Thoughts? Tips on Bruges?

Went to Bruges about 10 years ago. Really nice but couldn’t imagine staying there more than a couple of days.

Chris - I go to Brussels every year for business and gave to say it is my least favorite city in Europe - dirty, lots of bums and pick pockets down town. I would go to Bruges and Amsterdam and avoid Brussels.

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Chris is from Minnesota, so his expectations are low.

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As long as there is beer at the end, craig!

After I pointed out how it worked, Dario did love watching the gangs of pickpockets at the Eiffel Tower a couple summers ago. He could have stayed there for hours watching the dance between them and the cops.

I grew up in Belgium so my expectations are low too. But I like going there.

Given your itinerary, I would suggest spending a few more days in Amsterdam and spend a few less in Bruges.

We spent four nights in Bruges in March. From a tourist standpoint, I think you can see everything there in two days. If the weather is nice (when we were there it was cold, windy, raining), you can bike out to the ocean and back on the canals that brought ships into Bruges years ago. It’s less than an hour to Ghent by train (Adoration of the Mystic Lamb) and Antwerp isn’t much further. From a dining perspective, we wished we had at least another night to spend there. If you’re into beer, there are at least half a dozen really good beer bars in Bruges. Westvleteran is readily available, though expensive (9-11 euros/bottle).

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I like Bruges quite a bit and agree that two days are enough, but I’d gladly spend many more nights there eating great food and drinking great beer. I also agree that Brussels (tied with Athens) is the worst European capital city and only getting worse as it is ‘modernized’ as the EU capital. If I ever go back to Brussels, having been there a handful of times, it will be too soon.

I’m conflicted. We really don’t want to be “on the go” this vacation. We want to downshift. Enjoy a beer on a sunny patio, people watch, chill. But maybe I’m going too much that direction. Maybe hop a train to Germany and spend a few days along the mosel or near the pfalz? Maybe the champagne region? We also kicked around just going to northern italy instead.

Bruges is wonderful but everyone targets it sine the movie came out. Ghent is even nicer and we used that as our home base while traveling to the other cities. Ghent is what I would recommend

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Bruges is wonderful but everyone targets it sine the movie came out. Ghent is even nicer and we used that as our home base while traveling to the other cities. Ghent is what I would recommend

Actually that’s about what we did. Bruges is beautiful but the natives are not that fond of Americans IMO, and there was a palpable stand off-ish-ness that I sensed there. I think it would get old after a couple of days. We had a friend in Ghent and another in eastern Belgium (both Flemish) so we spent a couple of days in Bruges and then visited our friend in the East, and then over to Cologne which has some really interesting Romanesque architecture and some Roman relics as well, I liked Köln a lot, and got rather used to the Koelschbier there. Then we went over to Piesport and had a luxurious time at the Goltröpfchen – I don’t think they called it a hotel, it is small, more like a guest house but with formal hotel type rooms. We ate fish pulled out of the Mosel that same day and drank good Riesling. We then drove upriver to Trier which we liked enough to cancel the rest of our trip down into Alsace. I had thought of doing Champagne but it didn’t work out.

Trier is the birthplace of Constantine, and the Roman ruins are pretty amazing. At the time we were there the three smallish museums in town were all having Constantine exhibits, it was some kind of anniversary, and people were walking around town dressed as ancient Romans. We were in a hotel up on a hillside overlooking the city and we would go out on the balcony and drink some Beerenauslese from Piesport and watch the lights come on, and an occasional owl fly past. BTW Karl Marx was born in Trier and it was interesting that you could see his house (lots of Asian tourists taking pictures) a few blocks from the Marx Department Store – I think run by his capitalist relatives who still live there.


If you can work in a visit to Maastricht, you should spend a day or two there. The tunnel tour is really something, and you’ll have Beligan, Dutch, and German beers readily available!

Listen to this guy^. As stated by others, Brussels is a dump, Bruges is nice for a night or two… And for the life of me I cannot understand why anyone would want to stay in Amsterdam more than a night. Unless you are into drugs and hookers. You can hit the museums in one day… nothing much else other than some dirty drainage canals. lol Stay in Trier!

Thanks JohnG3, and you are correct! [cheers.gif]

go to antwerp!

If you’re into lambic beer, it would be criminal of you to not make a stop at Cantillon in Brussels, as well as De Cam in nearby Dworp (sp?), and Beersel and Drie Fonteinen in another nearby town I’m not presently recalling.

Feel free to send me a pm should you need some food tips in Brussels / Bruges / Antwerp. I live in Luxembourg during the week, but spend my weekends in Brussels.

Consider staying Ghent during your trip - Bruges, Brussels and Antwerp are all a train ride away, and the city is also nice to stay in (and I say this not being from Ghent).

brussels has cantillon tho!!

Any tips on best wine store in brussels? Im mostly in to burgundy wines…
Going to be there for a company trip next month (tried to move the trip to Dijon area but it didn’t work out!)