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5 nights in Belgium

NYC
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5 nights in Belgium

I am planning an anniversary trip taking my wife to Belgium this June. This is our first time to Belgium. I am thinking about to base in Brussel, and maybe taking days trips on 2 different days travelling to defferent place in Belgium (open to suggestions). I would like to find out if there is any company that offers day excursions/bus tour from Brussel or should we simply take the train and do our own exploration? Also, can anyone recommend any nice 5 star hotel in a good location in Brussel?

Brussels, Belgium
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1. Re: 5 nights in Belgium

Organised coach tours (http://www.brussels-city-tours.com/) take place on different days to different places, if the day concerned doesn't suit your dates, you can always just jump on a train to Ghent (30 mins), Brugge (1 hr), Antwerp, etc.

It would be best to stay near Gare centrale, which is also near the Grand' Place. Expensive (not sure how many stars) hotels in the area include the Méridien, Le Dixseptième (www.ledixseptieme.be), Royal Windsor, or a bit further away, one block from the Grand' Place behind the Town Hall, the Amigo, which is supposed to be Brussels' best hotel. You can research these by going to the Brussels forum, when you will find "Brussels hotels" in the list on the left of the page, which you can rank by price or rating by TA members.

Edited: 10 April 2012, 06:22
NYC
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2. Re: 5 nights in Belgium

Thanks for the info. If we decide to take the train and travel from Brussel to Bruges, Antwerps or Ghent. Can we pretty much do the sightseeing ourselves once we get off the train station at these destinations? Can we simply walk from the station to downtown and see different attraction sites? or do we need to hire a taxi?

Brussels, Belgium
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3. Re: 5 nights in Belgium

For walking to city centre: Brugge yes (although you can also take any bus marked Markt or Burg from outside the station), Antwerp yes, but Gent St. Pieters station is too far out to walk, so take tram #1 direction Evergem (buy tickets from machine or, more expensive, on tram) to Korenmarkt or Gravensteen ("Castle of the Counts" - where the tourist office now is).

For doing the sightseeing yourselves: of course, if you have a guidebook or at least a map and list of sights from the internet. You might not even need that if you head straight for one of the canal boat trips (in Brugge and Ghent).

Belgium
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4. Re: 5 nights in Belgium

If your plan is to visit Brussels, Bruges, Antwerp and Ghent, I wouldn't stay in Brussels but in Ghent, as it's more central and has easy and direct connections to the other cities, beside being a very attractive and accessible city by itself. Brussels is better when you also want to visit the south part of Belgium. I admit, like many of my countrymen, Brussels isn't exactly my most beloved city.

If staying in Ghent is an option, I'd stay in the Marriot at the Graslei: great hotel, great location.

NYC
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5. Re: 5 nights in Belgium

I will definitely check out Marriot in Ghent... My original intention is to stay in Brussels as our base. Since this is our first time visiting Belgium, I thought maybe it make sense to stay in Brussels which is the capital city. I plan to spend 2 or 3 days exploring Brussels, and 2 or 3 days doing excursions to other places such as Bruges, Ghent or Antwerp.( I checked out the Brussels City Tours and they have one day Ghent-Bruges combined tour, and one day Antwerpen tour, both look very interesting). But again, I am opened to any suggestions, I will look into staying in Bruges and Ghent as suggested by slaceb...

Brussels, Belgium
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6. Re: 5 nights in Belgium

You'll probably get 10 different opinions from 10 different people, but for the record: much as I like Ghent, Brussels happens to be my favorite Belgian city; and for me, the fact that Ghent is indeed the most centrally located on the railway network - for a trip excluding Wallonia - is offset by the fact that Gent St. Pieters station is so far outside the centre, whereas in Brussels you can easily stay within 5 mins walk of Gare centrale and you are right in the centre. While the train ride from Ghent to Brugge is up to 30 mins less than from Brussels, the difference disappears when you take into account the tram to the station.. As for Antwerp, the fastest trains from Brussels take only 35 mins, whereas from Ghent it takes 44 from Dampoort, 52 from GSP, so no advantage at all!

Personally, therefore, I would only base myself in Ghent if I was not visiting Brussels itself, or on a longer trip - or, of course, if I wanted to stay at a particular hotel: and the Ghent Marriott does indeed have a splendid setting, not matched by anything in Brussels (except perhaps the Hotel St. Michel on the Grand' Place)!

NYC
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7. Re: 5 nights in Belgium

Bruges seems like a beautiful, romantic place with lots of attractions and activities such as hot air ballooning and canal trips...etc. If we stay in Brussels and take the Brussels city tour excursion, looks like we will spend the morning in Ghent and afternoon in Bruges. Is it too little time spent in Bruges? Should we plan to spend more time in Bruges? May be 2 nights in Bruges and 3 nights in Brussel, or vice versa?

8. Re: 5 nights in Belgium

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