Hello to my fellow travellers. I have a 2 day leg of my European trip spent in Belgium. My sister is wanting to go. So my question is which cities do I go to visit and must not miss? We are arriving in Brussels at 9:15 from Paris. I had thought of visiting Brussels that day, and do day trips to Bruges and Ghent the next day all by train of course. Now my sister wants to include Antwerp in the mix. How do I do this? Can I delete a city? Do I use the Eurostar to Antwerp on the same day of arrival? It would be quicker to arrive at Antwerp for sure. Many people don't seem to like Brussels so much. This is always brought up on multiple traveling forums. I really don't want to overstretch my trip like a rubber band and not enjoy anything. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.
Antwerp is a much nicer city than Brussels. When you make Ghent your base, you could easily have it as a short day-trip: it's only some 1 hr away by frequent train (several per hour).
I like a pace of travel that's generally quicker than that proposed on Rick Steves forums, and I've been to Belgium multiple times, and even this is too much for me. Do not go to Brussels, Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp all in 48 hours, that is crazy.
The Belgian rail network is good, but you'll eat up a whole bunch of time moving between cities. I would do two cities max, probably Antwerp and Bruges or Ghent. (Bruges is known for its beauty, but I think Ghent is nearly as beautiful and livelier than Bruges since Ghent is a university town, and Bruges is also much more touristy IME).
On the train front you will take local Belgian trains, which don't require reservations and whose ticket prices don't change, between all these cities.
I fall into the skip Brussels category. Its Grand Place is not nicer than those in Ghent or Antwerp. If one of the 2 days is your arrival day, then you really don’t have much time. Of the cities you mentioned, Ghent has the most to offer, followed by Bruges. The main sights in Antwerp (cathedral and Grot Markt) can be seen in a few hours.
Skip Brussels, not a whole lot there. I did Brugges and Ghent in a day via bus trip and felt that was adequate time. Unlike the PP, however, I preferred Brugges over Ghent.