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3 Days in Solo in Belgium - Where to stay?

Nothing is booked yet, but I'm planning on stopping over in Belgium for 3 nights on my way from Amsterdam to Paris. I plan on taking the Thalys train, but have not purchased a ticket yet. I'm interested in Antwerp, Bruges, Ghent, and plan on at least seeing the Grand Place in Brussels (and maybe doing a chocolate making class) before I take the Thalys down to Paris.

Where should I stay?
What should I do?

I'm female, 27, traveling solo, and like beer, chocolate, biking, quaint towns, local culture.

Posted by
1005 posts

Since you are 27, I would recommend Ghent, because it has a quaint old town but is also a college town. You'll find lots of young people to meet--especially Thursday night! Get Rick Steves' Belgium book to plan your trip.

Posted by
1536 posts

Another vote for Ghent. It's also more or less equidistant from the other three cities, with direct trains, so you can easily get to Bruges, Antwerp, and Brussels for day trips.

Posted by
2487 posts

Another one for Gent. Lively city and a good base for whatever day trips you want to make.

Posted by
7 posts

Thanks all for the advice! Any tips on food to try while I'm there?

Posted by
8293 posts

Antwerp is worth your consideration. The Hotel Rubens is where we stayed one year. I believe it was once the house of a Cardinal or an Archbishop or some such person of great repute. Although I don't actually remember where we parked our rental car, there was parking available.

Posted by
6646 posts

I'm a take-out, street food, nosh on the run while sightseeing kind of a person so I recommend the frites, chocolates, and waffles, waffles, waffles.

If you're looking for good, healthy, restaurant food, someone else will help you out. :)

And, by the way, I absolutely loved my 3 days in Belgium 2 years ago. I stayed in Brussels and visited Ghent, Antwerp, and Bruges. If I had it to do over again I would stay in Ghent, so I agree with all the others.

Posted by
94 posts

Based on my own recent trip to all those places minus Antwerp, I'd vote for Ghent too. It's a cute, nice town. As for food, they really do have some of the best fritas around. It's not just a touristy thing that lets you down. At least not me:) Also, if you like biking, we did a bike tour in Brugges through Quasimundo (recommended in the RS book) and really enjoyed it.

Posted by
3 posts

Holy cow, OP, are you me? I am doing this exact same thing in December and I came here to ask the same questions as you. I also happen to be a 27 year old female travelling solo. So thank you for doing it for me.

Posted by
1806 posts

Antwerp or Ghent have much more interesting nightlight, and if you are into fashion, Antwerp also has that going for it. I was in my 30s my first time in Bruges and I found it way too quiet without much going on after dark. I also feel like since you will just have come from Amsterdam, you'll be underwhelmed by the canals in Bruges. But don't hesitate to visit if you want to see it first hand as it's still only a quick commuter rail ride away from the other cities in Belgium.

Posted by
7 posts

@Reilly Happy to help! I'll follow up with what I end up doing :) Stay tuned...