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5 days in Belgium


I am planning on spending 5 days/nights in Belgium as part of a longer vacation. I was going to make Brussels my home base and take a day trip to Bruges on one of those days. Will that give me enough time in Bruges? The other option is 2 nights in Bruges and 3 nights in Brussels. Which option would people recommend? I am leaning toward 5 nights in Brussels as I prefer to pack/unpack as little as possible, but I don't want to skimp on Bruges. Thanks!

Posted by
4637 posts

Bruges is a small town. You can see most of it in one day. If you want to soak atmosphere, stay overnight. Ghent is also very historical town but bigger than Bruges. Antwerp is underrated. I liked it better than Brussels.

Posted by
951 posts

I have been to Bruges twice, once for 2 days and the other was 5 nights for my honeymoon. Both times was during Xmas market season so maybe a little extra pizzazz was added to our visit. Bruges deserves at least 2 nights. We are big art buffs so the groening and memling museum was a huge deal for us. There are panty of churches to visit. There is a cool brewery to tour. There is good food and beer to enjoy. And a handful of cheesy museums like the chocolate and frite museum. Walking thru the part of town where the nuns live and where the swans swim. I could not really do that all in one day.
Both times I was in Belgium, we flew in, went to the art museums, and left for the more quaint towns. I will do the same thing next time I go. Some people really like Brussels, but I gravitate more towards Bruges and Ghent.

Posted by
11613 posts

I would do the 3-2 split (Brussels and Bruges). You could daytrip into Ghent from either place. And I agree that Antwerp is underrated, I loved it.

Posted by
15684 posts

Consider staying in Ghent. It's easy to day trip from there, since it's between Bruges and Brussels. Rooms are markedly cheaper than Bruges and it's less touristy, quieter than bustling Brussels, yet with a beautiful Gothic historic center. It's a university town, so there are reasonable options for nightlife and restaurants.

Posted by
3580 posts

I was in Bruges a few years ago and stayed for just 2 nights. I had a museum pass which was good for entry to a few sites. I felt that I wanted more time just to savor the place. It is very atmospheric. The central plaza has numerous ways to be interested. I would have walked around the town more if I had been there longer. So, I think 3 nights would be good.

Posted by
277 posts

We, too, are spending five nights in Belgium as part of a longer vacation. We're planning three nights in Brussels (where we have a short home exchange) and then two nights in Bruges. We're thinking of renting a car when we leave Brussels and hitting Waterloo, Dunkerque, and Flanders Fields on the way to Bruges, if that's possible. Good luck.

Posted by
70 posts

I will be going to Belgium for my first time this May with my time split between Brugge and Brussels. I am spending 4 nights in Brugge and 2 nights in Brussels. I only plan on spending one full day in Brussels with the remainder in Brugge and other day trips including Ghent and Antwerp. Although my travel plans are not 100% concrete, my lodging and airfare is already booked. Personal tastes dictate, but either location should be a great home base.


Posted by
9 posts

I'm having a hard time deciding too. We have 5 nights after Amsterdam, with a return flight from Brussels. It looks like we can take the train through Antwerp so may get off there for a few hours to look around. Would that be worth it?

Then I'm thinking about 3 nights in Bruges so we'll have one day to knock around town, and one day to do some bicycling. Then train to Brussels with perhaps a few hours in Ghent along the way, and a full day in Brussels. We're not too interested in museums… more interested in walking, architecture and canals. Any tips are appreciated!