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Belgium and Netherlands Trip


I am having such a hard time deciding on an itinerary for my upcoming trip. My boyfriend and I will be traveling late Dec/early January.

We are in our late 20's and really looking for a mix of culture, cute winter festivals and adorable towns, breweries and pubs (we love beer!), and some museums/art/history thrown in. That said, I typically travel at a fairly fast pace.

My general plan is:
Dec 29th - arrive Amsterdam in early AM
Dec 29th - Jan 1st - Amsterdam (I have been before, so I think 3 days is sufficient)
Jan 1st - Jan 3rd - Antwerp
Jan 3rd - Jan 5th (leave later in the day) - Ghent
---Planning to do a day trip to Bruges on the 4th
Jan 5th -7th Utrech (using as a base to fly home from the Amsterdam airport)

I am really struggling with the time spent in each town in Belgium - I want to make sure I get the full experience, and stay in charming/cozy places - but also have enough activities/sights to see so that we don't get bored!

Posted by
6196 posts

Your itinerary is fine, too bad you can't fly home from BRU. You have to research when the Christmas Markets close for the season.

It is possible to stay in Antwerp for the whole visit with daytrips if you don't care to unpack again.

Posted by
307 posts

Highly recommend Hotel Carlton in Ghent.
A small, well-run establishment, reasonably priced and less than 1/4 mile from the train station.
The brothers who own the hotel are excellent tour guides, can help you with tickets for the buses in both Ghent and Bruges. The breakfast offers a nice array of cold items, rolls/breads, meats and cheeses, yogurt. etc., as well as cooked to order hot items such as eggs and pancakes. They have a juicing machine so your orange juice is made on the spot. Yum!
Plenty of good places to eat; we chose Three Monkeys for dinner in Ghent and Panier d'Or in Bruges for lunch.
Lots of places to try some very good beers.

Posted by
283 posts

I think your itinerary looks fine, although, for me, I prefer to set up base in Ghent and day trip to Antwerpen and/or Bruges. Very easy day trips to and from in that area, so packing and unpacking every other day seems a tad exhausting. You like beer? Hey, I like beer! :)

I will leave you with some recommended beer centric options as I have spent quite a bit of time drinking beer in each of the cities you plan to visit:

In Ghent: Dulle Griet. ( and Trollekelder ( My wife thought my eyes would pop out when I was reading the beer menus at these 2 places. Bonus in Ghent: Head to Pol, ( he doesn’t have beer but they have a wide assortment of jenever. Fun place.

Antwerpen: Kulminator. You should just Google this place, it rightfully is a can’t miss. I believe this place may close when the owners choose to retire, or, sadly, pass on.

Utrecht: Cafe Olivier. ( This place has a good beer selection and it is set inside a beautiful church.

Have fun!

Posted by
4 posts

Don't know if you've found a hotel in Amsterdam yet, but I love misceatdrinksleep. Just south of Nieuwmarkt (10 minute walk from Centraal Station). It's an old canal house with six rooms. Rachel and Pepijn are great hosts. Breakfast included, and they'll help you make any arrangements you need for dining or tours.

Posted by
307 posts

Since you will be in Amsterdam for a couple days, you might want to get a reservation at Martine's Table if she is open during the holidays