My girlfriend and I will be traveling to Belgium over the thanksgiving holiday this year for 9 days (11/17 - 11/26) flying in and out of Brussels. Right now the plan is to arrive into Brussels the morning of the 18th around 8am or so and go directly from the airport and catch a train to Ghent. We will stay in Ghent for Saturday and Sunday night to explore the city and then depart on Monday morning by train for Bruges. We will stay in Bruges Monday night and depart on Tuesday for Antwerp by train arriving mid-morning. We'll spend Tuesday night in Antwerp and then depart on Wednesday morning for Brussels.
Once we arrive in Brussels we'll make our way back to the airport to pick-up a rental car that we will have until Saturday. Once we have the rental car we are going to drive towards Luxembourg City (2 1/2 hr drive) and stop over for a few hours there to explore. From Luxembourg City we are going to continue on to Baden-Baden, Germany where we'll spend the night enjoying the thermal baths. On Thursday we'll depart mid-morning or possibly right after lunch and head to Strasbourg, France where we'll then spend Thursday and Friday night. The reason for the stopover in Strasbourg is because it is the opening day of their Christmas market on Friday 11/24 as well as the fact that it is supposed to be a beautiful city. We will depart for Brussels on Saturday morning so that we will have enough time in the afternoon and night to explore some of the city before we depart late morning on Sunday 11/26.
Our interests while traveling will be sightseeing, especially the cathedrals and museums, and enjoying the food and drink while we're there. Considering the time of year I don't think we'll wan to do anything outdoors as far as hiking or anything of that nature.
My questions are:
This is a lot to do in the amount of time that we have available. Is it too many cities / countries to visit?
Has anyone done a trip similar to this?
Are there some places that we should shorten or cut out altogether?
Should we stay in a central location and day trip everywhere while in Belgium?
Ideally I wouldn't be renting a car at all due to the cost but from what I've seen the prices are comparable to train tickets if not cheaper split between my girlfriend and I.
I have a bad habit when traveling to try and see everything and go everywhere possible especially when there are other countries in such close proximity. Really just looking for recommendations on cities / countries to visit, we'll narrow down what we're going to do once we have that figured out.
Any advice is greatly appreciated,