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Belgium- what is open on Mondays in Bruges or Ghent?

My husband and I will be spending 3-4 days in Belgium during a trip this fall (the first week of October). We would like to stay in Bruges; however, I am reading most things are closed on Mondays. We plan to arrive in Bruges on Sunday night or Monday and will stay there for the duration of our trip.

Can anyone provide insight as to how many things are closed or open on Monday in Bruges? Alternatively, are there more things open (museums, walking or boat tours, shops etc) in Ghent or Antwerp on Mondays? I am trying to figure out if it would it be better for us to make a home base in Ghent or Antwerp given the fact that we do not want to lose out on a day of activities and sight seeing if things are closed on Monday.

Additional details: We will be taking day trips to Ghent, Ypres and possibly Antwerp. We will be coming from Cologne (visiting a friend) and continuing on to Delft after our time in Belgium. We will travel by train only.
Thank you in advance!

Posted by
7569 posts

Mystic Lamb is 7 days, pre-booking necessary.

Antwerp is so much bigger that it has more things to do on a Monday. I would rather wake up in Antwerp-opinion. Many believe that Bruges is a must sleep. I'm not among them.

Edit: I have been to Ghent twice on a Monday, because the walking is so nice. But I missed the art museum as a result. It appeared to me that (years ago) many (but not all) retailers chose to close on Monday.

Posted by
332 posts

Mondays with so many attraction closures are the bane of my itinerary planning!

In Antwerp on a Monday this past April, The Royal Museum of Fine Art (KMSKA) and the Antwerp Zoo were both open. The recently remodeled KMSKA had a nice, broad collection. The lovely little zoo by the train station is one of the oldest in the world. We enjoyed both.

Edited to revise my assessment of KMSKA and remove my comment that the collection was “not deep”.

Posted by
67 posts

In Belgium most shops are open from monday to saturday. On sunday a lot of shops are closed unless on a "shopping sunday". In Bruges this is the first sunday of the month.

Next to that, a lot of museums/attractions are closed on monday. However in Bruges you can visit Belfort, Stadhuis and Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk 7 days a week. Private museums such as Historium and Choco story are also open on mondays. If you like beer then you can also visit the city brewery (Halve Maan) on monday.

Posted by
7569 posts

Sorry to quibble, but KMSKA is an important medium-sized museum, with huge numbers of locals Peter Paul Rubens and Rik Wouters, not to mention Goya and moderns.

Posted by
332 posts

No quibbles Tim, you are correct. I will revise what I said about KMSKA. They have a very broad collection and I enjoyed it very much, especially the Rik Wouters.

Posted by
5 posts

Thank you so much for the great suggestions! I will look into these. It sounds like there will be enough to do for a relaxing Monday.

Posted by
359 posts

Sometimes it's also pleasant to break up your sightseeing with something different. How about a relaxing seaside day at Ostend? It's only about 15-20 minutes by train from Bruges. If the weather is nice, see a couple of the sights in Bruges in the morning, then take the train to Ostend. The station there is right by the sea.

Exit the front of the station, cross the little foot bridge, and turn right. That street leading down to the sea is lined with stalls serving fresh fish. Sea snail soup perhaps?😁 Well, I don't eat that (my father did), but you may be more adventurous, or there are more conventional offerings. Stroll along the beach then eat at one of the restaurants overlooking the waterfront. They have plexiglas to protect you from the wind.

Also, if you exit the station and turn left, you will see the Coast Tram (Kusttram) station. This runs up and down the length of the Belgian coast and stops in all of the little towns along the way. De Haan is especially lovely. It also stops at some of the protected dunes areas that are popular with hikers. See this website for some of the stops.
https://europeforvisitors.com/europe/articles/flemish_coast.htm

A bit of fresh air and some sea views will get you ready for your next round of museums!

Posted by
7078 posts

If you're just talking about major sights, then yes maybe a lot of them may be closed on Monday. But cities and towns are 'open' on Mondays and there's always something to do - walking tours, seeking out lesser known sights, day trip to another town or the countryside nearby, etc. Ghent particularly is a college town so there's always plenty to do any day of the week. And Bruges will always have the canal boats, the parks, the churches.