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Bruges or Ghent

My friend and I will be staying in Amsterdam for 3 nights and then planning to travel to Belgium for an additional 3 nights. Would you recommend 3 nights in Ghent or Bruges?

Thank you.

Posted by
7024 posts

You will probably get votes for both places here. :-)

I can tell you that I absolutely loved Ghent, and was so glad that I chose to stay there for 3 nights. I took a day trip to Bruges and enjoyed it, but my heart really stayed in Ghent. Ghent was very charming and had a wonderful atmosphere. Bruges (to me) seemed like it was designed for tourists. Ghent, on the other hand, seemed like it was a real town.

Don't get me wrong; Bruges was really lovely and is definitely worth a visit, but I really liked the "livability" vibe of Ghent.

Posted by
8067 posts

Stay in Bruges you can day trip to Ghent from there easily. I just visited both last week for the 2nd time and stayed in Ghent.

Ghent is less touristy and has a lot of college students and more lively night life than Bruges and a nice old town. Ghent is closer to Amsterdam. You have to factor in where you are going after Ghent or Bruges in your decision. I stayed in Ghent because it was closer to Brussels airport where I needed to go to fly out early in the morning

Posted by
7655 posts

On separate trips, I’ve stayed in each - Bruges (Brugge) the first time, and Gent (also called Ghent and Gand) the second. On a third trip, I’d go with Gent again, but a daytrip to Bruges would be worthwhile.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you! I think we may book 3 nights in Antwerp as a base and travel around to Bruges and Ghent. Thereafter, I return to Amsterdam.

Posted by
7569 posts

I sleep in Antwerp too. It has more than you can see in three days anyway, so pick a few things that interest you. Probably easier to get a room than Bruges, and more price choice. Note places in Ghent and Bruges that may need advance booking, the The Mystic Lamb.

Posted by
264 posts

Both have many charms.

My advice is to research both and find out which one you’d like to spend the bulk of your time in.

Ghent would be my choice. More centrally located than Bruges if you wanted to visit other Belgian cities.

Ghent - altar that is one of the finest paintings in the world. Nice castle, charming old town. Fine chocolate. College scene. Not quite as touristy.

Bruges - charming old town, Michaelangelo sculpture (admittedly not his finest work but Michelangelo nonetheless), nice belfry, more canals, more tourists, fine chocolate

Posted by
2028 posts

In case you are looking for a place to stay the second half of July, know that the “Gentse Feesten” or Ghent Festivities, an annual huge summer festival are held this year from 19 until 28 of July. That means crowds and loud music till the early hours in the entire inner city! A week before or so they start building up the stages, so take into account Ghent will look a bit different than usual.

The festivities are among the biggest festivals in Europe and certainly worth to experience.

Posted by
20 posts

I have only been to Bruges so can just give my highlights. I loved Bruges. It was a great springboard for the Quasimodo WWl tour; full day tour that was top rate. While the canal rides are touristy, it was a great experience. There is a bike path that runs along a canal from Bruges to Damm. It was tranquil with few cyclists or runners. There is a non-touristy section away from the town center. We found a thriving local scene with a great restaurant with young Belgians and no tourists.

Posted by
301 posts

We drove over to Belgium last week from Normandie. Stayed for several nights in both Bruges and Ghent (both have various spellings, depending on language).

If I were to spend time in only one of the two there's no question: I would choose Ghent. Much more interesting. Much more to do and see.

Bruges is fine, but pretty much a touristy spot. Ghent is a real city. It has far more going on and far more to experience.

Posted by
211 posts

Granted a port stop in Zeebrugge gives hardly enough time to enjoy either city, but since we've previously spent two days exploring Bruges, would a ship excursion to Ghent that includes free time and a canal ride be worthwhile, especially since our ages likely preclude a return to Belgium.