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Brussels - Amsterdam - Bruges - ?????

I have an upcoming trip to Belgium in May of 2016. I fly into Brussles and plan on spending one night there before heading to Amsterdam (3 nights) then on to Bruges (3 nights). From there I have another two nights to burn before heading back to Brussels for my final night before my flight out the next morning. I could really use some suggestions on where to spend those two nights. I'd love to stay in France and have considered Honfluer, but am concerned that it might be too far of a drive. Is Reims a worthwhile destination? I plan on renting a car in Bruges, so I'll be able to drive to the destination. Any help would be much appreciated.
Thanks

Posted by
4637 posts

I would suggest Ghent or Dinant or both. Ghent is easily reachable by train. To get to Dinant car can be justified. Both towns are in Belgium. Belgium is small and distances are short.

Posted by
14016 posts

Reims looks about as far away as Paris. It's not a bad idea for 2 nights if you like champagne. Just park the car at your hotel in Reims and use the train to visit Epernay.

Ghent is an easy day trip from Bruges. You could spend more time in the Netherlands . . . The Hague, Utrecht, Haarlem are also interesting.

Posted by
1326 posts

I'm also going to be in Belgium and the Netherlands next May. I have 12 nights and am having trouble figuring out how to see everything I want to see, so I have a hard time understanding why you wouldn't want to extend your time in those two countries rather than adding in time in France.

You don't say what you plan to do during your three nights in Amsterdam and Bruges, or whether those nights are locked in. Personally, I'd want more than three nights in Amsterdam in order to make day trips outside the city.

Last week I attended a class at Rick Steves' Europe in Edmonds, WA, about Amsterdam and Dutch day trips. There's just so much to see: Delft, The Hague, Rotterdam, Leiden, Utrecht, Haarlem, Kuykenhof, Arnhem. And Amsterdam is a big city with many attractions.

Ghent (as suggested) is also an option, but since it's an easy day trip from Bruges, maybe you are already planning on spending some time there.

I'm sure whatever you decide will be great. Maybe I'll see you on a train platform while we're both there!

Posted by
11708 posts

I'll go with Ghent too. Yes, it's an easy day trip from Bruges (which we loved) but there's enough to see there to warrant an overnight stay or two. We did it as a day trip and wished in hindsight that we'd given it more time.

We enjoyed Antwerp as well. Not being a big fan of Amsterdam (I know i'm in the minority here) I wouldn't have any trouble devoting the entire trip to Belgium.

Posted by
565 posts

Take away a night in Bruges, add at least one to Amsterdam, and maybe use the extra nights in Ghent or Antwerp. If you are interested in seeing Flanders Field, it is actually an easier trip from Ghent than Bruges.

Posted by
15 posts

Thanks to everyone for the great information. I am planning on visiting Ghent during my stay in Bruges.

I was primarily interested in visiting France because my wife and I are both Francophiles. We've never been to north eastern France before and thought we could maybe sneak it in on this trip.

I'm going to try to look up that class that Rick Steves' gave on Amsterdam and Dutch day trips. We'd love to visit France, but don't want to skip over great stuff in Belgium and the Netherlands while were there.

Thanks again for all the suggestions! I hope I do run into some Rick Steves fans on the train platform.

Posted by
14016 posts

Jordan, that's the trouble with a trip to Europe. There's great stuff everywhere, more than you can see in a lifetime. I too am a Francophile, so I suggest you spend more time in the Netherlands! Why? As Francophiles, you will surely be back in Paris sooner than later and have opportunities to see more of the country. You may not plan another trip to the Low Countries, so see more of them now.

Posted by
2990 posts

We just returned from Paris a few days ago . While in Bruges , we spent a day in Ghent , and upon leaving Bruges took the train to Lille and picked up a car . We had a week to explore Great War sites in Flanders and in the Somme ( we based in Amiens ) . The car gives you the flexibility you need for these places . I would save Reims for another time , as it is an easy day trip from Paris , Honfleur , from where you will be is too much distance to cover on your planned trip , would be a great deal of time in the car , and would be better paired with the Normandy beaches . There is a great deal to see in The Somme and Flanders and I would consider either or both , depending on your time frame

Posted by
2990 posts

By the way , look down this thread , and read Nigel's recent post about driving in Ghent . Pay attention to his comments about the chocolate , as well .

Posted by
11613 posts

I like Chani's logic. Since you are in the Low Countries, why not spend the time there?

Can you fly into Brussels and out of Amsterdam instead of backtracking? It's not a lot of backtracking, but your time is short as it is.

Posted by
15 posts

Thanks again for all the great information. My wife and I are flying via awards points and are limited to flying in and out of Brussels. Otherwise, we would consider flying open jaw into Amsterdam and out of Brussels.

Based on the comments, I'm definitely going to limit our focus to Belgium and the Netherlands and save France for our next trip.

Posted by
44 posts

I add my vote to Ghent! We did a week in Belgium two years ago, and loved it. As a history buff I also enjoyed driving down through Flanders. Bruges is wonderful, of course, but Ghent might have been my favorite Belgian city. We also later did a trip to France and Reims is wonderful, too, but it does seem like there are more things to see in Belgium that are worthwhile, rather than driving that extra distance.