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Brussels or Bruge if we only have one day/night

I feel like Bruge would be more intimate but we only have one day and night....and we'll be flying out of Brussels although our flights have not been booked yet.

Our goals are chocolate, beer, and history. What would you suggest? Logistically Brussels would be easier, I think. We will be taking a train from Strasbourgh to Brussels, then train again to Bruge should that be where we end up.....then train again to Brussels to fly back to the states the next day.

Thank you as always for any suggestions and hints!

Posted by
2162 posts

Logistically, since you're arriving in Brussels one day and flying home the next, you'd probably be fine for the day in Brussels. It's definitely not my favorite European city but there is plenty there for the day. I did really enjoy Bruge, but you've only got the one day.

Posted by
28126 posts

What time would your flight be when you book it - assuming no change?

Do you mean Strasbourg, France?

Posted by
13700 posts

Ordinarily I'd say Bruge but in your situation I'd agree that Brussels logistically makes more sense. It's alway a plus being closer than further away from the airport on the night before a long flight, and spending less of what little time is left dealing with transport.

Based on some previous posts, it looks like you are coming from Strasbourg, France during Christmas Market season?

Posted by
725 posts

Yes, sorry.....so excited I misspelled Strasbourg :)

We're starting with the RS Best of Munich, Salzburg, and Vienna.......We'll have 4 days post tour with our RS tour ending on Dec 4th. I know Strasbourg to Brussels is quite the distance but travel from Brussels is fairly easy on a number of airlines. We wanted to include Belgium when we did the 21 day tour last spring but it didn't work out. Train booking isn't possible yet and an acquaintance told me she's taking a fast train from Strasbourg to Brussels so I'm hoping for the same schedule.

Edited to add....I think Brussels is the better choice at this point too and I see that we wouldn't be lacking in chocolate choices there with plenty to do and see in one day. We'll save Bruge for another trip when we can enjoy Ghent too.

Posted by
13700 posts

That's a good plan, Kathy. We really enjoyed Belgium (what we've seen so far) and promise that it's not a country to be rushed. The RS crowd is often in hot debate about which is better - Bruges or Gent - but the best plan is to give them BOTH enough time to make up your own mind. :O)

No lack of chocolate or good beer in Brussels although I will admit to having had more of the latter than the former.

Posted by
4535 posts

I also agree that logistically Brussels is a better choice. And you don't want to take a chance on a train delay making you miss your flight home.

Brussels is a great city with a lot to see and do. It gets overshadowed by Bruge and Gent but the Grand Place is one of the best in Europe. Don't miss the Galeries Royal St. Hubert, which is just a couple of blocks from the Grand Place. Higher end shopping and chocolate shops and a chance to get out of the rain or chill since you will be there in December.

Posted by
5574 posts

Brussels is also famous for art, ethnographic, history, and modern art MUSEUMS, if you happen to like that sort of thing. Brussels also has a nice Cathedral (with war history memorials) and historic chuches- including such unusual items as Art Deco brass plaques for the stations of the cross.

Posted by
197 posts

Kathy: Since it seems that you have figured out the Brugge or Brussels conundrum, all that is left for me is to recommend a truly remarkable Belgian beer: Tripel Karmeliet. It is similar to Duvel--but better!

Posted by
725 posts

Thanks everyone for the hints and suggestions! I am taking notes and will definitely take heed regarding the beer!

Posted by
13700 posts

woinparis, I would never personally associate the word "Disney" to Bruges. After all, people do actually live there! We also didn't experience any poor-service issues during our 4 days but then, we avoided restaurants on the Markt.

Posted by
725 posts

Brugge looks like some kind of Disney city.

Wouldn't you know......my next favorite place is Disney, but for very different reasons! ;) Seriously, I expect you mean that Bruge is so quaint it's a little like a fairytale?

Posted by
11292 posts

I'm not a fan of Brussels, but with your schedule it makes the most sense to stay there, and with just one day you will find enough things to do there. If you happen to be there when ARAU is having an English language Art Nouveau tour, take it. It connects far flung sights and gets you into buildings that are not open to the public, so it's very worthwhile. It was, by far, the best thing about my Brussels visit (the Leonidas chocolate, so good and so cheap, was a close second). http://www.arau.org/en/tours

Posted by
926 posts

Kathy, I'm excited you are going to Brussels! It might not be on the scale of Paris or Amsterdam, but I really like Brussels. I went there in 2007 knowing nothing about it. I was just visiting a friend in Europe who worked in the travel industry, she could get almost free flight tickets to Brussels for the weekend, so we went. As soon as I walked into Grand Place it became one of my (many!) favorite cities. Grand place is still my favorite square in Europe. We were there in February and it was nice to walk around, soak up the atmosphere, and eat great food and chocolate! I'm sure you'll enjoy it!

Posted by
725 posts

Thank you, everyone for your thoughts! Some of it will depend on how early we arrive in Brussels from Strasbourgh . Good news is it seems many of the areas of interest are walkable from our hotel, Hotel Opera. We will also have the Christmas Markets to keep us busy as long as they still have them in 2016....it seems that is not decided yet according to a website I was browsing. I did a Google walk around the Grand Place and that was fun! Haven't purchased airfare yet but hoping for a late-ish flight home from Brussels.

Posted by
893 posts

Considering your need to be close to the airport Leuven makes a lot of sense too. The train to the airport is every half hour and only takes 14min. Leuven is a great university town with a walk-able city center and lots of good restaurants and pubs. If you are looking for beer "The Capital" (http://www.thecapital.be/) has over 2000 available including beers from Westvleteren Brewery which can be hard to come by. For places to stay, I recommend Martin's Klooster (http://www.martinshotels.com/en/hotel/klooster-hotel)

DJ

Posted by
5574 posts

I agree that Leuven is a very attractive place. Except for the town hall and cathedral, it's a little short on live-history, because of a disastrous fire 100 years ago, I think. Also, the very famous university library has been rebuilt (like the Bridge too Far ... ) MORE than once. I hope the parking garage excavation in the main square is all done by now.

I happen to prefer the Beguinage in Leuven to the much more famous one in Brugge. Although the art museum in Leuven in modern, it has a much wider variety of art than is available in the Brugge museums. (However, don't forget The Monument Men, BTW.)

It's not a deciding point, but the walk to town is much shorter in Leuven than in Brugge. What really counts is the distance to your hotel. See Google Maps.