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Brussels Visit Info Request!!

I just received a travel from Delta to fly in October to Brussels for 60k points and $63. I am looking for some suggestion to see if I can fill out an agenda for 8 or so days. The promotion ends tonight! (It is a two day deal and just saw it this morning....we want to see if this would be a feasible trip). We would travel via public transportation and rent an AirBNB. Suggestions for neighborhoods to stay in?

Day trips tp Antwerp? Brugges? Ghent (or overnight trips?)

We typically visit museums and historic neighborhoods.

Usually I spend hours (ok, days/weeks) researching these topics, but we are really pressed for time as we have to decide today if we buy the tickets.

We really appreciate any advice folks are willing to share.

Thanks for any advice we can garner today!!!

Posted by
1005 posts

This is a great deal--go for it. However, I wouldn't stay in Brussels for 8 days. Other Belgian cities such as Ghent, Bruges, and Antwerp deserve a visit, or you could take a train to Amsterdam and stay there for 3-4 nights. If you do stay in Brussels for a night or two, try to stay near the Grand Place or Place Ste. Catherine so that you are in the city center.

Posted by
6014 posts

I loved my stay in Brussels. It's a great city itself and a really good base for visiting other cities in Belgium. There are so many good day trips from Brussels - Bruges, Ghent, Antwerp, Tournai, Ypers, Dinant. You can also do day trips to Cologne in Germany, Maastricht or Utrecht in Netherlands. A great variety of places are available. Public transportation is wonderful in Belgium and distances are short so you can see a lot.

Posted by
1653 posts

I wouldn't spend eight days in Brussels, but Brussels is so central and so close to dozens of interesting locations, that you can make something work very easily. For instance, in 8 days you can do 4 in Amsterdam and 4 in the Brugge / Gent / Brussels area; or more time in Netherlands (including for instance Utrecht), or mixing Paris and Belgium... Options abound!

Posted by
11152 posts

Few here on this forum like Brussels. One recent poster told of his very unhappy time there - mine wasn't that bad, but overall I did find it uninspiring. There are some great art museums, the Grand Place is indeed grand, and I really did like my Art Nouveau tour with ARAU: https://arau.org/en/tours. Unless you find other specific things of interest, I think you'll do better to focus on other parts of the country.

The "Belgian Big Four" are Brussels, Bruges, Antwerp, and Ghent. Everyone has VERY different reactions to each of these. For me, I loved Antwerp, like Bruges a lot despite the tourists, was slow to warm up to Ghent but ended up enjoying my one day there (a canal cruise really helped me see it better), and found Brussels a snooze except for the ARAU tour. But that's just me.

Do also look at some of the less famous towns. I saw Tournai and liked it, although if you don't have at least survival French, you may not enjoy it as much as I did (much less English than in the Big Four). If you are interested in begijnhofs, there are interesting ones in Mechelen and Leuven (as well as one in Bruges that is much quieter than other central parts of town).

From the Brussels airport, it's easy to take a train through Brussels to anywhere in the country. I went right to Bruges on arrival, then to Antwerp, then ended up in Brussels (makes departure easier to be there the night before your flight home). Domestic Belgian trains are frequent and there are no reservations - just buy a ticket and hop on the next one.

And yes, buy those tickets!

Posted by
4653 posts

Contrary to the usual Brussels haters on this board, you can definitely fill up a few days there without heading to other towns.

Look at the art nouveau houses in the Ixelles area - definitely try and see the Horta Museum.

If you check up on the Beaux-Arts museums you'll be able to find at least one of interest, whether it's the Old Masters one with Breughel et al, the Magritte museum or the turn of the century one. The local art museum in Ixelles is worth visiting as well.

The Grand Place is definitely a must.

The Centre Belge de la Bande Dessinee is a comic book museum that is a must if you can read at least a little French. (Not quite so rewarding if you are monolingual English.)

If you are at all interested in railways, see the TrainWorld museum at Schaerbeek with its interior design by Belgian comic artist Francois Schuiten.

Posted by
373 posts

We did a daytrip by train to Dinant from Brussels and enjoyed it very much. Very pretty little city stretched along the banks of the Meuse River. Great views from the citadel.

Posted by
885 posts

I did a day trip to Brussels and here are my recommendations.

The Musical Instrument Museum is a must. All variations of instruments and ability to hear what they sound like.

City Hall Museum-Tells the story of Brussels and Beligium

Just walking around the old town-stopping at waffle stands-Seriously the waffles are great on a chilly day.

Then I'd move on to Bruges or Ghent. Honestly, I wasn't that impressed with the city. I'm glad I went but a day was enough.