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Ghent and Bruges and Brussels Advice for October 2015

We will be arriving in Belgium from Amsterdam via train in October, and plan on spending three nights.

I have consulted several guides including RS and travel forums. We will then depart from Belgium and travel by train to Paris.

****Any advice regarding BNBs and Hotels in Ghent and Bruges to spend the overnights. I have read the previous post on Ghent versus Bruges - Ghent may be a better fit for us.

Actually, I would appreciate any comparisons between these three cities as a base for exploring - Brussels, Ghent or Bruges

Dining favorites would also be appreciated.**

In addition, any favorite activities. We're considering the brewery tour in Bruges and night-time illumination of buildings in Ghent.

Many Thanks !!

Posted by
11613 posts

I preferred Brugge to Gent, but it seems split on this board. I really enjoyed the Hotel Groenighe in Brugge, more than the hotel I stayed at in Gent, so that might have given Brugge the edge for me.

Posted by
333 posts

My friend from Belguim told me that if I didn't have much time, that Brugges was the city to start in. That being said, what is "much time"? I was choosing between Brugges and Brussels for a day trip. I'll be going to Brugges.

Wherever you end up- have a great time!

Posted by
1976 posts

I'll chime in on the side of Ghent - I preferred it to Bruges. I felt there was more to interest me in Ghent than Bruges, and I thought Ghent was more picturesque, despite Bruges' canals.

Ghent activities I enjoyed:
-Ghent Altarpiece in Sint-Baafskathedral (St. Bavo's Cathedral)
-The Begijnhof (originally a semi-monastic community of religious women) - this area was built during the Middle Ages but now all of the architecture dates from the 17th and 18th centuries
-Walking along the Graslei, which includes a Romanesque (12th century) building that was originally a warehouse
-Gravensteen Castle was built in 1180 and rebuilt several times over the centuries, most recently in the 19th century by the Victorians according to what they thought a medieval castle should look like

Bruges activities I enjoyed:
-Church of Our Lady, which contains Michelangelo's "Madonna and Child" sculpture
-Canal boat tour
-Memling Museum, which contains paintings by the Northern Renaissance artist Hans Memling, and also assorted medieval medical instruments because the building was a medieval hospital

Posted by
1899 posts

For moving around Ghent as a base is to my opinion the best option. With train to Brussels and Bruges from there will take an half hour each, Antwerp an hour.

If you don´t have “much time” and you want to "see something" in general Bruges is the best place, however opinions differ, others prefere Ghent. But you only can know that if you can compare, meaning you have visited both. So if you have only time for one place, I think with Bruges you will play safe, but have to accept the crowds there.

Posted by
15477 posts

I thought Bruges was very picturesque but also very touristy. Ghent is different, no horse-drawn carriages, but solid Gothic architecture, beautifully floodlit after dark. Ghent is between Bruges and Brussels, making it a somewhat easier base for seeing the others. Bonus - lodgings in Ghent are cheaper than Bruges.

Posted by
12 posts

Why don't you think about visiting Antwerp too? It's a nice and beautiful city and Belgium si so small that the way from one city to anothers takes only a few hours