Planning a 2day stay in Charleroi and will visit Ghent and Bruges in one day. Planning on taking the train. Is there a need for guided tours for both cities? If yes can we arrive at a set destination and join a group in each city? One in the morning and one in the afternoon.
We went to both places this past summer. In Ghent we did the RS self guided walking tour from his book and really enjoyed it. Only wish we'd had more time because the fortress closed right around the time we got to it. In Bruges we picked a few things we wanted to do and only visited those sites on our own- not as a guided tour. For us, we spent a full day in each town. One day for both would have been much too rushed for me. But, it might be possible. Maybe a guided tour would allow you to see everything faster.
One day for both would have been much too rushed for me.
I'd agree with that; both of them deserve at least one full day, minimum. We day-tripped from Bruges (were there for 4 nights) to Ghent and wished in hindsight that we'd given it more time. There's quite a lot to see in both towns depending on your interests. Oh, and we self-toured both; not difficult to do with maps, a good guidebook and some materials from the visitor centers.
I agree that it can be rushed, but sometimes you have to go with the amount of time you have. Bruges definitely deserves a whole day, but if you want to see both to get a taste of them, then go for it. I did spend a whole day in Bruges but I went to both Ghent and Antwerp in one day. A half day isn't as satisfying but you can get something out of it. I would definitely plan to spend the better part of the day in Bruges, in fact it would probably be wise to go to Bruges first and then plan to go to Ghent only if you have time. You may find that you end up spending the whole day in Bruges.
As the other poster noted there are walking tours of both towns from the TI in each city, but you don't really need a guided tour if you read up on each town and decide what you want to see and then use a good map to plot out a route - or use the RS (or other) self guided walk.
Thank you so very much to all your information. I too, did not think we needed a guided tour. I did see free guided tours in Bruges that lasts 1 1/2 hours long one is a food tour we would finish for lunch at a restaurant and another free tour last 1 1/2 long as well about history and legends, you give a tip at the end. I think this would give me a feel for the place and I can still walk around at free after the tours.
One reason it will be a rushed day is that in both cities, the train station is not close the the historic center. Plan on taxis to/from the station or wasting time on public transportation.