Hi - we are traveling to Belgium for 7 nights in late October. Our flights are in and out of Brussels. We only plan to spend the last day and night in Brussels. Cities we want to visit are Bruges, Antwerp, Ghent. We were also considering taking the train to Amsterdam for two days and nights. This seems like a lot to me but maybe not. I plan to contact Delta airlines to see if they would allow us to skip the first leg of our return flight from Brussels to Amsterdam and just take the second leg from Amsterdam to Chicago but I know this is unlikely. Bruges and Antwerp are musts. Thinking of basing ourselves in Ghent as it is centrally located but worry I will miss out on the evenings and morning in Bruges. Any thoughts?
Spend your first half-day in Brussels and head to Ghent.
Spend your second half-day in Ghent and head to Bruges.
Spend your third day and night in Bruges.
On your fourth day head to Antwerp
Finally go to Amsterdam.
If you are efficient tourists, you will have time to see the best of all those cities.
I expect Delta will accommodate your needs.
BTW I love Belgium. If it had mountains, I'd be living there.
Thanks for the ideas - I never thought of doing that. Only problem is no base city and frequent moving with luggage but I guess it would spare us the train ride back. Ill consider this but also need to find place to store luggage in Brussels or walk around with it for a half day.
Good thought though. We would have a full day in each with a morning and evening so no early trains!
I know there are luggage lockers in the Ghent Sint Peters station as I used them three years ago.
Someone wrote here that Brussels is the most skippable city in Europe. I agree.
I don't like to change hotels more than I absolutely have to. It takes too much time and bother. Belgium is a great place for day-tripping, because it's relatively small and the trains run often and are connected all the places you will want to see. So I prefer your original idea of staying in Ghent. There are trains between Bruges and Ghent until 11.30, so you can easily spend a late evening there. I like Ghent more than Bruges, it's less touristy, beautiful after dark when the bridges and buildings are floodlit, and since it's a university town, there are plenty of restaurant choices. (It's also cheaper for rooms.)
What time is your flight departure from Brussels? Unless you need to be at the airport really early, you can probably take the train from Ghent or Antwerp
From Ghent, you will probably change trains in Antwerp on the way to A'dam, so it may work out better to spend a night or two there. Allow two full days for A'dam.
Use bahn.com for train schedules.
In general I’d say skipping the 1st leg of your return journey will not be allowed unless you pay a change fee. It depends on the class of ticket you purchased and how helpful the Delta Rep is feeling. Otherwise if you just skip it on your own they cancel the rest of the legs of your journey.
Thanks for all the suggestions. Delta could not cancel the first leg of our return trip so we will have to return to Brussels to catch our flight. Our plan is this: Land in Brussels and take train to Ghent where we will base for 3 nights. First day see Ghent, next two days travel to Bruges and stay there late on the first night. Fourth day take an early train from Ghent to Antwerp and spend the night there. Then train to Amsterdam for two night and then return for a night in Brussels to catch flight back in the morning. We plan to do Airbnb for Ghent and Amsterdam, maybe one in Antwerp too. Can anyone tell me what location I should book in for each of these cities. With limited time, want to be close to most attractions for a first timer.
It is not an air b&b, but the Hotel Carlton in Ghent is near the train station and the proprietors are very helpful with bus tickets and other tourist-type information.
They have a fabulous breakfast.