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Into Brussels, Out of Amsterdam: What to do with the 1-2 days after B and before A

Hi--I just booked a trip for this coming June, so of course I'm starting to madly obsess about all my options.
I have a good idea of our options for day-tripping from Brussels, but I'd like to know more about some of the options and pros and cons about the days we can use as we make our way to Amsterdam.

I've thought about taking the via-Maastricht way--and taking a day or two there. I have an interest in history and especially US/Operation Market Garden ties to Netherlands (and I've spent some time in Eindhoven).

Or, is Aachen worth the longer train ride to Amsterdam? I don't tend to like to spend too much of a day en route to a place, but if Aachen is recommended, --and I can add the "and I went to Germany" notch in the travel belt, that's fun too.

The third idea floated was to take a couple of days and go to Luxembourg City from Brussels before Amsterdam, but I think that might be pushing our time line a bit--i.e.--not wanting to lose a day in a city for the en route travels.

The 'layover' town would really just be 24-36 hours as we make our way to Amsterdam from Brussels. I'm leaning toward the eastern way since we were in Antwerp a few years ago and am looking for a different way 'round.

Our travel priorities are walking side streets, taking pictures, outdoor people watching, sipping lovely beverages, stumbling upon quirky museums, wandering through crazy historic churches, arguing about making decisions for where to eat/drink, and following some historic trail of medieval events.

Anyone want to add your two cents so I can add more obsessing to my google -doc planning? :)

Thank you!

Posted by
5687 posts

I adored the town of Delft which you could stop at on the way up closer to Amsterdam. It's small and picturesque, easy to explore in a short time.

Posted by
27348 posts

Does your Belgian base have to be Brussels rather than Ghent or Bruges? I don't think I've ever seen someone state that Brussels was his favorite city in Belgium.

I've done day-trips to Den Haag, Gouda and Utrecht. I thought they were all lovely, but I've always wanted to go to Maastricht. I think I'd choose one of the Dutch cities over Luxembourg, but it's not a bad place to go.

You might skim through TripAdvisor's ThingsToDo lists for your potential stopovers. When I do that, I often learn about a museum or a special sight that aligns with some special interest of mine. That might tip the balance.

Posted by
3551 posts

My suggestion is Brugge. Locked in 58me and full of beauty. Do not miss it..

Posted by
44 posts

Thanks for the input. Right now Brussels is the base to explore some to-be-finalized options (Ghent or Brugge, Lille). We were in Amsterdam and Utrecht and Antwerp a couple of years ago--and just loved (love love love) Utrecht, but we've told ourselves to see some new sites. Gouda and her cheese market is on the list. I'll add Delft to the list.
As to the on-the-way route and stops, I'm thinking Maastricht is in the lead. It's not another country, but it does have that other boxes matched, and the Margraten American cemetery is near by.

Thanks for the replies, fellow travelers!