So we will be in Belgium in October and will spend 4 nights in Bruges, but have another 4 nights to see Belgium... I am wondering about southern Belgium, but we will not have a car. (of course, we could rent one) but what city/town should we base our visit and what would be most of interest? We are interested in just about all things Europe and like small interesting towns the most.
Belgium has a good train and bus system. It takes some planning, but you may not need a car.
At the end of August, We're heading for Kortrijk-Waregem-Ghent-Brussels, all by train. We'll be back in mid-September if you want to know how it went.
We had bikes in June 2008, but had 2 weeks to pedal south from Bruges. Highlight towns were Ieper (Ypres) and Kortrijk (Kourtrai). The former has a number of very interesting and thought=proviking World War I sites, including a must-see museum. The latter was a linen capitol back in the day, and is a very inviting place now.
I would suggest Mons and Dinant if you're into what happened there in 1914. In August 1914 the professional British troops ran head on into the German 1st Army and caused the Germans 50% more casualties than they suffered themselves. After that violent clash, the British retreated. Mons was the first battle in Northwest Europe since Waterloo for the British.
The monuments and war memorials on the war can be seen in Mons.
Dinant was the operational objective in both wars, ie, 1914 and 1940, suffered the horrors of war, especially in 1914.