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Two Days in Belgium

Hi
I will be in Brussels for a training in mid-March which ends on a Friday along with a friend. I have Saturday and Sunday to spend around the place.
I am thinking of the following itinerary. Request suggestions please:
1. Brussels to Brugges Saturday morning and stay at night in Brugges
2. Brugges to Amsterdam / Paris on Sunday morning and back to Brussels in the evening / late night
My return flight is currently from Brussels on Monday. I am not sure if it makes sense to take the flight from Amsterdam / Paris.
Please help in confirming if this is something doable. I am travelling to Europe for the first time and don't have much idea about the places.
Also, please recommend decent budget hotels in Brugges / Brussels / Amsterdam / Paris. Is hostel an option worth considering?
Cheers
Amit

Posted by
8889 posts

Amit,
1) Brugge is definately worth the visit.
Brugge to Amsterdam or Brugge to Paris requires you to travel back to Brussels and change trains there. It makes no sense to move hotels to Brugge (and carry your bags back and forth) if you are already in Brussels and have to come back via Brussels. Trains from Brussels to Brugge are ever half hour, and it takes one hour. Do Brugge as a day trip, and get a late train back to Brussels.

2) Either Paris or Amsterdam would be good. Your choice. Both are about 2 hours from Brussels via High speed train.
If you can switch your return flight, it makes sense to fly back direct as it saves the time and cost of the return trip to Brussels.

For rail times and prices see: www.belgianrail.be/en (Belgian Railways)
For Brussels to Brugge, buy the ticket on the day. For Brussels to Paris or Amsterdam by High Speed Train, it is cheaper to buy a ticket as early as possible (which includes a seat reservation).

Something you need to know about Belgium is the languages. There are two official languages, Flemish and French. The capital, Brussels, is the only place which is officially bi-lingual. The main station is called "Bruxelles-Midi / Brussel-Zuid", and your train will be listed as going to "Ostende / Oostende" via "Bruges / Brugge". Brugge is in the Flemish speaking area, all signs will only be in Flemish, and the train back to Brussels will be shown as going to (somewhere I forget) via "Brussel-Zuid". Can be confusing.

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks a ton Chris
I spoke to a friend and he also confirmed what you have suggested. Basically to setup base in Brussels and do a day trip to Brugges and Amsterdam / Paris. Just a few more questions:
1. Based on your experience, what would you recommend: a One day trip to Paris or Amsterdam? I have no specific preference in terms of things to see around.
2. Is it true that most of the Europe closes around 5PM on Sunday and therefore it makes more sense to go to Paris / Amsterdam on Saturday and Brugges on Sunday?
3. Can you suggest decent budget hotels in Brussels? Given that I will have to check-out from my company provided hotel and check-in to another hotel on Saturday morning, I am not sure if I can take an early morning train on Saturday. Or, is there an option to keep luggage at train stations. Do hotels in the city provide this facility so that I can keep my luggage at company hotel on Saturday.
Cheers
Amit

Posted by
4654 posts

You don't have to take the train back from Brugge to Brussels when you go to Amsterdam - it's quicker to go directly to Antwerp ("Antwerpen" on departure boards) and catch the train to Amsterdam there.