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Where to stay in Brussels & best day trips

We are planning a Spring 2015 trip to Amsterdam for a few days and then on to Brussels for Mon-Fri. Is the City Center the best area to stay in? We would like to be near things to do (restaurants, bars, attractions) as well as easy transport for day trips.

Best day trips? Bruges, Antwerp, Gent?

Posted by
8889 posts

Definately Bruges first choice for a day trip. Gent Second and Antwerp (a big city) a poor third.
All can be reached in about 1 hour by train from Brussels.

Posted by
16893 posts

In Brussels, Rick's book lists several hotels that are walkable to the Grand Place and Central Station, which would be quite convenient. From Ghent station, you normally take a 15-minute tram ride to the city center and hotels. In Bruges, connection from the train station to city center is by bus, which runs frequently. Both stations have some construction under way.

Posted by
11294 posts

The question of how to rank the "big four" Belgian cities is eternally debated. For me, the order (best to worst) is Antwerp, Bruges, Ghent, Brussels (Brussels being a distant fourth). If you look around this forum and others, you will find a wide range of opinions, so I recommend seeing whichever ones appeal to you. Despite its title, Rick Steves Amsterdam, Bruges and Brussels now includes Ghent and Antwerp as well.

However, the one thing I really loved in Brussels was my Art Nouveau tour with ARAU: They get into buildings closed to the general public, and connect far-flung sights, so it was very worthwhile. If I ever have to go to Brussels again, I'll plan my dates around these tours.

Posted by
13666 posts

If you decide to stay in Brussels, in June I stayed at the Ibis off Grand Place which Rick lists in his book. This was extremely convenient, about 7 minutes from the front door of the Central station because I wasn't sure exactly which way to go, and about 5 minutes when we headed back and had scoped out the short cut! It is also 5 minutes or less from Grand Place. There are probably hundreds of restaurants within 15 minutes of the hotel.

Posted by
100 posts

Susan, I was just in Belgium two weeks ago. I assume (like me), you want to stay in Brussels because that's where are flying out from (bad grammar!). But that doesn't mean you have to stay all 4-5 nights there. If you don't mind moving once or twice, I like being in a town for a night or two rather than visiting via a day trip. Coming from London, I did 3 nights in Brugge Hotel (Hotel Groeninghe...very nice) then one night in Brussels. I would suggest 2 nights there (or add a 3rd night if you, like me, want to spend a day exploring the towns of the North Sea coast via the Kosttram commuter rail. (I enjoyed that day, including the Atlantic Wall military "fort" the Germans used in both World Wars).....then a night in Ghent...then finish in Brussels. I stayed a block from the Grand Place at a 5-room B&B actually within the two-block long enclosed high-end shopping plaza, Galleries. The room and bath were huge! I plan to return someday and see more of Belgium!