Hello. Hoping to get some advice regarding our trip. We are a group of 5 traveling for 2 weeks in late May-early June. We are taking an open jaw flight — flying into Paris and out of London — and wanting to visit Paris, Belgium, Netherlands, and London. Right now our itinerary is as follows:
3 nights in Paris
3 nights in Belgium (hoping to see Bruges, Ghent, Brussels, Antwerp)
4 nights in Netherlands (hoping to see Rotterdam, Hague, Haarlem, Zaanse Schans Amsterdam)
4 nights in London
Seeking help on the Belgium-Netherlands part of our trip. I’ve read that Belgium is relatively small and easy to do day trips to other towns so we were thinking of just picking a place as a “home base” to avoid having to haul our luggages around for the entire time. Any recommendations on which area would be best to stay in terms of cost, safety (esp for an all-women group), and ease of transportation? Ghent seems to be the most “central” in terms of the places we are wanting to visit but since we will also be making our way to the Netherlands, would it be better to stay in Brussels since the trains depart from there?
Also, is it better to book all our train tickets in advance? If so, how soon to book? I’ve also read some people suggesting booking a train trip from Brussels to Amsterdam, with connections at Ghent or Antwerp, exploring the town for a few hours, and then hopping on a later train to Amsterdam. Is it possible to do this still (the ones I’ve read so far were from people who travelled several years ago) and will you need to rebook the Antwerp-Amsterdam part of the trip or can you just simply hop on any of the other trains headed that direction using the same ticket?
Similarly, is it advisable to choose a “home base” for our Netherlands part of the trip as well and just do day trips to the other areas? Or is it better to move from one town to the next as we go up the map?
Thank you for your help on my multitude of questions! :)