Brugges or Ghent?

Down to the wire... last minute planning and we have an extra day or two... 14 year old grandson... we like everything...but prefer more quaint looking towns. Any suggestions on which would be the best place to visit? One over the other or both? Thanks... leaving Fri.:)

Posted by Bets
1970 posts

Brugges is quaint; Ghent is a city. We liked both equally. And they both have a lot to see and experience.

Posted by melissa
799 posts

Vote for Brugges, expecially if you take him on a segway tour- very fun, very scenic, very memorable. He'll probably learn how to control the segway faster that you!

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
2608 posts

Brugges (I see a few different spellings) it is! I took a quick look at the link from Michael... but I am one of those people who want to be surprised, so I never look too much before I go.
I found a hotel about 3o miles away.... should I rethink this and stay right in Brugges?

Posted by Ruth
Back in Atlanta, after Bonn
121 posts

Definitely try to stay IN Bruges. It's one of those places that gets more charming as the day visitors clear out. Nice to wander around at night.

Posted by Tom
Hüttenfeld, Hessen, Germany
9131 posts

With a 14 year old, I would say Ghent, simply because there's a castle in the middle of the city. A 14 year might find Brugge a little boring. Also, a 14 year old male may to put this politely?...seeing the female university students that make up a significant portion of the population in Ghent.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17780 posts

Terry kathryn, Both Ghent and Bruges are incredibly beautiful and both have canals and lots of history. However, I tend to lean towards Bruges as there's something about the "character" of the city that appeals to me more. I would definitely recommend staying IN Bruges, as it's great to be able to wander around in the evening to visit restaurants or shops. It would also be better to be close as that will provide more opportunities for both day and night photos. For lodgings I would highly recommend THIS Hotel. The Segway Tours would absolutely be a "fun" activity, especially for a 14-year-old. However, I'd recommend checking with them regarding any age, height or weight restrictions. There's also a Käthe Wolfhart Christmas store there, which is always a "visual treat" to browse in. Happy travels!

Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
2506 posts

If you have time, stay in Brugge and take a half-day for the castle in Ghent.

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
2608 posts

Knew I would get the inside story from everyone here.... thanks. I will try to get a room in Brugges (I will have a car) then possibly make a stop in Ghent as we travel back to Germany. Matthew (the grandson) has been on a 'castle tour' about 3 years ago, but still enjoys them now on a different level. Can't wait as it will be one of the new places for me. Looks like I will love it.

Posted by LaRae
472 posts

Absolutely stay in Brugge. When the daytrippers go the city is so beautiful. Go to and search Brugge Night. At night the canals are all lite up.
Ghent is fun as a daytrip.

Posted by Danni
41 posts

Yes but if you go to Ghent you can see the Ghent Altarpiece (if you are into art)

Posted by Bets
1970 posts

Yes, the Ghent Altarpiece, Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, is not to be missed. Next door is the Belfry, a World Heritage site. Inside, in addition to the bells, is a museum and a fascinating video display of how the church bells are made. Even if you stay in Bruges, Ghent is worth the stop.

Posted by JER
Seattle, USA
981 posts

Distances are so small in Belgium that it's a cinch to do a half day trip just about anywhere. As long as you're in the neighborhood, don't miss Ghent. We actually liked it better than Brugges, but then again, it was July and during the day, Brugges was wall to wall people.

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
3509 posts

I think both are good and you'll be happy with either. I stayed in Ghent for 3 nights and enjoyed the Gothic-ness of it. I day-tripped by train to Bruges, which is very picturesque and quaint, but also much more touristy. If it matters, hotels are cheaper in Ghent.

Posted by bronwen
maplewood, new jersey, usa
750 posts

If I had to choose - no choice Ghent. Loved Ghent. Brugges was "meh". Touristy and no nightlife or interesting restaurants. LOVE the castle in Ghent and STAM Museum was neat. Troll bar ... I would go back to Ghent in a second!

Posted by Donna
Plymouth, MI, USA
6 posts

Terry, I've recently been to both and enjoyed them both - so it really comes down to what you want to do and see. Bruges is beautiful - no doubt about it! It is touristy - lots of chocolate shops, souvenier shops and horse and buggy rides. There is an awesome tea room that is a must for hot chocolate - De Proeverie - they serve the steaming milk with a bowl of melted chocolate on the side to mix yourself. And of course top it off with whipped cream and a little bowl of chocolates. If you go, do a boat ride through the canals - we went just as it was getting dark and the buildings were lit - beautiful! If you go, visit the Kathe Wohlfahrt Christmas shop - gorgeous ornaments. Ghent is a "real" city, not at all touristy, in fact I don't remember seeing even one souvenier shop. The castle is cool, but we saw it all in under an hour. Of course there are beautiful churches and museums in either city to enjoy and tour. I liked the pubs in Ghent better, but of course with your grandson you probably won't be visiting those anyway. Personally, I think you will both enjoy either city - or if you have the time, do both!
Funny, but you are almost a neighbor - I live in Plymouth, MI! I've been living in Brussels for 3 months for work, it's almost time to go home but I've completely enjoyed my time here!! Hope you have a great trip!!

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
2608 posts

@Donna,... thanks for the reply from a neighbor! We are in Bayeaux right now and making the trip to Normandy tomorrow and then on to Brugges and Ghent after that (we will try to do both)... We should try and get a travel group together when you get back to Mi. There might be a few people close (I have noticed lots of replies from Zoe... in Toledo...I think Ohio, not Spain)

Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
2506 posts

Yes, it's Toledo, Ohio. I consider it a temporary sojourn (5 years so far). And you're right up the road!