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Ghent and Antwerp?

Two questions:
1) Is Antwerp worth a day trip?
2) Is it possible to see Ghent and Antwerp in 11 hours and do each city justice?

Posted by
12040 posts

My question would be: how much time do you have, and from where will you base your daytrips? Each city is worth a visit if you have time, but both are a bit rougher than the typical European tourist destinations. Antwerp's cathedral, though, is probably one of the most under-rated Gothic churches in Europe, and I personally think its Grote Platz is more impressive than either the one in Brugge or Brussels, if far less visited.

Posted by
11 posts

Our itinerary looks like this:

Day 1: Brussels
Day 2: Brussels
Day 3: Ghent/Antwerp (maybe)
Day 4: Bruges
Day 5: Bruges
Day 6: Amsterdam
Day 7: Amsterdam / Haarlem
Day 8: Brussels
Day 9: Depart from Brussels

Posted by
4671 posts

It's perfectly OK to do either city as a day trip from either Brussels or Bruges. Another possibility might be to spend the night in one of them and then go on to Bruges (Ghent in particular is on the direct route from Brussels). It's hard to suggest which of the cities would be better for a daytrip. I would say that Ghent is a bit better preserved in terms of old buildings, but Antwerp probably has better shopping.

Posted by
4671 posts

Oh sorry, I just noticed you said Ghent AND Antwerp. The answer to that question is no. For a start, the railway stations in both cities are a bit away from the scenic parts. You should pick one, or do both as separate day trips.

Posted by
4 posts

I recently stayed in Ghent and did daytrips by train to Bruges and Antwerp. I thought Ghent and Antwerp were both worth a visit. Bear in mind that the less-visited cities may feel rather quiet on a Sunday, as many of the shops will be closed.

Posted by
4941 posts

Keith, it's a very coarse comparison, but if Brussels=Washington, then Bruges=Charleston, Gent=Baltimore, and Antwerp=Boston. My point is not to sound snooty, but only that you are ticking off some big and historic cities on a list as if they were bus stops. I know you can only afford x number of days!

Posted by
951 posts

Have you purchased tickets yet? Might save some time if you flew into Amsterdam and flew out of Brussels. If that was the case, I would do this....
1. Amsterdam
2. Amsterdam
3. Amsterdam
4. Antwerp on way to Bruges
5. Bruges
6. Bruges
7. Ghent
8. Brussels
9. Leave Brussels

Or
1. Fly into Brussels, see what you need to and get to Ghent
2. Ghent
3. Bruges
4. Bruges
5. Bruges, day trip to Antwerp or spend one night there
6. Amsterdam
7. Amsterdam
8. Amsterdam
9. Leave Amsterdam

I am a lover of Bruges and Ghent. Last time I was there I spent 5 nights in Bruges during Xmas market time and 3 in Ghent. Never bored. We only spend enough time in Brussels to walk around and see the 3 main art museums and then we are off. We day tripped to Antwerp and couldn't wait to leave. It was a rainy Sunday. Nothing opened really, don't care too much for rubins and the city was under so much construction and because of that extremely dirty (literally dirt pikes everywhere, mud, grit grime). I like Amsterdam too and feel it needs at least 3 days. Bruges and Ghent deserve at least 2 or more days.

If you can't fly open jaw, I would immediately get on a train to Amsterdam from Brussels (sleep a bit) and still start from Amsterdam and end up in Brussels. When I have to back track, I save the fly out city for last.

Posted by
4671 posts

I just noticed this is a five year old post. Don't reply any more.