Ghent or more time in Bruges?

Will have 4 nights in Belgium in September. Plan on taking train from airport in Brussels & heading towards Bruges. Wondering if Ghent is worthwhile stop for a night on the way or should we spend all 4 nights in Bruges? Have never been in Belgium. Thanks for any feedback.

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
7736 posts

While I could spend a week in Bruges, for most folks two days is enough time. So you could easily work in a night for Ghent. But they are very close to each other, just one train stop away, so you could also spend four nights in Bruges and do a day trip to Ghent.

Posted by Tom
Lewiston, NY
11073 posts

4 nights is overkill for Brugge alone. You could spend the night in Ghent, but as the previous poster noted, the cities are very close to each other. You could visit one as a daytrip from the other. If you graduated from college the past 10 years... spend your nights in Ghent. The historic center of Brugge is kind of dead after dinner, but Ghent is usually hopping. I would also recommend a daytrip to the coast. Oostende is the largest town, but De Haan is my favorite.

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
5756 posts

While 4 nights in Bruges is fine (it's nice to be there after the day-trippers leave), 4 days there is a lot (it's small). However, Ghent is only a half hour away, and Brussels and Antwerp are each only an hour away. Thus, you can see all of these as daytrips. You need not plan this in advance (trains between these are relatively frequent, not expensive, and do not require reservations or advance purchase). Just see what you feel like doing at the time, and act accordingly.

Posted by Susan
Marin County/San Francisco
4034 posts

4 nights is 3 full days, not 4. We spent 4 nights in Brugge and still wished we had more time there. It is not overkill. I think visiting Ghent is a great idea, I'd do it as a day trip though, I don't like changing hotels if I don't have to (plus it eats up time).

Posted by Lo
1682 posts

For our trip next month, we decided to rent an apartment for a week in Bruges and do the day trips others have mentioned. I have been there before, but only briefly, so this will be a treat. We had no interest in staying in another lively after dark town since we will finish our trip with a week in an apartment in Amsterdam. Having done it both ways, I definitely agree with others who recommend picking one place to stay and visiting the others from there, especially when the transportation is so easy.

Posted by Tom
Lewiston, NY
11073 posts

Ypres (Ieper in Dutch) is another good daytrip. Even though they had to completely rebuild the town after the war, it looks much older (difference between post WWI and post WWII building priorities, I guess). To explore any of the surrounding battle monuments, you would need either a rental car or to take a tour.

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
6567 posts

I stayed in Ghent and did a day trip to Bruges. I found I liked Ghent more, especially at night when all the Gothic buildings are floodlit. I thought Bruges was very touristy, but it was also more picturesque and I would have liked one more day there. I chose Ghent both because I wanted to be there after dark and because hotels were considerably cheaper. It's between Bruges and Brussels, so you can day trip to both easily.

Posted by Karen
Napa Valley, Ca
24 posts

Thanks so much for all of your Suggestions! I too like the idea of staying in one hotel so we will spend the 4 nights in Bruges & day trip from there! Will try to get a little night life in Ghent as well if trains run that late!

Posted by Kelly
St Petersburg Florida
951 posts

On our second trip to Belgium, we spent 5 nights in Bruges and loved every minute of it. We were never bored. We were there during Christmas market season and find the town extremely charming. We spent 3 nights in Ghent too. I loved both cities.