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Paris, Bruges, Brussels or Copenhagen?

hi everyone. i'm trying to decide where to spend my last 2 nights/3 days before flying back to london to come home. i'll probably be coming from switzerland.

any thoughts on which city would be the best to end with (i'm not counting london as i will have already been there)? i'm think not paris as i'm not really into the really touristy places. i prefer scenic, quaint towns.

thanks!

Posted by
4132 posts

At the risk of making your choice (which I envy) more difficult:

None of these are quaint. All of them (well, maybe not Brussels) are scenic. The smallest of them--Brugges--is also the most tourested, though it absorbs the crowds well.

I guess that I would pick the destination that is least like anywhere else you will already have been on that trip. Just to keep things interesting.

Posted by
98 posts

i was hoping you would just tell me where to go :)

also, if this makes a difference as far as crowds go, i'm going in october so this last leg would fall around 10/28.

i hear denmark is supposed to have the happiest people in the world - this seemed worth a look although it seems a bit out of the way. not sure what the time difference is vs. say bruges or brussels.

is paris really that great after all? from someone who has only ever read about it, just seems big, crowded, dirty (which never bothers me) and tacky. not trying to offend anyone and maybe all i have in my mind is the effel tower - maybe the rest of paris isn't like that . . .

Posted by
1 posts

My family loved Bruges. We where there on Market Day and it was delightful. Great walking town too.

Posted by
4132 posts

Paris is great. I certainly wouldn't call it dirty. But I'm not trying to sell you anything, and you've already said "not Paris." There's lots of other great places.

Posted by
98 posts

oh no - i am open to paris, obviously many many people love it. i just need to read up on it. i'm waiting to get RS book.

Posted by
9009 posts

Brugges is really quaint, but also full of tourists. All the houses date from 1500 or so. Antwerp is also an interesting in Belgium. I did not think I would like Paris, but it was really fun walking around. No one says you have to go to the Eiffel tower and the touristy places. Just walk around the city, go where the Parisians go. In Denmark, we liked a town called Christenfeld, completely built by the Moravians. Something that is really different. Stayed in a 350 year old, beautifully restored, thatched roof hotel. Ate some of the best food I have ever had in a hotel.

Posted by
258 posts

Lisa - go to Paris. no question about it that is the best place to go on your list IMO. My first trip to Europe I spent 2.5 days in Paris and regretted spending so little time in such an amazing city. My second trip to Europe I spent 5 days in Paris, and I still can't wait to go back. I too was one of those people that didn't think Paris had a whole lot to offer and well they hate Americans right? I only added it to my first itinerary because I was doing a whirl-wind Europe trip and well Paris is a major city so I had to go. All my preconcived notions of Paris were totally false. The people of Paris were some of the nicest I have met. The place is just beautiful and magical. My brother has a major "I told you so" he can now hold against me as he tried to tell me that Paris was a great place to visit. The first time I visited I did the hop-on, hop-off bus and hit every major attraction I could. The second time I relaxed, took a cooking class, walked around a lot, picnicked under the Eiffel Tower and in other parks, and hit some of the attractions I missed the first time. I loved every minute of it and hated to leave both times. Brussels is an okay day trip (definately wouldn't fall under scenic) and I didn't really care for Brugges at all. I haven't been to Copenhagen, so I can't speak on that.

Posted by
208 posts

There are areas of Paris that are very quiet and not filled with tourist. If you ever wanted to go to Paris, I would say do that. I was only there for 1 night and could not get over the fact I was walking around Paris. I was there in the month of October and it didn't feel hugely cramped with toursit.

I was just in Bruges, so I can't say what it will be like in the fall but I can say this, in the summer it is over run with toursit. It is a nice town and it is very walkable. It may not be so crowded when you go, but I felt more like I was in a tourst town here than I did in Paris.

I didn't even put Burssels on my list because everyone I talked to, including my husband who was just there said they were disapointed with the city.

As for Copenhagen, I know nothing about the city so I can't really comment.

Posted by
448 posts

well, it's the "flying back to London" part that makes me say Paris would be the first choice, just for convenience...and it's a quite wonderful city..i go there several times a month and it doesn't bother me to share with tourists; however, on your scenic, quaint list..we were in Bruges in early June..and it's special for compact charm. You didn't mention when you're going..but none of the cities on your list are "towns"...For me, Brussels is NO for 3 days and i don't know Copenhagen firsthand..bit expensvie, clean, and probably good flight connections to London.

Posted by
286 posts

I've been to all four.

I'd say Paris or Copenhagen are your best bets. London and Paris are a nice comparison for big city feels but they offer different things to tourists. Paris is a lot more spread out so the tourist can really get lost amongst the locals easier. London tourists usually stay more central for the free museums and theatre.

Copenhagen is a nice place and you could always squeeze a day trip out to Malmo, Sweden very easily. I think three days could be too long unless you have a specific itinerary you want to cover or are just happy hanging out. Scandinavia is also expensive to many tourists so if that is an issue then make sure you cost compare.

Brugge/Bruges is lovely and you can always squeeze in a day trip to Brussels if you really want to see it. It is a pretty little town on canals.

Posted by
3618 posts

The other posters have been doing a great job of laying out the pros and cons of your choices. However, I have a slightly different slant. As always, it depends on what interests you. You could bracket Brussels and Bruges together. Stay in one and visit the other one day. We found much to like about Brussels. There is a fine arts museum with a great collection of medieval and Renaissance paintings. There is also a terrific representation of Art Nouveau buildings, including the Horta Museum. The buildings from earlier periods aren't bad either. The food is fabulous. We spent a month in Copenhagen on a house exchange and found it to be a wonderful, interesting city. It's very walkable, and there is much interesting architecture. There are many lovely squares filled with fountains, cafes, and people enjoying the scene. You can get a different view by taking one of the tours in a boat on the canals. There are castles to visit in and near the city, as well as at least two outdoor museums. There's a great modern art museum (Louisiana) about 20 minutes away by train and a Viking ship museum about 30 minutes away. The National Museum does a great job of educating the visitor about the history and pre-history of the region; and, incidentally, its restaurant is a good place to get a tasty, reasonably priced meal. The Danes are friendly, and almost all speak English. We didn't feel that it was much more expensive than other cities, but we weren't paying for lodgings.

Posted by
430 posts

With 2 nights / 3 days I would recommend Brussels from your list. Plan to do a 1-day side-trip to Brugges.

I would pass on Paris with only 3 days to spend. Save Paris for when you've got at least 4 days, and preferably 5 days.

Posted by
191 posts

I studied for 6 months in Belgium, so am a little biased, but I would recommend Brussels for on day and Bruges for the other...I also really enjoyed Leuven, Ghent and Ypres (if only for the war museum which is touristy).

ETA: Forgot to say though, that I would pick Paris over Belgium anyday, only go if you've ruled out Paris. And I've never been to Copenhagen.

Posted by
98 posts

thanks for all your responses. i have decided to end my trip in paris. i'm looking forward to seeing the city.

Posted by
215 posts

Lisa,

I have only been to two of the cities you mentioned. Paris and Copenhagen. Rosalyn did an excellent job describing Copenhagen, in fact to remind me as I was about to shout PARIS!! on how much I enjoyed our trip there.

Copenhagen is worth a visit someday, we visited there as part of our Denmark, Sweden, Norway trip. I think you have decided on Paris... you won't regret that either. Paris is well Paris. Enjoy!

Posted by
1358 posts

Google the sights in Brussels and Bruges. I count them equal; so I cant recommend one over the other.

Then decide which one you prefer staying in. The other is less than an hour away by rail so you can make it a day trip. I would not consider Copenhagen as scenic or quaint.

Posted by
1 posts

So, did you end up going to Paris? If so, what did you think... I'm into quaint, old places too and am not sure if Paris has a lot to offer me (not into museums at all)... so would love to hear your opinion!

K

Posted by
98 posts

actually, i havent made it there yet. im in venice about to head to rome. then vernazza and then finally paris. ill let you know what i think! part of me still wishes i were going to bruges but oh well.

Posted by
875 posts

You didn't ask, but Colmar is a lovely, quaint little town. Actually there are several lovely quaint little villages on the wine trail between Colmar & Strasbourg. You could see all of them in the amount of time you have.
Bruges is also a lovely small town -- very quaint in many ways.
Paris is C'est magnifique! Two nights would only give you a tiny taste of its wonders.

Posted by
113 posts

Paris is wonderful and everybody should visit - the best way when you have little time is just to wander and explore. If you keep the Seine in sight, you can't get TOO lost. But if I had just 2 nights, I'd go to Bruges - and I'd stay with Maggie at the Royal Stewart B&B. She is a delightful hostess, very helpful with sightseeing ideas - and the best chocolate you've ever tasted is just down the street and cheap! Bruges is a great walking town and everything is within walking distance of the B&B. There's also a great bike ride past a windmill and along a peaceful river path to a tiny nearby town. It's where I ended my stay before heading for London last summer.