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4 days in Belgium or Switzerland

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posts: 4
reviews: 1
4 days in Belgium or Switzerland

My husband and I are taking a river cruise from Amsterdam to Basel in early August. We are trying to decide if we want to spend 4 days in Belgium before the cruise or 4 days in Switzerland afterwards. Besides Geneva, neither of us has been to either.

All thoughts are welcome

5 replies to this topic
Port Townsend...
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park, Port Townsend
posts: 5,662
reviews: 3
1. Re: 4 days in Belgium or Switzerland

Which do you like better? Beer or mountains?

Edited: 8:10 pm, September 25, 2013
Bergen County, New...
posts: 1,472
reviews: 129
2. Re: 4 days in Belgium or Switzerland

I don't mean to be indelicate, but I trust you know that Amsterdam is in the Netherlands, not in Belgium??

I am very fond of Belgium, and think that there are both excellent museums and excellent cities and towns to see. A key point is whether you want to see things that are specifically in one country (i.e. mountains and lakes in Switzerland, medieval villages and unique art in Belgium) (Yes, I know about Stein am Rhein, but I don't think Switzerland has as many Medieval town centers as Belgium.)

Do you remember that Switzerland is much more expensive than Belgium? I would comment that Basel, besides having excellent art museums, is close to a pretty part of Germany, and places like the Vitra Design Museum. You didn't say whether you will travel from the cruise by car or need public transportation.

I'd also comment that Amsterdam and Belgium are not really next door to each other. Although I like Belgium better than the Netherlands (food and everything else), there are plenty of great visits near Amsterdam, like Aalsmeer, Alkmaar, Leiden, Utrecht, Haarlem, and more, ALL by cheap, easy commuter train. You also could also spend a week in Amsterdam and not see everything, unpacking "once" like the river cruise!

Winter Haven...
posts: 2,754
reviews: 1
3. Re: 4 days in Belgium or Switzerland

Basel is not a place you would want to stay. Many people taking this trip drive to places like Interlakken, Grindelwald, or Luzern for a few days before flying back out of Zurich.

That said and as beautiful as the lakes and mountains of Switzerland are, it is hard to do them justice in just 3 or 4 days. My suggestion would be to go to Amsterdam at the beginning of your trip, adjust from your jetlag, and enjoy what there is to enjoy in one of the most exciting cities in the world. You can always make up your mind after arriving if you want to make day trips into Belgium or any of the other towns in Holland. Whatever you decide (and I can't stress this enough) you need to think about reserving accommodations as soon as possible - August is high season in northern Europe and the good places fill up quickly especially in a city like Amsterdam.

One last comment. I am very much a "slow traveler". Your cruise will be keeping you on the move. It will give you basically part of a day in each of the towns you visit. You might consider just "hanging out" for a few days in a place like Amsterdam.

Nottingham, United...
posts: 2,864
reviews: 118
4. Re: 4 days in Belgium or Switzerland

I happen to like Belgium but given the option I would choose Switzerland without a doubt!

London, United...
posts: 1,912
reviews: 418
5. Re: 4 days in Belgium or Switzerland

4 days in Swiss would be too short and broad to explore unless you have particular cities in your mind. Belgium would be good size for the period.

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