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Exploring Belgium from Brussels

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San Diego...
posts: 4
reviews: 5
Exploring Belgium from Brussels

We (two adults and 13yo) are traveling to Belgium and France this summer - arriving to Brussels July 8 (~10am) and departing to Paris July 11(~4pm). In Brussels we are staying close to city center (Renaissance Hotel). We are hoping to explore Brussels in two half-days of july 8 and july 11, which leaves us two full days to explore other cities in Belgium.

Our primary interest is medieval architecture (castles, etc), gardens, historical sites, and, to a lesser extent, museums. (http://www.visitbelgium.com/index.php/castles-and-gardens ) We generally try to avoid overly-crowded places, if possible. I need your help to design a couple of day trips from Brussels: 1. Ghent and Brugge; 2. possibly in other direction (Liege, Namur, Mons or ???). Any specific suggestions on how to organize our travel would be greatly appreciated (including transportation details). We would probably prefer to travel by train, but can rent a car if needed. Thanks !

6 replies to this topic
Leuven, Belgium
posts: 377
reviews: 81
1. Re: Exploring Belgium from Brussels

You can perfectly travel by train and it is in fact better to travel by train as the distances aren't that big and you'll have a lot more trouble getting rid of you're car/being stuck in Belgian traffic.

Unless you want to do everything quick-quick, I would take a full day for Ghent and almost a full day for Bruges as well.

I have to admit I don't know Liège, Namur and Mons that well, but I do think you might find Antwerp interesting as well. It's less than an hour by train, can easily be visited on foot and there's a lot to see and do: a castle, squares, lots of museums, quaint alleys ...

2. Re: Exploring Belgium from Brussels

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new york
posts: 668
reviews: 745
3. Re: Exploring Belgium from Brussels

You might consider Gravensteen castle in ghent

Doncaster, England...
posts: 43
reviews: 132
4. Re: Exploring Belgium from Brussels

I think Gent is superb, and you should certainly consider that, but if you want a peaceful historic place with gardens, think about Thuin in Wallonia (the French-speaking part of Belgium). It is about two and a half hours away from Brussels (change at Charleroi, two-hourly trains from there). It is on the river, is built on a hill above it. There is a tramway museum...it's just a tranquil interesting place.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thuin

If you want to look at train times, just Google NMBS or SNCB and there is an English page. Train fares in Belgium are reasonably cheap and there is little advantage in booking in advance, unlike some other European countries like the UK or Italy, unless you are crossing frontiers.

Waterloo, Belgium
posts: 2,575
5. Re: Exploring Belgium from Brussels

Hello

Bruges will be overcrowded. Gent and Antwerp are beautiffull and have castles. I'd start with these cities/

Namur is nice, but IMHO not as nice as Flemmish cities (as a rule I think Flemmish cities are beautiful and landscape is nicer in Wallonia). Mons is a nice small city, but nothing exceptionnal, I prefer Leuven... Liège I don't know well.

Dinant combines landscape and a small city (more of a village).

I am glad to hear Thuin is nice, I've been there dozens of times and never visited it.

A castle I love is Bouillon, but it will eat you a full day, it is a medieval castle, home to Godefroid de Bouillon, conqueror of Jerusalem in 1097 or close. Not sure it is easy by train.

tripadvisor.fr/Attraction_Review-g230017-d31…

close to Brussels you have a small nice castle in Beersel if you ahve a car it is 20 min from center, there is a trainstation too, but don't know frequency of trains. Maybe you could stay on emore day in Brussles and od Beersqel during this day, I find personnaly 2 half days a little bit short.

toerismebeersel.be/product/1235/castle-of-be… Closed on monday

Have fun in Belgium !

Washington DC...
posts: 55
reviews: 3
6. Re: Exploring Belgium from Brussels

Regarding Gent, it is quite lovely but just keep in mind the Gent Jazz Festival runs July 10-19 this year so it will be a bit more crowded. If you are interested in jazz, here is a link to the website:

http://www.gentjazz.com/en/

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