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 !