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what city should i stay in?

rome italy
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what city should i stay in?

i am arriving in brussels and i will be staying for four days. i want to go to brugge, antwerp,ghent and i don't know if i would have time to see something in the netherlands. where is a good base for travelling around? i hear brussels is dangerous.

Brussels, Belgium
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1. Re: what city should i stay in?

I don't believe Brussels is any more dangerous than Rome (and I am sure it is a lot less so than Amsterdam!), although it might be interesting to know what statistics you would consider relevant in defining "dangerous". Brussels' Gare du Midi, which is considered a bit of a crime hotspot, has about the same reputation as Rome's Termini station or Paris' Gare du Nord....

Ghent would be centrally located between Brugge, Brussels and Antwerp, each of which is about 30 minutes away by train. As trains from Brussels to Amsterdam pass through Antwerp (Berchem), from Ghent you would have to change in that city. The only thing is that the main station in Ghent (Gent St. Pieters) is some distance from the city centre, so you would probably have to take a tram from wherever you were staying there before starting your journey to other cities. It cold be almost equally convenient to base yourself in Brussels if you were to stay near the Gare centrale (e.g. at the Méridien which is right opposite the station), from where it takes 30 minutes to Ghent, 1 hour to Brugge, 40 minutes or so to Antwerp and 3 hours to Amsterdam (by Intercity train - Thalys only starts at Gare du Midi and it's only 10 minutes faster).

rome italy
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2. Re: what city should i stay in?

thanks for the reply. i will have a rental car so i don't need to be close to train stations. i just want a hotel that is in a safe area(no drugs or prostitutes for example). i saw the marriot in brussels which looked nice but i don't know about the area. what about ghent? are there many choices for hotels there? or would the marroit in brussels be better?

Brussels, Belgium
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3. Re: what city should i stay in?

With a car your main concern will be to find a hotel with a garage or nearby car park and in my opinion this would probably increase the attraction of Ghent (train travel times obviously reflect distances between cities, i.e. Ghent is almost equidistant between Brugge, Brussels and Antwerp). I certainly don't see the point of staying in central Brussels if you will be travelling outside the city by car nearly every day, and if you do stay in Ghent, then on the day you want to go to Brussels I would advise you to leave the car near the station and take the train, arriving at Gare centrale which is a 5-minute walk from the Grand' Place. Of course there are multi-storey car parks in the town centre but you may find them expensive. To park at the Marriott hotel, which would require you to battle with downtown Brussels traffic every day (not that it compares with Rome, I suppose), you would have to pay 5.5. EUR/hour or 27.5/day, see marriott.com/property/propertypage/brudt

If you go to the Ghent forum (for some reason you posted this in the Brugge one) you can see Ghent hotels in the list on the left, and check out what other TA users have said about them. Otherwise, if you were to base yourself in Brussels I would recommend staying outside the centre, e.g. out by the airport which is near the Ring for easy access to Antwerp etc.

I have never seen any sign of drug use in Brussels (e.g. syringes in parks, as I have seen in Zurich) and don't think this is a huge factor in the bag-snatching or car-jacking incidents you may have read/heard about. As for prostitution, I was astonished to read someone's recent advice on TA claiming that the red light district in Brussels was bigger than that in Amsterdam. Obviously I don't know the city very well (despite having lived here for 26 years!) as the only street I know of near the Gare du Nord that has windows with "ladies" in has all of 4 such windows, at least during the day... (I confess I have never needed to be in that street at night, indeed the only times I have been in it at all have been when my bus was diverted down it!). There is another area where streetwalkers may be seen at night, on one or two blocks of the Avenue Louise, opposite the Hotel Bristol Stephanie.

I will be in Ghent tomorrow, if you like I will ask about drug-use and prostitution in that city! I have never noticed either there myself, although no doubt they exist just as they do in Rome.

rome italy
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4. Re: what city should i stay in?

thanks so much for the information. it was all so helpful. i am so glad this site exists. the only reason i am so scared is because i have been robbed 4 times in my city and when i go on vacation i like to feel secure. i hate always feeling scared. i know crime is everywhere, but i just would like to be as far away from it as i can. thanks so much. if you have any tips for ghent(since you are going tomorrow) write back. bye.

5. Re: what city should i stay in?

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