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How long should we spend in Bruges/Belgium in Feb 2011?

Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
153 posts
113 reviews
How long should we spend in Bruges/Belgium in Feb 2011?

OK. I know this is one of those "how long is a piece of string questions?" However, I would value the opinions of people who are better informed.

We're planning a small trip of about 8 to 10 days in Feb 2011 ex UK, most likely by train. I thought Belgium/Amsterdam might be a good option - I know the weather won't be the best, but I'm expecting lots of museums, warm cafes and that sort of thing. Our style will be strolling around, popping into that shop and this, having a coffee or something stronger every now and again, marvelling at the architecture... so basically pretty relaxed.

On the question of Bruges, I have read many conflicting accounts. Some say one day is more than enough and others say they wish they could have stayed a week. I guess we would also use Bruges as a base to visit Antwerp, Ghent and Brussels. I see that Lonely Planet suggests 7 days for these places, so that might preclude going to Amsterdam...that doesn't bother me, if Belgium is interesting enough to warrant 7 days, I'm happy to stay there that long. Please let me know what you think - also those who know Belgium and Amsterdam, would 7 days in Amsterdam be better? I mean, more to see and do, more diverse...

Thanx in advance.

Destination Expert
for Bruges
Level Contributor
1,155 posts
27 reviews
1. Re: How long should we spend in Bruges/Belgium in Feb 2011?


Good set of questions...

Bruges - you can easily loose a couple of days here. It is a small city easy to walk around with a number of museums that can take a good day to see. Add in the other things to see and do, bars, cafes, Belfort etc and your time will fly by.

Gent - similar to Bruges in terms of timescales. It is bigger than Bruges, with a large student population and has the feel of a larger tower rather than the quaintness that comes with Bruges. So you can loose a couple of days here visiting the museums, wandering around the shops.

Antwerp - Much more of a working city but lots of shops to see. Took a bit of a pounding in the wars so the architecture is a bit more modernist. A day here will give you a flavour of the city.

Brussels - Large city pretty much aimed at the numerous international institutions that are based there. Some nice architecture, but not that much different to Gent & Bruges if it is Flemish architecture that you are looking for.

Amsterdam - Is a large city, and also has a different feel to the Belgian cities. There are a good mix of museums and things to see and do. It is easy to get around and there is plenty to take up a couple of days.

If you like small compact places then Bruges and Gent are good.

Brussels and Amsterdam are large cities (Manchester type size) Of the two Amsterdam would be my preference.

Not the best I am afraid but as you said how long is a piece of string...

Cannock, United...
Level Contributor
1,309 posts
22 reviews
2. Re: How long should we spend in Bruges/Belgium in Feb 2011?


Indeed, good set of questions and good, comprehensive answers from NWKent.

I've been to Bruges countless times now and always with the intention of spreading my wings a little further on each trip. Somehow it never seems to happen as I can easily lose 3 days ambling around Bruges, looking in the odd shop here and there, admiring the buildings and one or two beers in the many bars and cafe's along the way. I'd say 3 days is a good amount of time to get to see a mix of museums and some/most of the sights.

Bruges is also an ideal place to base yourself for those visits to Ghent, Brussels or Antwerp which have been perfectly described. All easily accessible from Bruges via train.

I've not made it to Antwerp yet but from the others I personally prefer Bruges for it quietness and quaintness. Specially in the evenings when all the day trips have left.

Have a great time.



Edited: 16 November 2010, 03:57
Orlando, Florida
Level Contributor
6,101 posts
108 reviews
3. Re: How long should we spend in Bruges/Belgium in Feb 2011?

Brugge and Amsterdam are great cities to explore. Antwerp and Gent are good for daytrips. Didn't really care for Brussels.

A good way to see what each city has to offer is www.flickr.com

Type city name in search feature.

Northampton UK
Level Contributor
6 posts
4 reviews
4. Re: How long should we spend in Bruges/Belgium in Feb 2011?


I have a holiday home in Brugge and guarantee you will find plenty to do. There are fantastic museums, churches, markets, walks in the city and to Damme or even Sluice in Holland. You can go on Flanders Fields tours, you can hire bikes to see more of the countryside. There are plenty of shops, loads of great cafe's and restaurants, there maybe some great concerts on while you are there. The Brugge website www.brugge.be is a fantastic resource for what is on and what to do. It recommends self guided and guided walks as well as excursions outside the city and where to stay and eat,

It may also be worth buying a city card http://www.bruggecitycard.be/ and checking out www.winterinbrugge.be for deals on accomodation. Before we had our own place we stayed at De Drei Koningen www.ddk.be Nico and Anne have several flats and appts available in the city centre with parking.

You can easily get the train to Brussels from Brugge, and to Ghent and Antwerp too I am sure (maybe changing at Brussels?) I too didn't not enjoy Brussels much but have stayed in Ghent which was lovely but not so compact and easily accessible as Brugge.

Hope this is helpful

Wakefield, United...
Level Contributor
235 posts
36 reviews
5. Re: How long should we spend in Bruges/Belgium in Feb 2011?

I agree about the City card - brilliant value

And if it was me - the 28 days of February would suit me to amble round this magical place.

Bruges is a fantastic place to base yourself for visiting other cities.

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Business Travel, New South Wales
Level Contributor
31,335 posts
2,131 reviews
6. Re: How long should we spend in Bruges/Belgium in Feb 2011?


Plenty to do in Brugge. See link below.


Amsterdam is also a fab city to visit.


IMO, you need more time in Amsterdam. Brugge can be seen in a couple of days.

7. Re: How long should we spend in Bruges/Belgium in Feb 2011?

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