I'm planning a trip to Belgium and The Netherlands next May. We'll have about two weeks and are preliminarily thinking to split our time between Brussels, Bruges, and Amsterdam. We will be traveling with a 2.5 year old and will be renting properties, so destinations with good rental properties are a priority. I was excited about Bruges until finding out that it is overrun with tourists. Can anyone suggest how we might allocate our two weeks? Thank you!
Posted on Sep 20, 2011
You are right about Bruges a little. I would consider Antwerp and Ghent instead of or on top of Bruges....
So here are my favorite places around there off the top of my head:
- M HKA (Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp), FoMu (Photo Museum of the City Antwerp), Fiskebar (one of my favorite restaurants in Europe), Anverness (Whisky shop), De Vagant (best jenever bar) and Chocolate World (everything about chocolate and baking with chocolate), Kloosterstraat (awesome street with vintage and antique shops) in Antwerp.
- Stadelijk Museum (Contemporary Art Museum), Whisky Cafe L&B (best whisky bar in Europe), Vondelpark (prettiest park in the city), Concertgebouw (concert hall) in Amsterdam.
- De Striep Bruges (comic shop) in Bruges.
- René Magritte Museum, Museum of Musical Instruments, Galeries St Hubert (beautiful glass covered arcade with shops and cafes), Chez Leon (best place to get mussels), Chez Moeder Lambic (best bar in Brussels), Kafka Bar (get a coffee where the locals hang out) in Brussels
Let me know if I can be a more help. Have fun..!
Posted Sep 20, 2011Add a comment
Posted on Nov 05, 2011
I thought Bruges was truly lovely, overrun with tourists or not. It is one of my favorite European cities and would do that instead of Brussels. I go every summer and I really think Brussels is a bit unsafe for a child. Ghent is really cool and the Belgian coast is beautiful any time of the year. Amsterdam is stunning - consider Harlem. It was also quite beautiful.
Posted Sep 23, 2011Add a comment
Our son was a little older when we went. There is a great 1000 year old castle in Vianden,, Brussels. One of the leaders of the 2nd Crusade owned it until he died on the Crusade. There was a very kid friendly little hotel with a great restaurant in a neighboring village. Our experience traveling with our son when he was 2 1/2 was that he did better in the county where he could run around then in the cities. Brugges is only good for one day in my opinion and we used Brussels as a jumping off point for the Battle of the Bulge sites and Vianden.
Posted Sep 27, 2011Add a comment
Please do spend some time in Belgium. There is so much to do for kids! Here are a few tips:
I would recommend spending a few days in Brussels and a few days in Ghent. I'm sure your son would enjoy the Atomium and mini-Europe, which are right outside of Brussels. Chez Leon is free for children and the children's portions are huge! Also make time to see the Mannekenpis costume exhibit on the top floor of the Hotel de Ville in the Grand Place. You son will love it. I've written several articles about visiting Belgium with kids. Please check them out: www.alloverthemap.net. Have fun and don't listen to the haters. Belgium rocks!
Posted Sep 27, 2011Add a comment
I agree with those who are encouraging Belgium. This is such a underrated country with so much to see and do. I would also agree that you skip Bruges (or at least limit your time there) and instead visit Antwerp and Ghent. Also travelling to some of the beautiful cities and towns of Wallonia is a must - Dinant is lovely as is Namur. I write about all kinds of activities in Brussels and the rest of Belgium on Cheeseweb.eu Feel free to email me with any questions.
Posted Oct 06, 2011Add a comment
Hi! I'd would recommend you to spend more days in The Netherlands than in Belgium. You can stay in Amsterdam and then move to other cities like Rotterdam or The Hague, everything is close. Although Brussels and Bruges (especially the last) are great, two or three days for each one will be enough.
Posted Sep 20, 2011Add a comment
I love Amsterdam for the parks and bicycling, architecture, and art. I would return in a hot minute. I spent three days in Brussels sightseeing, and I really don't recall anything there except the Comics Center (http://www.comicscenter.net/en/home ) -- which is a MUST see!
When in Amsterdam, I suggest you visit a cheese/dairy farm and see cheese being made (your child will enjoy it, and you'll love the cheese). One way to do this is to ride bikes into the farmland just outside the city (http://www.mikesbiketoursamsterdam.com/ ). Also, take a train to quiet Delft and enjoy strolling in the narrow old streets and visiting churches you've seen in paintings. DO rent bicycles for the full length of your visit.
Posted Sep 21, 2011Add a comment
Brussels is good for the food, the Art Nouveau architecture, and to let your child run around a bit on the Grand Plaza, but I wouldn't spend more than two days there. And go to Leon's. it's great. You could walk around Bruges in a day or less and get sense of the old architecture there, but I think you would be best off concentrating on the Netherlands. If you rent an apartment in Amsterdam, you have the option of doing as many day trips as you want to other cities, and I also would suggest that you put Haarlem on the list as it is a good city to wander around in. In Amsterdam, spend lots of time walking around. There's the Jordaan, where there is a good open market and the old Noordkirk. You could walk the along the Prinzengracht, Keizergrachtand Herengracht, to see the beautiful, old , tall narrow houses, and where your child might be able to see unique sights like someone hoisting a couch or refrigerator from a boat up through a third-floor window into an apartment. There are the neighborhoods along the big canals on the east side of the city, and Vondelpark by the museums. Amsterdam is a blessedly kid-friendly town. For a good inexpensive meal, go to Die 2 Grieken.
Posted Sep 26, 2011Add a comment
Belgium has so many things to see and do. You only need a few days in Brussels, spend more time in Ghent, Bruges and Antwerp. They are my favorites. There are many places to visit like the Maredsous Monastery (for wonderful food and beer), Durbuy (lots of outdoor activites, Spa (for relaxation), Bouillon Castle and Ypres (for history). Rent a car and head down to the beautiful Ardennes area. For the Netherlands, you have to see Amsterdam, Zaanse Schans (great for kids), Volendam, The Aalsmeer Flower Auction and the Gouda Cheese Market. Of course you can't miss Keukenhof Gardens.
Posted Oct 05, 2011Add a comment
don't miss Brugge! as they say in the movie, "it's a f.... fairy tale!" (see the movie In Bruges before you come for a nice look around the city.) obviously it's best in the off season but when you come is getting close to tourist season. perhaps staying in the city for a night or two, so that you can enjoy the evenings when lots of the tourists take off. but really, you cannot come to Belgium and not go there. it would be like going to Mexico and not eating a taco!
Posted Nov 14, 2011Add a comment
We are born in Brugge ! (Bruges) A must is : in the Cathedral the only Michelangio :The Madona and Child in white marble who left Italy Also in the Bleekerstraat (narrow street) : Rubens cafe.from 1850 ! .Also visit The Lake of Love ( Minnewater). Go to Tourisme service on 'The Markt . .
Posted Feb 22, 2013Add a comment