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July trip to Belgium?

Boston...
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July trip to Belgium?

Planning my summer trip with my friend and we talked about Belgium as a possibility. We love history, architecture, food and wine. How much time is needed in Belgium? Have just started looking but so far see that Brugge, Brussels, Antwerpen are the spots to hit. We like to stick to train travel....ok for getting around there? Any smaller areas to hit? We have 10-12 days...time for any side trips to say Amsterdam or Germany? I know nothing about Cologne but would love readers opinions on a fun itinerary for us! I thank you in advance for taking the time to read and comment. Appreciate the help!

Brussels, Belgium
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1. Re: July trip to Belgium?

Indeed you can easily travel by train from Brussels to Brugge (1 hr) and Antwerp (about 40 mins), as well as between Brugge and Antwerp (1h20). Naturally you could consider other places in Belgium, such as Ghent (halfway betwween Brussels and Brugge), Ieper (Ypres) if you are interested in WWI, Namur, Dinant if you are interested in citadels...

Amsterdam is 2 hrs from Brussels (1h11 from Antwerp) by high-speed Thalys, at least double that by non-high-speed IC trains; you can also take Euroline bus, see www.euroline.be - and Cologne is 1h50 from Bruxelles-Midi by high-speed ICE or Thalys trains, at least 3h20 by non-high-speed trains, changing in Liège and Aachen. To get cheapest fares on Thalys, you have to book 2 1/2 to 3 months in advance of the date of travel.

As for working out an itinerary, you need to decide first exactly where you want to go (including airport of arrival and departure), and how long you want to spend in each city, which depends on how much you want to do there: listing your interests as "history, architecture, food and wine" doesn't tell anyone else whether, in Brussels, you would want to fit in the Atomium, Horta Museum, Musical Instrument Museum, Fine Arts Museums, Magritte Museum, Comic Strip Museum, etc. - or no museums at all (and "summer" doesn't say whether you might be in Brussels when the royal palace is open to visitors, generally 22 July to beginning of September, should that be of any interest).

When you have a provisional detailed itinerary, you may also need to check what is open closed on the day(s) of the week when you would be planning to be in each city, bearing in mind that in Belgium, most museums close on Mondays (and shops, on Sundays).

For what there is to do in cities that aren't in Belgium, I suggest you go to the relevant forum and look at the list of "Things to Do", as rated by TA members, on the left-hand side of the page:

tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g188590-i60-Amster…

tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g187371-i534-Colog…

Edited: 04 February 2013, 20:30
2. Re: July trip to Belgium?

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