Has anyone been to Belgium in October? Is a reasonable itinerary one night in Ghent, 2 nights in Bruge and 2 nights in Antwerp? We don't have a lot of time and we want to make the most of the trip. Any and all advise is welcomed.
We lived in Brussel for a few years and I'd personally suggest, if you've never been before, to concentrate on Brussels and Bruges.
Enough in each Brussels to enjoy for 3 nights and 2 nights in Bruges, which is very picturesque.
Weather at that time unpredictable but you may be lucky and get bright, dry days - if cool.
In any case lots to see inside and public transport is excellent: buses, trams and trains all interconnect.
For a short trip, must do's are: a beer in the Grand Place; a seafood meal (but don't be tempted by the tourist places off the Grand Place, go to St. Catherine's instead); a few chocolatiers; Sablon area if you are interested in antiques; The Horta house/museum; a visit to an Abbaye brewery ....
Hotels around the perimeter / airport etc. can be boring and full of business people so stick to the city centre if you can.
I second needtoescape's advice. Stick with Brussels and Bruges. Brussels has wonderful museums, including some art deco houses, complete with interiors to be visited, there is also a strong antique market there if you are interested in antiques. As needtoescape said, transportation there is excellent, but it would be best to stick to the inner city. Bruges is the Venice of the North and should not be missed. Depending when you go in October, early October might still be decent weather but do bring raincoats, umbrellas and warm clothes.
Relative to other cities where I felt a few days was not enough I felt pretty acquainted with Brussells in about a day and a half. It's much smaller than other cities. If you are the type of person that likes a more leisurely experience than I would definitely take the advice of other posters on this list. If you are the kind of person that likes to take in as much as possible in a short amount of time, then with Belgium your schedule might actually be ok.
One thing that I found interesting in Brussels is that it's actually not that bad to get a hotel once you are there if you need flexibility on your schedule. I arrived with no hotel and went to the train station information kiosk. They told me there all of the 4 and 5 star hotels as well as any special rates that were available. Pretty much all had availability and I understand this to generally be the case if you are not going during the highest seasons. If you are more adventurice and ok with unplanned trips, this might allow you some addiitonal flexibility.
Good luck! Make sure to have lots of Chocolate, beer and frites and mussells.
I found and used this tip on a website before I had a short stay in Brussels. Great time hope this helps.
Top 10 Things in Brussels on a Short Break Musee de la Ville de Bruxelles - Cutural Attraction Located at the Grand-Place. This is the museum of the city of Brussels and is housed in the neo-Gothic King's House (which never actually housed a king). Exhibits on display in the museum document the history of Brussels, some of the amazing displays include old paintings and modern scale reconstructions of the historic city centre. There are also interesting exhibits on traditional arts and crafts, such as tapestry and lace.This is a great place to start off sight seeing in Brussels learning about the city's past.
The museum is open Tuesday to Friday from 10h00 - 17h00, Saturday and Sunday from 12h00 - 17h00, Addmission is $9 p.p. Mini-Europe - Childrens Activity Located at Bruparck, Heysel. This is a great place for the whole family, expecially children. Here you can wander around miniature versions of all the top attractions of European Union member states, including London's Big Ben; Berlin's Brandenburg Gate; the Leaning Tower of Pisa; the Bull Ring in Seville; and Montmartre in Paris. There are also more modern emblems of European achievements, such as the Channel Tunnel and the Ariane rocket. In another area gondolas float around the canals of Venice, and a Finnish girl dives into the icy waters of a northern lake. The scale of the buildings is 1:25, so even the children will feel like giants. Admission is $13.45 for adults; $9.80 for children under 12; and children under 1.2m tall are free. Grand Place - Tourist Attraction This is one of the most beautiful squares in Europe and is in the heart of Brussels. The square dates back to the 12th century. The most spectacular sights on the square are the Gothic Hotel de Ville (Town Hall) and the neo-Gothic Maison du Roi, which houses the Museum of the City of Brussels. There is also an amazing sequence of late seventeenth-century guildhouses, with gilded facades; columns; scrolled gables; and sculptures that capture the Baroque ideals of exuberance and complexity.
The square is lined with cafes and restaurants, which offer an unmistakeably Belgian dining experience. There's nothing better than having a cup of coffee while sitting outside and doing some people watching. This is a great place to relax and take a break from all the sightseeing. Cathedrale de St Michel - Tourist Attraction Parvis Ste-Gudule, off bd. de l'Imperatrice 2 blocks west of Gare Centrale. This cathedral is one of the most magnificent Gothic style cathedrals in Europe, and was begun in 1215, being officially consecrated as a cathedral in 1961. The cathedral has a twin towered, whitestone facade, the central double doorway is trimmed by beautiful tracery, and statues of the Apostles and the Three Wise Men. There is a stairway in the north side-aisle, which leads down to the Romanesque crypt, which gives an idea of the layout of the first church built on this site in the 11th century.
Every Sunday at 10am the Eucharist is celebrated, with a Gregorian choir singing hymns. In July; August; and September, polyphonic Masses are sung by a variety of local and international choirs at 10am.
Amission to the cathedral is free, and to enter the crypt a $1.20 admission fee is charged. Parc de Bruxelles - Natural Attraction rue Royale,between Parliament and the Royal Palace. The Brussels Park was once the hunting grounds of the dukes of Brabant. The park is not that big, but has many attractions, including carefully trimmed borders; rough patches of trees and bushes; beautiful views along the main paths, which along with the fountain form the outlines of Masonic symbols. The park is also filled with many statues and the 1840s bandstand by Jean-Pierre Cluysenaer, which have been recently restored and refurbished. The Brussels Park is a great place to relax and take a quiet stroll through the beauty of nature and history. Comme Chez Soi - Restaurant or Cafe Place Rouppe 23. Off av. de Stalingrad, in the Grand Place Area. This is probably the best restaurant in Brussels and is the place to go to sample some of the finest local cuisine around. The food is prepared by master chef Pierre Wynants, who's skills can satisfy even the most rigorous tastebuds. You can sit at a table in the kitchen and watch the master chef at work. The most popular main courses are the sauteed lobster with truffles and chanterelles; and the roast saddle of lamb. For desert, the souffle of preserved oranges in Mandarine Napoleon liqueur is absolutely out of this world. Booking is essential as the restaurant is very busy most of the time. The prices are a little expensive, but the food and dining experience are well worth the extra money. Belgian Centre for Comic Strip Art - Childrens Activity Rue des Sables 20, off bd. de Berlaimont. This is a great place for the whole family, children and adults alike can enjoy the interesting exhitbitions on offer here. The centre is housed in a restored Art Nouveau department store from 1903, the Magasins Waucquez, which designed by Victor Horta and was due to be demolished before the centre took it over. There is a model of the red-and-white checkered rocket in which Tintin and Snowy flew to the Moon takes centre stage at the top of the elegant staircase. The centre's library of 30,000 books is filled with all the top names, as well as in permanent and special exhibitions, which include Tintin; Asterix; Thorgal; Lucky Luke; the Smurfs; Charlie Brown; Andy Capp; Suske and Wiske; Superman; Batman; the Green Lantern; and many more.
Admission is $7.65 for adults; $ 6.15 for students and seniors; and $3 for children under 12. The Fuse - Bar or Club Rue Blaes 208. This is possibly the best and most popular dance club in the whole of Belgium, and has played host to many of Europe's top DJs, including The Orb; Daft Punk; Carl Cox; Carl Craig; and Dave Angel. The club has three floors of techno; house; jungle; and sometimes a bit of hip hop, as well as the usual chill rooms and visual effects. This is the place to go in Brussels if you're looking to party and dance the whole night long, to some of the best DJs spinning the hottests dance music. The cover charge is $3 before 23h00 and $12 there after. AutoWorld - Tourist Attraction Located at Parc du Cinquantenaire. This is the place for everyone, not just car fanatics. AutoWorld houses an amazing automobile collection, with 500 historical cars displayed in the hangarlike Palais Mondial. The collection begins with the early motorized tricycles from 1899 and goes on to a 1911 Model T Ford; a 1924 Renault; a 1938 Cadillac, which was the official White House car for Roosevelt and Truman; a 1956 Cadillac used by Eisenhower and then by Kennedy during his June 1963 visit to Berlin; and many more.
AutoWorld is a sight not to be missed when in Brussels. Admission is $6.10 for adults; $4.58 for students and seniors; $2.45 for children 6 - 13; and children under 5 are free. Hotel Astoria - Hotel Rue Royale 103 / Koningsstraat 103. The hotel is managed by Sofitel. This is one of the top 5 star hotels in Brussels, and is situated between the Botanical Gardens and Royal Palace, in the centre of Brussels.
The Astoria is blends comfort and style with ease. Facilities on offer in the rooms include, Internet facilities; mini bar; safe deposit box; pay per view TV; TV; telephone; airconditioning; hair dryer; radio; seating area; toilet; and Bathroom. The hotel also has a fitness centre where you can do some excerise or just relax in the sauna or jacuzzi; as well as a bar and 2 excellent restaurants.
Check in time is 13h00, and check out time is 12h00. The cancelation policy of the hotel is 24 hours before date of arrival. The hotel accepts American Express; Diners Club; Euro/Mastercard; and Visa credit cards.