a VirtualTourist member from Oklahoma City
4 of us will be spending a week in Brugge in October. We have rented an apartment in the old city area, and plan to use it as a base for day trips. We don't plan to rent a car, but use trains for transportation. Any suggestions for "don't miss" day trips? Thanks --
I very much enjoyed a day trip to Damme with a drive along the back country roads, excellent explanations from a good guide and a good lunch at a farm from the medieval period (included a tithe barn) with Quasimodo Tours: http://www.quasimodo.be/index.htm
It is a small group tour in a van that holds 10 people only + driver/guide.
Full details on my Brugge page.
You can also visit Damme via paddleboat, it looks like it runs until mid October. I wasn't blown away by the city itself but I thought the paddleboat ride was fun. Some people also did the trip by bicycle but it might be a bit too chilly in October
We had a car so we drove between cities, this link has info on which cities you can visit easily by train, Gent would be my top pick it appears to be 1/2 hour by train, Brussels is less than an hour and is also worth a visit if you've never been. You can even get to Antwerp in 1 hour 20 minutes
Damme, Gent and the First World War battlefields tour (I have pages on all of these).
I was very impressed indeed by Nathan, the owner/guide of www.visitbruges.org His tours can be tailored to the interests of his clients..he wwent out of his way to take us to a small American memorial (for our US visitors) and to where my grandfather was injured.
But if you don't want the full tour, make sure you at least go to Ypres.
Belgian trains are efficient and reasonably -priced....you'll easily be able to get to all the places I've mentioned. Times and fares in English hre:
If you are thinking about going to Ieper (which is also known as Ypres), some of the sites would be tough to get to without a car or a guide. I agree that it's worth a visit if you have interest in WWI history, the museum in the city center there was outstanding.
The Museum if indeed outstanding (and intensely moving) and the Menin Gate essential.
Museum website here:
But Ypres/Ieper itself is also fascinating, not least because of the way it was rebuilt following the destruction of the First World War....and it's a very pleasant place to wander.
To visit the other sites (e.g. Tyne Cot cemetery, the remnants of trnches and so on) you will need a car or organised tour.