My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I had a lovely weekend in Antwerp and Bruges thanks to this book and it’s suggested self-guided walks that take you past ‘must see’ places in both towns. This guidebook gives a good balance of history (without getting too detailed) with pictures of places and practical information. I prefer the DK Eyewitness and Insight Guide books generally over Rough Guide and Lonely Planet because the pictures help me find the right locations! The latter two brands are informative and lack many pictures of buildings, so when you are walking around you don’t know which building they are talking about necessarily, especially if there are similar looking buildings all around!
I recommend Antwerp and Bruges, if you haven’t been already. Antwerpians are a friendly helpful bunch with excellent English, Flemish, Dutch, French language skills. There’s plenty of culture, food and experiences to delight the hardened traveller. Highlights include Rubenshuis (Rubens House where you can see the great masters work), Grote Market, Rockoxhuis, horse drawn omnibus ride, traditional food at Elfde Gebod with a terse Eastern European waitress (it’s all part of the experience).
Bruges is a charming cobbled streeted medieval town with canals and greenery. It’s very touristy and the locals are a lot less friendly than in Antwerp, sometimes even rude. Highlights include simply walking the streets, a canal boat ride, a lot of baroque churches which are free entry, charming squares such as Markt, Burg etc., the Historium brings Bruges to life in it’s heyday through some CGI storytelling, smells and props, the Belfort with over 300 steps gives a Birdseye view over the town. There are no bargains to be found in Bruges. The 10 euro price to walk up the Belfort is a typical example. It’s not value for money at all. Everything is priced high because tourists pay. For example a half hour horse and cart ride in Bruges is 50 euro per person compared with 6 euro for the horse omnibus ride in Antwerp. The half hour boat ride in Bruges is a better idea at 8 euro per person. You are better off buying your Belgian chocolates in Antwerp. 😉