Weekend destination within 2-3 hours of BRU by train.

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This topic contains 16 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  AnthonyDunn 22 May 2018
at 09:35

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  • capetonianm

    I am looking for somewhere to spend a weekend later this month, which should be within two, max three, hours by train from BRU.

    We have been to Ghent, Brugge, and Amsterdam, they are the obvious ones. Thinking of Luxemburg, Maastricht, Koeln, Aachen. Would not be averse to somewhere in northern France but not Lille. I know some nice places in the Taunus but it’s just a bit too far.

    Objectives are to enjoy some architecture and decent food, and comfortable quiet accommodation. There is no budget constraint but top end fancy 5* hotels are not our scene. Somewhere ‘gemuetlich’ would be far more appealing.

    Any suggestions gratefully considered.


    Somewhere in France 🙂


    London – best city in Europe 🙂


    I am reliably informed that France will be on strike and/or that the French will be revolting that weekend!

    Actually London’s not a bad idea, I hadn’t considered UK as was thinking of continental Europe but London does fall within the criteria.


    Maastricht is definitely a place to visit. Nice hotels, nice culture, great food and Belgium and Germany at your doorstep. A definite plus is that the weather forecast for this weekend in that area is stunning as well. 24 degrees and sunny.
    Oh, and one hell of a lot cheaper than London.



    Elegant, historic Flemish city, less than an hour north of Brussel.


    I’m tending towards Maastricht. I used to escape there in the early 90s when I had the misfortune to spend a few months working in Brussels, it’s a lovely city and it’s in one of my favourite countries. Found what looks like a nice hotel too : Kruisherenhotel Maastricht

    I will also look into Mechelen, and thanks for all the suggestions.


    I think with those parameters you are spoilt for choice!

    In Belgium, my favourite city is Antwerp, vibrant place, lovely old buildings, some gorgeous new architecture (e.g. the impressive MAS museum). The Francophone cities often gets overlooked, Liège is full of life, again great mix of old and new. Namur is worth a mention too, smaller but with historic citadel overlooking the city. Of course Belgian cities have some amazing food options too.

    In Netherlands, the Randstad has some incredibly charming cities – Utrecht is great as a typically Dutch centre, Rotterdam charming because it isn’t. Leiden is smaller but for me the archetypal Dutch city, lovely university town, Delft is very nice as well and where all but one of the Dutch monarchs are buried.

    Of course, the geography is such that it is very easy to visit more than one of these cities in a weekend if you wanted some variety.

    Happy to elaborate if any strike a particular chord.


    Maybe this should go in the Rail forum but a strange anomaly :

    I looked up train from BRU to Maastricht on the NS.NL website and get this result :
    2 x changes, 3’37” journey time

    Boek bij NS International
    Reisduur 3 uur 37 minuten
    2× overstappen

    10:54 Brussel-Zuid/Midi
    12:18/12:39 Breda
    21 minuten overstaptijd
    13:16/13:30 Eindhoven
    NS Intercity

    If I click on the NS International link it then shows the connection below, 1 change and 1’48”.

    09:56 Brussel Zuid Spoor 12 IC – 508
    11:02/11:09 Luik Guillemins Spoor 5
    Regional – 5361
    Maastricht Spoor 5a

    and shows the fare as €18 (II class). The NS Intenrational app shows the same.

    Loco2, which I normally use for rail bookings, shows the same connection but for £42, which is quite a hefty difference.

    Just a warning, even for a simple journey like this one needs to compare.


    Paris – you know you want to. The lady doth protest too much, methinks.


    Leiden would have been the ideal suggestion but I lived there for three months and my family have all been there several times.


    If you have not been to Düsseldorf or Cologne, any of these places will be fantastic for a shot vacation and shall be within 2 hours (may be slightly longer) from Brussels


    For me I would head east to Spa. 2 hours on the train, one change and a truly stunning place to visit. I may be slightly biased, as there is also a racing circuit there, but my wife loves the place and when there’s no racing it is a relaxing and tranquil place.

    I would recommend Manoir de Lébioles, outside the town, but a stunning place to stay in the middle of the Ardennes


    Thanks for all the suggestions.

    After a change of mind, I decided that we would go to Gdansk to see an Andre Rieu concert on 26th, but my o/h and son were appalled at the thought, so we have found a hybrid solution that suits our dysfunctional family perfectly.

    I’m going on my own to see Andre Rieu in Krakow on 24th, then flying to BRU or AMS where we will meet and go to Maastricht for the weekend. They don’t have to sit through Andre Rieu, it saves me a shedload of money, I get a few days in Poland on my own, and we get to go to Maastricht as well.


    Personally, for rail fares in that part of the world, I avoid the NS website and go straight to the Belgian railways website.

    The Belgian railways site is quoting €20,20 from Brussels Zuid/Midi which on the NS international site is coming up as €22,80.

    If your travel to/from Maastricht is wholly over the weekend (Friday after 7pm, Saturday, Sunday, Monday if a bank holiday), then there is also a great value weekend internet fare available of €23 return on the Belgian railways site.

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