My son and I are headed to Europe next month on one of our “long distance dates”. We’ll be gone for about a week, touring some of the lowlands (Belgium / Netherlands / Denmark)
Where we’re headed
The trip started out centered around the twin towns of Baarle-Hertog, Belgium and Baarle-Nassau, Netherlands. These two towns have been on my travel bucket list for awhile. I’m a map-geek guy and so have always been intrigued by these two towns. It lies about 5 miles on the Netherlands side of the “main” border between the 2 countries, but there are 22 Belgian exclaves inside the Netherlands and some of those Belgian exclaves have Dutch exclaves INSIDE them. Which leads to interesting situations like the below cafe, with the country border running in the restaurant.
Photo credit User:Jérôme – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
There are also houses whose front door and back door are in different countries (!)
We ended up flying from the US into Copenhagen, Denmark and out of Brussels, Belgium. Our tentative plan is to take the train from Copenhagen to Billund Denmark and spend a day at LEGOLAND in Denmark as well as the relatively new LEGO House. Then we will fly from Billund to Brussels and rent a car (super cheap thanks to Autoslash). We’ll have 3-4 days in driving distance from Brussels, so my thought was to check out some combination of Brussels, Bruges, Antwerp and Ghent, in addition to Baarle-Hertog.
On our drive, we may dip into France, Germany and/or Luxembourg just to say we did (gotta count those countries too!)
The hotels we’ve already booked
We’ve already got a few hotels booked (though these are refundable reservations so they’re subject to change)
- We have 2 nights booked at the Holiday Inn Express Antwerp. My thought was that we could use this as a base to explore Antwerp as well as any of the other nearby Belgian cities. 20,000 IHG points / night
- On our last night before flying back out of Brussels we have the Hilton Grand Palace Brussels. It was 38,000 Hilton points for the 1 night we’re staying there.
- And of course there’s the original redeye flight to Copenhagen which while not a hotel is somewhere I’m going to sleep. Yes I know that (trying to) sleep on a plane violates my 4 things I don’t do now that I’m 40 but hey sometimes gotta make exceptions 🙂
Hotels we considered
We looked at a couple of different hotels before booking the other ones
- We wanted to spend a day in Bruges so looked at the Crowne Plaza Brugge as well as 2 of the Best Westerns in town. I have a bunch of Best Western points but even though I know supposedly BW is much better overseas, I hate paying 24,000 or 32,000 Best Western points for one night. Maybe I’m hoping they’ll rerun one of the best promotions ever that nobody talked about
- Same thing in Ghent – there’s a Holiday Inn Gent (boo!) and a Holiday Inn Express Gent, but they’re both pretty far out from the city center. There’s a Marriott Ghent but it’s 35,000 Marriott points and sold out on one of the two nights we’d be in the area.
- We looked at staying at an [airbnb] in Baarle-Hertog itself but decided the town was small enough we didn’t need to stay overnight.
- We considered a couple of other hotels in Brussels including the Brussels Marriott Grand Place and the Hilton Brussels City
What we still need to book
We still need to book the following:
- 1 night in Billund, Denmark (home of Legoland)
- 1 night either in Billund or Copenhagen. That would depend on whether we took the train from Copenhagen to Billund on the day we arrive in Copenhagen or early the next morning
Billund doesn’t have any chain hotels so it’s likely either staying at the Hotel LEGOLAND (pictured below) or staying in an [airbnb]
The existing reservations are refundable (on points) so I could certainly change them out if there’s a better idea.
What do you guys think – any suggestions for hotels on this itinerary?
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