The Real Deal: Round-trip airfare, six nights' accommodations, and intercity train tickets, from $989 per person — plus taxes of up to $240.
When: Oct. 6, 13, 20, 2008; add $10 for Apr. 28; $50 for Apr. 7, 14, 21; $80 for May 5, 12, 19, Sept. 8, 15, 22, 29; $310 for June 2, 9, 23, 30, July 7, 14, 21, 28; additional dates available.
Gateways: New York City; add $17 for Philadelphia; $40 for D.C.; $141 for Houston; $236 for L.A; fares subject to change.
The fine print: Fuel surcharges and hotel taxes are included. Airport taxes and fees cost up to $240 per person. Breakfast daily is included. Based on double occupancy; single supplement starts at $231. There are no airport transfers; a one-way train ride between the airport and downtown Brussels is about €4, and an optional private car is about $138. Round-trip train travel between Brussels and Bruges, with reserved seats, is included. Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal.
Book by: No deadline; based on availability.
Contact: Gate1 Travel, 800/682-3333, gate1travel.com.
Why it's a deal: The April and October departure dates (on Mondays) provide the best deals for this package, with the added convenience of booking airfare and hotel together. A recent search on Kayak yielded a lowest round-trip fare of $631 for late April. For about $360 more, Gate1 Travel covers your plane ticket and rail tickets, plus six nights' accommodations and hotel taxes.
Trip details: The 8-Day Bruges & Brussels by Rail package includes round-trip airfare to Brussels and round-trip train travel to Brugge, 60 miles away.
On arrival in Brugge, you'll spend three nights at the Ibis Brugge Centrum Hotel, an 128-room hotel that's part of a French chain and is located 1.6 miles from the city center.
After taking the train to Brussels, you'll stay at the 184-room Ibis Brussels off Grand Place.
Brugge (pronounced "bru-ge"; the French form Bruges is pronounced "broozh"), the best-preserved medieval city in Belgium, is the setting for a new mobster movie “In Bruges.” In the old city and surrounding area, you'll find canals, chocolate shops, markets, castles, and art museums with works by Flemish masters.
Brussels has unusual cultural crosscurrents, given that it's a part-Flemish, part-French city. It's also a city whose architectural style has echoes from various periods. For example, the centrally located Grand-Place is a square lined with a mix of 17th-century baroque guild houses and neo-Gothic structures. A similar mix of historical periods is on evidence at nearby Cinquantenaire Park, which features a mosque and a 19th-century, military-themed arch.
Belgium's classic meal is a large iron pot of mussels steamed in a (typically) wine broth, with French fries as a side dish. The Belgian beer tradition is as strong as the British, Irish, and German ones. Be sure to sample a brew.
For further help planning your trip, visit the official tourism site of Belgium. Information specifically on Brugge can be found at its official tourism site. To learn more about the movie In Bruges, visit Belgium's site or the Focus Features site.