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Amsterdam to Bruges logistics

We arrive at the Amsterdam airport at 6:00 pm after an overnight flight from the US. We have four days before starting a River Cruise and want to revisit Bruges Belgium. Trying to determine if we should leave yet that night by train for Bruges, stay in Amsterdam and leave the next morning or head to Brussels that night, spend a day there and then continue to Bruges. Any help in understanding the logistics of getting a train right at the airport to Brussels or Bruges would be appreciated.

Thanks

Posted by
7693 posts

I'm not an expert on train travel in this area, but just looking at your timing and knowing you are flying from the Western US as I do, I would spend the night in Amsterdam. You will have had a long day on your departure day and another long day on arrival. I would head to a hotel near the Centraal Station, get a good dinner, walk around a little and then head out the next day if you don't want to spend any time seeing Amsterdam.

I've taken the train from Schiphol to Brussels Central/Centraal Station and it involved one change (cant remember if it was Antwerpen or where) and a couple of hours. I think the high speed train stops at Brussels Midi/Zuid (south) station so that might be faster if you decide to travel onward on your arrival evening.

Posted by
2487 posts

The awkward thing of choosing a train after a flight is the uncertainty of the hour one can be at the station platform. The flight can be delayed, there can be some problems with the luggage, or whatever. For this reason alone it is much safer to have a night in Amsterdam and take the train to Brugge the next morning.
But the decision has already been made for you: the last train from Brussel to Brugge seems to leave at 20.44. So the choice is an overnight in Amsterdam or in Brussel. Sleeping in Amsterdam is much more relaxed.
www.nsinternational.nl/en gives you information on the rail connections and is also the place to buy your tickets.

Posted by
11154 posts

If you were arriving in the morning, taking a train to Bruges would be feasible. But with a 6 PM arrival, you won't be in Amsterdam until 7-8 PM. That's a good time to be getting dinner and heading to bed, so you can get up the next morning and head right to a pre-booked train to Bruges.

You can take slow trains from Amsterdam to Bruges which don't need reservations; on these the price doesn't change, but you have multiple changes. Or, you can take high speed trains part of the way (the Thalys from Amsterdam to Brussels or Antwerp); these have fewer changes (usually just one). They start out cheap if you book non-refundable tickets in advance, and go up if you wait or if you need flexibility. Look at the Belgian rail international website for both options: https://www.b-europe.com/Travel

Posted by
32 posts

Thanks everyone for the quick replies. And agree the best thing is to stay in Amsterdam and head out the next day. Any suggestions on hotel near the train station in Amsterdam?

Posted by
191 posts

I flew into Schipol and took the Thalys train to Brussels last month. You can purchase the tickets at the international ticket window. *Note that they only accepted a credit card with a chip (I had a chip and signature) or you need to pay cash (ATM next to the window). I got a ticket for the next train that was leaving in 10 mins so it worked out well. I like Thalys since they are pretty quick and comfortable, especially with luggage.

Unless you have your heart set on Amsterdam city center, I would just get a hotel at the airport, then leave from the airport train station in the morning. There is a Citizen M hotel just a short walk out of the airport: I didn't stay there, but I have enjoyed the Citizen M hotels in other countries. https://www.citizenm.com/destinations/amsterdam/schiphol-airport-hotel

I'm pretty sure you need to change trains in Brussels. You could take the Thalys to Brussels, store your luggage in lockers and take a walk around Brussels, then head onto Bruges in the evening. The trains from Brussels to Bruges run regularly.

Posted by
7693 posts

I have friends that stay at the Hotel Ibis which is right at the station. I had points so I stayed at the Crown Plaza which is just a block or so away from the Centraal Station.

I also have had good luck with the reps at the station both at Schiphol and Centraal being helpful. The time i was going to Brussels I had times and schedules printed out from the Netherlands train website. I just handed them to the guy and pointed. He looked at it and said "oh I can do better than that for you, this schedule is crazy and doesn't allow you enough time for your change." He was of course right. And proceeded to tell me all about his last vacation to Orlando and DisneyWorld, lol!

Posted by
77 posts

I've stayed at the Citizen M Schipol that Stephanie mentioned and was very pleased. It is modern and very convenient. However it does have a unique bathroom setup in that the shower is in the center of the room. Read the reviews on Trip Advisor for more info.

Posted by
1463 posts

Amsterdam is nice, but you have to make a detour if you are heading to Brussels and Bruges. If it is only for sleeping and getting an early train Rotterdam for instance is just about an hour from Schiphol with the slow train. You have to travel an hour less the next day you can spend at your destination or take the highspeed from there to Brussels saving even more time. From there to Bruges you need about an extra hour.

Posted by
32 posts

I like the idea of staying right at the airport and the CitizenM looks like a good option. Are their places close to have dinner upon arrival? Everyone has been very helpful, how about recommendations for hotels in Bruges? Close or in the historical district is our preference. One of our traveling party has some limitations in walking any great distance.

Thanks