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Bruge to Amstrdam pre- purchase tickets?

We are travelling from Brugge on Monday, August 19th to Amsterdam. We will have been in Bruge since the previous day at 11 AM.
Is it necessary to prepurchase tickets from Brugge to Amsterdam ahead of time?

I'm also wondering if instead f spending the night in Brugge we should instead head to Ghent for part of the day & stay there instead of Brugge.
We fly out of Amsterdam on the 22nd & want to spend some time there. We are staying in Haarlem.

Thanks for any help!

Posted by
2487 posts

The high-speed Thalys service comes with a compulsory reservation and has probably a considerable discount when buying your tickets in advance. The slightly (45 mins) slower Intercity train has a fixed price and has no reservation, which makes using it more flexible (tickets are valid for all trains that day).
Brugge or Gent is an eternal discussion. I find Gent a more lively city, while others prefer sleeping in Brugge to enjoy the place in the evening and morning without the day-tripping hordes.

Posted by
14157 posts

Yes, definitely an eternal discussion! I recently spent 3 nights in Bruges on an RS tour and did not see everything I intended to see. It IS much better early AM and later afternoon when the cruise ship visitors are back on their ships but I did not find any of the museums crowded during mid-day. It seemed as if the cruise folks walked around behind their guide, did a canal boat cruise and then headed back to their ship. The ones I saw most were Viking banners and name tags. I loved walking around in the late afternoon/evening. I also spent 4 nights in Ghent and noted cruise tours there as well but not as many as Bruges. I, personally, found Bruges to have much prettier canals and architecture as well as more things that were of interest to me. YMMV!

You'll have to compare prices on buying the day of vs advance purchase. My ticket from Paris to Ghent was way cheaper on Thalys purchased well ahead.

Posted by
7490 posts

It is very likely that Thalys has a change in Brussels Midi, but I haven't used it for this routing. Of course there are slower and cheaper trains from Brussels to Amsterdam if the Thalys price is not to your liking. I may be confusing Thalys with Eurostar, but see if Thalys has a product called "Any Belgian Station", which might be useful to you. In any case, the local trains from Bruges to all three Brussels stations do not require or offer reservations. They run several times an hour. They can be crowded, especially at rush hour and school rush hours. Sometimes I've had to stand.

I would make my sleeping decision on price, availability, and distance from the hotel to the rail station. Also note that the Mystic Lamb in Gent is open seven days, while few other things are open seven days anwhere. Monday is an important day to check for closings.

Because August is a vacation month in Europe both towns will be crowded, but especially Bruges. (Gent is a bit of a college town, which Bruges is not so much. That also makes Gent cheaper.) Some people post here that seeing Bruges after the daytrippers have left was important to them. I settled for two separate daytrips from Antwerp, because I used to go to Antwerp a lot. It's partly a matter of travel style. I like Gent, but it is perhaps only 60% as picturesque as Bruges. OPINION.