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Day trips from Bruges? (other than the obvious)

Hello all - we have 5 nights in Bruges (before heading to Brussells for two nights before our flight home).

We are doing a day trip to Ghent- so we will have three full days in Bruges (not counting arrival and departure day).

What other towns would make sense for a day trip? Preferably a train ride of 30 minutes or less. This will be the end of September, so I am guessing the beach towns won't necessarily be a hot spot. There will be us two, our 4 year old daughter and my 74 year old active mother.

One suggestion I have heard is Sluis, Netherlands - or Damme- but I don't think you can get to Damme without a one hour very indirect bus trip.

thanks all!

Posted by
51 posts

Can’t imagine spending three days in Bruges. I really liked the place and enjoyed climbing to the top of the Belfry and spent one night there which was fun. Felt like I had seen enough at the 24 hour mark.

Realize you didn’t ask this.
How about Antwerp? I was just in the unique train station but some seem to like it. Also, not sure if you consider this obvious.

I would have gone to Leuven if I had more time in Belgium though this is very close to Brussels and not Bruges.

Posted by
558 posts

There is an open air museum about an hour to the east of Brussels called Bokrjik. I went there and it was just slightly above average but I have been to some pretty good ones so I was holding it up to a pretty high standard. It does have all the usual things you would expect from an open air museum and I did enjoy it but I would not put it in the "must see" category. However, if you are looking to fill up a day with something different, take a look at this option.

Posted by
2028 posts

Guess that Antwerp belongs to the obvious, right?

There is every hour a direct bus (line 42) from Bruges railway station to Sluis with a stop in Sint Anna ter Muiden, a very charming hamlet. Sluis is very touristy, but cute enough for a visit to my opinion. You wil see there many visitors from Belgium and during the summer period Germany too. There is a windmill often in working order and open to visit, from the platform you can overlook Sluis. This little town has like Damme still it’s ramparts with an encircling bike- / footpath and a footpath on top overviewing the historic centre. Bruges to Sluis takes a half hour according schedule.

What most do is biking from Bruges to Damme, but for a 4 year old not doable. Unless you can rent a bike with a backseat. If so check first it’s safety, if her legs can’t anyway hit the spokes. With strong wind e-bikes are worth to consider, possible for going further along the canal to Sluis. Have to say some stretches are bumpy as are the cobbled streets in Bruges too. In Damme you can climb the bell tower of the church.

Further you can take the train to Lissewege, but as it is a small place a visit doesn’t take long and best to combine it with coastal resort De Haan. For this you have to take the train further to Zeebrugge and from there the coastal tram to De Haan, well known for it’s Belle Epoque architecture. For going back tram to Blankenberge or Oostende with an additional train to Bruges. Will take between a half hour and 1 hour.

As Sint Anna ter Muiden and Lissewege are too small to spend a complete hour, the time needed to catch the next bus or train and is best to combine with a drink in one of the restaurants / cafes there.

If Ypres / Ieper doesn't belong to the obvious it's certainly worth a visit but takes with the train from Bruges one and a half hour.

Getting to other places of interest within the time you prefer isn't doable.

Posted by
99 posts

thanks for all the info- ya - Antwerp would fall into obvious category I guess- but after a week in Paris, really more in the mood for a little more small town/relaxed atmosphere.

Sluis might fit the bill, or one of the coastal towns depending on the weather/what sorta of mood we are in.

Posted by
67 posts

Veurne is a nice little town. It's about 1 hour by train as there is no direct connection.

If you're into war, the open air museum in Raversyde "Atlantikwall" might be nice to visit. You can go by train to Ostend and take the tram to the museum.

Posted by
359 posts

I suggest taking the short train ride to Ostend. My friend's children ages 4 and 7 were fascinated with our tour of the Mercator, an old sailing ship used for exploration. Exit the train station and you'll see the mast to your left. You can also turn right from the station and walk along all of the fish stalls down to the sea. Then back to the station (look right when walking toward the station)to take the Kusttram/Coast Tram, which for one
ticket takes you up and down the entire
Belgian coast. If you look up their website, it tells you the various sights accessible from each stop. I know that there's an extensive sea aquarium in Blankenburg, but there are also many other options such as nature walks along the dunes.

Posted by
99 posts

Linda - thanks - if you want to hop on the tram- is it right at the train station is Oostende or Blankenberge (depending on which train you take from Bruges )? or do you have to walk to it?

Also- I see it is like 7.50e for an all day hop on hop off pass? do you buy that or does your IC ticket cover a transfer if you just do a point to point trip?


Posted by
67 posts

Tram stations are located next to the train station for both Ostend and Blankenberge. Depending on where you want to go with the tram I'd pick the most convenient train station as the tram is quite a bit slower than the train. You need to buy a separate ticket as the train and tram are 2 different companies.

Hello! We are traveling to Bruges in summer of 2024 and I'm interested in hearing about your trip. Do you have an update as to how you spent your time there and your recommendations? Thanks!

Posted by
99 posts

I absolutely loved Bruges - might be my most favorite city ever. We did the "free" tours (you tip accordingly). A day trip to Ghent- (was OK, but not as need as I thought it would be), and just explored the city, stopping in the restaurants and breweries. We did the boat ride (well, because you have to right?)