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Tips on taking train from Brussels Airport to Brugge

We would benefit from tips on taking the train from Brussels Airport to Brugge (and return in 6 days)
We have taken trains in a few other European countries, but not in Belgium (or The Netherlands).

3 specific questions:

1) Is it better/possible to purchase tickets online in advance, or to purchase the day of travel? Which is recommended?

2) Since we will have just arrived at the Brussels Airport and will have our baggage with us on the train (there are 2 of us), is there an advantage to paying more for first class to have more room for our luggage?

3) Where on the internet can I find more details on train travel in Belgium?

Posted by
84 posts

1) There is a direct train from the airport to Bruges. It stops in Brussels but you don't change trains. I bought a ticket at the station, 20.50 € one way

2) Most people boarded in Brussels. People who got on at the airport had a seat.

3) Look here for the timetable, I liked the direct from the airport, but you can also change in Brussels.
http://www.belgianrail.be/

Posted by
5476 posts

I've never needed that direct train, but note that the airport train to one of the Brussels dowtown stations and a transfer to several trains per hour to Bruges might provide even more options to your schedule.

I use the NMBS website, which has English pages, for scheduling. Note that there is never a financial advantage for advance purchase of DOMESTIC Belgian rail tickets. I have occasionally bought the ten-trip ticket when my excursions are longer distances, partly to avoid rush hour delays buying tickets each morning. But it's hard to actually "make money" with this pass. Our hist, Rick, has a rail travel map and page for many European countries, top left menu. The special international services like Eurostar and Thalys may offer an "Any Belgian Station" option that can be economical and convenient.

AFAIR, you're not likely to find big luggage racks in domestic rail cars, not even First Class (which I've never used.) If you have really massive bags and get stuck on a double-decker commuter car, you may prefer to stand in the entry vestibule, rather than negotiate the stairs and tiny aisle.

A recent post here said that the ticket MACHINES in Belgian rail stations now take American chip cards, which was not the case some years ago.

Posted by
103 posts

All I would add to what has already been posted, is that there is generally one train an hour that is direct to Bruges. Otherwise, you make one change, in Brussels.

I've downloaded the NMBS/SNBC mobile app, and it works quite well.

On my last trip Nov 2017 my chip card worked in the kiosks, but the airport ticket office is down by the trains and the line goes fairly quickly.

Posted by
4006 posts

No need to buy a ticket in advance. There were overhead luggage racks for smaller pieces of luggage. Enjoy you trip.

Posted by
248 posts

Thank you to each of those who answered, very helpful and good websites!
I only have one follow-up question and am posting that in a separate topic.

Posted by
84 posts

The train ticket machines accepted a chip debit card, but not 2 Visa chip credit cards. Brugge had a long ticket line.

Posted by
5476 posts

David, did you mean YOUR chip debit card, or the proprietary Belgian citizen product they used to require years ago?

Posted by
84 posts

My US chase bank chip debit card worked. It asked for the PIN.
The visa credit cards did not.

Posted by
84 posts

The ticket machine does not accept bills!
You have to buy from an agent, unless you have a working card or a load of coins.