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Train from Bruges to Ghent (Plus attractions help)

Hello,

My husband and I are planning a day trip to Ghent from Bruges. We plan to take the train and have never been in Belgium before. I am guessing the train from Bruges to Ghent does not require advanced tickets, but I wanted to write on this message board to be sure. Thanks!

Also, we plan to go the Castle of the Counts in Bruges and to St. Peter's Abbey. Honestly, I feel like we are winging it so far in Bruges. What are must sees in either city? We enjoy history, beauty, biking, and canals.

Posted by
384 posts

Super, super simple!

No advanced tickets required; the train runs about every 1/2 hour or more.

Bruges is such a beautiful place that you're going to enjoy everything you see. Just be aware that the crowds peak around 1:00pm during cruise ship season, but ebb after. Around 5:00pm, it's like having the place to yourself.

-- Mike Beebe

Posted by
4933 posts

I day tripped from Bruges to Ghent too by train - hope you don't get rain in Ghent like I did! No, you don't need to book trains ahead. You'll probably want to take a tram from the Ghent train station into the center of town.

I used the Rick Steves guide to Belgium - highly recommend it. That's how I knew what interested me in each town, and I'm pretty sure there are walking tours of both towns in the RS book. (In Ghent, I did a paid walking tour in the rain.)

Honestly, for me the highlight of both towns is the beautiful scenery along the canals - just walking around, especially at night or in the mornings, when it's not so mobbed with tourists. Both towns are lovely.

Posted by
46 posts

Thank you both so much!

I am starting to realize that there is a possibly for rain. I am wondering what type of shoes to bring in the summer. Was planning to bring my TOMS (worked for my last Europe trip the whole time) and a pair of waterproof sandals.

Posted by
4933 posts

I would worry about comfortable walking shoes more than what kind of shoes would be better in the rain. Sandals would not be comfortable for me walking around in Europe - I walk miles and miles on trips. Just bring a good umbrella or buy one over there if it rains. Rain doesn't necessarily mean downpours. For me it was just a mist and I barely needed an umbrella.

Posted by
5476 posts

Isn't Castle of the Counts in Ghent? Having been there, I'd say it's missable unless with under 12-year olds. I'm not belittling it, just saying that it isn't very sophisticated or historically complex. You didn't mention the Ghent Altarpiece, which may still have a piece under conservation. But at least that particular attraction is open seven-days. Ghent is just as attractive as Bruges, in its own way.

In both cities, the historic tourist section is, practically, a bus ride away from the train station. Same bus card can be used in both cities if loaded with multiple rides. Watch for lines to buy train tickets making you miss the train you have your eye on. But trains are very, very frequent.

Posted by
4684 posts

It is possible to buy tickets for Belgian rail in advance but there is no discount, so not worth it.

An oddity in Bruges that is worth seeing is the Jerusalem Church, a replica of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.

Posted by
4006 posts

Some ideas for Bruges; Church of the Holy Blood, Burg Square, Belfry and the Grot Markt square, Church of Our Lady with Michaelangelo’s Madonna and child, windmills, toll house (the carvings around the doors) and Van Eyck square in front of it, the boat ride you can pick up by the Rozenhoedkaai.

Posted by
14917 posts

I did the opposite - stayed in Ghent and day-tripped to Bruges. Quite easy, but you'll need a bus in Bruges and a tram in Ghent to get to the historic centers. BTW Ghent is lovely after dark when the medieval buildings and bridges are floodlit. It has a good selection of restaurants, so plan to stay for dinner and take a very late train back if possible.