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Train from Lille France to Bruge


I would like to do a day trip via train from Lille, France to Bruges on a Sunday. Do I need to buy train tickets ahead of time, or can I do it that day at the station. Is doing a day trip from Lille to Bruges doable and enjoyable?

Thank you for your input!

Posted by
2487 posts

According to this trainplanner of the Belgian railways it's a 2,5 hr trip, leaving from the Lille Flandres station with a change at Gent. (A slightly quicker train involves two changes.)
I've made it a routine to buy train tickets the day - late afternoon or early evening - before, if only to be sure that I'm not confronted with a long queue at the ticket window with my train leaving in 10 minutes.

Posted by
18469 posts

Look up your options at:
Looks like there are no IC trains this Sunday, so you would need to use a TGV from Lille Europe to Brussels and change trains there. Next Sunday there are IC trains showing from Lille Flandres which are all unreserved. so it depends on the date. Also, you could save money by buying Mid-Flex tickets in advance. 23.40 EUR vs 37.60 EUR for full fare flexible round trip tickets.
I am showing 1 hour 47 minutes with a single change in Kortrijk.

Posted by
2067 posts

We did it and loved it. I wish I could remember how exactly we got there;I think we changed trains in Brussels. Weekends are crowded, but what a great city to see. Once you get off the train, you just follow the crowd into town.

Posted by
1873 posts

Prices of highspeed trains going up the later you book, so plan as soon as possible. If you want to travel nevertheless with intercity trains you can buy the tickets at the railway station a day prior to departure to avoid queuing, question is if this will be the case on a Sundaymorning. Prices of intercity trains are fixed.

Bruges is usually crowded, but during weekends even more, especially if the weather is fine. Early in the morning before around 11:00 AM (on Sunday with the earliest train you will arrive around this time) and later than 6:00 PM most daytrippers are gone and the place quieter and much more enjoyable. I think too the time and money are well spend if you do a daytrip to Bruges.

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you all for your input. It sounds like it will be a quick trip, but worth the effort to see Bruges. Our other option would be to stay put, relax and explore Lille France for that Sunday. But is there much to see in Lille?? We will be spending that week exploring Normandy, which is our main goal. Bruges is just an add on to fill that Sunday before we pick up our rental car. Any input on if Lille is worth spending a day exploring or if it is worth the cost/effort to get to Bruges for the day??

Thanks again!

Posted by
31035 posts

Some people like Lille, not me. I have a couple of decades using Lille as an overnight either after just crossing the Channel with my car or just before returning as it is a convenient distance after work or to home (3 hours to Folkestone, an hour for the crossing, an hour for the time change, and 75 to 90 minutes drive in France to the hotel) and I have stayed in cheap, middle of the road and expensive hotels (and one unpleasant holiday let) over the years. It just has never done anything for me.

If you intend to rent a car in Lille be prepared for quite a lot of traffic, and be very careful if you are driving on a boulevard which also has a tram running down the side and local access roads to the side. The traffic lights can be quite different to what you might expect, with some lanes going and some not. Be alert.

Posted by
2067 posts

We've been to Bruge twice. The first trip was a day trip from Lille. We left Lille as early as possible on a Saturday because my daughter worked during the week. I know we had a train change, but I'm foggy as to where. Just make sure you know the name of the route's final stop for ease in finding the correct platform. Once you arrive in Lille it's pretty easy to follow the crowds in to town. We took a taxi when we spent two nights and because there is no grid pattern and there is the canal , it took a long time. We viewed the church, the town hall, the chocolate museum and a canal tour. It's an easy town to walk and it will be crowded on a weekend, but we loved it enough to go back and stay. On the Saturday, there was a fabulous street market in the morning.

Because it's a Sunday, check to see how many places are open. You don't want to have your heart set on something that turns out to be closed.

Posted by
4684 posts

Tourist sites in Belgium are almost always open on Sunday, and closed on either Monday or Tuesday. Shops are usually closed. Restaurants sometimes close, but not usually in a big tourist area like central Bruges.

Posted by
1873 posts

Visited Lille three times. The first two were just superficial, but last year the week before Christmas I seriously visited the city centre, so my impression is actually based on that. A whole lot of people were there for Christmas shopping and liked the atmosphere, especially those old narrow streets and many tiny shops had a nice intimate character. So this is in how far I can say Lille is interesting or not and have no real idea how it is during other periods of the year.

In Belgium shop keepers are free about closing days. In general in central Bruges with the exception of retail and fashion most shops are open on Sundays, more (museums too) are closed on Monday or Tuesday (?), so check before you leave. Further supermarkets, restaurants, chocolate shops and bakeries are open on Sundays as well.

Posted by
6692 posts

j4, it appears that you already have your long-distance train tickets (you left out your home country in your profile). But it might have been better to take the Eurostar (? you didn't say) all the way to Brussels, which is an easy single train to Bruges. I guess also that you prefer to rent the car in the same country where you are returning it, to save drop off fees.

I happen to like art museums, so I spent a whole day at the important and famous Palais de Beaux Arts in Lille. But because Brugge is so accessible from Belgium (as opposed to France) I would consider instead (maybe even getting the car sooner) and visiting Louvre Lens. I'd also observe that while it is not right next to Lille, Gent is easier to get to, and is at least 60% as nice as Brugge.

I trust you know that the two major rail stations in Lille, while not side-by-side, are connected by a passageway.

Posted by
14018 posts


Of the points made here, I agree with no car in Lille, not worth the stress, but on the other hand, I liked going to Lille, which was done as day trips from Arras.