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Visiting Bruges and Ghent on Day trips

Hi all,

I am looking to visit Bruges and Ghent as day trips from Brussels. I've read that in both places the train station is quite a hike from town. Are there any options other than a taxi for getting from the train station to city centers. Thanks in advance.

Posted by
6383 posts

It's farther in Bruges than in Ghent, but I have walked it on some of my daytrips from Antwerp. In both cases, there is a city bus stop directly beside the rail station, with a machine that sells bus fares. I can't quote the bus numbers, but it's not that hard, and Google Maps might even have it already. Unfortunately the walks are in the more modern parts of town. However, the famous Bruges beguinage is "towards" the train, so I saved it for last. Still a substantial walk for Chevy Suburban Americans.

Note that most cities in this area, other than Brussels, use the same bus stored value cards. I haven't been there in some time, but I seem to remember that the all-card-stock ten-trip could be validated twice for two passengers. But don't tell the ticket warden I said so, without checking!

Posted by
30307 posts

practically every bus in Bruges stops by the train station there. Just take any bus marked Zentrum (centre). You'll know when you're there.

There are trams direct to the centre of Gent (Zentrum or Korenmarkt) from both Gent stations.

Posted by
5197 posts

The train station is about one mile from the Grot Markt in Bruge. We walked to our B&B. In Ghent, the St. Pieter station is just under 2 miles to the castle, so we took the tram/bus. Believe it was bus #1 and it dropped us off right by the castle.

Posted by
6383 posts

Small train warning for Ghent - I think there are two stations, but one has the vast majority of the trains. Haven't been there lately. Edit: I think I once went to the more distant station to start my visit at a toy museum.

Posted by
5197 posts

Believe all the trains from Brussels go into the Gent-St. Pieter station. If arriving from Antwerp you’d arrive at the Gent-Dampoort station that is just over a mile from the castle. But yes, there are two train stations.

Posted by
1831 posts

Edited: Nigel, your remark is not completely correct.

There are trams direct to the centre of Gent (Zentrum or Korenmarkt) from both Gent stations.

There are only trams from Sint-Pieters railway station in G(h)ent, not from Dampoort, the other station. There are indeed trams direct to the centre and Korenmarkt is one of the stops there, but never heard of Centrum. Maybe it counts for buses, but as far as I know not for trams in Ghent.

jaimeelsabio - Indeed all trains from Brussels arrive in Ghent at Sint-Pieters. Trams from there to the centre are very frequent. Usually you have to take line 1 to Evergem or Wondelgem and every stop is anounced, Korenmarkt and Gravensteen are good stops for getting out. Bus lines have other numbers. For going back you have to take trams of line 1 too but with direction Flanders Expo, clearly visible from the outside above the driver seat. It works in the same way as the metro in Paris, the lines have numbers and the names of the final stops at both ends. Looking at the website of tram and bus operator “De Lijn” I see that the trams of line 1 don’t stop in the centre anymore but think only for this month, hopefully this is temporarily. Trams of line 4 call at Korenmarkt too, but ask to be sure.

Single tickets costs €2.50 and a 10-ride ticket is yours for €17,-. Traveling with two you can have 5 rides with the latter, within each ride you are aloud to change lines but within 1 hour maximum. A selling point is the “Lijnwinkel” in Sint-Pieters railway station, also the place for up-to-date info about the tram, bus and tickets. Brussels has another operator so these tickets are not valid there.

If you have no mobility issues it’s an easy walk from the train station in Bruges to the historic centre. It begins as soon as you cross the busy road just outside the station. From the main square you can take the bus back if needed.

Posted by
5648 posts

The walk from Bruges station to the city center, through the Begijnhof, is actually quite nice and should not be missed IMO - at least on one of the ways.

Posted by
7512 posts

I walked it both times. There is a tram Ghent St Peters that stops at train station going to the old town.

Posted by
6775 posts

I walked both of them. I'm not sure what is meant by 'quite a hike'. I was 68 and not particularly fit when I visited them and didn't find the walks too strenuous. If you're not schlepping luggage it's really not too bad. However, if you're not able to walk there is a tram in Ghent and I think there's a bus in Bruges - this was in 2014 so can't swear that it's still available but I'm sure it is. And there's always taxi's if you don't mind paying for them.

Posted by
302 posts

Since you will be visiting by way of day trips and shouldn’t have luggage, I agree with the prior poster that the walk into both Central Bruges and Ghent are easy enough and can be delightful. As for Ghent, instead of following Google Maps walking directions, I recommend walking over for a quick visit to STAM (Ghent’s city museum), then from there walk into the centrum alongside the river. The walk into Bruges seemed pleasant enough and you start to hit the outskirts of centrum in just a few minutes. Maybe I walk fast.

Posted by
15365 posts

I stayed in Ghent and day-tripped to Bruges. Ghent is quieter in the evenings and much less touristy. It's a university town so there are plenty of places to eat dinner. I've never stayed (or even visited) Brussels.

Posted by
911 posts

I stayed in Brussels. From there I took a day trip to Ghent. From Sint-peters train station I took the tram. When I was there, there was a tram stop right next to the Gravensteen castle. I didn't figure this out at first. I got off sooner than I wished I had gotten off. Across the tram tracks from the castle, is the tourist office where you can get a walking tour that met at 2pm when I was there. I did the tour.

I didn't make time for Bruges.