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Amsterdam Day Trips and Costs


We are traveling to Amsterdam at the end of July and beginning of August for 11 days. We have a great AirBnB on the canal lined up and got quite a handsome discount for booking for so long. We would like to take some of the money we saved and do an overnight side trip. We have thought about Brussels or Bruges, but are leaning Bruges so we can do Antwerp and other cities on the way there/way back possibly. We will be doing the shorter day trips too like Rotterdam and Delft at some point as well.

The thing we're struggling a bit with at this point is info on the trains there. We don't want to take the fast, expensive train. We'd like to be able to hop on and off to see some other cities on the way there and back, but we cannot find pricing or time tables. From what I've read we won't be able to buy those tickets ahead of time, which is fine, but when I go to the nsinternational site, it only shows the high speed option and pricing.

We want to get a hotel or AirBnB in Bruges for the night but don't want to if the tickets will be too spendy. We feel going there and back in just one day isn't worth it and won't allow us to stop in Antwerp or Ghent. Or perhaps we should stay in Ghent?

Looking for:
- how to find info on pricing for train, round trip from Amsterdam to Bruges (so we can stop along the way/on the way back at Antwerp and Ghent)
- Is this a good plan to overnight in Bruges and take in Antwerp and Ghent on the way there/way back?
- What are must-sees in these destinations (given our relatively short time in each)?
- Any other advice for this trip? Skip one of the destinations? Only do two? Overnight elsewhere?

Thank you! :)

Posted by
2487 posts

In general the website to look at for European train travel is the Man in Seat 61.
For information on this trip, you can check at either the website of NS (Dutch railways) or NMBS (Belgian railways). The Belgian railways are more friendly for foreign travellers. It should be possible to buy your tickets on their website. For the regular Intercity Amsterdam-Brussels advance booking is however not necessary (the Intercity doesn't require reservation) and doesn't come with a discount (as on the Thalys service). You can buy your tickets at Amsterdam Centraal. Second class is comfortable enough.
There is a considerable difference in opinion on the best place to stay: Brugge or Gent. These cities only being 30 mins from each other on very frequent trains, the choice is yours.

Posted by
24821 posts

It might pay off to check on the availability of buses, too. They are usually cheaper than trains. Caveat: I have not traveled to that part of if Europe in a very long time and do not know how prevalent inter-city buses are at this point.

Posted by
6690 posts

If you are only spending one night away, pretending that you have time to get off a train, go into some town, wait for the next train, and get to Brugge before the museums close for the day is not realistic. Would you consider Cologne, Aachen, just Antwerp or Brussels?

Have you logged on to the national railroad websites of The Netherlands and Belgium to explore options? Local trains are plentiful and non-reserved. You don't have to buy in advance, but you might wait in line to buy the tickets. You can't legally make unpaid stopovers.

Edit: I think I once did Delft and Den Haag in one day, as a runout from Amsterdam. But the result was a weak experience of both places. Are you already doing Amersfoort, Leiden, Utrecht, den Haag, Delft, Rotterdam, Alkmaar, if not Apeldoorn and Arnhem? Please read our host's general train guidlines. It seems like you may be more intimidated by the train than need be.