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trains to Haarlem

I need some advice. My wife and I will be taking a train from Brugge to Haarlem on Sat. Oct. 1. There are no direct trains, that I know ,but I have spent time on the Rick Steves train web site and all the trains on Oct. 1 go first to Antwerp then to Rotterdam and finally into Haarlem. No problem except that the Thayls (sp) train ,which we take from Antwerp to Rotterdam, only allows 5 minutes to catch the train to Haarlem...They all say that. Is that enough time to get our luggage and ourselves to the final train to Haarlem?

I want to reserve the tickets on-line but I am afraid to do so due to this 5 minute thing. Also..if I am reading the schedule correctly, the only train that does not have reserved seating is the final train to Haarlem. Will that be a problem?

As is obvious, we don't take too many trains, we prefer to drive..so I need your help. Thanks everybody. Rick

Posted by
33124 posts

How much luggage, Rick?

I've done that sort of a transfer at Rotterdam Centraal, at Den Haag,and at Leiden, and it can be done if you don't dawdle. Often the connection is cross platform.

If you ride the Thalys to the end at Amsterdam Centraal I would prefer at least 10 or 15 minutes as the trains to Haarlem either go from the stub track at the end of platform 1 or from something like 11 for the InterCity from Maastricht, and it may take you a little while to get your bearings and head where you need to go.

But it really is of no consequence. There is a frequent service to Haarlem from Rotterdam, den Haag, Leiden and Amsterdam Centraal. If you miss one catch the next one, it really is that simple. The Dutch trains don't do reservations and your ticket won't be limited to one Dutch train.

Thalys does do reservations, and you can only travel on the Thalys named on your reservation.

Because Antwerpen Centraal has 4 levels, you don't want to dawdle there either. It is such a fabulous station you could take one train earlier from Brugge and enjoy the new old Antwerpen Centraal.

Posted by
1817 posts

To follow up on what Nigel said, you also have the option of taking a regular train (and not the Thalys) between Antwerp and Rotterdam. I think you save about 45 minutes by taking the Thalys, but weigh that against the additional cost and the lack of flexibility. Then you can simply buy your ticket from Bruges to Haarlem when you get to the train station in Bruges and not worry about making connections. Your ticket will be good for any trains that day. If you want to stop along the way, you will have no pressure. The trains are frequent, so if you miss one, it's easy to take the next one. No advance reservations required on any of these trains.

Posted by
101 posts

Thanks folks. So you are saying that I will have no problems going to the train station in Brugge the morning we are leaving, buying tickets that will get us to Haarlem and,should we miss a connection , there will be no problems due to the number of trains going to Haarlem? We will have 2 suitcases and 2 carry ons to lug around.

Is there a web site you can suggest that will tell me all the train schedules from Brugge to Haarlem? Thanks again for all your help. Rick

Posted by
1817 posts

So you are saying that I will have no problems going to the train station in Brugge the morning we are leaving, buying tickets that will get us to Haarlem and,should we miss a connection , there will be no problems due to the number of trains going to Haarlem?

That's exactly right. Unless you include the Thalys train, which requires an advance reservation, you can buy your train tickets in Bruges that morning and take any available trains. It appears you can depart hourly at 26 minutes past the hour, and on regional and intercity trains, you're looking at total travel time of 4 1/2 hours.

I can't help you with your luggage, though...

Posted by
2487 posts

Don't worry about missing a connection. The Intercity from Antwerpen to Rotterdam runs every hour. And in Rotterdam you have a half-hourly direct Intercity to Haarlem, alternating with a connection which involves a change at Leiden.

Posted by
8516 posts

A little off topic, but I wanted to encourage you to visit the Corrie Ten Boom house museum in Haarlem while you are there. This was one our highlights to visiting Haarlem.