Please sign in to post.

Travel from Amsterdam to Antwerp, Bruges

Dear ALL,
Family of four adults travelling from Amsterdam to Bruges via Antwerp in public transport..preferably by road... last week of July starting around 12 Noon

Please suggest the choices

Posted by
12488 posts

Hi -
I'm curious why by road when trains can get you there so much faster (e.g. Thalys from Amsterdam Centraal to Antwerpen Centraal in 1 hr, 13 min) ?

Posted by
25742 posts

I don't do buses so take the answer for what it is worth.

But I know the routes around there - Amsterdam to Antwerpen both via Rotterdam and via Utrecht - very well by car after many trips there and by train after even more trips there, and between Antwerp/Antwerpen and Bruges/Brugge both via the direct route by Gent/Ghent and by Brussels, as well as by the out of the way western route. Fairly regular on those routes.

If you are in a bus you will be seeing traffic on motorways and lots of trucks. Looks just like whatever motorways look like wherever you are from, with a few windmills and cows and sheep in the Dutch bit.

From the train you see similar windmills and cows and sheep, but more because the train line goes through the countryside in both countries and you won't see city until the train is drawing into a station. The ride is much smoother, much much faster, and much calmer. Loads of legroom, Thalys has a bar car, and since all the trains are electric there is no motor noise and the pollution is much less as most of Dutch electricity for the trains is from wind power not diesel.

There have been recent report on these Forums of Flixbus drivers talking on their non-handsfree phone during some journeys. You won't see train drivers doing that.

Posted by
4890 posts

I don't think this is the right newsboard for you, then. Most people here use trains for that long a distance. And going between two countries complicates the use of bus lines. Have you thought about the added latency caused by changing seats on periodic surface transit? I would also suggest that your stated reason isn't really true. A divided highway is a divided highway. It's true that you might see factories and big-box retail closer up, but do you really need to? You are not going to see wooden houses from Band of Brothers, believe me.

If you can do this by highway, you will spend almost double the time of rail. I see (on Google Maps) there is a Flixbus product to Brussels, where you would switch to the train to Antwerp or Bruges. Having taken the bus from BRU to Antwerp, I can tell you there is no particular reason to travel by bus. I did once take the public bus (less than 7 Euros) from Antwerp to Turnhout, which did show me some postwar suburbs, most of them stucco, but a few developers had used (modern) thatched roofs on top of contemporary wall construction.

I recommend that you use the train. You will see students who commute daily on the train, bachelorette parties (tipsy, and wearing sashes) going out for the night, and plenty of local life. Did you see "In Bruges"? Modern life in Belgium often involves the train.

Posted by
12488 posts

We feel road trips give a better exposure to life around.

Like Tim, I'll disagree with this as well. Trains are a part of "life" for many people in the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and other countries. I've never felt a tiny bit more "like a local" on our trips than when taking a train.

Posted by
5 posts

Can't Agree more with YOU.... Almost decided to take the train to Antwerp... spend a few hours there and catch the train to Bruges or Brussels. Hope we can keep our bags in a station locker as well.

Thank you for the prompt response.. Please guide me well.

Posted by
4890 posts

Because you are four ADULTS, maybe you only need to glance at Antwerp. I personally prefer Antwerp to Bruges, but vast numbers of people, including many posters here, believe it is essential to sleep three nights in the romantic spectacle (?) of Bruges. There are also those who insist on the opportunity to see a place before and after HORDES of day-trippers swing in and out of high-intensity tourist towns.

The direct train to Antwerp may not be the cheapest, but that's up to you. I've actually never taken it. You should plan out the hours for all your itinerary. Bruges is easy to get to, but has to be considered as a detour from the main lines of European train tourism. That is, you can't make a daytrip to Cologne (just making that up) from Bruges. You could, with three months advance to get the low fare, make a daytrip to Cologne from Brussels. (But Cologne is worth more than a daylight day ... Just picking an example.)

Posted by
306 posts

recently made the same trip with some side trips.
The side trips were by bus.
Took train from Amsterdam to Antwerp and then on to Bruges and Ghent.
Trains are clean and efficient and a reliable method of transport in Europe.
Used thalys between Amsterdam and Antwerp and used local trains from Antwerp to Bruges and return.

One of three side trips we made in the Netherlands were from Amsterdam to Rotterdam. all I can say is the highways are crowded with trucks and cars. This meant a lot of stop and go traffic. The train trip was much more relaxing and were able to see and experience more scenery and got a very good glimpse of life traveling by train.

Posted by
5 posts

Do we need to reserve the train from Antwerp to Bruges and Bruges to Brussels? or just get the ticket and board?

Posted by
16056 posts

If you buy tickets from Amsterdam to Bruges via Antwerp, only the Thalys portion (if you choose to use it) will have seat reservations. The continuing ticket to Bruges is an open ticket for that day, so you can take any train from Antwerp. Going from Bruges to Brussels, just buy a ticket and get on board. The trains are very frequent.

There are also non-Thalys trains that ply the route for less money and are slower. They are not train specific, so you can take any one on the specified route.

Posted by
11262 posts

To find all options (Thalys and non-Thalys) from Amsterdam to Bruges, including prices and routes, you can use the Belgian international rail booking site: https://www.b-europe.com/EN

As Sam said, if you want to take a Thalys for part of your trip, you will want to book in advance for best prices. If you are not taking the Thalys, the prices don't change; however, these trains are slower.

Posted by
2 posts

Thalys -- In addition to saving a lot of time for an Amsterdam-Antwerp-Bruges excursion, it is kind of FUN for some people who have never done it before to ride a train at 190 miles per hour.

Posted by
1539 posts

There are lockers in Antwerp, around €4/24 for the large ones, seize is about 0,6 x 0,6 x 2m. Others are half the height or a third, costing a bit less.