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Travelling from Amsterdam to Bruge to Brussels

I am travelling to Amsterdam in August with a family of 7--the oldest is 78 and the youngest is 18. Staying 4 nights in Amsterdam; 2 nights in Brugge; 3 nights in Brussels--flying out of Brussels. Thinking of train travel bewteen destinations but am concerned about the "5 minute" connection in Antwerp from Amsterdam to Brugge with 7 people and luggage. In looking at the train schedules I do not understand the semi-flexible v. flexible listing. If we miss the connection can we get on the next train out of Antwerp?

I think a rental car would not be feasible with seven and luggage. Looked around for car and driver but not seeing anything and think it would be way too costly. What do people think about the train connections or possiblity of rental car?

Mary

Posted by
8940 posts

The train from Antwerp to Bruges doesn't accept reservations, so you will be issued "general" tickets valid for any departure to Bruges. They typically run every 30 minutes or so.

Posted by
1529 posts

As far as I can see is with one change the easiest, quickest, but not the cheapest the Thalys to Bruxelles-Midi/Brussels-South and from there the direct intercity train to Bruges. Total travelling time is 3.06h and the scheduled time to change trains in Brussels is 18minutes.
Don’t worry too much about missing a train, there are comfy direct trains almost every half hour from Brussels to Bruges. On the map Antwerp lookes quicker, but the train to Bruges takes an half hour longer, total traveltime also depends about the time needed to change trains.

If you book online you don’t have to worry about buying a ticket at the ticketbooth. Be aware that the Thalys ticket will include an EBS, meaning the ticket is also valuable for any further destination in Belgium, in this case Bruges, so one ticket is enough to travel between Amsterdam and Bruges. You can pay with the well-known brands of creditcards.
For more info, booking online see www.belgianrail.be. Select English and under the timetables tab there is a international travel button for the highspeed train from Amsterdam to (Antwerp?)/Brussels.

About the semi-flexible and flexible booking is that once booked you can change things to a certain extend without or (I think few) additional costs. As soon as you travel with the intercity train from Brussels (or still maybe Antwerp) to Bruges is the date that the ticket is valuable is important, taking the next or later trains the same day is no problem. Travelling with the highspeed train, you have to travel on the date and the time indicated on the ticket.

Seen the total amount of travelling costs with 7 persons by train I think a rental minivan for the Amsterdam-Bruges leg is still worth to consider.

Posted by
8940 posts

"...Be aware that the Thalys ticket will include an EBS, meaning the ticket is also valuable for any further destination in Belgium, in this case Bruges, so one ticket is enough to travel between Amsterdam and Bruges...."

Not so. In order to get an "Any Belgian Station" (ABS) Thalys ticket you have to pay extra for it. A ticket which has a destination for Brussels or Antwerp doesn't automatically include other stations in Belgium unless ABS is listed as a destination on the ticket.

Best to use this site for schedules, fares, and to purchase tickets:

http://www.nshispeed.nl/en

Posted by
1529 posts

Michael - EBS is Dutch for ABS and are the same and ofcourse you have to pay extra for it!
I wrote: any further destination in Belgium. In other words: One buy a ticket for the highspeed train from abroad to Antwerp or Brussels. Usually you need an additional ticket for the leg from Antwerp or Brussels to a further destination in Belgium, in this case Bruges. If you buy the highspeed train ticket with ABS (or EBS) you don’t need to buy that addtional ticket anymore. I think I was already clear enough, but mentioning EBS instead ABS can be confusing, so sorry about that if that's the problem.

Posted by
8940 posts

The confusion comes from "Thalys ticket will include an EBS". "Will" implies that all Thalys tickets include the ABS/EBS option.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you so much for your prompt responses. I feel so much better about booking a train now that I understand how it works.

Posted by
1529 posts

Michael - Okay, I understand, it's indeed confusing, thank you!