We are first-time Europe travelers, expanding a two-day business trip in Amsterdam by adding some time in Bruges on the front end. Our plan is to fly into Brussels and immediately take a train to Bruges. Stay in Bruges exploring the area (staying a total of 4 nights) and then take a train to Amsterdam. Having said that...do we need to make train reservations from Bruges to Amsterdam BEFORE we leave the US, or can we WAIT until we arrive in Bruges, taking time to get our feet on the ground? If anyone has any other words of wisdom, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
If you are taking the slow (4 hour) route, the price is 47 euro per person all the time, whether you buy them 3 months in advance or 3 minutes. You may be able to find an advance price on the fast (3 hour) route using the Thalys that is less, but usually at oddball times like first or last train of the day.
Thank you, Sam. And if I understand you correctly, train tickets are not like plane tickets. I can just show up at the station and make a purchase for a train departing in 30 min. Right? Also there are "faster" trains, and those are the ones called Thayles?
There are two components to the train ticket. First, is availability. Generally in Europe trains rarely fill up. So unlike a US plane reservation which needs to be made early to get a seat, that is rarely needed on a Europe train. Second, the price. The rail systems are adopting the practice of giving discount early purchased tickets generally over the web somewhat like the US airlines. These tickets are generally no change and no refund with limited availability.
So to answer your question. You will be able to walk up to the ticket window in the airport and buy a ticket to Bruges with no problems. There is a couple of trains any hour so you just catch the next train. As for Bruges to Amsterdam you probably can get a discounted ticket in the US for that route by buying on line. But you just as easy take the local for an extra hour of travel and not worry about advance tickets.
Like any other busy transportation hub, you may walk up to a line where you have to stand (or sit, if there is a numbering system) for a half-hour or however long it takes. But there are plenty of trains Brugges-Amsterdam and, with four days for a very small city, lots of time to put in.
I would recommend you buy a Thalys high-speed train ticket for travelling between Antwerpen (your connecting point for Brugge - Amsterdam routing) and Amsterdam. It is a much faster and comfortable train than using the outdated Intercity services on that international journey...