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Daytrip from Amsterdam to Bruge?

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Jan 11th, 2013, 11:53 PM
  #1
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Daytrip from Amsterdam to Bruge?

We are considering doing a day trip to Bruge from Amsterdam in early August.

After doing some research, I know it to be a 3 hour train ride each way. Taking a fairly early (not the earliest) train to Bruge and then catching the last train back would give us about 9 hours (arrival to departure) not accounting for time into town from train station and back.

We like art museums, walking around quaint little towns, sitting down at a cafe and people watching, churches...think you get the idea.

Before suggestions start rolling in to start or end the trip with a couple 2 or 3 nights in Bruge, before or after Amsterdam, that is not a plausible suggestion. Hotel is already booked and paid for. The only remotely plausible overnight in Bruge would be a very inexpensive place as we would then be paying double accommodations for a room in two different cities.

We are not so naive to think we will see "everything" in a daytrip. It's just a nice little excursion to see a place we have never been before. That's not to say we would not go back some day either.

Bottom line question is, Is it worth the ~180euros(RT, 2 pax) to make this day trip or will we really feel like we spent a lot of time and money to get there and just be extremely disappointed we don't have more time. Seems most threads I saw through searching on here indicate people stay a good 2, if not 3 or 4 nights.

Thanks in advance

N_A
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Jan 12th, 2013, 02:00 AM
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I haven't done it but I would in a moment to see the Van Eyck and Memling paintings alone.

I can't imagine, though, that your rail prices can't be beaten with an advance purchase. I hope someone more knowledgeable than I will pop in here. Lots of us know about French and Italian discounts, someone must know about the Netherlands.
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Jan 12th, 2013, 02:18 AM
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Hi N_A
Bruge would probably meet and exceed all your expections along with the other hundreds of day trippers that have the same idea. I visited Bruge in May 2012 and my timetable only allowed for a 1 night stay. After the " day trippers" left, in the late afternoon, the town changes and you begin to appreciate the quiet streets and the different atmosphere.To walk around in the early morning taking photos was a highlight of a six week holiday. It really is unique and deserve more time .If I were you I'd save the time and money and spent it in Amsterdam or on a closer day excursion.Put Bruge on you next holiday list,at the top.
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Jan 12th, 2013, 07:15 AM
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Thanks Ack and travel...yes, I am a bit torn. Clearly there is enough to see/do in Bruge to do a night or two on another trip. I just keep thinking that 3 hours each way, and 180euro is a lot for a day trip.

DH has not ever been to Paris. I don't like Paris ::gasp:: but will have to go one more time for him to see it. Perhaps that would be a good combo for another trip. (Handful of days in Paris, then move on to Bruge for a handful of days with day trips to Ghent, etc, as it appears that seems a fairly common thing to do, at least among Fodorites).

Unless someone else pops in and says that it would absolutely be worth a day trip from AMS, I think we'll forego Bruge this time.

BTW, Ackislander, unless there is some hidden secret rail fare that I missed, 180E was the "cheap", early purchase price. Other fares went up from there. I'm not a super expert on the topic, but I hold my own and that's what I could find.

Thanks again...happy travels.
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Jan 12th, 2013, 08:01 AM
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We caught an early train from Amsterdam to Brugge for a day trip and loved it. The day was long, and in the end we wished we had stayed overnight, but were very pleased with our decision to make the day trip. That said, we only paid something like 75 Euros round trip with a last minute printable Internet special; the forecast called for a pleasant day so we made a last minute itinerary change. Would we have done it for 180 Euros? Not likely without at overnight or two. Like others have said, I would save it for another trip.
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Jan 12th, 2013, 08:40 AM
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Where did you find €180 RT?
The furthest one can book at the moment is May and that costs €58.60 pp RT.
However it is six hours on trains, assuming everything is running on time and Fyra doesn't break-down (not unheard of at the moment I'm afraid, at peak tourist time, when Brugge (or Bruges - one spelling or the other) will be packed.
Even getting a really early train and the last train out still means maybe 8 hours in Brugge, (long enough imho - but I am not a fan of the place) but a seriously long day which will impact on your time in Amsterdam.

I would consider a daytrip to somewhere within the Netherlands instead.
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Jan 12th, 2013, 08:56 AM
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I have been to Bruges dozens of times and IMO yes in several hours you will be able to see everything of major interest to you - the town center is fairly compact - take a canal boat ride too as well as the art museums and get off the beaten track and explore the really quaint quays lined by stately facades of old Flemish warehouses extent from days when Bruges was one of the world's most important ports and cities. When the port silted up the port activity moved to Antwerp and Bruges slumbered along - with the imposed old Flemish warehouses now standing silent sentinel to the citys halycon days. This area is north and northwest of the town center and relatively few of the tour-bus mobs get there - this is the loveliest section of ancient Bruges IMO.

Go for it - you will not be disappointed and the trains are comfy enough.

For lots of great stuff on trains in this area I always spotlight these IMO fantastic sites - www.seat61.com; www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com. If doing other trips by train in Benelux then look at the Benelux Railpass which lets you hop on most trains, except Fyra and Thalys which require seat reservations and a supplement.
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Jan 12th, 2013, 09:21 AM
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Fyra is the train they will need to take for Brugge, so a railpass is of little use for that trip!
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Jan 13th, 2013, 08:20 AM
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hetismij2 - the site I found the 180E fare (mind you that is RT for 2 pax, not per person) is. I should say, too, that was for 1st class:

http://www.nshispeed.nl/en/belgium/bruges-by-train

It does indeed include the Fyra.

Thanks to everyone for your input. We still have plenty of time to decide what we want to do regarding this, and will take all of the above into account.
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Jan 13th, 2013, 08:52 AM
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Fyra is the train they will need to take for Brugge, so a railpass is of little use for that trip!>

Incorrect - Fyra runs only to Antwerpen Centraal not to Bruges (at least according to www.bahn.de) - and the seat reservation fee for passholders is 7 euros I think - anyway I said if the OP was doing significant other rail travel like other day trips from Amsterdam. You have to change trains in Antwerp to get to Bruges, no direct trains I believe from Amsterdam.
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Jan 13th, 2013, 09:12 AM
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I know that Pal, but the bulk of the journey is on Fyra. Rubbish train that it is.

new_adventure - OK you didn't say you wanted first class.
I still don't think it is worth it it tbh. Fyra is unreliable at best and shows little signs of improvement and it is a very long day, which could result in you being too tired to make the most of your following day in Amsterdam.
There are plenty of interesting day trips to make within the Netherlands, to places far less crowded than Brugge will be.
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Jan 13th, 2013, 09:50 AM
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I have done it..a very long day.
I agree with hetisnij2
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Jan 13th, 2013, 10:23 AM
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How many days do you have in Amsterdam, and have you been there (or in the Netherlands) before. If it is your first visit, then there is plenty to keep you busy in Amsterdam, and nearby towns.

Brugge is pretty, one night there would be nice, but 2, 3 or 4 nights is far too much.

My advice would be to do the daytrip to Brugge, only if you have a lot of time in Amsterdam, and/or have already been there before, and are looking for something else to do. Alternatively, do Antwerp as a daytrip. Closer than Brugge, and lovely to spend a day there.
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Jan 13th, 2013, 10:25 AM
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I would rather book Amsterdam - Antwerp on Thalys, but maybe the problems with the Fyra have been solved by August. At the moment, there are still a lot of cancellations and delays.
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Jan 13th, 2013, 11:06 AM
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The travel time in unavoidable if you want to make this trip. However, there is no need to book in first class. Prices may vary depending on the day of the week, and your age. Discounts for over 60 and under 25.
I have been to Bruges twice, day trips only from Brussels and loved it each time. In August it will be crowded with tourists, but you will be able to walk around the town, see the small museums, take a canal cruise, and have lunch. You may want to take some snacks for the ride back.. chocolate is king in Belgium.
You will have to change trains in Antwerp.

If long hours of travel, with limited time in Bruges does not appeal, then skip it and spend more time in Amsterdam or take a day trip in the Netherlands that does not involve as much travel. You could go to Delft, or the Hague (note the Mauritshuis (Vermeer's Girl with Pearl Earring, etc) will be closed for renovations and the paintings will go on exhibit elsewhere..in nyc at the frick in fall 2013 ) or
Haarlem (home of the Frans Hals museum) or Utrecht. lots of choices there.
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Jan 13th, 2013, 02:22 PM
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Either Delft or Haarlem would be just as nice for a day trip, and a lot easier.
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Jan 13th, 2013, 03:30 PM
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I liked Hague... a great museum
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Jan 13th, 2013, 09:49 PM
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Thanks all...yes, I have been to AMS before, a couple times. DH has not. We will be in AMS for 11 days, so definitely looking at other day trips throughout Holland. This was just an idea that I thought I'd explore.

As for other day trips we're looking at:

The Hague - definitely...have a cousin that lives there
Volendam/Edam
Delft
Kinderdijk
Zaanse Schans
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Jan 14th, 2013, 10:17 AM
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Delft to me is one of the very nicest towns in Holland - and part of it is a tour thru the famous Porcelene Flys (sp?) ceramics factory/showroom/musuem, located a few miles outside of the town center - can go by bus or a nice walk along a canal to this world-famous ceramics factory.
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Jan 14th, 2013, 02:00 PM
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Volendam and Edam are most often paired with Marken, more popular with locals I think that either of those two (though to me the others are more real - Marken being virutally an open-air museum with ancient houses and locals still wearing attire of two centuries ago - for show only though you may think they are for real.

You can take a boat to Marken in season from Amsterdam - a neat way to go and always take a bus to Marken from Amsterdam and then hop a boat across the water to Volendam and then a bus to Edam or a lovely few-mile walk along the former salt-water Zuider Zee, now called the fresh-water Ijslmeer since the enclosing dyke blocked it off from the North Sea.
Marken at one time was a fishing village on an island in the North Sea but now is hooked to the mainland by a causeway the buses go over.
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