Bruges (Brugge) is the historic canal city in the northwest of Belgium which attracts many tourist visitors. Nearby is the larger city of Ghent (Gent), the capital of East Flanders province. Bruges is located around 250km south-west from Amsterdam.
Travel between Amsterdam and Bruges/Ghent is possible by high speed and standard rail and competing coach services. Some people also decide to rent a car and drive.
1. Amsterdam-Bruges, Amsterdam-Ghent by Train
Travelling by train is a comfortable way to get from Amsterdam to Bruges or Ghent. The journey is split into the following components:
The Brussels Zuid-Ghent-Bruges Intercity runs up to 4x hourly. Travel time is 30 minutes to Ghent and 1 hour to Bruges.
Expect the total journey time from Amsterdam to Bruges to be just over 3 hours if taking the Thalys via Brussels or about 4 hours if using Intercity trains to Belgium. Likewise, Amsterdam-Ghent will take about 2 hours 30 minutes using Thalys and 3 hours 30 minutes with Intercity trains.
If taking the Intercity it's really up to you whether you change in Brussels or Antwerp.
For Intercity travel there are standard fixed prices (2017): Amsterdam-Bruges one-way costs €53.20 (2nd class) or €86.20 (1st class). Other cheaper fares are the super day return valid weekdays: €69 (2nd class) or €111.40 (1st class); Benelux weekend return: €63.80 (2nd class) and €86.20 (1st class) which is valid Fri-Sun outbound and Sat-Sun for the return.
Amsterdam-Ghent prices are as follows: one-way €46.80 (2nd class) or €76.40 (1st class); super day return €60 (2nd class) or €97.80 (1st class); Benelux weekend return: €56 (2nd class) and €76.40 (1st class).
These fixed fares mean you can turn up on the day and pay these ticket prices. Intercity fares do not have seat reservations - you just find a free seat available in your travel class.
Holders of Dutch Railways NS discount cards receive a slight fare reduction off the Netherlands segment of travel. Travellers aged under 26 get a 35% discount off international tickets for travel between Netherlands and Belgium using standard trains.
Tickets on Thalys are sold like airfares with mandatory seat reservations and prices rising closer to the travel date. You can buy an Amsterdam-Bruges or Amsterdam-Ghent rail ticket which includes the Thalys component but expect the price to be higher than the Intercity unless booking well in advance. Thalys can be booked up to 3 months out.
The main railways stations in Bruges and Ghent are about a 10-15 minute walk from the city centre.
As Belgium and Netherlands are members of the Schengen Zone agreement you do not need to go through a passport control check when travelling between Amsterdam and Bruges.
For more info see our International trains to/from Amsterdam page.
2. Flights Amsterdam-Bruges
The nearest airport to Bruges is Ostend-Bruges (OST) about 25km from the city centre. This airport mainly deals with freight and holiday charter flights. There are no flights between Amsterdam and Bruges.
It is only possible to fly between Amsterdam Schiphol and Brussels Zaventem airports.
3. Amsterdam-Bruges, Ghent by Coach
Eurolines offers a 6x weekly service to Ghent (bus stop at Dampoort station) which takes just under 5 hours. A one way fare also starts at €14.
Flixbus runs a 4x daily service from Amsterdam Sloterdijk to Gent taking about 3 hours 20 minutes. Two of the services are operated by subsidiary Megabus Europe. One way fares are from €12. Click here to book with Flixbus
4. Amsterdam-Bruges, Ghent by Car
Some travellers decide to rent a car and travel between the cities. In our experience the signs on the Belgian roads can sometimes be a little confusing - however, these days most people are using navigation systems.
The 250km Amsterdam-Bruges trip takes about 3 hours 20 minutes in total with just under 200km of motorways. From Amsterdam you would take the A2 south and then change onto the A27 - you then follow the directions to Antwerp and then onto Brugge.
Amsterdam-Gent is 220km distance and takes about 2 hours 50 minutes driving. At the Antwerp ring follow directions to Sint-Niklaas and then towards Gent.
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