Amsterdam to Bruges day trip: how to get there and what to see?

With over 15 million visitors each year, Amsterdam truly is a bustling, hip playground for urban exploration. It's no surprise this chic city is flocked by tourist all seeking a hit or two of art, shopping, and gastronomic exploration by the canals. But why stop there? Take a short break from the trendy Dutch capital and venture over to the charming medieval city Bruges! Bruges makes for a perfect day trip to a "faraway land" that's not far away at all, and plays a wonderful contrast to Amsterdam's mod scene.

Sit tight and I’ll introduce everything you need to know for an easy day trip from Amsterdam to Bruges filled with charming canals, chocolate and historic sites in this enchanting Belgian city.

Amsterdam to Bruges

Day trip from Amsterdam to Bruges

Are you looking for a day trip from Amsterdam to Bruges? Then I recommend looking at the tours that GetYourGuide is offering. They have a lot of availability and they offer free cancelation for up until 24 hours in advance. On top of that, these all-in tours are often cheaper than arranging everything yourself… Not convinced? Then, by all means, read on!

Where to start

The first step in organizing your day trip from Amsterdam to Bruges will be by deciding how you want to get to Bruges. There are roughly 155 miles (250 Km) that lay between Amsterdam and Bruges, and this means traveling from The Netherlands to Belgium. This task is actually much easier than it sounds, and there are various different ways to make the cross over. These can include taking either a train, bus, car, or making use of an inclusive “Amsterdam to Bruges tour” to get to your desired fairytale destination and back with ease.

Amsterdam to Bruges beguinages

Bruges might be a small city… There’s still a lot to see!

Taking a train from Amsterdam to Bruges

Trains act as a quick and comfortable choice for those looking to head directly to their fairytale destination, and is a popular method amongst visitors. However, keep in mind that day trips can be more comfortable and will also take less time (and less money!).

Getting from Amsterdam to Bruges by train can take a total of about 2.5 – 4 hours, giving you the option to take either a high-speed route or regular route to Bruges. Note that “Brugge” is the Dutch name for “Bruges”, and you are likely to see “train from Amsterdam to Brugge” when looking for information about your ticket.

To break it down, you have two main railways to use for this journey:

  • NS, the national railway of the Netherlands: this railway is run by the Netherlands, and will require a minimum of one transfer in Antwerp or Brussels for example, before heading to Amsterdam. (See ticket options below)
  • NMBS, the national railway of Belgium: this line will also require minimum one or more transfers to get from Amsterdam to Bruges. (See ticket options below)

Through these railway lines you will be able to purchase one-way train tickets to Bruges. If you are considering the possibility of a round-trip train ticket, know that it’s not really available as a matter of fact, unless it’s part of an inclusive “Amsterdam to Bruges tour” package (see inclusive tours below). You pay depending on the hour of the day you depart and from which destination rather, meaning if you depart and return using the same station around the same hour, your ticket should cost roughly the same each way.

tour amsterdam to bruges

Taking the train or a tour from Amsterdam to Bruges; whatever you pick, it will be a wonderful day trip!

Is it expensive?

Oddly enough, a round-trip ticket from Amsterdam to Bruges is more expensive than an organized tour (starting at $55 per person). So, if you’re looking for the easiest and shortest way for a day trip, I do recommend booking a day trip from Amsterdam to Bruges instead.

If you want to stay in Bruges a bit longer than one day, or if you would like to see more of Belgium, the train is the best option.

You will buy your tickets directly from the official website or railways station itself, and prices will vary depending on whether you choose to ride first or second class, and by how many transfers are on your chosen route. You’ll also find that the prices for some routes can become more or less expensive at different times of the day. Routes from Amsterdam to Brugge by train are popular amongst locals as well as visitors, however transfers are still inevitable, but luckily very easy to manage.

It is best to buy your ticket ahead of time, so do not be surprised if you can’t get a ticket by showing up right when you want to leave. Students, adults under 26 and seniors can also enjoy discounts for tickets, so don’t forget to mention it!

Amsterdam to Bruges train

The train station from Bruges is a 20-minute walk from the beautiful historical center, where you can see the stunning Belfry tower.

Ticket options & price comparison for Amsterdam to Brugge by train:

The price ranges listed below cover all available travel times and lengths of duration.

Using NS Railways

Tickets one-way through Brussels can range:

1st class between $62 USD – $102USD
2nd class between $44 USD- $64 USD

*There is also an option to go through Thalys, however prices frequently fluctuate

Using NMBS Railways

Tickets one-way through Antwerp range:
1st class at $48 USD – $128 USD
2nd class at $34 USD – $97 USD

No matter the route or railway line you choose, your international train ticket will always be cheaper if bought in advance. The class you sit in really depends on you; first class does have more space, but tickets can be almost twice as expensive. I personally find train rides quite relaxing and a good opportunity to read, nap or chat so the journey will be over before you know it! Second class seating already has a sufficient amount of space, but in the end just choose wherever you will feel the most comfortable.

Commodities on the train

Yes, you can rest assured you will have use of restroom facilities throughout your journey. Don’t expect polished hotel-style bathrooms, but they are certainly adequate and available for train travel from Amsterdam to Bruges. As for Wifi, this is a hit or miss, some trains do have this feature, while others, particularly older trains, are not yet equiped with Wifi.

The easiest way to secure your ticket will be to go online to the website of your preferred railway line; either the NMBS or the NS, and check the train schedule from Amsterdam to Bruges to purchase your ticket in advance!

Amsterdam to Bruges day trip

Bruges and Amsterdam used to be two very important port cities, but they look nothing alike!

Amsterdam to Bruges by bus

Depending on which bus company you go with, your travel time from Amsterdam to Bruges can be anywhere between 4 hours to 6.5 hours. This may sound like a lot, but you will have many options to choose from regarding your route by bus, and the tickets are very reasonable.

The best place to get your bus ticket from Amsterdam to Bruges will be through one of two website:

  • Flixbus which has the largest bus network in Europe, and a great punctual track record.
  • Omio (formerly Go euro), which compiles and compares bus companies throughout Europe (including Flixbus) for the best route and price.

Is it expensive?

You won’t have to dig up much cash in order to catch a bus to from Amsterdam Bruges. On average, for example:

As you can see, the most expensive tickets are pricier than a day tour from Amsterdam to Bruges ($55 USD). If you want a quicker and guided visit to Bruges, I recommend booking a day tour instead.
Do you prefer taking the bus anyway? Then you can find great deals with both Flixbus and Omio, and the prices will vary depending on the hour and date you wish to travel.

What about round-trip tickets you say? Similar to train travel options, you will typically be paying two individual ticket prices, and the price can change if with your location, meaning where in Amsterdam you will return to.

That being said, Omio does offer “round-trip” bus ticket bundles that can save you some cash, but your best bet will be to explore and shop around the dates you need to see what’s available.

Amsterdam to Bruges Bus

Bruges was also called the Venice of the north, because this city has loads of canals too!

Common bus routes from Amsterdam to Bruges

Bus routes vary, but will typically look something like this:

  • Direct Amsterdam – Bruges (between 2-6 hour total duration)
  • One Transfer Amsterdam – Antwerp – Bruges (5 – 6 hour total duration with 5 hour layover in Antwerp or large city en-route included)
    Luckily, there are 3 main stops in Amsterdam from which you can take your bus to Bruges:

    • Schiphol (Amsterdam’s airport)
    • Sloterdijk (Amsterdam’s Central station)
    • Bijlmer (Bus station in Amsterdam)

Bus commodities

If you’re traveling on a bus from Amsterdam to Bruges, you will always have use of toilet facilities on board. Wifi is pretty standard for most buses, and sometimes they even include free bottles of water for guests. I do recommend however, that you take your own snacks and beverages with you for bus journeys! Buses sometimes do make stops, but this is usually to pick up at a station, and direct routes typically won’t take any breaks between destinations.

Regardless of which stop you depart from in Amsterdam, there will be a bus going to Bruges. Also remember that as tempting as “round-trip” bus tickets are, you may want to consider purchasing separate tickets to avoid straining time limitations if you don’t have “hard dates” planned. It is not uncommon to fall in love with Bruges and wish you had an extra day or so for exploring!

Bruges Beguinages

Do you want to escape the crowds? Visit the Beguinage in Bruges!

Renting a car to reach Bruges from Amsterdam

There’s also the option to rent a car to go from Amsterdam to Bruges. You will have a lot of freedom with this option, and can take as many stops as you like along the way! There are also great deals for car rentals, making this a popular choice amongst visitors.

Your best bet for car rentals in or around Amsterdam will be through:

  • Holiday Cars (very reliable & utilizes all well-known companies)
  • Rental Cars (offers a “best price” challenge feature)
  • Sunny Cars (offers all-in insurance as a standard with each rental!)

You can find whatever style of vehicle you need through these sites with great deals from Amsterdam. A little tip to keep in mind is that although you may be used to driving a larger sized vehicle at home, parking spots in Europe are typically not very big!

kasteel van Loppem Amsterdam to Bruges

The ‘kasteel van Loppem’ (Loppem castle) is another sight you can see near Bruges. But it’s only accessible with a car.

Cost of a rental car in Amsterdam

When using the websites I mentioned before, you can easily find very cheap car rentals.
Here are some price examples:

  • Renting a car for one day with Holiday Cars: $56.33 or €50
  • Renting a car for one day with Rental Cars: $46.18 or €40.97 or 
  • Renting an all-in rental car for one day with Sunny Cars: $93.27 or €83

Below is a screenshot to prove to you that these prices are not made up:

Rentalcars Car rental Amsterdam to Bruges

Screenshot from Rentalcars.com

Is traffic a problem?

Traffic rules typically follow your normal traffic hours and like anywhere else, morning to mid-day offer a much clearer drive. Word on the block is that taking a stop in Zeeland (the western-most Provence of the Netherlands), offers beautiful beach landscapes and scenery. From Zeeland you can head down to Bruges, allowing you to pass up the “Antwerp Ring” and much of the traffic accumulated by the traditional route.

Final thoughts on driving to Bruges

Before arriving in Bruges, you can manage to make longer stops at some of the Netherlands interesting nearby cities like Rotterdam, or even the “happening” Belgian city of Ghent. Nothing is really all that far in Europe! Making the drive to Bruges is great for those who want more freedom in their itinerary, for family groups, or disabled passengers.

Remember, it will take about three hours to drive straight from Amsterdam to Bruges, but you will also be able to incorporate as many stops as you need to do this, and see some lovely scenery at your leisure along the way.

Also, keep in mind that parking is quite expensive in both Belgium and the Netherlands. Most cities in these both countries want to discourage cars entering their historical centers. Therefore it’s not unusual to pay $5 or more per hour to park your vehicle. 

day trip Amsterdam Bruges

A one day or multiple day trip to Bruges will not disappoint. This charming village is truly spectacular!

Taking an inclusive tour from Amsterdam to Bruges

All inclusive tours from Amsterdam to Bruges? Yes, this is actually possible and frankly, also a popular choice! Inclusive tours are nice for those who like to hand over the reins and let their guide take care of everything from the start. On top of that… They’re often cheaper than arranging everything yourself!

My recommendations are:

  • Bruges Full Day Tour from Amsterdam, a 12 hour tour in total which includes comfortable coach bus transportation that takes you to Bruges and back, an English speaking guide, free city map and time to explore the historic center. At just $55 USD per person, this deal is great for a quick visit to the Venice of the North and also allows freedom for individual exploration. If you compare the cost of this tour with a round-trip train ticket from Amsterdam to Bruges, you’ll see that this tour is (a lot) cheaper.
  • Bruges Day Tour & Free Canal Cruise is also an amazing tour for those who are looking to add some zing to their visit in Bruges. This 5 hour tour goes from Amsterdam to Bruges and back via an air-conditioned coach bus, and includes a tour guide that speaks German, Spanish and English and even “skip the line” abilities at sites. The real gem of this tour is the option for an hour long boat tour on Bruges quaint canals. You’ll be able to experience the historic city center, visit the Church of Our Lady, the Saint Salvator’s Cathedral, and not to mention, receive a free ticket for an hour canal cruise in Amsterdam to use upon your return! This inclusive tour is a steal at only $100 USD per person with all the works!


Bruges day trip from Amsterdam

Once you visited Brugge, you can’t help but fall in love!

Tours & organized experiences in Bruges

Once you’ve arrived in Bruges, you may feel that you’re on a time-crunch, or simply don’t feel like planning out all every little detail. In contrast, you might want to personalize your trip and make your own perfect day trip from Amsterdam to Bruges? Either way, you will be happy to hear there are great options for both of these strategies, as well as for everything in between to mix and match as you please.

Here are some exciting tours to mark off of your list while in Bruges:

  • Guided Rickshaw Tour of Bruges
    Let your hair down and enjoy up to 2 hours riding in a pedal powered rickshaw, being guided around lovely little Bruges by a local! At just $56 USD per person, you will be shown the highlights of Bruges, as well as some of the unique areas less explored by tourists. You can even experience this tour in Dutch, English, French or Spanish. One simply cannot make a trip from Amsterdam to Bruges and skip the rickshaw city ride!
  • Bruges Thirsty Time Traveller includes a thrilling tour taking you “back in time” to the middle ages at Bruges own Historium. At only $22 USD per person, you will get a day-pass to the Historium in Bruges, which includes an astounding virtual reality tour of the “golden ages“, and even free drink in the beautiful beer cafe (which is well worth a visit)! Unveil this life-like experience as you wander through the 1400’s, and sail to the port of Bruges. Audio guides are offered in a wide array of world languages, and this tour is also wheelchair friendly, and offers an exciting peek at the past suitable for individuals or the entire family!
  • Bruges Medieval Dinner Show is really the experience of a lifetime. With a four-course banquet, festivities, performances and music, you will be transported to 1468 to the wedding of Charles the Bold. Enjoy bottomless wine and beer as this glittering performance unfolds in the setting of the grand Old Jesuit Church in Bruges. From just $66 USD per person, you will leave Bruges feeling truly dazzled and satisfied after this glorious show!

While roaming around a new city can be magical on its own, making use of tours will be a great way to keep your day efficient and help you to see as much as possible. Choosing a few of these experiences can be an easy and simple way to see everything and make your trip from Amsterdam to bountiful Bruges well worth the travel! 

Pro tip

I always find the best rates for tours and experiences on GetYourGuide , which offers great support as well as cancellation support up to 24 hours before your booked activity!

day trip Bruges

Stroll along the wonderful paths next to the picturesque canals. You’ll fall in love with Bruges in no time!

5 Most beautiful sites in Bruges

You’ve finally made it to Bruges, also known as Brugge, the Venice of the north, the medieval city of the west! With all of these fancy nicknames and titles, you may be so thunderstruck that you’ve forgotten what you wanted to see there in the first place. Well fear not, I will be your friendly reminder and provide you will the five most beautiful sites in Bruges that you simply cannot miss. Would you like some more things to see? Then make sure to read this blog post as well.

  1. The Begijnhof, a magical little community near the Bonifacius bridge in the center of Bruges. While a “Begijnhof” is something unique to this area of Europe and doesn’t have an exact English translation, it does go by its Dutch name or the “Beguinage” in French. This special community originated at the beginning of the 13th century, and still remains nestled in a green area of Bruges near the canals. Built as a lovely architectural complex, the Begijnhof used to run as something of a monastery for women. It has previously housed nuns, widows, and single pious women who aimed to live by the teaching of the apostles. Today the Begijnhof is used as “cozy housing” for town residents who wish to reside in this cobble-lain haven. It’s a stop you simply cannot pass up!

  2. The Quay of the Rosary know as the Rozenhoedkaai in Flemish, is a picturesque area on the canals, embellished with classical buildings and charm. The quay is one of the most photographed spots in Bruges, and anyone who visits can understand why. The Quay of the Rosary is just five minutes form the Grote Markt (big market square). Relinquish your hectic schedule and take a moment to sit and soak in the views at this lovely medieval scene on the water. At night time, this beauty shows its “true colors” and is romantically illuminated!
  3. Het Minnewaterpark, also known as the Lake of Love, is truly romantic to boot day or night. This local little lake hales its name from a tragic legend about two lovers, Minna and Stromberg who were from neighboring tribes. Minna’s father did not agree with her love and decided to arrange an advantageous marriage for her within the tribe. Minna escaped into the forest, only to finally reach Stromberg and die from exhaustion in her true love’s arms. It is said that those who stroll across the famous lake’s bridge with their partner will be granted eternal lasting love. Riding solo? If that’s the case, be sure to stop anyway for the tranquil views and photo opportunities, and you may even see some of the residential swans who frequent the lake!
  4. Bruges is decked with many beautiful historic squares, and Jan Van Eyck Square certainly does its part to hold up that reputation. Named after the famous painter Jan Van Eyck, this renowned square is located beside what was once the old harbor of Bruges, and can be found just on the water in the city. You can expect nothing less than marvelous scenes here on the canals, and relish the beautiful historic building facades while wandering the area, making it one of Bruges most beautiful sites!
  5. The Market Square aka De Grote Markt, is a spectacular and famous sight in Bruges. The market square was one of the earliest inhabited places in the city and since the year 958 CE, has hosted countless medieval fairs, tournaments and festivals. Radiating with historic qualities, every corner of the market place displays pieces of Bruges glorious past, each building showcasing a different period and architectural style. The most prominent building is without a doubt the Belfry tower standing at an impressive height of 272 feet, dating all the way back from the year of 1240 Catch a horse drawn carriage for a unique view of the area, or grab famous Belgian fries for your walk while admiring this unforgettable site!

Traveling all the way from Amsterdam for a day trip in Bruges wouldn’t be complete without hitting at least one of these beautiful sites along the way!

basilica of the holy blood bruges

Make sure to also enter the Basilica of the Holy Blood. Besides the stunning interior, this church also has a vial with blood of Jesus Christ.

5 Fantastic hotels for overnights in Bruges

Can’t get enough of this magical Belgian city? You’re in luck, as Bruges offers sensational accommodation for those who feel the same way. After all, it would be difficult to leave not having seen the glorious lake of love and canals lit up at night!

Here are five fantastic lodging options for your overnight in Bruges:

  • Hotel Navarra Brugge
    Located just in the heart of Bruges, Hotel Navarra is run from a 17th century mansion, offering you elegant comfort and convenience during your stay. This magical hotel has every luxury you could want including a pool, sauna and gym facilities, to a charming garden terrace, breakfast buffet and jazz bar. You will definitely be comfortable here, and since the hotel is located in the center, you won’t lose that charming ambience radiating throughout Bruges. Prices can start from around $145 USD per night, however special deals are quite frequent for this popular stay.

  • B&B Ambrogio
    Right along the canals near the famous Market in the historic center of Bruges, you will find the beautiful B&B Ambrogio. From their wholesome breakfasts, to their wellness area, traditional sauna and private terrace garden, relaxation can be found around every corner. Bicycles are included in your stay here which comes in handy for exploring in your free time, or to simply enjoying a nice pedal around the city. This lovely accommodation offers rooms from around $250 USD and up per night.

  • De Pepel Holiday Home
    This bright and tranquil holiday home is located just a 3 minute drive from the city center of Bruges. De Pepel offers a more private stay for those wishing to enjoy some quiet away from the busy center. Up to 5 adults an easily enjoy a stay here and relax in the lush private garden, or take a stroll to the nearby shops and restaurants. This bright holiday home is sure you give you the private, sumptuous stay you’ve been looking for. Your unique holiday home can start at around $300 USD per night, while deals running for longer stays are also available.

  • B&B Casa Romantico
    Alas, one cannot go to the romance city of Bruges with their partner and pass up an idyllic stay at Casa Romantico. It’s not just the sauna and bar that should excite you, as this lovely B&B is located right in the center of Bruges near the Groeninge Museum. This prime, central location allows you to stay connected, and is astonishingly quiet for it’s proximity to city. Casa Romantico will act as a peaceful retreat for you and your partner where you can spend time in the large private garden, or gleaming pool. Your romantic getaway starts at around $180 USD per night.

  • B&B Alphabet- Luxury Guest House and Art Gallery
    A favorite amongst art lovers, B&B Alphabet boasts an exceptionally comfortable stay in a unique setting. Located only 30 yards from the UNESCO Heritage site, the Begijnhof, this cozy B&B in the city center is perfect for couples or culture enthusiasts. With a combination of easy access to the nearby cafes, museums and restaurants, and with the artistic bent generating in this B&B, you will certainly be please with such an alluring stay. Rooms start at around $185 USD per night, but be fast, they sell out quick!

In general, prices for accommodation can fluctuate depending on availability and the season, so don’t lose hope if your favorite stay doesn’t match your desired price range. Keep searching!

Brugge accommodation

© B&B Alphabet

What’s the maximum time needed for Bruges?

The Venice of the North shows no mercy to its visitors, fully captivating those who journey its way. While the time you spend in this breathtaking city is completely up to you, people usually find anywhere from 1 to 3 days to their satisfaction. Some even add an extra day to hit the pubs for some famous Belgian beer, or book a delectable food tour with a local!

Amsterdam to Bruges tour

Have fun during your day trip to this enchanting village!

All in all, a day trip from Amsterdam to beautiful Bruges offers a multitude of possibilities for interesting and historical experiences “back in time”. Whether you eat, stroll, or cycle your way through Bruges, this magical city is surely one to check off of your bucket list while in Europe.

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In this article you'll find a few affiliate links. When you book something with these travel organizations, I get a small commission. You don't pay anything extra for that. You can thus see it as a way to support this blog if you found the information helpful. I use all of these travel organizations myself, and I will only recommend the ones that I really like.
 

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Hi, I'm Sam Van den Haute. The last three years I've been traveling the world almost constantly. Heading out for an adventure and visiting the most beautiful places are what I love to do! Let me inspire you with great stories, beautiful pictures and handy tips from my adventures and travels. On my facebook page and instagram account you'll get to see the latest updates and photos to inspire you for your next vacation.
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