From Brussel-Centraal station, it is less than an hour and a half to Bruges which makes it the perfect day trip for anyone staying in Brussels. Once you arrive in Bruges, it is another scenic 15-minute walk to the center of town. When booking our trip, I was going back on forth on whether to spend the night in Bruges or not. Since our train from Paris was stopping in Brussels and we were going to leave out of Brussels to head back to Amsterdam, I decided the easiest thing to do would be to stay in Brussels and just day trip it to Bruges one morning.
We woke up fairly early the next day and walked over to Brussel-Centraal station. There’s a train from Brussels to Bruges every 15-20 minutes, so I didn’t bother booking ahead (just in case we felt like sleeping in). When we got to the station, I found a kiosk and bought three tickets to Bruges and then walked around aimlessly trying to find the correct platform. Finally after some help, we got on the train to Ostend (the end of the line) and if I said the train left the station only five minutes after we got on, that would be an exaggeration. We barely made it on the train on time… which was oddly the norm for us on this trip since we barely made our train in Paris to Brussels!
We decided to take a boat tour cause why not, and hopped on one across from the famous Weeping Willow tree. The tour was short and sweet, and we got in some decent history and fun facts. I have to say though, our guide was not the most energetic. I get it, it was probably his 500th tour of the week, but act like you sort of like your job? After our tour, we walked around for a bit and could hear different tour boats pass by us sounding way more engaged and spitting out tons more information. Lyndon and I would look at each other like, “Our guide did not mention that.” Oh well, it was still nice to see Bruges from that point of view.
Just when we thought we saw it all, another cute street would turn up. You can spend all day in Bruges or only a few hours, it’s up to you. There’s no perfect amount of time to spend in this medieval town. Whatever you decide, you won’t be disappointed!
Depending on where you are staying in Brussels, head to the nearest train station (ie. Brussel-Centraal, Brussel-Zuid, or Brussel-Noord). You do not need to purchase your train ticket in advance, and you do not save any money by purchasing your ticket online. There is train to Bruges every 15-20 minutes so if you miss one, it’s just a short wait for the next. Expect a cue at the ticket kiosks if you’re visiting during peak season.
Your ticket will most likely be towards Ostend, Blankenberge, or Knokke-Heist. Look for those names while looking for your platform.
Heading back to Brussels might be crowded. We were on the train with a bunch of students (under 18) heading back home for the weekend, from boarding school would be my guess.