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Brussels and Brugge for 2 days

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Melbourne, Australia
posts: 204
reviews: 32
Brussels and Brugge for 2 days

Doing some early planning for a trip in September next year. Most of our time we plan to spend in France, but want to see Brugge. Will be taking Eurostar from London to Brussels. Wondering if it would be better to book hotel in Brussels for 2 nights and make a trip to look around Brugge the next day rather than packing up and moving for just one night. Any advice welcome.

London
posts: 9,097
reviews: 31
1. Re: Brussels and Brugge for 2 days

Do you actually want to stay in Brussels? If not, book through tickets with Eurostar from London to Brugge using the 'Any Belgian Station' option and stay there.

You can also book through tickets from Brugge to Paris, using the Thalys train from Brussels, using the same option.

www.eurostar.com

www.thalys.com

Brussels, Belgium
posts: 17,228
reviews: 3
2. Re: Brussels and Brugge for 2 days

If your stay in Brussels is no more than 1 night in each/either direction, you can use ABS fare option anyway, and not only if you decide to stay in Brugge - when you would still need to respect the "next day" rule as regards transfer in Brussels, in each direction! ABS costs about €7 on top of normal London-Brussels/Brussels-Paris fare, compared with €13.50 from Brussels-Brugge if you buy this separately (standard single: weekend return is only €14.40 so little need for ABS rate if doing this trip over a weekend).

Effectively using Eurostar ABS ticket, you have a ticket London-Brussels plus Another Belgian Station (Brugge), as long as you depart Brussels no later than the day after arriving there on Eurostar; and if returning to London, a ticket from ABS destination (Brugge) to Brussels, where you can (again) stay for up to 24 hrs, and then Brussels-London no later than the following day. If not returning to London, but continuing to Paris on Thalys, there is also a Thalys ABS fare which operates in the same way, i.e. it permits up to 24 hrs in Bxl after starting trip to Paris in e.g. Brugge.

Thus if you stay in Brussels for 2 nights, you arrive in Bxl on Day 1, and would need to depart to Brugge for day trip on Day 2, using Eurostar ABS ticket (covering London-Brussels (overnight) - Brugge). Then when returning to Bxl from Brugge, on Day 2 (if spending that night in Bxl), you would use your Thalys ABS ticket, also using this to continue the following day to Paris.

If not spending that night in Bxl, then of course you can still use your Thalys ticket at any later date, it is not your stay in Brugge that is limited but the time you spend in Brussels on stopover ("VIA" destiination - you would be travelling London-Brugge via Bxl and Brugge-Paris via Bxl).

Personally I would stay in Brussels, near Gare centrale, in order to reduce humping suitcases on and off trains. But you are the only ones who can decide whether you want to be in Brugge in the evening. Although even then, trains continue from Brugge to Bruxelles-Central (calling first at Midi and subsequently at Nord) until late: the last trains on a weekday are at 21:58 (arr. 23:00), 22:32 (arr. 23:57) and 23:05 (arr. 00:09).

Edited: 8:09 am, November 18, 2012
Melbourne, Australia
posts: 204
reviews: 32
3. Re: Brussels and Brugge for 2 days

Thank you both for taking the time to reply. You have given me more information than the Eurostar website.

Brussels, Belgium
posts: 17,228
reviews: 3
4. Re: Brussels and Brugge for 2 days

If purchasing from Eurostar website, and wanting to use ABS option, be careful not to select Brussels as destination, it will not propose ABS as add-on. On that site, Brussels falls under a heading "popular destinations", and if you look to the right you will find several other headings, the last of which is "Belgium": under here you will find ABS as an option, which would cover you to Brugge or anywhere else (subject to stopover in Brussels not exceeding 24 hrs, of course).

Here is ABS explanation from Eurostar site: eurostar.com/UK/…any_belgian_info.jsp

If purchasing from Belgian Railways - http://www.b-europe.com/Travel - ABS is offered automatically when you fill in London as departure and Brugge as destination; and the same applies for Paris if you fill in Brugge as departure and Paris as destination.

If purchasing from Thalys site, and wanting to benefit from ABS from Brugge, be careful not to select Brussels as destination/ departure station from the first section of the booking menu: if you look down the list you will find Germany then Belgium, where "All other Belgian stations (ABS)" is first choice.

Here is ABS explanation from Thalys site: thalys.com/be/…any-belgian-station.

You can buy both Eurostar and Thalys tickets from any of these sites, and a number of others such as tgv-voyages (French Railways). Prices are the same on all of them EXCEPT that on any one date, different sites may have different numbers of the cheaper fares available, so it is always worth shopping around if the first site you use isn't offering the cheapest option for the departure you want. Tickets at cheaper rates are limited for each departure and can sell out for some trains not long after sales begin 4 months (Eurostar) or 3 months (Thalys) before departure date.You can see the difference if you look at prices for a specific (international, high-speed) train tomorrow, when only the highest rates will remain, and at a date just under 3 months from the date of enquiry.

Edited: 4:00 am, November 21, 2012
San Francisco
posts: 2
reviews: 59
5. Re: Brussels and Brugge for 2 days

Interestingly I have just spent 4 days in Belgium (in fact, currently getting ready to leave Brussels).

I took the Eurostar from St Pancreas to Any Belgian station and switched to the local train (easy transaction) to Brussels. My intention was to spend 2 days in Bruge and 2 days in Brussels but I liked Bruge so much that I changed my hotel booking from 2 nights to 3 nights. I stayed at the Grand Hotel Casselbergh and thought it was lovely (I stay in a lot of hotels for business and personal travel and therefore have high expectations which this hotel met). There is lots to do in Bruge from the canal trip, walking tours, wandering around on your own and then Quasimodo organises day trips to Flanders Field which includes visits to Ypres, the Menin Gate and around WW1 including the memorials to the Australians.

In regard to Brussels I stayed at Le Meridien which is immediately outside the Gare de Central. Friends told me to avoid staying around Gare de Midi which is a little unsafe. The Gare de Central appears to be close to most of the attractions. I found my time here short - not helped by the pouring rain - therefore I focused on a Totally Horta 3 hour tour by the architectural society and wandered around the main square.

Melbourne, Australia
posts: 204
reviews: 32
6. Re: Brussels and Brugge for 2 days

Very helpful advice. Thanks everyone.

7. Re: Brussels and Brugge for 2 days

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