Short Trip - No reservations Available

  • 20 December 2023
  • 5 replies

Hey - We are off on a short 7 day trip Jan 1-9 and We are going from Paris to Amsterdam, Amsterdam to Bruge and Bruge to London - but I am so far only able to get a reservation for our Eurostar from Bruge to London Jan 5th.


Question is - if there are no reservations for the fast trains - can one wait around the train station for a couple of hours with hopes to get on the trains - or will more reservations slowly appear?

Should I keep checking back to see if reservations show up for some of our travel days or ask for a refund and book tickets normally?


Best answer by thibcabe 20 December 2023, 21:43

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5 replies

Userlevel 7
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Eurostar high-speed trains are very popular and it’s extremely unlikely that seats suddenly appear. Someone might cancel its booking but seats will be gone in an hour. To worsen things : there is a passholder quota onboard those trains so regular tickets might still be on sale. It’s pretty unique in Europe. Those reservations are also one of the most expensive out there...

However don’t worry : there are loads of alternatives on that route.

Amsterdam - Bruges can easily be done reservation-free (and should be done that way to avoid paying a high fee!). Itinerary example :

  • IC Amsterdam Centraal - Antwerpen-Berchem 09:28 - 11:23 (hourly)
  • IC Antwerpen-Berchem - Gent-Sint-Pieters 11:42 - 12:33 (3 hourly trains)
  • IC Gent-Sint-Pieters - Bruges 12:38 - 13:01 (4 hourly trains)

Half an hour longer if you prefer a single change in Brussels.

Except Eurostar trains all trains in Belgium and the Netherlands do not have reservations. Simply log the train you’d like to take before boarding, hop on and sit wherever you want (train ends are generally less busy).

Let me check for Paris - Amsterdam and Lille/Brussels - London, I’ll edit below. Feel free to check for yourself here (clearer overview) :

1st January : Paris - Amsterdam

  • direct Eurostar trains at 08:07, 15:22, 16:25 and later (32€ mandatory reservation)

For the convenience I’d rather get a direct train.

5th January : Bruges - London via Lille. For example :

  • IC Bruges - Kortrijk 08:16 - 09:05
  • IC Kortrijk - Lille-Flandres 09:14 - 09:51
  • walk 5 min to Lille-Europe, passport controls
  • Eurostar Lille-Europe - London St. Pancras 11:35 - 11:57 (30€)

About the same time via Brussels (08:31 departure instead). You can choose !

Questions welcome. Do not wait to book those 2 high-speed trains. Use B-Europe (Belgian Railways) : 4€ fee per order, compared to 2€ per person per train on Full flexibility on the rest ! :)

Wow - thank you so much, this is great information for our Amsterdam to Bruge Travels - that is great relief - now I just need to solve the Jan 2nd journey from Paris to Amsterdam - I will try and explore the non reservation routes - might consume 6 hours compared to 3 of travel, but won’t require us refunding our pass and starting again. 


THANK YOU - Any suggestions for a route from Paris to Amsterdam Jan 2nd are welcomed!

Userlevel 7
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(Ah my bad I looked at 1st January for Paris - Amsterdam...)

Sure, let me suggest a few things :

All Eurostar trains to Amsterdam are sold out, only evening trains to Brussels left (too late to arrive in Amsterdam). Those were the bad news.

OPTION 1 (most expensive) :

  • RER A Paris city center - Marne-la-Vallée (Disneyland) 45 min journey (trains every 7 min, have a margin in case) 5€ ticket (Eurail not valid)
  • Eurostar Marne-la-Vallée (Disneyland) - Amsterdam 11:43 - 15:14 32€

OPTION 2 (example, there are earlier or later trains) :

  • TGV Paris-Nord - Lille-Flandres 08:45 - 09:48 10€
  • IC Lille-Flandres - Kortrijk - Antwerpen-Centraal 10:09 - 12:23
  • IC Antwerpen-Centraal - Amsterdam Centraal 12:44 - 14:32

 You have saved the trip! Thank you! 

Userlevel 7
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@LindsayIrene, just a tip from a local:

There are direct trains from Antwerp to Bruges, leaving every hour at +/- xxh06 in Antwerp Central and at +/- xxh12 in Antwerp Berchem. A bit annoying if you come from Amsterdam with the IC, you just miss the direct one.

If you want the direct Antwerp-Bruges, step out in Antwerp Central, not Berchem, marvel at the impressive station and enjoy a drink in the station while waiting for the train (Café Royal for example)

If you have a lot of luggage I don’t recommend changes in Gent-Sint-Pieters for now, it’s in total renovation and tricky if you have a lot of luggage with all the temporary stairs.

Waiting in Antwerp to go to Bruges, or continuing to Brussels and changing to Bruges there, takes  about the same time.