Belgium by train

Map with main train connections in Belgium

Although geographically small, Belgium is bursting with sites and activities. Visit the cosmopolitan capital of Brussels and take the train to popular cities like Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp. Visit the lush green hills of the Ardennes region and be sure to try some Belgian beers and delicious chocolate along the way.

Belgium in images
Train types in Belgium
Domestic connections in Belgium
International connections to and from Belgium
Reservations for trains in Belgium
Rail passes for Belgium
Places to visit in Belgium
Events in Belgium
Benefits in Belgium
More about Belgium
 

Belgium in images

Canal in Bruges

Canal in Bruges

Old town of Ghent

Old town of Ghent

Grande Place, Brussels

Grande Place, Brussels

Train station of Antwerp

Train station of Antwerp

Mountain biking in the Belgian Ardennes

Mountain biking in the Belgian Ardennes

Train types in Belgium

 

There are a number of train types in Belgium ready to transport you. The Belgium network is operated by NMBS/SNCB. Use the Eurail train timetable to check times for trains in Belgium.

 

Regional and intercity trains in Belgium A Belgian regional train

The main rail network in Belgium is made up of the following regional trains and intercity trains:

  • InterRegio trains connect regional destinations with cities like Antwerp and Brussels. You can also travel to Maastricht/Roosendaal (the Netherlands) or Luxembourg  city.

  • InterCity trains link larger cities like Brussels, Antwerp and Liège. You can also travel to The Hague and Rotterdam (the Netherlands), Luxembourg city and Lille  Flandres (France).

  • CityRail trains operate in the area surrounding Brussels. 

  • Brussels Airport Express trains run between cities like Antwerp, Ghent, Brussels and Brussels Airport.

 

On the Eurail timetable InterCity trains appear as "IC". InterRegio and CityRail trains appear in the timetable without an abbreviation. Reservations are not required for InterCity, InterRegio and CityRail trains. A supplement is required for the Brussels Airport Express.

High-speed trains in Belgium

International high-speed trains in Belgium

These high-speed trains operate to and from Belgium:

  • EuroCity trains link Brussels with Luxembourg,  Strassbourg (France) and Basel (Switzerland).

  • Eurostar trains operate between Brussels and London (Great Britain).

  • ICE trains connect Brussels with German cities Cologne and Frankfurt.

  • Thalys trains connect Brussels with Amsterdam (the Netherlands) and Paris (France).

  • TGV trains link Brussels with Paris and Marseille (France).

 

EuroCity trains appear on the Eurail timetable as "EC" , Eurostar trains are listed as "ES", ICE as "ICE", Thalys as "THA" and TGV as "TGV". For EuroCity and ICE trains an advanced reservation is not necessary but we recommend you make them to ensure yourself a seat. Reservations are compulsory for Eurostar, Thalys and TGV trains.

Domestic connections in Belgium

 
Map with popular domestic routes in Belgium

Map with popular domestic routes in Belgium

View approximate train travel times between popular Belgian cities using InterCity trains:

From To InterCity trains
Brussels Antwerp 47 min

Brussels

Bruges 56 min

Brussels

Gent 31 min

Brussels

Liège 58 min
Gent Antwerp 55 min

 

International connections to and from Belgium

 

We suggest the following routes to travel between Belgium and other European countries:

  • France – Belgium
    Arrive in Brussels on the high-speed Thalys train from Paris (1hr 36min).

  • Great Britain – Belgium
    Travel from London to Brussels with the Eurostar in less than 3 hours.

  • Luxembourg – Belgium
    Take an InterCity or EuroCity train from Luxembourg city to Brussels (3hr).

  • The Netherlands – Belgium
    Take an InterCity train from The Hague or Rotterdam to Brussels. (1hr 45min).

Reservations for trains in Belgium

 

NMBS/SNCB trains do not require a reservation. You can just hop on and off. A supplement of €4.50 is required for the Brussels Airport Express. Reservations are optional for ICE and EuroCity trains. For Eurostar, TGV and Thalys trains reservations are compulsory.

 

Please note that the number of seats available for Eurail pass holders is limited on TGV and Thalys trains. We recommend you make reservations for these trains as soon as possible.

 

How to make reservations for trains in Belgium

You can make reservations for international high-speed trains:

  • At a ticket desk at local train stations.

  • By phone through one of the railway call centers.

 

Find out more about reservations

 

Rail passes for Belgium

 
Map with example route in Belgium

Map with example route in Belgium

Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg (Benelux) are considered as one country within the Eurail passes. Eurail Benelux passes let you see all of the Benelux's top cities like Amsterdam, Antwerp, Brussels and Luxembourg city. We offer Benelux rail passes and passes that combine the Benelux with other European countries. Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg (Benelux) are considered as one country within the Eurail passes. Eurail Benelux passes let you see all of the Benelux's top cities like Amsterdam, Antwerp, Brussels and Luxembourg city. We offer Benelux rail passes and passes that combine the Benelux with other European countries.

 

Rail pass options for Belgium

  • Eurail Global Pass starting from USD$ 347 – have the freedom to explore Belgium  and up to 27 other Eurail countries.

  • Eurail Select Pass starting from USD$ 133 – this is a 4 country pass that combines Benelux with bordering countries.

  • Regional Pass – focus on visiting Benelux plus 1 other country. Here are your options:
    Eurail Benelux – France Pass starting from USD$ 269 – Travel around famed French cities like Paris, Lyon and Nice.
    Eurail Benelux – Germany Pass starting from USD$ 269 – explore popular German cities like Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt.

  • Eurail Benelux Pass starting from USD$ 150 – spend your whole vacation to discover Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg by rail.

 

Example train route in the Benelux

Experience the best of the Benelux on a single trip with a Eurail pass. You can follow the suggested route below using a Eurail Benelux Pass3 days within 1 month, starting fromUSD$ 150.

 

1. Amsterdam

Wander through Amsterdam’s beautiful historical city center and breathe in the city’s vibrant atmosphere.

 

2. Antwerp

Antwerp is well known for its trendy fashion boutiques and beautiful architecture.

 

3. Brussels

Brussels is bustling with culture – be sure to take a stroll at the Grand Place square.

 

4. Luxembourg

Luxembourg city is soaked in luxury and history. Enjoy amazing scenery at Chemin de la Corniche – ‘Europe’s most beautiful balcony.

 

 

For more route ideas for your Eurail trip, check out our European highlights itinerary.

Places to visit in Belgium

 
Train station of Antwerp
Train station of Antwerp

Hip and happening Antwerp

Belgium’s second-largest city, Antwerp (Antwerpen), is a busy, buzzing metropolis with plenty to see and do. From unsurpassed cuisine to cutting-edge fashion to architecture and history, Antwerp is a traveler’s playground. The Cogels-Osylei, one of the most fascinating streets in Belgium (and some believe, in all of Europe), is teeming with magnificent 19th century architecture.

 

The Cogels-Osylei is just outside the Antwerpen-Berchem train station.

Waterloo
Waterloo

Outdoor fun throughout Belgium

Mild temperatures and varied landscapes make Belgium a great outdoor destination. The Ardennes are a nature-lover’s paradise: lush hills, flowing rivers, cycling, kayaking, skiing – the works. In Rochefort, rent bikes and cycle along unused train tracks to Houyet. And the Waterloo Battlefield, looking as it did during the famous battle back in 1815, is near Brussels. In June, there are costumed battle re-enactments.

 

To get to the site of the Waterloo Battlefield, it's possible to take a bus (W or 365) from Brussels or Waterloo. Take a bus from Jemelle train station to get to Rochefort, as Rochefort is not connected to the railway system.

Waterloo
Waterloo

Outdoor fun throughout Belgium

Mild temperatures and varied landscapes make Belgium a great outdoor destination. The Ardennes are a nature-lover’s paradise: lush hills, flowing rivers, cycling, kayaking, skiing – the works. In Rochefort, rent bikes and cycle along unused train tracks to Houyet. And the Waterloo Battlefield, looking as it did during the famous battle back in 1815, is near Brussels. In June, there are costumed battle re-enactments.

 

To get to the site of the Waterloo Battlefield, it's possible to take a bus (W or 365) from Brussels or Waterloo. Take a bus from Jemelle train station to get to Rochefort, as Rochefort is not connected to the railway system.

Grand Place, Brussels
Grand Place, Brussels

Beauty and bonbons in Brussels

One of the most vibrant squares in Europe, the Grand-Place is a 13th century market in the city center of Brussels. It blends age-old architecture with modern shops, markets and cafes. Home to the famous Atomium and Manneken Pis, the Grand-Place is steeped in history. The Chocolate Museum (Musée du Cacao et du Chocolat) must be seen to be believed. The country produces well over 150,000 tons of the sweet stuff each year. 

Grand-Place is less than a 5-minute walk from Brussels Central Station (Bruxelles-Central).

Old town of Ghent
Old town of Ghent

Get social in Ghent

Although it lies quietly in the shadow of Antwerp, Ghent (Gent) is a perfect stop between modern Antwerp and ancient Bruges – and a place where food, beer and fun have risen to an art form. Wander the 13th century streets and it won’t be long before you find the perfect environment for your taste, and friendly people with whom to share it.

Intercity trains will get you from Antwerp to Ghent (station Gent-Sint Pieters) in about 45 minutes.

The Wallon Life Museum, Liege
The Wallon Life Museum, Liege

Oozing artistic charm

Art and history reign supreme in Liège (Luik). No visit would be complete without a trip to the Musée d’Art Réligieux et d’Art Mosan. For a peek inside the lives of Wallonia’s most famous artists (including René Magritte and Paul Delvaux), try the Musée de l’Art Wallon.

From station Liège Palais, you are within walking distance of the Musée de l'Art Wallon.

Events in Belgium

 
Grande Place, Brussels
Grande Place, Brussels

Brussels beer weekend

September 4 - September 6, 2015

Not to be outdone by its eastern neighbor, Brussels also hosts a weekend for celebrating the frothy brews that make Belgium famous. The Grote Markt bubbles over with more than 400 types, tastes and sorts of beer, and a lively crowd to go with it.

The Grote Markt is within walking distance of Brussels central station.

Carnival in Binche
Carnival in Binche

Carnival

February 15 - February 17, 2015

This celebration before the Lent is all about colorful costumes, rich folklore, food, music, parades and performances. The most popular and famous event is held in Binch. You haven’t seen anything until you set eyes on the wax-masked Gilles clowns throwing oranges at passersby. 

Binch can be reached by train.

Pass benefits in Belgium

 
A man standing at a platform in front of a Eurostar train, Brussels, Belgium

Eurostar train, Brussels, Belgium

Discounted travel to Great Britain

With a Eurail pass valid in Belgium, you're entitled to a discount when you travel from Brussels to London with Eurostar trains.
 

See all pass benefits for Belgium

More about Belgium

 
Sign of the train station of Gent, Belgium

Sign of the train station of Gent, Belgium

Quick facts

  • Capital: Brussels

  • Population: 11 million

  • Language: Flemish, French, German

  • Currency:

  • Euro (EUR) Dialing code: +32
     

Train stations in Belgium

The main hub stations in Belgium are Bruxelles Midi/Brussel Zuid, Brussel Centraal, Brussel Noord, Antwerpen Centraal, Gent Sint-Pieters and Luik Guillemins. At these train stations, it's possible to connect to trains to Belgium’s main cities and many international destinations.
 

Station facilities

Stations in Belgium usually have excellent facilities, often including:

  • Luggage lockers

  • Foreign exchange desks

  • Restaurants and cafés

  • Tourist information offices

  • ATM cash machines

  • Elevators and escalators

  • Access for disabled passengers
     

Spelling of city names

On the Eurail train timetable and at stations you'll usually find the local spelling of Belgian cities and train stations.

Here is the local spelling of some popular Belgian cities:

  • Antwerpen = Antwerp

  • Brugge = Bruges

  • Brussel/Bruxelles = Brussels

  • Gent = Ghent

  • Oostende = Ostend

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