Country info: Belgium (België/Belgique)
Rail companies: NMBS (Nationale Maatschappij der Belgishe Spoorwegen)
SNCB (Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Belges)
For booking international tickets to & from Belgium use NMBS/SNCB international website - www.b-europe.com
Train travel in Belgium: train types, tickets, fares, discounts & other useful info
National Train Service:
Train types in Belgium: Suburban, Local, InterRegio, InterCity, Peak-hour, Tourist, International & International high-speed trains
- Suburban (marked as S on NMBS/SNCF website): suburban service (CityRail) around biggest Belgian cities (Brussels, Antwerpen), no seat reservation required
- Local (marked as L on NMBS/SNCB website): short distance local service all over Belgium, no seat reservation required
- InterRegio (marked as IR on NMBS/SNCB website): passenger trains connecting major cities with smaller regional towns & villages, no seat reservation required
- Piekuurtrein (Rush-hour) (marked as P on NMBS/SNCB website): additional trains introduced to satisfy weekdays/holiday time peak-hours demand, no seat reservation required
- Tourist (marked as ICT on NMBS/SNCB website): additional tourist season trains, usually run during summer & mainly to the sea coast region, no seat reservation required
- InterCity (marked as IC on NMBS/SNCB website): fast intercity service connecting major Belgian stations, no seat reservation required
- InterCity / EuroCity (marked as INT on NMBS/SNCB website): daytime international trains connecting Belgium with Luxembourg, Switzerland, Germany & Netherlands, no seat reservation required
- Thalys / TGV / ICE / EuroStar: international high-speed trains connecting Belgium with France, Germany, Netherlands & London (UK), seat reservation compulsory for Thalys, TGV & EuroStar trains
Discounts, special offers & ways to save money for passengers traveling by train in Belgium:
- Weekend Ticket: special tickets for any return journey (within Belgium) during weekend period (+ certain public holidays), passengers receive 50% discount from the standard fare. Weekend Ticket can be purchased for journeys starting on Friday after 19:01 & entire day Saturday or Sunday.
- GO Pass 1: passengers <26 years old can take advantage of the special Go Pass 1 ticket allowing any single journey anywhere (except border 'fr'/'gr' points) in Belgium for the fixed ticket fare of just 6 euro. Go Pass 1 tickets can be purchased only online via SNCB/NMBS website
- GO Pass 10 (<26 years) or Rail Pass (>26 years old): tickets allowing 10 single journeys from anywhere to anywhere in Belgium (except border 'fr'/'gr' points) over the course of one year. GO Pass 10 costs 51 euro (which makes it 5,10 euro per trip), while Rail Pass is 76 euro (2nd class) or 117 euro (1st class). NB: best thing about both offers is that they can be used not only by one passengers, but also couple passengers can travel together on one pass.
- Senior Ticket: passenger ≥65 years old Belgium Railways offered special Senior Ticket - return ticket to any destination in Belgium for only 6 euro (2nd class) or 13 euro (1st class). Senior Ticket can be purchased for journeys on weekdays from 9am and whole day during Saturday & Sunday
- Large Family Ticket: SNCB/NMBS offers special 50% discount for adults & children >12 years old when traveling in families of ≥3 children, while children <12 years old travel free of charge
- Time to time NMBS/SNCB has a few special offers available during holidays, summer season or any other special occasion, for instance special 'Summerticket' (for travel during summer), 'Shoppingticket' (for travels during Christmas time), 'GO Unlimited' (for Easter holidays) etc., thus make sure you check www.belgianrail.be for currently available offers
- If you are not youth/senior passenger, but still plan to travel a lot by train in Belgium (and neighboring Netherlands & Luxembourg) and most of those trips aren't short distance, then it might make sense to think about buying Eurail (non Europeans) or Interrail (Europeans) rail pass for Benelux countries. Keeping in mind rather high Belgium domestic train ticket prices (stadard full fare) and not cheap Belgium-Netherlands & Belgium-Luxembourg international tickets pass can actually make sense with some itineraries.
- Passengers planning trips in Belgium also can take advantage of SCIC-NRT international tickets for domestic journeys (for more info in Western Europe – how cheap it can be?). For example SCIC-NRT ticket from the very northwest of Belgium - Oostende - to the farthest southeast part of the country - Arlon (via entire country) valid for 15 days & allowing unlimited stopovers on the way costs only 27 euro. Basically in such cases SCIC-NRT ticket serve a role of rail pass for the predefined route
International Train Service:
a) Regular discounts
b) Special offers (SparSchiene)
Ticket offers with limited number of tickets per each departure (purchase in advance required):
- United Kingdom (EuroStar): from Brussels to London, one-way tickets from 56 euro or 78 euro return (time to time EuroStar also offers additional promo campaigns, thus train tickets can be even cheaper)
- France (Thalys): from Brussels (or Antwerp, or Liege) to Paris, one-way tickets from 29 euro (1st minutes offer) or 58 euro return, from Brussels to Lille (one-way from 19 euro), from Brussels to Valence, Bordeaux, Strasbourg & Lyon (one-way from 49 euro), from Brussels to Avignon, Montpellier, Marseille & Nice (one way from 59 euro), etc.
- Netherlands (Thalys): from Brussels to Amsterdam, one-way tickets from 29 euro, from Brussels to Hague for 21,60 euro (InterCity), from Brussels to Maastricht for 19,30 euro (InterCity trains), from Brussels to Eindhove for 20,10 euro (InterCity), etc.
- Germany (Thalys & ICE): from Brussels to Cologne, Aachen, Bonn, Dusseldorf, Essen (one-way tickets from 19 euro), from Brussels to Frankfurt, Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Nurmberg (one-way from 39 euro), etc.
- Switzerland: from Brussels to Basel (from 50,20 euro), from Brussels to Geneva (from 51 euro), from Brussels to Zurich (from 58 euro), etc.
- Austria: from Brussels to Vienna (from 58 euro), from Brussles to Kufstein, Worgl, Zell am See with "TreSki" overnight train (one-way from 89,50 euro), from Brussels to Innsbruck or Salzburg with change in Germany (from 77 euro), etc.
- Luxembourg (InterCity & EuroCity): from Brussels to Luxembourg (one-way 41 euro or 48 euro return)
+ special cross-border fares available for short distance trips from Belgium to:
- Northern France (Lille): so-called Trampoline ticket (1 day ticket from border region to border region, 8 euro for adult or 4 euro for child)
- Luxembourg (Luxembourg border ticket)
- Netherlands (Maastricht & Roosendal): e.g. Euregio Ticket (Liege-Limburg-Aachen and Maastricht) - 2nd class ticket valid for 1 day for all public transport (train, tram, bus) in the region, valid on weekdays for 1 person, Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays for a maximum of 5 people. Euregio Ticket cost 18,50 euro
- Germany (Aachen): e.g. Euregio Ticket (Liege-Limburg-Aachen and Maastricht) - 2nd class ticket valid for 1 day for all public transport (train, tram, bus) in the region, valid on weekdays for 1 person, Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays for a maximum of 5 people. Euregio Ticket cost 18,50 euro
It is possible to use Rail Plus Card in order to get discount on all NMBS/SNCB international connections (besides routes where Global prices tariff is used). Rail Plus card from NMBS/SNCB cost 25 euro for youth (<26) & seniors (>60) or 50 euro for adults (26-60)
In order to save on international journeys it is as well possible to use SCIC-NRT international tickets (for more details see 'Western Europe – how cheap it can be?' section). For example Antwerp to Luxembourg SCIC-NRT tariff ticket valid for 15 days & including unlimited stopovers on the way cost only 35 euro (basically such international ticket can be a rail pass for any predefined route you want)
How to Buy Train Tickets in Belgium:
National (domestic) tickets for journeys within Belgium can be purchased online SNCB/NMBS website - www.belgianrail.be
For purchase of international tickets passengers should visit www.b-europe.com
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