The Belgium trains are king when it comes to the various Belgium transportation options. Simply put, Belgium boasts one of the best rail systems in the world. When you go by train in Belgium, you can leave the driving up to someone else and simply sit back and watch the countryside go by. It doesn’t get any easier. To make things more convenient, there are various rail passes available to Belgium visitors that allow them to purchase a set amount of Belgium rail journeys. These can be a good value if you know that you are going to depend on the Belgium trains as your primary way of getting around. A Belgium rail pass won’t be ideal for everyone, however, and if you like to do things a bit more spontaneously, you can buy your tickets as you go. Nearly every Belgium city or town has a train station, and so when you’re ready to pick up and see what another destination has to offer, there’s a train in Belgium waiting to take you there.
As soon as you arrive in Belgium, you can turn to the Belgium trains for transportation. There are trains at Belgium’s main airport that transport travelers to and from Brussels, which has five different stations. There are train stations in Brussels on the north side of town, the center of town, and the south side of town, so depending on where your hotel is, you can choose your station accordingly. The trains from the Brussels National Airport can get you to the city in just 25 minutes, and they have ample baggage space. In addition to flying into the country, you can always take a train to Belgium. From London, you can hop on the high-speed Eurostar and get to Brussels sooner than you think, and the equally zippy Thalys trains connects Brussels with Paris and Amsterdam.
A train to Belgium doesn’t have to take you to Brussels if that is not a featured stop on your Belgium vacation itinerary. However, if you do want to spend some time in Brussels before heading on elsewhere, you can easily hop on a train to get there from a number of European cities. Once you’re ready to leave Brussels, you can head in any number of directions. It’s just an hour to Brugge from Brussels when you take a Belgian train, and the trips to both Ghent and Antwerp are even shorter. From those destinations, you can then hop on a train to get the coast for a day or more of fun at one of the Belgium beaches. Knokke and Ostend are both easily reached by rail from Brugge, and once you get on the coast, you can hit other towns by using the coastal tram, which is essentially a sort of cable car. Heading south or east of Brussels is also an option. You can take a train from Brussels to Liege or Dinant and visit other towns in the French-speaking Walloon region by train as well. Sure, renting a car in Belgium is always an option, but it’s surely not necessary.
As mentioned, taking a train to Belgium doesn’t have to mean stopping in Brussels. You can get to Liege by rail from Amsterdam, Paris, Cologne, and Luxembourg, for example, and Ghent is also reachable from Paris. Traveling by train in Europe is popular for a reason, and Belgium is no different. Not only will traveling by train in Belgium be relatively easy on your wallet, but you can expect a safe and clean journey as well. Much like the Belgium hotels, the Belgium trains are kept in tidy order. You can choose between first and second class seats on most every Belgian train, and regardless of the class, the journey should be pleasant. Going first class generally means more space, fewer fellow riders, and an increased level of overall comfort. Second class is more commonly used by most Europeans, and as such will tend to be more crowded.
In addition to saving some money by using the Belgian train system, you can also hop on a metro in Belgium. The only real metro system in Belgium is found in the capital city of Brussels. Antwerp has a much simpler system which it hopes to further develop in the near future. The metro in Brussels is a great way to get around, partly because it can transport you to all the top locations in the city. When you see a blue sign with a white “M” on it in Brussels, you have found a metro station. Be sure to look for artwork in the metro stations, as many of them feature impressive works by Belgian artists of the day.