Belgium was the first European country on the continent in 1835 to build a railway system. Nowadays a great number of Belgian cities can easily be visited by train.
Belgian trains are operated by NMBS/SNCB. Major stations are Bruxelles-Midi / Brussel-Zuid, Brussel-Centraal, Brussel-Noord, Antwerpen-Centraal, Gent-Sint-Pieters and Luik-Guillemins. You can travel from Brussels to Antwerp in less than 1 hour, from Bruges to Ghent in 30 minutes, from Ghent to Antwerp in 50 minutes.
Trains usually have 1st and 2nd class seats. Most international high speed trains have a bar open to all passengers. Here you will find a wide range of drinks, snacks and light meals. In some international daytime trains, a minibar is brought through the carriages, offering an assortment of drinks, sweets and snacks.
Bikes are allowed on most trains upon purchase of a special bike ticket. For some international trains a reservation is required. Trains do not always have a dedicated space for bikes; leave it in the vestibule area or consult the ticket inspector.
Whether reservations are required in Belgium depends on the type of train you are using:
- Intercity (IC): reservation not required
- InterRegio (IR) and Local (L): reservations not possible
- Thalys (THA), InterCity Express (ICE), TGV and Eurostar (E) international high speed trains: reservations required
The only domestic trains in Belgium that require a supplement are trains from and to Brussels airport. The supplement of € 2,20 can be bought in the station or train.
Belgium has direct train connections to the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France and Germany. You can travel from Antwerp / Brussels to Amsterdam by hourly InterCity trains. The direct connection between Brussels and Paris is only possible with the Thalys high-speed train. Reservations are required.
There is also a fast connection to London by Eurostar. This train is not included in the InterRail pass, but a special pass holder fare is available.