Belgium has a brilliant integrated public transport system that allows you to get around easily and cheaply.
As a country in central Western Europe, the country is well set up for international transport. And public transport is generally considered good. We will explain the national and international public transportation systems so you can find your way around.
Using public transport in Belgium
The public transport system in Belgium is great, well-priced and easy to access. The train, tram, metro, and bus system are all integrated, so it is straightforward to switch from one form to another.
The three regional operators managing networks are De Lijn in Flanders, TEC in Wallonia, and STIB in Brussels. The world’s longest tram route runs across the Belgium coastline for people enjoying beach holidays. The De Kusttram provides easy access from the French and Dutch borders to beaches.
The MOBIB-cards have taken the place of the traditional magnetic cards and paper tickets. You can buy these cards online (www.belgianrail.be), or at any local rail station. A card costs 5€ and is valid for 5 years. Once you have your card, you will be able to load it with different types of tickets or a season pass. If you have children under 6 years old, they can travel for free- 6 -12.year-olds may be able to travel for free with certain adult passes, or there are options for children’s passes too.
The Hi Belgium Pass was introduced in 2017. Brussels Airlines, Brussels Airport, SNCB, and several tourist offices combined their resources to provide a return flight, unlimited public transport by train, and two tourist activities for just 149€.
Getting around in Brussels
The STIB/MIVB runs the city public transport in Brussels. In Flanders, it is run by De Lijn and you will notice distinct yellow and red TEC buses in Wallonia. Some tickets will permit you to use the transport of any of the three companies, while others are not interchangeable, so it is worth checking beforehand. The ‘jump’ ticket and MTB season pass are interchangeable.
If you find a STIB/MIVB ticket office, you can top up your MOBIB card with a multiple-ride or a season ticket. You can also purchase these tickets at metro stations, online, from newsstands, and supermarkets.
It’s possible to buy single tickets from bus and tram drivers, however, they are 20% cheaper if you buy them beforehand. Multiple-ride tickets can be for 5 journeys or 10. As with single tickets, they need to be stamped in the orange box. When your ticket is stamped, you are able to travel on the bus, tram, or metro within an hour. You must stamp your ticket at each change. With your MOBIB card, children aged 6 to 11 can travel for free. An adult can travel with up to 4 children under the age of 6 for no additional cost.
The Go Pass 10 is a great choice for those under 26 years old. For 51€ you can get 10 journeys for up to 10 people. There are also Key Card Deals where you can get 10 short journeys for 20€ or 10 train journeys for anywhere in Belgium for 76€.
Public transport in Antwerp
In Antwerp, you will find the public transport system of trams and buses is run by De Lijn, there is an underground tram line passing under the city. You can purchase multiple-ride or season tickets at booths called Lijnwinkels), and it might be possible to find them at some newsstands, supermarkets, and stations. As with Brussels, it is 20% cheaper if you buy tickets beforehand, you can even do this via SMS. If necessary, you can still buy single tickets from the driver.
Domestic trains in Belgium
The state owns the train network system and it is operated by SNCB/NMBS. The majority of journeys are cheap and efficient. It is advisable t by tickets before you travel as there is an extra 3€ charge to buy from the station guard.
You will often find long queues at the ticket offices so it is best to buy via the Internet or mobile when possible. NMBS/SNCB has its own app, you can print your ticket directly from the website, or show your SMS ticket. The details must be correct and correspond with your ID.
Discount tickets are available for those looking for work and pregnant women in their last four months of pregnancy can upgrade to 1st class for free.
Belgium’s discounted weekend trips
A B-excursion pass is just one of the options for local getaways. These passes include transport and admission to attractions, or possibly half-price return travel at the weekend. If traveling with an adult, children under 12 can travel for free on SNCB trains. Four children can travel for free per adult, bear in mind that you may be asked to show proof of age.
International trains in Belgium
From Brussels Gare du Midi you can arrive at and depart from cities all over Europe. The EuroStar comes in from London and Paris and TVG trains come in from other French cities. Eurocity trains still run to most European cities from here. High-speed train tickets can be bought online or from stations.
Taxis in Belgium
In order to take a taxi, you will have to go to a special waiting ranks, as they will not pick you up on the street. There are various tariffs depending on whether you want to stay in the city center or the outskirts.
All taxis have meters. For longer journeys, you can pay a set fee. Ensure all of the driver’s information is clearly displayed in the taxi. If you prefer, you can telephone ahead to book your taxi.
There is a shared taxi service in Brussels capital called Collecto. This runs from 11 pm to 6 am and may cost as little at 5-6€ per person.