There are multiple ways to travel around in Belgium. The public transport network is quite extensive and you will easily be able to go from place to place using trains, buses, trams and the metro.
To identify the classes, look for a number outside of each wagon or next to a "no smoking" sign. Seat reservations within the Belgian train network are available only for groups of 15 passengers or more. Most of the stations hold ticket offices or ticket machines where you can buy your train tickets. If there are no ticket-sale facilities at the departure station, you can buy your ticket without any extra charge from the on-board train crew. You need to find them before you go on board and make mention of the fact that you do not have any transport tickets. Otherwise, there can be surcharge. The fines for attempting to ride the train for free are quite high, so it is advisable not to attempt doing so.
People under 26 years of age can choose a cheaper ticket called 'Go Pass 10'. This costs € 53 via the app for 10 single 2nd class trips between two Belgian stations. People over the age of 26 may choose a Rail Pass, which offers 10 single journeys in 2nd class between two Belgian stations of your choice (frontier points excluded) for € 83 via the app.
Please visit the following websites for more information on schedules, prices and services:
ATTENTION: there are several types of trains!
- IC (intercity) is the fastest,
- IR (interregional) is relatively fast,
- L (local) is the slowest and stops frequently.
There are 6 international airports in Belgium:
- Brussels Airport Zaventem
- Brussels South Charleroi Airport
- Deurne Airport-Antwerp
- Liège Airport
- Ostend Airport-Ostend
- Kortrijk-Wevelgem International Airport-Wevelgem
Brussels Airport Zaventem is the main airport in Belgium. It is a focal point for international air traffic. There are daily flights from over 200 destinations and 66 countries.
Attention, if you travel by train to Brussels Airport, you have to pay a surcharge of € 5.25 called the ‘Diabolo’ tax (on top of your train ticket).
- Info: www.brusselsairport.be
Brussels South Charleroi Airport offers low-cost flights from and to many destinations across Europe.
These 2 airports are the most important and frequently used ones for passengers.
Public bus transport is organised by “De Lijn” in Flanders. You can buy bus tickets at the De Lijn shop outside of the train station, but also in newspaper stores and certain supermarkets. You CANNOT buy any tickets on the bus itself.
There are different kinds of tickets; the various options include the single ride (€ 3 on the bus or in the shop, € 2.50 by SMS or € 2 for an m-ticket), the 'Lijnkaart' (10 journeys for € 16) or a Day Pass (€ 7,5 for one day).
Bus drivers are usually quite helpful as are other passengers, so do not be afraid to ask people for help. Please note that after 18:00, there is a reduction on the frequency of buses.
Please visit the De Lijn website for further information on schedules, prices and services.
EU driver’s license holders
People with a valid EU driver’s license can continue driving in Belgium with their regural license until it expires. However, if you are moving to Belgium, it is recommended that you trade your licence in for a Belgian one, as this simplifies things should you be asked for your licence by the police. In the latter case, your license can also serve as a form of identification.
Non-EU driver’s license
If your license was issued in a non-EU country, you are allowed to drive in Belgium with an international driving permit for visits of up to six months. However, if you intend to visit for a longer period of time, or if you want to establish a Belgian resident status, you need to apply for a local license to be allowed to drive in Belgium.
Note: The minimum age for driving in Belgium is 18.
Fortunately, Belgium has a license agreement with certain countries so that their citizens are able to simply trade their license in for a Belgian one. However, citizens from most other countries need to get their Belgian driver’s license by taking both the written and practical driving test in order to legally drive in Belgium.
Getting your Belgian driver's license
To apply for a Belgian driver’s license or to exchange your licence for a Belgian one, you need to go to the town hall of the city you are registered in. To get the process started, you can register at your local commune office (French site, with limited English translation).
Driving in Belgium
- Important documents: It is compulsory to carry a driving licence, car registration papers and insurance documents in the car (Dutch, EU and International Driving Licences are accepted).
- Priority: As a general rule, any driver coming from a street on the right has the right of way.
- Buses and trams have priority.
- Driving under influence: The maximum permitted blood alcohol level is 0.5 g/l.
- Roundabouts: Unless indicated otherwise, a vehicle driving in a roundabout takes precedence over a driver who wants to enter the roundabout.
- Phone: It is illegal to hold a mobile phone while driving.
One of the most popular types of transport is the citybike. These bikes are used by many locals and are available in several bigger cities. Because they are all owned by different companies, they all have different names as well.
These types of transport are only good for short distances. If you need to travel for a longer distance, a good way to get to another destination is through car sharing. With car sharing you can use a car for a certain amount of time and pay for the kilometres and time you are using it. It is very easy and usually cheaper than renting a car from a car rental company. Cambio is the best known car sharing company in Belgium.