How to buy Cheap Belgium Train Tickets?

This article first appeared in My Travelogue by Bhushavali
 
HOW TO EXPLORE MORE OF BELGIUM, ECONOMICALLY & SUSTAINABLY

Belgium is one of the countries that was super connected with trains. To begin with, the first ever train connection in whole of Europe was between Brussels and Mechelen. Soon, the entire country was super connected with trains to connect to the seaport at Antwerp & Oostend to Mons & Liege and more to connect to the French Border. However in course of time, some of the passenger trains fell into disuse as more & more people started to own cars. Today some of such train lines are even used for recreation, re-purposing them as Railbiking, like the ones in Les Draisines de la Molignée
Check the Ultimate list of Things to do in Belgium with our Belgian Bingo.  How many boxes have you checked already?
  
Belgium Train Tickets types
  
  
However today with more & more awareness about Sustainable Tourism and the effect of pollution on climate change, we should be try as much as possible to travel to by public transport, esp., trains as much as possible. So, here are some ways to save more money on SNCB/NMBS voyages all over Belgium... 

The local languages in Belgium are primarily French & Flemish (the Belgian dialect of Dutch) with small regions that speak German as well. So, SNCB and NMBS are just the abbreviation of 'National Railway Company of Belgium' in the 2 languages. SNCB is the abbreviation in French for Société nationale des chemins de fer belges and NMBS is the abbreviation in Dutch for Nationale Maatschappij der Belgische Spoorwegen.

  
Euregioticket Meuse-Rhine Euroregion
  
ADULT TICKETS FOR DOMESTIC TRAVEL
  
The best aspect of Begian trains is that there is NO dynamic pricing for domestic travel. Most of the times I just book a ticket on my phone, standing on the platform, while waiting for the train. No matter you book it 3 months before or 3 minutes before, its the same price for domestic travel within Belgium!

SNCB DISCOVERY COMBI TICKETS (earlier called B-Excursion)  
It's a combo of entry ticket of certain places to see along with return train ticket for day-trips (return on same day). Works out cheaper esp if you're above 26 and traveling on weekdays (I'll tell you why soon). Of the places that we've been to, Bokrijk, Pairi Daiza and Grottes de Han could be done with the Discovery Tickets. If you're in a city other than Brussels, a trip to Brussels to visit Atomium, Natural Sciences Museum etc could be done with the SNCB Discovery Combi Tickets.

50% off on Standard round-trip fare if bought online, obviously when traveling during weekend (yeah, that's why I specified 'weekdays' above - on weekends with this 50% off this might work out cheaper than discovery ticket.  Its applicable on Friday too without time restriction in summers and after 7pm otherwise. 

MULTI STANDARD TICKET - €83 for 10 tickets
That's same as Youth ticket for people over 26 (obviously). Ofcourse it doesn't make sense for nearby places when the fare is less than €8 or when traveling in weekends (when you have 50% off). But this Belgian Rail Pass has a 1 year validity, so its perfect for longer distance travels, esp on weekdays. I used it for my trips to Eupen, Hasselt, Antwerp etc. This is not only  perfect for Tourists, but also for residents. The best thing is, this can be used by multiple people - 2 people can do 5 journeys or 3 people in 3 journeys too! Its basically a form of 10 rows where you have to fill before every journey. In 2 instances, I've even seen semi-filled tickets on Facebook Marketplace!

MUSEUMPASSMUSÉES - 50% off on 5 jouneys
I'm a big-time fan of Museumpassmusées and that's shouldn't be a news if you're a regular reader of this blog. One of the advantages of Museumpassmusées is the 5 Discovery Ticket coupon codes that come with it! That's 50% off on 5 return trip journeys anywhere in Belgium, as usual it works out best for longer journeys! However, this can be bought only if you're a resident of Belgium and not applicable for tourists.

ADULT TICKETS FOR INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL
  
EUREGIO TICKET€19 for 1 day for 2 adults
This is a weird, regional, but international ticket (unlike Interrail pass). Though EU Regio technically means European Region, geographically it refers to the region where Belgium, Netherlands and Germany borders meet. So the Euregioticket is valid in the regions of Liege, Limburg, Aachen and Maastricht in all the 3 countries. This is valid not only in trains, but also buses in the region! Euregio ticket is a day-pass. More weirdly, it is valid for 1 person per ticket in weekdays but 2 adults per ticket on weekends!!! The only drawback is that it cannot be bought online, it can be bought only within that region in the ticket counters, meaning, if you're traveling from say, Brussels, in Belgium, you'll have to disembark at Liege or Hasselt to buy this ticket.

TRAINS TO AMSTERDAM - Earlybird tickets
Earlybird tickets can be booked online, from major stations in Belgium to Amsterdam (via Rotterdam) at a reduced rate till a week before the travel date. Amsterdam to Antwerp train ticket is €20 (€25 on weekends) and Amsterdam to Brussels train ticket is €25 (€33 on weekends), one way. The number of tickets available are technically unlimited and you can take any train (time isn't fixed) of that day. It also means that the seat is not booked and on summer weekends, trains do get super crowded and you may have to travel the distance standing!

TRAINS TO PARIS - Izy trains
Unlike the rest, this doesn't come under SNCB-NMBS. While the superfast Thalys is available, Izy Trains are the low-cost, subsidiary of Thalys. Unlike trains to Amsterdam, the number of train tickets here are limited and seats are assigned. Brussels to Paris train tickets are priced at €10 for folding seat, €19 for a regular seat & €29 for comfort seats with extra legspace if tickets are purchased upto 3 weeks earlier. 
  
Discovery Combi Ticket SNCB_NMBS
  
YOUTH PASS FOR DOMESTIC TRAVEL
  
YOUTH TICKET (GO PASS) -  6.60 for 1 ticket or €53 for 10 tickets
You may be young at heart, but unless you're 'officially' under 26yrs, you can't use this. But if you are, you can essentially travel from anywhere to anywhere in Belgium at €6.60 per ticket if bought individually or €53 for a 10 journey pass . While a short trip like Brussels to Leuven doesn't make sense as its standard ticket price is cheaper, but on longer journeys where tickets go as high as €22 (Brussels to Eupen), super savings can be done with the youth ticket. The best thing is that it can be used by multiple people, like Standard Multi for adults. 2 people can do 5 journeys with the same pass!

YOUTH HOLIDAYS - €15 for 1 week / €25 for 1 month 
If you are under 26yrs of age, this is perfect for you. For €15 or €25 you can travel unlimited, all over Belgium for 1 week or 1 month. While the 1 week pass can be bought during any holidays, 1 month pass can be bought only during summer holidays (July & August). Yes, Belgium is very considerate towards young people to travel well and provides them with a lot of cheap Belgium Train Tickets!!!
  
Cheap Belgium Train Tickets Pinterest Belgian National Railway SNCB NMBS Tickets

Bhushavali

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

15 comments:

  1. Your children are so cute! This was such a helpful and thorough post. I'm really so bad at finding deals and doing things in a budget friendly manner. I'm hoping to get to Belgium next summer, I've been dying to go. The museum pass is an especially great tip, I'll be pinning this for later use!

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  2. We do love to travel by train when we are in Europe. Good to know that Belgium is well served by the train network. I have never seen combo tickets with train and entry to sights. So that is a good thing to check out. At first it seemed odd that weekend travel was cheaper. But then I realized that there must be a lot of business travel during the week. Good to know there are also deals on trains heading out of Belgium.

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  3. These are very helpful tips if you plan to use the trains in Belgium. The Weekend Internet ticket that saves you 50% of the full price seems like a great deal. I don't travel by train very often in Europe (although I'd love to), but my husband prefers to drive.

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  4. I am all for sustainable travel and it is great to know that the train connectivity in Belgium is amazing. I find this very useful because I am planning more Europe train journeys for 2021. I find the train tickets from London expensive when travelling with 3 children, it looks like it is better to get to Belgium first and take advantage of their cheap train tickets for onward journeys.

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  5. Europe travel by train is like a dream.. infact I love to explore anywhere through rail only . Infact those are some useful tips to grab a reasonable tips .only time I travelled by Rail was inter Poland . So next time when I travel to Belgium I would love to refer to your tips to grab a cheap deal.

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  6. Oh boy, this is one post that I am pinning right away. This is perfect for anyone heading to Brussels. The tickets and the various combinations make it so much easier to plan and save some bucks. And the trains do look pretty comfortable.

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  7. Oh woow this is so detailed and all these tips seem great when planning traveling around Belgium. I really love traveling by train and I think I a train journey around Belgium might be a fantastic idea for a trip during the spring.

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  8. This is such a detailed post, covering pricing, & options of passes available. Would love to explore Belgium by train, have only been to Brussels and majorly traversed the city by foot, though did heavily rely on U-Bahns in Berlin and Flixbus while travelling in Europe. The other plus is that it is so well maintained and economical at the same time. I like how you have emphasised on sustainable travel and trains being a great choice that way! Well articulated ��

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  9. Love the money saving section, super useful in an expensive city! The Weekend internet ticket looks especially valuable for long weekend visitors. Enjoyed the history section too. I had no idea the first train connection in Europe was between Brussels and Mechelen!

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  10. Wow! I had no idea that they have a weekend internet ticket promotion. Enjoying 50% discount is such a big help for budget traveler like me. Thank you for sharing these tips.

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  11. I love train travel and that too in Europe. Very soon, I will be planning for Belgium and so your guide is super helpful. It is good the price of domestic travel remains same though it is on time or months before. Weekend train looks good option and good that they are offering discount on Friday too. It is good you have given some international options too from here. Thanks for this sharing information and your review as sometimes these things are very confusing, if read on original site.

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  12. Love your point about being eco conscious travelr. Never thought of train rides as an important aspect of being a planet conscious traveler but it makes sense. Great tips on how to make it cheap as well (In belgium)

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  13. Your child is so big already! Love your guide to Belgium cheap train tickets, I think you tackled the topic well and hope I will have a chance to try your tips! It's a great way to save money, as trains are expensive in there.

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  14. I used to like to travel by train a lot, but I haven't done it for a long time. Maybe it's a good idea to visit Belgium this way. Thanks for the inspiration and all the valuable tips! When the pandemic situation calms down, I will be happy to go on such a trip.

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  15. Makes me yearn for a train travel...

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