Growing up in Belgium I`ve learnt that our public transportation is a great way to get around. There are trains, buses and trams to get you to where you need to be. Because Belgium is centrally located in Europe, it`s a great base to travel to other countries as well.
Belgium is divided in three parts: Flanders (Flemish part), Wallonia (French part) and Brussels. This makes for different companies to be in charge in these three parts. The train network has one main operator though, which I covered in a separate article: trains in Belgium.
- Coast Tram, or Kusttram in Dutch, covers almost the entire Belgian Coast from France to the Netherlands making it the longest single tram line in the world.
- Other tram networks exist in the cities of Brussels, Antwerp and Ghent.
De Lijn is the public bus transportation company throughout Flanders as well as towards and from Brussels.
- You can buy a single ticket in advance or from the driver. It`s always more expensive if you have to buy it on the bus!
- When planning on taking the bus a lot during your travels, consider buying a Lijnkaart in advance. Your journey will be 25 % cheaper this way. (more info)
- You can also opt for a Day Pass, 3-Day Pass or 5-Day Pass. This way you can travel unlimited for one or several days. Check for details.
Don`t know which ticket is right for you, then have a look at this overview.
The STIB offers a complete transport network in Brussels, including the metro (which is currently only available in Brussels). For more information on timetables and prices, go to STIB.be.
- MOBIB basic card: a plastic chip-card where you can load journey or day fares to. The card has to be validated at metro stations or on buses/trams. (This card is similar to the Oyster card in London) The MOBIB journey fares are 10% cheaper than normal tickets. You can recharge the card at several places. Check here for more details.
- JUMP: paper ticket that you have to stamp at the orange machines. It`s cheaper to buy your ticket in advance, you`ll pay more when buying from the driver. There are single fares, 5-trip cards, 10-trip cards, 1 day cards etc. For more information on different tickets, check here.
Unfortunately I`m not very familiar with public transport in Wallonia.
TEC offers a bus service throughout Wallonia as well as towards and from Brussels. You can check www.infotec.be for more information.
Our main international airport is Brussels Airport, Zaventem. Charleroi, also known as Brussels South is used mainly by Ryanair. There`s are two smaller airports: Antwerp Airport and Liège Airport.
Public transport from and to Brussels Airport is either bus or train. Check here for bus schedules and here for train travel.
To and from Brussels South, Charleroi, there`s a Brussels City Shuttle that leaves from the main train station, Brussels Midi. Or you can travel to Charleroi by train and then a direct bus line A. For more info.
Have you used public transportation in Belgium? What did you think about it?
As someone from Belgium, I avoid our public transportation at all cost:D
You did give a good round-up, though!
We have a lot of transportation possibilities, you just never know if they’ll arrive on time… or at all, with all the strikes.
I agree Sofie, we do have a lot of delays and strikes, but I`ve also come to realize since I`ve been traveling that our country is very well connected through public transportation. And even though it`s really annoying when waiting for a bus or train (trust me, I`ve been there… a lot!), I sometimes take it for granted how easy it is to get around our country without a car. Thanks for stopping by!
Rafael Lombarde says
The city transportation is very good in Bruxelles and Anvers, but the trains from the Aéroport de Bruxelles are disgusting. They are covered in graffiti inside and out, dirty with ripped damaged upholstery. Not a very pleasant welcome to Belgium, especially as it is the seat of the gouvernement de l’Union européenne…
Sorry to hear that Rafael. The trains I`ve taken into Brussels Airport have always been clean and comfortable, however I travel via Leuven and I don`t know about the other trains. I agree, it doesn`t make a good impression if they`re dirty. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Good summary! You forgot an other small airport though, the one in Ostend! Mainly flights from Jetairfly but also from Thomas Cook: http://www.ost.aero/
Also funny how you say STIB for the public transport in Brussels, I’m more used of saying MIVB. But I guess that’s personal since it’s the same anyway 🙂
By the way, other cool way to buy your ticket for tram/bus from De Lijn company! Just text to 4884 en write DL -> this ticket is for 60minutes (transfers included) or write DL120 for 120 minutes. The reply is your ticket 🙂 This is convenient for people with a Belgium phone number, it’s about 23% cheaper then a normal ticket. But I can imagine that it might be handy for travelers to if they’re for example in a hurry and don’t have the time anymore to buy a ticket.
Thanks for the tip on the text message. I haven`t used it myself yet, so good to know it works!
I VISITED BELGIUM AND PARIS IN AUGUST. I WAS SO PLEASANTLY SURPRISED WITH BELGIUM, ESPECIALLY LEUVEN. LEUVEN ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL CITIES I HAVE EVER SEEN. BRUSSELS AND BRUGGE WERE ABSOLUTLEY SPECTACULAR. I HAVE TO SAY BELGIUM WAS MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN PARIS. EVERYONE WAS SO FRIENDLY. AND IT WAS ALSO VERY REASONABLE. WHEN YOU VISIT EUROPE GO TO BELGIUM, YOU WILL LOVE IT. CANT WAIT TO GO BACK!!
Thanks so much Belle! Glad you enjoyed our country. Hope to see you back here soon 😉