Please sign in to post.

Train Travel within Belgium

My sister and I visited Belgium last August. During that time, we were able to travel by train for reduced fares--perhaps even 2 for 1. I don't recall if that was due to our advanced ages or if it was some sort of 'promotion' just for that time.
I believe I first got wind of this 'special' on RSForum, but cannot recall.

We will be back in Belgium for nine days in April....and we were wondering if the reduced fare will be in effect during that time, or if someone could possible suggest where to look for the answer.

Thank you

Posted by
32228 posts

I've posted about that fabulous programme a few times. For seniors it is a really good deal. Just travel after the morning rush and you can go anywhere in the country ( trains crossing a border not included, but up to border is) and back for that cheap fare.

Posted by
10 posts

Hello! My husband I will be going to Belgium (staying in Bruges) later this month. There appears to be two apps (SNCB International & SNCB/NMBS. Is one better than the other? Or, does each serve a different purpose? Thank you!

Posted by
51 posts

There is also a "duo ticket" (I think that's what it is called) which allows two people to travel for the price of one though I think this is just a summer promotion. We used this last week.

Posted by
4440 posts

Thanks so much for this tip! Will definitely take advantage of the fare next spring!

So it's good to be old!

Posted by
342 posts

SPG,
SNCB International is the website for tickets to or from other countries. Use the regular SNCB for journeys within Belgium. I typically just go to the regular SNCB website, and it will direct you over to the International website if your origin or destination involves another country.

Posted by
66 posts

SNCB is the French abbreviation for the Belgian railway, whereas NMBS is the dutch abbreviation.

In the summer/holiday period you can book a duo ticket. So if you travel together, only 1 has to pay. For senior citizens you have a reduced fare, all year round. In the weekend you also have a weekend ticket. So if you depart on friday evening and return before sunday night, you get a 50% reduction on the normal fare.

If you go by train to the airport, don't forget that there is an extra airport fee.

Posted by
5445 posts

We will be in Belgium mid September and sadly, we are not quite old enough for sr. Tickets ;). We will be taking a few day trips from Bruges. It looks like we should just buy tickets day of and there isn’t any options for savings. When we buy our tickets, is there any way to get an open ended return or do we need to specify time?

Posted by
7049 posts

Jules, domestic rail services in Belgium are unreserved. You may encounter crowded trains at rush hour or school hours. But you never have to specify the time to buy a standard domestic ticket. Well, in Second Class, anyway. I haven't been recently, but when I was last there, you did have to specify a DATE if it was not "today". That can be annoying.

I don't mean to flog a wasteful or annoying idea, but one time my wife and I bought a ten-trip all-Belgium ticket. You just write the destination in (before the first train to that place starts moving) on as many of the ten lines as you have passengers. For short trips, it's wasteful. For longer trips, it's a bargain. But you don't have to wait in line for a clerk or a machine and miss the train you want. Sometimes, I wrote in a slightly farther destination, in case I changed my mind, or the weather changed during the trip.

Posted by
76 posts

Jules, The regional train tickets are good for any train that day so no need to specify (as long as same start and stop station). We used the SNCB app mentioned above to purchase the tickets, no waiting at the ticket office. The app also tells you which platform, live info on time delays (+2 means delayed 2 minutes), prediction on occupancy levels (low, mid high), and journey info so you know how many stops until your destination (good if you can't hear the announcements). Set up your account and check it out before your trip, but you have to go into MySNCB>Settings>location>not granted to be able to test it out and see actual train journey options. Then remember to switch your location access back when you get there. If you have location granted here in the US it won't work.

Posted by
10 posts

Hi, Jules! My husband & I just returned from a week's vacation in Bruges.
The train system is very efficient in Belgium, albeit a bit expensive. But, if you buy the duo ticket ( if it's in season that you'll be visiting Belgium -- someone said it may be a seasonal thing?), you can make it work.
To give you an idea, from Bruges we went to the Herge museum (Louvain-le-Neuve), which is some ways southeast of Brussels, and it cost us about 63 euros round trip on first class.

We decided to go with first class because we were always guaranteed a seat, and it's less crowded. We had bought a 2nd class ticket from the airport and couldn't find any seats on the train.

Also, you can buy the tickets on the day of. As for an open-ended return, I did not see that option.

Also, if you'd like to save a bit of money, there is a free shuttle from Bruges Station to the Markt area. They make various stops throughout the neighborhood surrounding the square. The free shuttle bus is at the Kiss & Ride. It's very non-descript sign. It's adjacent to where all the public buses come around. There's a little sign that says CENTRUM (or something like that). And the bus is a cute little box-like thing. DM me if you're interested in knowing more.

Posted by
5445 posts

I appreciate all the info. I think the Duo tickets were just for the summer. I have been noticing that the Belgium train tickets are pricier than other countries. It is what it is. . .