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Renting a car

3 friends and I are traveling to Europe in March and are for sure going to Brussels because that is where we are flying out of but also thinking of heading to Amsterdam for a couple days. Would renting a car and driving to Amsterdam be worth it? Or would you recommend taking train/bus?


Posted by
8889 posts

Driving a car out of Brussels or into Amsterdam would be a nightmare. The distance is 205 Km (130 miles) which is 3 hours+ assuming now delays getting out of Brussels or into Amsterdam. What would you do with the car while you were in Amsterdam?, there is no parking in the city centre. You can't return a Belgian car in the Netherlands, you have to drive it back to Belgium.

A High Speed train takes 2 hours from Brussels to Amsterdam city centre to city centre.

No contest - unless you want to visit somewhere between Brussels and Amsterdam that is only accessible by car.

Posted by
3318 posts

Train! Don't waste your time trying to can't use your car in Amsterdam. Everything is walkable or via very easy public transport.

Posted by
11263 posts

There are two kinds of trains on the Brussels to Amsterdam route. The fast Thalys trains use "airline pricing," meaning that advance purchase non-refundable tickets are cheap, and last minute tickets cost a LOT more. The price on the slower local trains is fixed, but they take longer and aren't as "nice." Either can work well, depending on your needs.

To see your options with prices, use the Belgian Rail international train site: Look at prices for tomorrow and for a few months out, to see the discounts available for advance purchase.

Looking myself, I see that last minute tickets on the fast Thalys trains are about €80 each way, while advance purchase tickets are €29 for "non-flex" and €45 for "semi-flex." The slower trains are €42 each way, but these take about 3 hours and 20 minutes. Thalys tickets go on sale 3 months prior to travel dates.

Posted by
227 posts

Driving in Amsterdam is to be avoided at all costs. Very congested and bikes coming from everywhere . NO parking ! Amsterdam is very walkable . While walking , make sure you're on the sidewalk and not on a bicycle path. Bike path is marked with a bicycle picture and somewhat reddish color. Keep wallets and passports safe , as you would do in any large , tourist city. Have fun ! It's a very nice city .