From Amsterdam to Brussels
Travel between Amsterdam and Brussels is possible by high speed and standard rail, airline flights and competing coach services…
1. Amsterdam-Brussels by Train
Travelling by train between Amsterdam and Brussels is certainly the best option in terms of time and convenience and gets you into the heart of the city centres. There are currently 2 choices available:
(1) The high speed Thalys service which runs from Amsterdam Central station to Paris Gare du Nord via Brussels Zuid/Midi station. The Thalys also stops at Amsterdam Schiphol airport, Rotterdam Central and Antwerp. Amsterdam-Brussels is served 12x daily and the journey takes just 1 hour 50 minutes.
(2) Taking the Intercity Brussels which runs hourly (16x daily) between Amsterdam Central and Brussels Zuid/Midi. The train makes stops at Schiphol, Den Haag HS, Rotterdam, Dordrecht, Roosendaal, Antwerp Central, Antwerp Berchem, Mechelen, Brussels Airport, Brussels North and Brussels Central. The Amsterdam-Brussels journey takes just over 3 hours 20 minutes.
Classes of travel on Thalys are Comfort 1 (1st class) and Comfort 2 (2nd class). Comfort 1 includes drinks and snacks served at your seat, newspapers/magazines and free WiFi internet. Comfort 2 passengers can purchase food and drink at the onboard bar. All seats onboard have individual electric power outlets.
International tickets are valid on the faster Intercity Direct trains between Amsterdam and Rotterdam where normally a supplement is required for domestic travel. It is possible to take this train from Amsterdam to Rotterdam to connect with the Intercity Brussels, though note the connection time is currently just 5 minutes albeit on the same platform set.
Holders of Dutch Railways NS discount cards receive a slight fare reduction off the Netherlands segment of travel. Travellers aged under 26 get a 35% discount off international tickets for travel between Netherlands and Belgium using standard trains.
As Belgium and Netherlands are members of the Schengen Zone agreement you do not need to go through a passport control check when travelling between Amsterdam and Brussels.
2. Flights Amsterdam-Brussels
It is possible to fly between Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS) and Brussels Zaventem (BRU)airport. The scheduled flight time is around 45 minutes.
Dutch airline KLM (Skyteam) has 5 daily flights from Schiphol to Brussels – the “Cityhopper” service is mainly aimed at business travellers and uses small Fokker 70 or Embraer 190 jets. Return airfares start at around €100 – note KLM now charges for checked luggage but you do get a complimentary drink and snack onboard.
Indirect services with a connection are available with the likes of Swiss, Lufthansa, SAS and British Airways – these are generally more expensive than non-stop flights.
There are train stations at Schiphol and Brussels airports which can get you to the centre of town in 15-20 minutes. The Brussels airport train to central Brussels runs up to 4x hourly.
3. Amsterdam-Brussels by Coach
Eurolines runs a frequent coach service from its Amsterdam Duivendrecht terminal to Brussels (CCN at Noordstation / Gare Du Nord) with departures throughout the day. The buses make various stops in other Dutch and Belgian cities and journey time varies considerably between services – anything from 2 1/2 to 5 hours. Try to choose a faster service. Fares start from €9 one-way.
The Eurolines sales offices are located at Rokin 38 in Amsterdam centre and at its Duivendrecht terminal; in Brussels there are sales desks at CCN terminal (Brussel Noord station) at Vooruitgangstraat / Rue du Progrès 80 and at Brussel Zuid at Place de la Constitution 10.
Megabus also offers cheap 5x daily coach service between Amsterdam (Zeeburg Park&Ride) and Brussels (Rue du Progrès at Brussels Noord station) taking 3 hours.
Quibus s is a French Railways subsidiary and provides a 2x daily Amsterdam-Brussels premium coach service. Coach stops are at Amsterdam Sloterdijk station and Brussels Zuid/Midi station. The trip also takes 3 hours.
Flixbus/Meinfernbusis a German coach company that offers services between Amsterdam (Sloterdijk station) and Brussels Noord 4x daily.