There are two train services which travel between Amsterdam and Antwerpen:
(1) The high speed Thalys trains are faster and if you can book ahead, they're often not more expensive.
(2) The slower IC trains will be cheaper when the most heavily discounted tickets for those Thalys trains have sold out, so they will also be cheaper when booking last minute at the station.
Rail pass users can make big savings by taking the IC trains.
Final Destination: Paris Nord or Marne La Vallé
All trains also call at: Schiphol and Rotterdam
Of the two options for making the train journey from Amsterdam to Antwerpen, this option is the fastest because the Thalys trains travel on high speed lines for virtually the entire journey.
And the high speed line is also now the most direct route between these two cities.
However, if you'll be booking this journey just a couple of weeks ahead, you'll probably be able to save money by taking the alternative InterCity trains
Monday to Thursday: 13 x trains per day
Friday: 14 x trains
Saturday: 6 x trains
Sunday: 10 x trains
Book early and save: Yes
Online bookings open: 4 months ahead of the travel date
Trains departing at different times can be cheaper than others leaving on the same day, so you may need to look through the day's departures to find the cheapest fares.
Seats will automatically be assigned when booking tickets for journeys by Thalys trains.
The limited numbers of cheapest discounted tickets for the Thalys trains are similarly priced to the tickets for the, alternative slower InterCity Brussels trains.
So when you're booking ahead, you can get to Antwerpen faster, in a reserved seat; and it won't cost you any more.
Though when the cheapest Thalys tickets have sold out, you can usually save money by taking the InterCity trains.
Rail Pass Users:
Rail Pass users will need to be pay a reservation fee prior to boarding these Thalys trains
Reservation fees do not apply on the alternative IC trains, so if you will be making this journey with an InterRail or Eurail Pass, you'll save more than €15 if you avoid these Thalys trains.
|Ticket Provider||Approximate Cost|
|NS Intl||from €20|
|The Trainline Europe||from €20|
Despite the assurance of knowing that you won't need to board early in order to secure a seat(s), because reservations are mandatory on these trains, it's a good idea to be at Centraal station a minimum of 10 minutes before departure.
As can be gleaned by clicking the station guide, it can be a confusing location to navigate and the Thalys trains typically use the platforms (tracks) which are farthest from the main entrance.
It's not a scenically interesting journey, but look out around 15 mins before the train is due to arrive in Antwerpen for the dramatic crossing of the location of where the River Rhine meets the North Sea.
Final Destination: Bruxelles-Midi/Brussel-Zuid
All trains also call at: Schiphol Airport; Rotterdam
*Note that this Intercity Brussels service no longer departs from Amsterdam hourly.
Instead three of these InterCity trains per day, now commence their journeys at Den Haag.
So in most hours these Intercity Brussels services depart from Amsterdam Centraal at 22mins past the hour, but there are no departures at 10:22, 14:22 and 18:22.
Therefore if you want/need to depart Amsterdam by these Intercity trains at around these times, you will need to make a straightforward connection in Rotterdam.
13* x trains per day
Book early and save: No
Online bookings open: 6 months ahead of the travel date
Note that the tickets for these IC trains are typically available two months sooner than for the Thalys trains, so if you look up the journey more than four months ahead of the travel date, it can seem as though these IC trains are the only option.
The limited numbers of most heavily discounted tickets for the alternative faster Thalys trains are cheaper, but when they are sold out these InterCity Brussels trains are the cheapest option.
Rail pass users::
Take these Intercity trains and you can avoid the comparatively expensive rail pass reservation fees charged on the alternative Thalys trains.
|Ticket Provider||Approximate Cost|
|NS Intl||€20 approx|
What can surprise is that comparatively old trains are currently being used for a journey which mainly involves travelling on a high-speed line, but the current trains with their retro and comparatively basic on-board facilities, are a stop-gap because new trains are on the way.
These Intercity trains use the high speed line between Amsterdam Antwerp, but they don't travel at high speed; in contrast the Thalys trains are more than 100 km/h faster.
They also divert off of the direct route to call at Breda, where they also reverse direction.
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