There are two train services which travel between Amsterdam and Bruxelles/ Brussels
(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.
And unlike the Thalys trains they also call at Bruxelles Nord and Bruxelles Central railway station
When travelling by train from Amsterdam to Bruxelles, you can take these trains, or the alternative slower, InterCity trains.
Two big ticks in the box from taking these trains:
(1) Despite being faster, the most heavily discounted tickets, tend to be no more expensive than for the InterCity trains
(2) Tickets include a seat reservation
Taking these Thalys/Eurostar trains:
Final Destination: Paris Nord or Marne La Vallé or Brussel-Zuid
All trains also call at: Schiphol; Rotterdam; Antwerpen
Note that these Thalys (and Eurostar) trains do not call at Bruxelles Nord or Bruxelles Central, but the alternative (slower) InterCity Brussels trains do call at those stations.
The Eurostar trains:
The Eurostar trains from Amsterdam to London call at Bruxelles-Midi/Brussel-Zuid station and tickets can be booked for journeys by Eurostar between these cities, so they have been included in the frequency total.
Monday to Thursday: 14 x trains per day
Friday: 15 x trains
Saturday: 7 x trains
Sunday: 11 x trains
When looking up tickets for this journey, keep in mind that these Thalys trains don't arrive at the central station in Bruxelles/Brussels.
Therefore when a ticket service offers a selection of arrival stations in the city, choose the Midi station, or the 'South' station.
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 Bruxelles/Brussels faster, in a reserved seat - and it won't cost you any more.
Though when the cheapest Thalys tickets have sold out, you can save money by taking those InterCity trains.
Rail Pass Users:
Rail Pass users will need to be pay a reservation fee prior to boarding.
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 €29|
|Happy rail||from €29|
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.
These trains use the high speed line between Amsterdam and Antwerpen, but are not high speed between Antwerpen and Bruxelles/Brussels, because between those cities they have to use conventional tracks, though engineering works are ongoing to speed up this part of the route.
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.
The best of these views are on the left.
And, as can be seen, you can see windmills between Schiphol and Rotterdam.
Final Destination: Bruxelles-Midi/Brussel-Zuid
All trains also call at: Schiphol Airport; Rotterdam; Antwerpen; Mechelen; Brussels Airport, Bruxelles Nord.
These Intercity trains from Amsterdam to Bruxelles are slower than the alternative high speed train, but here are four reasons why taking the Intercity can be an option worth considering:
(1) When the most heavily discounted tickets for the faster trains have sold out, these Intercity trains become the (much) cheaper option.
If you want to book last minute tickets at the station, you can save more than €20 by taking these trains.
(2) Book in advance and the tickets will be date, but not train specific so you can hop on any train on your travel date (book the cheapest Thalys ticket and you'll be committed to travelling by a specific departure).
(3) If you will be travelling with a rail pass, you can avoid the comparatively expensive rail pass reservation fees, that are charged on the alternative Thalys trains.
(4) These IC trains make additional station calls in Bruxelles compared to the Thalys trains.
Heading to Bruxelles/Brussels city centre:
Note that these InterCity Brussels trains call at Bruxelles-Central station - the most convenient station for the city centre, hence it being the default destination station for this journey summary.
These InterCity trains also call at Bruxelles-Nord station - particularly useful if your final destination is on the Bruxelles 'pre-Metro' tram lines 3 or 4.
If you'll be heading to Bruxelles-Nord from Amsterdam and take the high speed trains, your end-to-end journey will only be around 25 mins faster; and it won't be direct.
In contrast, the only station in the city that the alternative Thalys trains call at is Bruxelles-Midi Brussel-Zuid - which is the station in Bruxelles that these InterCity trains terminate at.
Brussel-Zuid lives up to its name because it is located to the south of the city centre.
Choosing An InterCity departure:
Note that this Intercity Brussels service no longer departs from Amsterdam hourly.
3 x trains per day now commence their journeys at Den Haag.
In most hours these Intercity Brussels services depart from Amsterdam Centraal at 22mins past the hour, but there are no departures at 10:25, 14:25 and 18:25.
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: Yes
Online bookings open: 6 months ahead* of the travel date - USUALLY
*Note that if you are looking up this journey more than 4 months ahead, only the tickets for this Intercity Brussels service will be on sale.
These Intercity Brussels trains are slower, but typically cheaper; though if you're booking more than a couple of weeks ahead, the price difference between the two services can be less than €5.
However, when the discounted tickets for the Thalys trains are sold out, these InterCity Brussels trains are the cheapest option
So, if you will be booking tickets on your day of travel, these InterCity trains will be (much) cheaper than the Thalys trains
If you want to take one of these DIRECT InterCity trains, look for the trains that have '0' changes and only 'IC Brussels' shown by the journey.
Rail pass users:
Take these Intercity trains and you can avoid the comparatively expensive rail pass reservation fees that are charged on the Thalys trains.
|Ticket Provider||Approximate Cost|
|NS Intl||from €25|
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 Dutch high speed line, but they don't travel at high speed; in contrast the Thalys trains are more than 100 km/h faster.
They also divert of the direct route to call at Breda; where they also REVERSE direction.
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