Bruxelles / Brussels to Berlin by train

How to take a rail journey from Bruxelles/Brussels to Berlin

There aren't any direct daytime trains from Bruxelles/Brussels to Berlin (they're near the top of SMTJ's European travel wish list), but it's usually a straightforward journey, most of which is on high speed lines.

But from May 25th there will be an option of taking a direct night train on three days per week



Option 1 - travel by day

Travel Information

There are no direct daytime trains between Bruxelles/Brussels and Berlin but the simplest journey options involve only 1 x change of train at Koln Hbf station.

Making this connection in Koln is not absolutely guaranteed, but a typical transfer between trains is around 33mins, which should ensure a stress-free connection.

And IF the train from Bruxelles/Brussels does arrive in Koln/Cologne particularly late, tickets will be valid on the next train on to Berlin.

Between Bruxelles and Koln/Cologne:

ICE and Thalys trains share the service of direct trains between Bruxelles and Koln/Cologne.
This doesn't particularly affect the journey time and connections, but it matters when booking tickets.
DB generally offers the cheapest tickets on this route on this route, BUT it only sells tickets for journeys that involve taking an ICE train between Bruxelles/Brussels and Koln/Cologne; and NOT the connections which involve departing from Bruxelles by Thalys train.

up to 8 x connections per day

Change trains in: Koln/Cologne


There are no direct daytime trains from Bruxelles/Brussels to Berlin.
When travelling from Bruxelles/Brussels to Berlin by train, some journey options involve taking an ICE train on the first stage of the journey between Bruxelles and Koln/Cologne, while others involve taking a Thalys train between these two cities.
The ticketing terms and conditions vary depending on the trains you will be travelling by.

(1) ICE train + ICE train:

Bookings open: 6 months ahead of the travel date (usually)

Book 1st class ticket journey tickets for the ICE trains and your seat reservation is included - but they're optional when booking 2nd class tickets, or if you will be travelling with a 1st or 2nd class rail pass.
DB will have the cheapest tickets and price match with the other agents for the journeys which involve taking an ICE train from Bruxelles.

Rail pass users should take the ICE trains.

(2) Thalys train + ICE train:

Bookings open: 4 months ahead of the travel date (usually)

Seats will automatically be assigned when booking tickets for the Thalys trains, but rail pass users will need to be pay a reservation fee prior to boarding.

DB does not sell tickets for the Thalys trains, so journey options involving both ICE and Thalys departures from Bruxelles can be compared B-Europe.

General booking advice for ALL journey options:

  • 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.
  • Use the ‘earlier trains’ and ‘later trains’ buttons to search for the cheapest ticket prices.

It can also be worth comparing the prices across the agents, particularly if you want to take a specific trains, as there can be variations in price.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
DB from €39.90

DB Guide

DB is the national railway operator in Germany, so its website can be used for booking journeys by German express trains; the ICE and IC trains and it doesn't charge booking fees.
It also sells tickets for journeys by direct trains on all international routes from Germany regardless of whether DB is operating the train service.

It also sells an extensive range of end-to-end journeys which involve making connections both within Germany and in neighboring countries, but journeys between Germany and Britain cannot be booked on DB.

A key feature of DB website worth keeping mind is that it offers 1st class ticket purchasers complimentary seat reservations on journeys both within and to/from Germany.
Seat reservations for daytime in both 1st and 2nd class can also be booked separately from tickets.

Two types of ticket have recently been made available;

  1. Cheaper 'Young' tickets which can only be booked by those aged 15-26 on the travel date.
  2. Flexi Plus tickets, which are now the most expensive type of ticket, but they're the only type of 2nd class tickets which DO include a seat reservation.
B-Europe from €39.90

B-Europe Guide

B-Europe is the website provided by Belgium's national railway operator for the sale of international rail journeys from and to Belgium.
Therefore tickets can be booked for the following international train services to/from Belgium

  • Eurostar
  • IC trains to France, Luxembourg and The Netherlands
  • ICE trains to Germany
  • Thalys trains to Germany, The Netherlands and Paris
  • TGV trains to destination in France other than Paris
    B-Europe offers a 'Best Fares' policy for journey by these trains.

It also sells international end-to-end journeys solely by train, with connections outside of Belgium, if you will be heading to popular destinations in Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Italy.

Users of Eurail and InterRail passes can also book seat reservations on the Eurostar and Thalys services without paying booking fees.

Omio from €40

Omio Guide

Omio is an online ticket agency which offers tickets for rail journeys in France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and Spain.

The three key advantages of using Omio are

  • it offers prices in multiple currencies
  • it usually offers price comparison with other modes of travel including flights and buses
  • when visiting Europe, you can book journeys in multiple countries in one transaction.

The disadvantage of booking with Omio is that it often adds a booking fee to the final price; therefore when it does so without offering a price advantage, SMTJ doesn't tend to offer Omio as a booking option.

Save A Train from €39.90

Save A Train Guide

Happy rail from €39.90

Happy rail Guide

Happy Rail is a Netherlands rail ticket agency which sells tickets for both national and international journeys within a range of countries including Belgium France, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland.

HappyRail doesn't charge booking fees in the conventional sense, but if you're not Dutch you can expect to pay additional transaction fees, which will be added to the total cost.
That's because the most common form of online payment used in The Netherlands is 'iDEAL' and HappyRail doesn't charge a transaction fee for 'iDEAL' payments, but only Dutch residents can sign up to 'iDEAL'.
Other forms of payment include Visa debit cards will incur a fee.

Journey Features

High Speed (total journey)

Good to Know

Final Destination: Frankfurt (Main) – the ICE trains

Final Destination: Essen/Dortmund/Koln –  the Thalys trains
Most of ICE trains also call at: Bruxelles-Nord
Note that the Thalys trains do not call at Bruxelles-Nord.
Neither the ICE or Thalys trains call at Bruxelles-Central.

A choice of train services:

The service of high speed trains between Brussels/Bruxelles and Cologne/Koln is split between
ICE and Thalys trains.

The timetable is arranged so that either one of these types of trains departs in each hour.

The ICE trains travel at the same speed as the Thalys trains; most of the ICE trains are around 4 mins slower than the Thalys trains due to their additional station call at Bruxelles-Nord.

Departing from Bruxelles-Midi/Brussel-Zuid station:

At Bruxelles Midi/Zuid station you will usually* have to pass through security checks before boarding these trains and queues can build up at busy times.
The security checks are at the entrance to platforms/tracks/voies 3 -6 and these ICE and Thalys trains to Koln are usually scheduled to depart from this part of the station.
But check the departure screens before heading for the security checks, these trains can occasionally be scheduled to leave from platforms/tracks/voies 7 or 8.

Journey Features

Scenic - NoHigh Speed (partial journey)

Good to Know

Final Destination:  Berlin-Gesundbrunnen

All trains also call at: Bielefeld, Hannover and Berlin-Spandau*

*If your final destination is in West Berlin, the fastest option is usually to leave these trains at Berlin-Spandau and connect there into S-Bahn commuter trains or Regio trains.

The station in the heart of West Berlin is Zoologischer-Garten, but these ICE trains do not call there.

If your final destination is to the north of the city centre, then it's likely that your best option is to take this train to Berlin-Gesundbrunnen station.

Check your onward connections in Berlin on this public transport map.

Travel overnight by train from Cologne/Koln to Berlin:

You can take an overnight train from Koln/Cologne to Berlin, but there are no sleeper trains between the two cities.
So if you need to be in Berlin by 07:00, you can take an ICE train, which happens to travel overnight.

This a journey on which we recommend having something to do on the trip, as it's a train ride with few wow moments.

A highlight of the train comes near the beginning, with the views over the city of Wuppertal, on the left hand side.
Between there and Bielefeld, the train will pass through an industrial landscape.

The train will travel at more than 250 km/h on a high speed line between Wolfsburg and Berlin-Spandau.

Option Two: Travel overnight

Travel Information

Final Destination: Berlin Hbf
This train also calls at Antwerpen Centraal; typically departs at 20:01

European Sleeper is a new train operating company with a mission to provide links between cities with no direct train connection.
It's trains aren't brand new, though they have been refreshed, but if you:

  • will want to travel direct by train between the Belgian and German capitals;
  • need a morning an arrival in Berlin;
  • won't need to depart Bruxelles on a weekend, or on Tuesdays or Thursdays.
    then this service provides a new option for the journey by train from Bruxelles / Brussels to Berlin.

The train departs on Monday, Wednesday and Friday


Book early and save: Yes
Online Bookings Usually Open: up to 6 months ahead of the travel date

The ticketing options depend on the type of accommodation you wish to travel by on the train.
The seats are straightforward, the ticket(s) will include a reservation.

In the couchettes you can either book a place; or solo travellers can pay more and book the entire compartment in order to have sole occupancy.
If you will be travelling in groups of 4 or 6 people, you will be the only occupants of the compartment.
But if you will be travelling in a group of 5, the only method to ensure you won't be sharing the compartment with somebody else, is to book six tickets.
Similarly if you will be travelling in a group of 3 and don't want to share a four person compartment with anybody else, you will need to book four tickets.
Female only couchette compartments are available.

The sleeping cabins are priced according to how many people will be occupying them during the journey.
Solo travellers can either:

  • Book a bed in a triple cabin and accept that you may share it with up to two other people (cheapest).
  • Book a bed in a double cabin, accepting that you may be sharing it with another person.
  • Book a single cabin, to ensure privacy (most expensive).

Pairs of travellers, who are happy to share a cabin, can either:

  • Book two beds in a triple cabin, accepting that you may be sharing it with another person.
  • Book a double cabin.

Groups of 3 travellers will have sole occupancy of a triple cabin, but groups of four or more will need to split the accommodation to whichever suits them; 2 x double cabins, or 1 x triple + 1 x single etc.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
European Sleeper Train *

On this journey

Journey Features


Good to Know

The train is typically scheduled to depart from Midi / Zuid station in Bruxelles/Brussel at 19:22.
Connecting trains typically depart from London St Pancras at 15:04 and from Paris Gare Du Nord at 17:25

The arrival time in Berlin is scheduled to be at 06:48.
Typical connections which should be available are:

  • at 07:34 to Nurnberg and Munchen/Munich
  • at 09:01 to Dresden*, Praha/Prague*, Bratislava and Budapest
  • at 09:51 to Poznan and Warszawa
    *= there is also a departure to Dresden and Praha/Prague at 07:01, but making this connection in time is not guaranteed
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