Belgium, like many other European countries, has actively invested and is investing in the development of railway transport. Today trains in Belgium are a great way for tourists to see more cities without the stress of flying. If you wish, you can easily travel by train to neighboring countries: Holland, Germany, Luxembourg and France. In this article I will tell you my travel experience. from Antwerp to Ghent. If you are interested in any other route in Belgium, then believe me, the principle of operation will be similar.
There are 3 main ways to buy a ticket for Belgian trains:
1) Online through various websites.
2) At the box office of railway stations.
3) In special machines (usually they are installed throughout the railway station).
And here at the stage of purchase there are nuances. Firstly, they are reluctant to let you in at the box office and the employees try to redirect you to those very machines. On the one hand, it is convenient - we are being pushed to automate processes (the machines work quite simply, the interface is intuitive), on the other hand, there is a significant problem - payment in machines is available only by card or coins.
If you prefer to pay in other countries in cash, then Belgium is a pain in this regard. The country is ditching the cache everywhere. Therefore, there are no machines that accept banknotes at all, and there are not so many installed those that accept coins. You can exchange banknotes in other special machines, but keep in mind that only denominations of 5, 10 and 20 euros are accepted for exchange.
And again, there are very few such machines. For example, for the entire huge station of Antwerp, I found only 2 of which only one worked.
* Here is my little advice to you - be sure to carry small denomination banknotes with you and get a card for payments in euros.
Tickets on regional Belgian trains are bought with open times for the day. That is, if you have a ticket for a certain date, then you can ride on any train along the purchased route, in any free seat.
The only thing - consider the class. Trains are mostly 2 classes of wagons, marked with numbers, the controllers check the availability of tickets and the correctness of the car.
Otherwise, travel on Belgian trains is similar to travel on other European trains.
1) Buy tickets in advance - the price will be lower.
2) If you are going to the airport, it is better not to wait for the last train, there are often delays and cancellations.
3) Do not throw away the ticket, even if the controller has passed. For example, at Brussels Airport, you need a ticket to get out of the station.
4) You should not drive like a hare, in Belgium they can immediately write out an impressive fine.
5) Trains are very popular in this country, so there may not be empty seats at transfer stations. If possible, try to depart from the central city stations, this will be especially true if you are traveling with luggage.
Below is the point with the location of the railway station in Antwerp (Antwerpen-Centraal), you definitely won’t pass by. The station in this city is one of the central attractions.