The Belgium public transport network is quite extensive, making it easy to travel through Belgium on train, tram or bus.
At first our public transport system might sound a bit confusing for foreigners, since it’s nearly as divided as our local governments. Luckily it’s far much easier to explain and rather convenient to use, once you get a hang of it and know the tricks.
In this guide I will try to explain everything you need to know about getting around in Belgium using the public transportation network, how all the different ticket systems work and what kind of tickets you should buy to get the cheapest rate.
- The Mobib Travel Card
- Traveling by train in Belgium
- Brussels Public Transport System
- Flanders Public Transport System
- Wallonia’s Public Transport System
There are 4 different transport companies operating the public transport lines in Belgium. It has to be noted that all of these companies and lines offer great connection with each other.
The Mobib Travel Card
All different transport companies use their own separate ticket systems and rates. To make things easier, the MOBIB Travel card was introduced in 2018. It’s a chipcard that allows you to buy all the tickets you’ll need with 1 card and top it up at one of the many dispenser points. The card is valid on the entire Belgian public transport system and it will ensure you to always get the cheapest tickets at the easiest way, instead of having to buy much more expensive tickets on board.
The card costs 5€ and is valid for 5 years.
Only if you want to visit and travel around Brussels. Without Mobib Travel card you won’t be able to buy a Jump Ticket for the Brussels public transport system. For the rest of Flanders and Wallonia you don’t really need a Mobib Travel Card to get the cheapest public transport tickets, as long as you buy them in pre-sale instead of on-board. But having one sure does makes things much easier! Read more about this below.
The answer is probably yes! Having a Mobib travel card will make it easier buy all the tickets you need at the lowest fare possible.
This depends on how much your planning to travel around the country and rely on the public transport system. If you plan to visit and / or stay in Brussels, the Mobib travel card will needed in order to purchase JUMP Tickets at the lowest fare. However for the Belgian trains or to get around in Flanders and Wallonië, there are several other options to buy tickets tickets at the cheapest rate. Read more about this below.
Traveling by train in Belgium
Belgium has an extended railway system making it very easy to travel travel by train between all major cities and several smaller towns.
Standard ticket prices for adults vary according the destination.
Weekend tickets, starting from Friday after 19:01, are 50% cheaper. Children under 12 always travel for free, but teenagers and students can also count on some serious discounts.
If you’re under 26, you can buy a Go Pass 1 for 6€ that will bring you to any destination in Belgium. You can also get a Go Pass for 10 trips at the price of 52€. During the Belgian school vacations you can even get a special Go Unlimited Pass, allowing you to travel all across Belgium for 15€ for the entire week !!
A regular rail pass for 10 trips costs 76€.
Both 10 trip railway passes are valid for a year, and you can even let your friends or family travel with you on the same pass.
A MOBIB Travel card is not needed to get the best prices,
Traveling from Brussels Airport to Bruges, Ghent or Antwerp by train.
Brussels Airport has a underground train-station with up to 6 trains per hour, bringing you to all major Belgian cities and beyond.
Antwerp is only 30 minutes away by train and a single ticket costs 11,80€
Ghent is 55 minutes away by train and a single ticket costs 16€
Bruges is 1h30 away by train and a single ticket costs 21€.
Traveling from Charleroi Airport to Brussels, Bruges, Ghent or Antwerp by train.
Charleroi Airport doesn’t have a direct train connection like Brussel Airport has. However there is an excellent bus line connecting Charleroi Airport and Charleroi Train Station. There are train tickets available that include the bus fee as well.
From Charleroi train station you can take a train to continue to all major Belgian cities and smaller towns.
Brussels Public Transport system
There are 3 different companies operating bus, tram and metro lines in Brussels. However they all share the same ticketing system, which makes it very easy to get around in Brussels by bus and metro.
You can buy a Jump Ticket or day pass that’s valid on the entire Brussels public transport system.
A single jump ticket costs 2€10 and is valid for one hour.
Within this time period you can change lines unlimited. After the 60 minutes you can continue your ride towards your destination. If you need to change lines again, you need to buy a new ticket.
Daypasses include the airport bus.
A 24h daypass will cost you 7€50, a 48h pass costs 14€ and a 72h pass costs 18€.
A Mobib-transport card is required to buy a Jump Ticket or daypass. . It costs 5€ and is valid for 5 years.
More information: http://www.belgianrail.be/en/travel-tickets/passes-cards/jump.aspx
Brussels Public transport map: http://www.stib-mivb.be/irj/go/km/docs/resource/Plan_tiny/index-en.html
Public Transport in Flanders
The tram & bus lines in Flanders are operated bij De Lijn. It’s advised to buy your tickets in advance, since on-board tickets are much more expensive.
If you have a MOVIB travel pass, it will come in handy, but it’s definitely not necessary to use the trams and busses in Flanders. You can buy tickets in presale at trainsstations, grocery stores, kiosk’s etc. But it’s even cheaper to buy a mobile ticket using the offical app for Android or Iphone.
Single tickets are valid for 60 minutes. Within this time period you can change lines unlimited. After the 60 minutes you can continue your ride towards your destination. If you need to change lines again, you need to buy a new ticket.
Single Tickets cost 3€ in presale.
A single m-ticket costs 1€80 and is available on the official app of “De Lijn”.
Lijn cards are pre-paid cards. They cost 16€ for 10 rides.
Daypasses cost 6€ in presale and are available at Railway Stations, news paper stalls and grocery stores. When you buy them on the bus or tram, you’ll pay 8€.
A MOBIB travel pass is currently not necessary for using the flanders public transport system, but if you have one, you can of course use it.
Routeplanner De Lijn: https://www.delijn.be/nl/routeplanner/
Public Transport in Wallonia
Busses and tram lines in Wallonie are operated by TEC. It’s advised to buy your tickets in advance, since on-board tickets are much more expensive.
If you have a MOVIB travel pass, it will come in handy, but alternatively you can buy tickets in presale at the SELF-ticket vending machines you will find at trainstations or across big cities.
Just like in Brussels and Flanders are Single tickets valid for 60 minutes. Within this time period you can change lines unlimited. After the 60 minutes you can continue your ride towards your destination. If you need to change lines again, you need to buy a new ticket.
There are 3 kinds of single tickets, depending on the distance you’re traveling:
A single Next Ticket will bring you across up to 2 zones and costs 2€ in presale, or 2,50€ on board. This ticket will get you all around the city.
A single Horizon ticket has no zone limitation and costs 3€ in presale or 3€50 on board. These tickets are used to cover medium distrances and travel towards or between cities.
A Single Horizon plus ticket includes the fast busses which cover larger distances between different towns. In presale you’ll pay 5€ and on board 5€50.