You do not need to book a seat on InterCity trains. All you need is a valid ticket for the journey you want to make for the required date. With this ticket you can set off when you want on the train of your choice. If you are travelling on board InterCity (IC) or local trains, your ticket will therefore never show a departure or arrival time.
You also won't find a carriage or seat number on your ticket, as you are free to choose a seat on board the train in the travel class indicated on your ticket (1st or 2nd class).
With your InterCity train ticket you can get on and off when you want along the route you have booked. You can also choose between direct connections or a journey with one or several changes. You can also use as many IC or local trains as you wish.
As a bonus, travelling on board of InterCity also gives you the right to interrupt your journey should you want to. If you're travelling from Brussels to Amsterdam, for instance, you may get off at Antwerp or Rotterdam and spend a few hours there before continuing your trip to Amsterdam (using the same train ticket).
Please note the following conditions:
Note: If you take a train that requires payment of a mandatory surcharge or a reservation (for example, Thalys) for all or part of your journey, you must pay this surcharge in addition to your ticket. Please check which type of train you are taking when you consult the timetable for your journey.
In addition the the Benelux, InterCity trains run in other European countries as well, offering their own services and fares. Some examples:
There are also InterCity trains which run across the European borders - often under the name of EuroCity. Some examples:
All these are available through SNCB International, via the Contact Centre, in 28 Belgian stations and in travel agencies approved by SNCB International.
You can take your bike on most trains. But conditions vary from one rail company to another:
Folding bikes and bikes in a cover measuring a max. of 135 x 85 x 30 cm (both wheels unclipped) can be taken on the train free of charge, provided they are placed in the space reserved for luggage. This space can be found at the end of the carriages. Due to limited space, bikes which are not folded up or have not had their wheels unclipped are not allowed on board Thalys.
In France, all luggage (including bikes) that you place in luggage compartments must carry a label with your name and seat number. Labels are available free of charge at your station of departure.
Folding bikes and bikes in a cover measuring a max. of 120 x 90 cm (front wheel unclipped) can be taken on the train free of charge, provided they are placed in the space reserved for luggage. This space can be found at the end of the carriages. Due to limited space, bikes which are not folded up or have not had their front wheel unclipped are not allowed on board TGV.
All luggage (including bikes) that you place in luggage compartments must carry a label with your name and seat number. Labels are available free of charge at your station of departure.
Folding bikes can be taken free of charge as luggage on Eurostar if they are no more than 85 cm in length when folded. They must be placed in a protective cover covering the bike fully.
Non-folding bikes (or bikes measuring more than 85 cm in length) must be handled by the Eurostar luggage registration service at a cost of €64, available in London, Paris, Lille and Brussels.
Contact the Eurostar luggage registration service
Folding bikes can be taken free of charge as luggage on ICE trains. However, due to limited space, non-folding bikes (even with front wheel unclipped) are not allowed on ICE trains. To travel with your bike in Germany, take regional or InterCity trains instead, on which bikes are allowed.
Conventional InterCity and regional trains
On most InterCity and regional trains, you can take your bike (or tandem, tricycle or bicycle with a trailer) if you purchase a special bike ticket, available online, at our Contact Centre or at ticket offices of stations with international ticket sales.
|Destination||Fare departing from Belgium|
|The Netherlands (via Roosendaal or Maastricht)||€4|
|The Netherlands* (via Breda)||€12|
|Lille, Roubaix, Tourcoing, Maubeuge, Aulnoye||€4|
As the number of spaces is limited, we recommend you travel at off-peak times. Loading and unloading bikes are the passenger's responsibility.
* For security reasons, the number of bicycles admitted on IC Netherlands (Brussels-Amsterdam and Brussels-The Hague) is limited to 4.
Taking your bicycle on Nightjet is only allowed on the trains equipped with a dedicated carriage for luggage and bicycles, with a compulsory reservation for a fixed price of €12 per bicycle each way. Such a carriage is available on the following connections:
Taking your bicycle on the direct Brussels-Vienna connection is not allowed.
However, you can take a foldable bike with you as free hand luggage if it's folded and packed in a format that makes it possible to store it above your seat or in the luggage racks of couchette or seater compartments.
For security reasons, it is not allowed to remove the pedals and/or turn the steering rod, nor to leave your bicycle in the corridor or near the entrance doors of the train.
On most trains, you can take your pet with you. But rules vary from one rail company to another:
ICE and "conventional" daytime trains (e.g. Intercity or regional trains)
Exception: animals are not allowed on board Thalys Snow and Thalys Sun.
Animals are not allowed on board Eurostar. Only guide dogs accompanying a blind passenger are authorised under strict conditions. They must have:
A special free ticket is issued for the transportation of a guide dog accompanying a blind passenger.
TGV INOUI to/from Brussels
NS International - Regus Express lounges, situated at Amsterdam Central, Rotterdam Central and Schiphol stations are pleasant relaxing spaces, where you can relax or work whilst waiting for your train. They offer a Wi-Fi connection and meeting rooms.
These lounges can be used by:
Unlike most high-speed trains, InterCity and regional trains in Belgium and the Netherlands do not require a reservation. For these trains, you get an open ticket, valid on board any train on the date shown (at any time of day) and on the route as indicated on your ticket. Great flexibility!
Similarly, on IC and ICE trains run by Deutsche Bahn, seat reservation is optional. Consequently, most tickets for journeys in Germany do not necessarily show the time either. Remember though, that the Supersparpreis, Supersparpreis Europa and Sparpreis Europa economy fares do require you to use the specific train you chose when buying your ticket. In this case, the train number and time of departure are shown on your ticket.
If you're travelling by InterCity train between Belgium and the Netherlands, buy your tickets at least 7 days in advance: the Early Bird fare offers around 40% off for travelling from Monday to Thursday and around 20% off for travelling from Friday to Sunday (depending on the distance).
If you're travelling between Belgium and Luxembourg, however, it may be cheaper to travel in the weekend: the Weekend fare offers 30% off your return journey from Friday to Sunday. And if you're younger than 26, the Youth fare will offer 30% off for travelling any day of the week.
If you're travelling between Belgium and Northern France with InterCity and TER Hauts-de-France trains, go for a return trip between Friday morning and Sunday evening: with the Weekend fare, you get 40% off. This Weekend fare applies to journeys to and from: Abbeville, Amiens, Annappes, Arras, Ascq, Aulnoye Aymeries, Baisieux, Béthune, Boulogne Ville, Calais Ville, Chantilly Gouvieux, Compiègne, Croix l'Allumette, Croix Wasquehal, Douai, Dunkerque, Etaples Le Touquet, Hellemmes, Le Cateau, Lens, Lezennes, Lille Flandres, Maubeuge, Noyon, Paris Nord (via Maubeuge/Aulnoye), Pont de Bois, Pont Ste Maxence, Roubaix, St Quentin (Aisne), Tourcoing, Valenciennes.
If you're younger than 26, there's a Youth fare for travelling between Belgium and the same destinations in Northern France. This Youth fare offers 30% off and is valid anytime.
For this type of train, there are no restrictions on the various fares. So you don't need to book ahead to get the best prices.
International season tickets are only available on the Brussels-Lille service (rail passes valid on TGV INOUI and Eurostar).
If you take the same journey regularly on a Thalys train, remember that Thalys offers several ThePass options (Premium or Frequent), which means you benefit from cheaper flexible fares. Check the Thalys website for more information about Thalys ThePass.
And lastly, as part of our national service, there are various types of seasonal tickets that are valid until the border (as well as specific season tickets to the neighbouring cities of Aachen, Maastricht, Roosendaal, Lille, Luxembourg and Maubeuge/Aulnoye). They can be combined with a rail pass from another rail company to continue your journey in one of our neighbouring countries.