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Thanks to its small geographic size and well-established transport network, Belgium is a relatively easy country to get around. The country has an extensive train network. Belgian cities all have bus networks, some have trams, and Brussels has an established metro system too.
Public transport in Belgium
The country has a comprehensive and efficient rail network that offers the best way of getting around Belgium. Brussels and Antwerp have excellent urban rail networks, while Brussels also has a metro system, which offers the best way to navigate the city.
High-speed trains offer services between Brussels and other European cities, including Amsterdam, London and Paris. Thalys links major European cities like Brussels, Paris, Amsterdam and Cologne, and Eurostar connects to London through the Channel Tunnel. The German service InterCity Express and the French TGV also connect Belgium with other European countries.
Belgium has an established bus network for both inner- and intercity travel. However, buses are not as popular as trains for getting around Belgium.
Flixbus and Eurolines have routes in Belgium and across Europe. There are also regional operators, like De Lijn in Flanders, TEC in Wallonia and STIB-MIVB in the Brussels-Capital Region.
Several Belgian cities have tram lines, including Brussels, Antwerp and Ghent. In Brussels, the tram is integrated with the metro system, making it a convenient means of travelling around the city.
Taxis in Belgium
Taxis are plentiful in Belgian towns and cities, with numerous private companies offering services. They don't all look the same, but they can usually be identified by the taxi sign on the vehicle's roof. Metered taxis generally operate in different zones and offer variable rates. It’s best to negotiate the fare before setting off on a journey.
Ride-hailing services and applications are also available in most Belgian cities and are a convenient alternative to taxis.
Driving in Belgium
With such an extensive public transport network, most expats living in Belgium will find that it’s not necessary to own a car. But those wishing to have a vehicle will find that driving in Belgium is straightforward.
Roads in Belgium are typically well maintained. Toll-free motorways connect all major towns and cities. One thing that expats may take a while to get used to is the road signage, which can be confusing at times. Road signs in Belgian cities are largely bilingual, but road signs in more rural areas are usually written in either French or Flemish. This can be confusing as place names can be spelt differently in French and Flemish and signage may suddenly change from one language to the other, depending on the region.
Drivers from non-EU countries can legally drive for up to six months on their licence from home. After this, they will need a local licence. Some countries have exchange agreements with Belgium, allowing citizens to simply swap their foreign licence for a local one. Expats from countries without such agreements will have to take a theory and practical test to obtain a local licence.
Cycling in Belgium
Belgium boasts a strong cycling culture and well-developed infrastructure, making it a fantastic destination for expats who enjoy getting around on two wheels. The country's flat terrain and numerous dedicated cycle paths provide an enjoyable and safe cycling experience.
Many Belgian cities, including Brussels, Antwerp and Ghent, offer bike-sharing schemes, allowing locals and expats alike to rent bicycles for short periods at an affordable rate. These schemes are ideal for those who don't own a bike or prefer to cycle occasionally.
For those who wish to cycle long distances, Belgium's extensive network of signposted cycle routes allows for a leisurely exploration of the countryside, with options ranging from scenic coastal paths to challenging hill climbs in the Ardennes region.
Cyclists need to adhere to local traffic regulations and wear appropriate safety gear, including helmets and reflective clothing, especially when cycling after dark.
- There are cycling routes in Flanders, Wallonia and the Brussels-Capital Region.
- Blue-bike operates throughout Belgium, while some cities such as Brussels have their bicycle-sharing schemes like Villo!.
Walking in Belgium
Walking is another popular and enjoyable way for expats to explore Belgium's cities and countryside. Most urban centres are pedestrian-friendly, with well-maintained pavements and pedestrianised zones, making it easy to navigate and enjoy the local architecture and culture.
For those looking to venture beyond the city limits, Belgium offers a wide range of walking trails, from gentle strolls in the picturesque countryside to more demanding hikes in the Ardennes region. Many of these trails are well-signposted and suitable for walkers of all abilities. Belgium's coastal areas also provide ample opportunities for refreshing seaside walks, with sandy beaches and charming coastal towns to explore.
Air travel in Belgium
Due to the country's small size, there are few domestic flights between Belgian cities. On the other hand, Belgium is quite an international hub, with regular flights to the rest of Europe and further abroad. The main airport in Belgium is Brussels Airport.
Other major airports in Belgium include Ostend-Bruges International Airport and Antwerp International Airport in Flanders, and Brussels South Charleroi Airport and Liege Airport in Wallonia, all of which offer flights to other European airports and further abroad.
►For more specific information on travelling in the capital, see Getting Around in Brussels
"Public transport is overall very good. There are trains, trams and underground system, buses and taxis. You don’t need a car in Brussels itself, and in fact it could be a liability in some neighbourhoods; it is slower than public transport at busy times and parking can be very difficult." For more, read David's expat interview.
"Antwerp is small and with its narrow streets in the centre, it really makes more sense to cycle." Read more about Nina's thoughts on transport in Antwerp in her Expat Arrivals interview.
Are you an expat living in Belgium?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Belgium. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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