If you haven’t yet read my full post on how to save money in Central Europe and use Brussels as a travel hub, you can click here to see it. Brussels has not only great transport links to other places within Belgium, but is surrounded by countries that are host to some of Europe’s most popular travel destinations. Transport is also very cheap to and from the Belgian capital, and staying in its city centre is much cheaper than its Dutch and French counterparts.
By far the most convenient way to travel between these two countries, there are several trains daily to and from Brussels and Amsterdam. Both cities are on the Eurostar line, but there are also smaller, national companies that travel the route at a more affordable price. In the peak summer months you can travel from £24.95 in one direction, but in the quieter months you can find tickets from as little as £11. Most journeys are either direct or have a change in Rotterdam, with the average travel time being around 2 and a half hours. If you have an Interrail pass you can use your pass to travel this route on the slower IC trains. If you can find train fares at reasonable prices I highly recommend this mode of transport. Trains in this region are largely run on electricity so not only are they the least impactful of all these options on the environment, but they are the most economical option, too.
There appears to be two tiers in terms of cost and time for coaches between these two cities. On websites like FlixBus, tickets can be booked in advance from as little as €8.99 for the four hour journey or €14.99 for the 2h45m journey. If you’re on a budget, spending an extra hour to save €6 can cover around a third of a cheap hostel in Amsterdam. Although the bus is the cheapest option, you have to weigh up the price with taking the subway from your hotel to the depot as well as taking the train or bus into the city of Amsterdam from the depot there. If, however, you find it to still equate to less than the train fare, then I recommend it purely because you are guaranteed both a seat and space for your luggage.
There are four daily flights from KLM alone on this route, and the flights all cost a standard £45 regardless of the time of day or year you book the flight. Personally, I’ve taken flights this short and for me it just isn’t worth the extra time, effort and inconvenience of getting from both city centres to the airport and back. Flights are twice the cost of trains, airports are at least an hour outside of city centres and time to get through the boarding and security process also has to be taken into consideration. Furthermore, it simply isn’t good for the environment.
Many of the larger car hiring firms allow you to collect and drop off cars in different countries, so if you fall into the category of being between 25 and 69 with a full driver’s license and don’t mind the two and a half hour drive, then this is probably the best option for you. I would suggest inquiring about your hotel’s respective car parking policies, but I definitely think the benefits of driving outweigh the cons. Cars can be hired from £10 a day with AutoEurope (plus petrol and a security deposit) and you can stop in places like Antwerp and Rotterdam en route if you so desire. Driving also gives you the luxury of not adhering to train, bus or flight schedules, which is also a huge plus.