Traveling by Train From Amsterdam to Brussels
Amsterdam and Brussels are two very iconic and popular cities to visit. We may have a slightly biased opinion, but the best way to travel from Amsterdam to Brussels is by train!
After your Dutch breakfast, make your way to the Amsterdam Centraal Station – right in the city center. Here you’ll get on-board the Thalys train that will take you to the Brussels Midi Station – also in the city center. The total travel time is just under 2 hours and during that time, you’ll be riding in comfort on the famed ‘red train’. Thalys offers various classes of service to choose from, prices start at $97 per person.
There is a regional train that operates on the Amsterdam to Brussels route, travel time is a little over 3 hours and rates start at $51 per person. This train departs from the Amsterdam Centraal Station, but you will arrive at the Brussels Nord Station, a little outside of the city center.
Things to See & Do in Amsterdam and Brussels
We couldn’t possibly supply you with everything there is to see and do in Amsterdam and Brussels in one blog post, it would be an extremely long read! However, there are many top sights to experience in both of these cities that travelers should be mindful of.
We’ll begin in Amsterdam. We like to think of Amsterdam as a life-sized dollhouse. Its 17th century historical atmosphere make the whole city seem intimate. Small-scale buildings, little gathering squares and narrow streets add to the Lilliputian allure.
Amsterdam has the highest museum density in the world. Van Gogh, one of Holland’s most famous artistic sons has a museum dedicated to his life and works in Amsterdam. First time visitors to the city of canals will want to pay a visit to the Rijksmuseum. This museum is dedicated to the art and history of Amsterdam. It houses masterpieces from iconic artists such as Rembrandt and Vermeer and ranks as one of the worlds finest art museums. The Holland Pass provides free entry into the Rijksmuseum.
Most travelers to Amsterdam will make a point to visit the Anne Frank House. You can tour the rooms behind the bookcase, where a young Jewish girl spent two years of her life hiding from the Nazis. This is an emotional landmark in the city, full of history, and a mix of sadness and hope.
There are a few ways to get around this city of tulips: Take a canal bus, which uses a hop-on/hop-off system similar to a tour bus. With 19 stops near top tourist attractions, including the Heineken Brewery, you’ll hear English commentary that offers insight you may not find in a guidebook. For a more local approach to the city of Amsterdam, you can rent a bicycle and get lost in the city’s maze of culturally diverse neighborhoods!
Let’s move on to Brussels, capital city of Belgium. This city is known for quirky things such as a fountain statue called “Manneken Pis,” Belgian waffles and chocolates as far as the eye can see and some of the world’s most beloved cartoons.
We’ll begin with Mannekin Pis, this is the sculpture of a young boy urinating into a fountain below him. You can find this statue at the corner of rue de Chene and rue de l’Etuve. This fountain is an amusing break from the museums and historical sites. Depending on when you visit, there is a good chance that the boy in the fountain will be donning a special costume. He’s been decorated in many different outfits! You can view these outfits at La Maison du Roi (King’s House), where the collection is housed.
For those seeking a more traditional sightseeing excursion, we suggest heading two blocks north of Mannekin Pis to visit the Grand-Place. This is the main square in Brussels, centrally located in the city. This square is transformed into an amazing Christmas Market in the winter – which is definitely worth a visit!
Brussels doesn’t really have a Versailles, nor can it boast a Louvre or a British Royal Museum. The city has made a few significant contributions to the world of museums, however. You can visit the Royal Museum (containing the “Rubens Room,” which houses more than 20 works by classical artist Peter Paul Rubens), the Musical Instruments Museum (visitors are given infrared headphones to listen to some of the 8,000 instruments that are on display), the Magritte Museum (the world’s largest collection of the surrealist’s work), and the Museum of Cocoa and Chocolate.
Some other quirky sites to visit in Brussels include the Belgian Comic Strip Museum, designed by artist Victor Horta. This museum features the beloved cartoon character Tintin, among others. Moving on, Mini-Europe displays more than 300 tiny replicas of famous sites located throughout the European union. And be sure to visit the Cantillon, the last surviving family-run brewery in Brussels which produces Gueuze, a type of lambic Belgian beer. And of course, no visit to Brussels would be complete without a stop to the Atomium. this iconic and crazy looking structure was constructed for the World’s Fair that was held in Brussels in 1958. The Atomium wasn’t expected to last much past the fair, however, it became a well-known landmark for the city of Brussels. There is public access to go inside the structure where you can get amazing panoramic views of the city from the top sphere. This is a really cool way to spend a few hours in Brussels, you don’t want to miss out on experiencing what CNN has referred to as ‘Europe’s most bizarre building’!
We love Amsterdam and Brussels, we love the Thalys train that travels between these two cities and we hope that after reading some of our suggestions, you’ll choose to add one or both of these destinations to your itinerary. For those who have been to Amsterdam and/or Brussels, we encourage you to share your travel stories with us – and be sure to include some of your favorite sights to see in these cities!