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Thanks to its small geographic size and well-established transport network, expats will find that getting around in Belgium is relatively easy. 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
Belgium has a comprehensive and efficient rail network that offers the best way of getting around the country. 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.
Belgium has an established bus network for both inner- and inter-city travel. However, buses are not as popular as trains for getting around Belgium.
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 several private companies offering services. Taxis 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 their own vehicle will find that driving in Belgium is quite easy.
Roads in Belgium are generally 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 generally 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 test to obtain a local licence.
Air travel in Belgium
Due to the country's small size, there are few domestic flights between Belgian cities. The main airport in Belgium is Brussels Airport. Other major airports in Belgium include Ostend-Bruges International Airport, Brussels South Charleroi Airport, Liege Airport and Antwerp International Airport, 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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