Antwerp (Antwerpen/Anvers) is the second largest city in Belgium and a major European port. It is located around 130km from Amsterdam.
Travel between Amsterdam and Antwerp is possible by high speed rail, standard rail and various coach (bus) services.
As Belgium and the Netherlands are members of the Schengen Zone agreement you do not normally need to go through a passport control check when travelling between Amsterdam and Antwerp.
Amsterdam-Antwerp by Train (recommended)
The best way to travel between Amsterdam and Antwerp is to take the train which will get you into the centre of either city. It can be easily booked using the NS International site with prices starting at €21 one-way.
There are currently 3 choices of trains available:
- Thalys, the high-speed train service between Amsterdam and Paris (from €29)
- Intercity Brussels, the Intercity service between Amsterdam and Brussels (from €21)
- A Belgian stopping train between the Dutch border town of Roosendaal and Antwerp
Antwerpen Centraal is one of the great stations of Europe and is worthy of a visit in its own right. It was designed by Belgian architect Louis Delacenserie and was completed in 1905. It is located on Koningin Astridplein in Antwerp.
1. Amsterdam-Antwerp by Thalys
The high speed Thalys service (operated by Eurostar Group) runs from Amsterdam Central station to Paris Gare du Nord via Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, Rotterdam Central, Antwerp Central and Brussels Zuid/Midi.
Thalys normally runs up to 15x daily and the Amsterdam-Antwerp journey takes just 1 hour 15 minutes.
There are 3 classes of travel on Thalys: Standard, Comfort and Premium.
Standard has 2nd class seating (2-2 configuration) with free WiFi. Food/drink can be purchased at the bar carriage. Standard tickets are refundable and exchangeable up to 7 days before travel; thereafter there are no refunds, but changes are possible for a €15 fee plus the price difference.
Comfort has 1st class seating (2-1 configuration), free WiFi and food/drink can be purchased at the bar. Comfort tickets are also refundable and exchangeable up to 7 days before travel; thereafter there are no refunds, but changes are possible for a €15 fee plus the price difference.
Access is granted to the NS International lounges at Amsterdam, Schiphol Airport or Rotterdam.
Premium is a proper first class product with 1st class seating (2-1 configuration), free WiFi (with more data), complimentary food/drink served at your seat and and free access to an international press app. Premium tickets are fully refundable up to 1 hour before travel; changes are possible right up to departure time with any price difference applying.
Premium ticket holders can access the Thalys lounges in Brussels as well as the NS International lounges.
All Thalys seats have individual electric power outlets.
Thalys permits 2 pieces of luggage (max 75 x 53 x 30cm, no weight limit) plus 1 item of hand luggage. There are overhead luggage racks and special racks at each end of the carriage for larger items.
Thalys tickets are on sale up to 4 months out and are booked like an airline seat – with a specific seat reservation. Your ticket will have a carriage and seat number.
To secure the cheapest fares you should book as early as possible. Standard fares cost €29-€79, Comfort fares cost €48-€88 and Premium fares range from €90-€109.
TIP: The last Thalys of the day out of Amsterdam (departing around 2015) can often have cheaper availability even at the last minute. Conversely, the first Thalys out of Antwerp towards Amsterdam (departing around 0730) tends to still have the cheaper tariffs.
- Fastest journey time
- Includes seat reservation
- Lowest Standard fares are good value
- Catering available
- More expensive than Intercity
- Popular – so tickets can sell out
2. Amsterdam-Antwerp by Intercity Brussels
The Intercity Brussels is an Intercity train service which normally runs up to 16x daily between Amsterdam and Brussels Zuid/Midi. It is jointly operated by NS Dutch Railways and Belgian Rail.
Although this train does run along the high speed track, it is not a high speed train service and makes more stops than the Thalys.
The stops are at Schiphol Airport, Rotterdam, Breda, Noorderkempen (Belgium), Antwerp Central, Antwerp Berchem, Mechelen, Brussels Airport, Brussels North and Brussels Central.
Allow about 1 hour 48 minutes to make the Amsterdam-Antwerp journey on the Intercity Brussels.
There are no seat reservations so passengers can simply board and sit in any free seat in their class. Seating is 2nd class (2-2 configuration) and 1st class (2-1 configuration). Some 1st class carriages can also have a couple of small 6 person (3-3) compartments.
Luggage racks can accommodate small and medium size bags. In 1st class there are larger luggage racks at the end of the carriage.
Standard distance-based prices are in effect for travel using intercity trains although cheaper online “early bird” fares are also available if booking at least 7 days in advance.
The standard ‘walk-up’ (2023) fare for Amsterdam-Antwerp one-way costs €41.40 (2nd class) or €65.40 (1st class).
Early bird one-way fares start at €20.50 (2nd class) and €28.50 (1st class) for Mon-Thu; and €30 (2nd class) and €40 (1st class) each way for Fri-Sun. Early bird fares are valid on any service on the ticket day.
Holders of Dutch Railways NS discount cards and free NS travel cards receive a fare reduction off the standard fare for the Netherlands segment of travel.
TIP: The Intercity Brussels is a popular service and gets very busy at peak times. Boarding and finding a seat can sometimes be a bit of a scrum. Consider buying a 1st class ticket for a smoother boarding experience; or take the train at an earlier or later time in the day.
- Cheaper than Thalys
- ‘Walk-up’ fare always available
- No guaranteed seat reservation – can get busy
- No catering on board
3. Roosendaal-Antwerp stopping train
Finally, there is an hourly Belgian Rail stopping train between the Dutch border town of Roosendaal and Antwerp (train direction: Puurs) which takes just over 45 minutes.
The train stops at the following Antwerp stations: Antwerpen-Noorderdokken, Antwerpen-Luchtbal, Antwerpen Centraal, Antwerpen-Berchem and Antwerpen-Zuid.
We don’t really recommend this option unless you need to stop off at one of the other Antwerp stations or there is some type of disruption/engineering work affecting the Intercity Brussels.
How to book train tickets online: Amsterdam-Antwerp rail tickets can be easily booked at the NS International site
Amsterdam-Antwerp by Coach
The coach is the cheapest travel option between Amsterdam and Antwerp with a journey time that varies between 2 and 3 1/2 hours, depending on the service and stops. Consider the coach if you are on a tight budget, otherwise just take the faster train.
Flixbus is a German coach company that operates services between Amsterdam Sloterdijk and Antwerp. The bus stop is at Rooseveltplats (B5) not far from Antwerp Central. It currently operates a multiple daily service with fares starting at around €6 one-way. Book your Flixbus ticket here
BlaBlaCar bus normally has up to 4x daily Amsterdam-Antwerp coach service. Fares start at €7 one-way. Coach stops are also at Amsterdam Sloterdijk station and Rooseveltplats in Antwerp. Book your BlaBlaCar bus tickets via Omio here
There are currently no flights between Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS) and Antwerp airport (ANR). KLM fares originating from Antwerp via Amsterdam include a ticket for travel on the Thalys train to/from Schiphol.
Looking for a convenient hotel near Amsterdam Central station? Check out the stylish Kimpton-De Witt which is a short walk from the station. For those on a budget the Ibis Amsterdam Centre is literally on top of the western edge of the station platforms.
The I Amsterdam City Card (1-5 days) offers free entry and discounts to numerous Amsterdam museums and attractions. It also includes a free public transport pass, a canal cruise and bike rental as well. You can order your I Amsterdam City Card online here
TIP: For a great panoramic view of Antwerp head to the top of the Museum aan de Stroom (MAS) buiding. Entry is free.
For a selection of tours and attractions in Antwerp see here
This article was originally published in 2015 and has continuously been updated. Last update 7 June 2023.
Links on AmsterdamTips.com may pay us an affiliate commission.