Lille is a principal city in northern France and lies around 220km south-west in distance from Amsterdam. Lille is known as Rijsel in Dutch.
Are you looking to travel between Amsterdam and Lille? Let’s consider the transport options between the 2 cities by train and bus. Note that there have been some significant changes to service frequencies due to the ‘coronavirus’ measures.
1. Amsterdam-Lille by Train
There are currently no direct train services between Amsterdam and Lille. You will need to make a change in Belgium at either Brussels or Antwerp. On this route there is the choice of using high-speed trains or taking the slightly slower Intercity services – in multiple combinations.
The Amsterdam-Brussels portion of the trip can be made either by Thalys (normally runs 7-9x daily on weekdays, 4x on Saturdays and 5-6x on Sundays – but running a reduced service at the moment) or the almost hourly Intercity Brussels train.
Brussels-Lille can be made quickly (35 minutes) by TGV which operate a few times a day. High speed trains arrive/depart at the Lille Europe station.
For more info about Thalys and Intercity Brussels please see International Trains from Amsterdam
An alternative route is to travel Amsterdam-Antwerp by Thalys or Intercity Brussels and then take a Belgian Intercity train to Lille Flandres station. The Antwerp-Lille trip via Gent and Kortrijk takes just over 2 hours.
The total Amsterdam-Lille rail journey time varies between 3 hours 30 mins and 4 hours 30 mins depending on trains taken and connection times.
Fares (2021) can vary considerably and its best to book in advance, especially if using the high speed trains. The standard Intercity single is €67.20 (2nd class) and €105.80 (1st class). Cheaper one-way advance fares using the TGV can be found from around €46 (2nd class) and €74 (1st class).
Holders of Dutch Railways NS discount cards receive a slight fare reduction off the standard Intercity fare for the Netherlands segment of travel.
The 2 stations in Lille are located about 400m apart. Gare de Lille Europe handles mainly high speed rail services whilst Gare de Lille Flandres has more Intercity and provincial lines. It is easy to walk between the 2 stations – past the large Euralille shopping centre which lies between them.
As Belgium, France and the Netherlands are members of the Schengen Zone agreement you do not need to go through a passport control check when travelling between Amsterdam and Lille. However we have experienced French border agents coming on to the Intercity train before arrival in Lille Flandres.
How to book train tickets online: Amsterdam-Lille rail tickets can be easily booked at the NS International site – various combinations of Intercity and high-speed trains are available.
2. Amsterdam-Lille by Coach
The coach is a cheap and convenient way to travel between Amsterdam and Lille. There are 2 bus companies which operate direct Amsterdam-Lille services.
The main coach stop at Lille is located on Boulevard de Turin, directly outside of Lille Europe train station.
German coach company Flixbus operates a direct coach between Amsterdam Sloterdijk and Lille, although frequency of service is greatly reduced currently.
The Amsterdam-Lille coach journey with Flixbus takes an average of about 5 hours and singles start from around €16.
Blablabus (formerly OUIBUS) normally operates a daily service between Amsterdam Sloterdijk and Lille – however the service has been temporarily suspended. Journey times is about 3 hours 50 mins and one-way fares start at €13.
If you are on a tight budget then the coach is probably the best way to travel Amsterdam-Lille.
3. Amsterdam-Lille by Air
Note, there are no flights between Amsterdam (AMS) and Lille (LIL).
This article was originally published on 25 April 2019, last update 7 April 2021.