How to get from Brussels to Leuven

How to get from Brussels to Leuven

By train, it takes up to 30 minutes to get from Brussels to Leuven. Leuven, one of Belgium’s most famous university cities, is just over 30 kilometres from its capital, Brussels. So, visiting it won’t be complicated at all.

You also have good communications to reach Leuven directly from any of the two airports serving Brussels: Brussels International Airport (Zaventem) and Charleroi Airport.

How to get from Brussels to Leuven

Most people travel from Brussels to Leuven by train. Some, actually a minority, opt for the bus, which is somewhat cheaper. It only pays off if you are close to one of the stops and you don’t mind taking much longer.

1. Train

The train is the fastest and most comfortable way to reach Leuven from Brussels. The main railroad stations, Gare du Midi, Gare Central, and Gare du Nord, offer frequent connections from the Belgian capital.

The train takes 30 minutes to reach Leuven, and the ticket costs 6.50 euros (double if it is a round trip). You can buy it directly at the train station, sales offices, vending machines, and online.

For more information and timetables, check here:

2. Bus

The bus is a much less popular and less comfortable alternative from Brussels to Leuven. With the company De Lijn, you have line 318 that operates this route.

This bus departs from the Gare du Nord area. To get to the area, you will have to pay a metro ticket (which makes the final price more expensive) or walk if you are staying in the center.

The bus ticket will cost you 2,50 euros, and it takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes to get there.

For more information and timetables, click here:

3. Renting a car

At the airports of Zaventem and Charleroi and in the city, you can rent a car. It is an exciting way to visit the country and allows you to save money compared to the train if you travel in a group.

You can find the best prices on the market here: Rent a car

How to get from Brussels Airport to Leuven

The main airport in Brussels is Zaventem Airport. If you arrive there, it will be straightforward to travel to Leuven. This airport has a train station, and direct trains to Leuven depart from it.

The station is on level -1, below the arrivals and departure halls. You have to go down the metal stairs, and they will leave you on the platform.

You can catch a train to the centre of Leuven in just 18 minutes. The standard ticket costs 11.60 euros.

See official website:

If you are looking for something cheaper, you can also opt for the bus, although I always recommend going by train from the airport rather than by bus.

In this case, the company De Lijn, with Lines 91 and 616, covers this route without transferring, but these lines have little frequency.

The ticket costs 2,50 euros, and the trip takes about 1 hour and 25 min.

How to get from Charleroi Airport to Leuven

Charleroi airport is a small airport about 85 km from Leuven. It is served by low-cost airlines such as Ryanair.

Although the communications are worse than those at Zaventem airport, it is also possible to reach Leuven without too many complications.

You must use the bus and train to get from Charleroi Airport to Leuven. A bus will drop you off at Charleroi railroad station (or at Lutrus or Fleurus), from where you can reach Leuven by train (with a transfer to Brussels). The journey costs 17,40 euros.

Check train schedules here:

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