Not every Amsterdam visitor arrives and departs via Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. Some don't enter and leave from the Netherlands at all, especially because there are a slew of budget airlines like Ryanair and Wizz Air just a few hours away at the South Charleroi Airport. This travel hub 37 miles (60 kilometers) south of Brussels, Belgium, sees about 5 million passengers per year, and it's 165 miles (265 kilometers) from Amsterdam.
While Charleroi Airport isn't exactly around the corner from Amsterdam, it takes just two to four (by car, bus, or train) to commute from the Dutch capital. Visitors can take in several amazing cities en route, too, such as Rotterdam and Antwerp.
|Bus||3 hours, 45 minutes||from $30||Minding a budget|
|Train||2 hours, 50 minutes, including airport shuttle||from $50 (with shuttle ticket)||Quick and comfortable public transportation|
|Car||2 hours, 30 minutes||165 miles (265 kilometers)||Arriving on a time crunch|
What Is the Cheapest Way to Get From Amsterdam to Charleroi Airport?
For the cheapest option, travelers can complete the journey from Amsterdam to Brussels by bus and then take a shuttle to Charleroi Airport. Riders have a choice between FlixBus and CityBusExpress, both of which depart several times per day. FlixBus, however, takes only two hours and 45 minutes as opposed to the four hours the CityBusExpress takes. Tickets start at around $12 for this leg of the journey. From Brussels, you can take an $18 Flibco shuttle bus from the Brussels-South railway station to Charleroi Airport. It takes about an hour. Altogether, the trip should take about three hours, 45 minutes, not including transfer times, and cost roughly $30.
What Is the Fastest Way to Get From Amsterdam to Charleroi Airport?
The fastest way to get to the Charleroi Airport from Amsterdam is to drive. The airport is 165 miles (265 kilometers) away, which can be driven in about two and a half hours—that's if you don't stop in Rotterdam, Antwerp, and Brussels along the way. The most direct route cuts through all these cities—and the Belgium-Netherlands border—along the A27 which funnels into the E19. According to ViaMichelin, this route has no tolls.
How Long Is the Train Ride?
Two different trains serve the route between Amsterdam and (the vicinity of) Charleroi Airport, but the train will only take you to Station Brussel Zuid (Brussels South railway station) and not the terminal itself. You will need to take the Flibco shuttle bus after you arrive in Brussels, which will tack on an extra hour and $18 to your trip.
The Intercity Brussels train takes about three hours to cover this distance whereas the Thalys train takes only an hour and 50 minutes (and it's cheaper, too). The former starts at $50 per ticket and the latter starts at $32. Prices vary greatly depending on what time of year you travel and how early you book.
When Is the Best Time to Travel to Charleroi Airport?
If you plan to take public transportation—or drive yourself, for that matter—it's best not to depart from or arrive in either city during rush hour times. The best hours to travel are early morning, late evening, or mid-day. Otherwise, you could get stuck in the chaos of local commuters, which is not fun when you're packing bulky luggage around on the train.
Do I Need a Visa to Travel to Brussels?
Belgium and Netherlands are both part of the Schengen Zone, a collection of European states that share mutual borders. U.S. passport holders can visit this area for up to 90 days without a visa.
What Is There to Do in Amsterdam?
Amsterdam is the tourist-centric capital of the Netherlands, known for its THC-friendly coffeeshops and lively red light district. Besides the partying—of which there is an abundance—there's also the network of scenic canals on which the city is built and the endless bike paths that make it so conducive to cycling. Amsterdam is also home to a bustling art scene, exemplified by the Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum, and Stedelijk Museum.