On my trip to Flanders, the main idea was to rent a car to move between cities. I like driving and being able to stop along the way if I see something I like, but there are some countries that are not made for that. I realized of it in Switzerland and so before organizing the trip to Flanders I thought the best idea was to ask.
Not only Flanders, but Belgium in general is a country very well prepared to travel by train and so comfortably between its cities. The distances are short, there are plenty of trains and the stations are very close to the center.
How to get from Brussels to Ghent by train
Ghent was the first city I travelled to just after arriving at Brussels airport. Finding the Zaventem train station is not difficult at all. Leaving the luggage collection area, on the right the first thing you will see are the car rental desks. When you reach them, you will see a sign of trains buses etc …
Brussels airport is very well organized by floors. From the lobby with the automatic elevators and escalators, you will have to go down to the floor -1, where it indicates trains.
Buy train tickets to Ghent
In the Belgian Rail website you can see which type of ticket is best for you. There are different types:
One way: € 15
Round trip weekend: € 22
Bonus of 10 trips <26: 52 €
Bonus of 10 trips> 26: 77 €
Tickets are purchased directly at the station’s machines or ticket offices.
You can also buy tickets on the web, print them as boarding passes and pass your bar code by the machine reader at the stations.
Train schedules from Brussels to Ghent
Usually there are trains every 10 or 20 minutes maximum. You will have to keep in mind is which is the train you are catching. On trains without transfers and with few stops, the average time is no more than 1h20min to get from Brussels airport to Ghent (Sint Pieters).
The screens of the station shows the destination of the train, but not the stops it makes in between, so it is difficult to know if the train you are looking for arrives soon.
If you have any doubts, there are always Belgian Rail workers around, so ask them where you want to go and they will tell you which train is yours and at what time it leaves.
Anyway, my advice is that one day before your trip, check on the web which train to take according to the time of arrival of your flight. There it indicates exactly the platform by which the train leaves and the hour. Even if you have to transfer you will have the information of the two stations. They do not usually make changes with so little time so you will go with a 99% chance of not being wrong.