NOTE: All IC Bus routes of Deutsche Bahn (German Railways) were canceled at the end of 2020 with Flixbus often offering the best alternatives. Otherwise, regular trains also cover the routes but railway journeys are often slower and with multiple transfers.
The IC Bus operated by German Railways / Deutsche Bahn provides fast and cheap transportation between Düsseldorf and Lille (via Ghent and Antwerpen). The IC Bus, the so-called little brother of German Railways trains, is very price competitive with the regular Deutsche Bahn and TGV Thalys trains on the Düsseldorf to Lille route and hardly slower than using trains that always require transfers. The IC Bus is significantly faster on routes between some of the Dutch and Belgian cities where it calls en route.
The IC Bus may be booked via the normal Deutsche Bahn websites, ticket machines and (more expensive) ticket windows.
The IC Bus from Düsseldorf to Lille via Antwerp and Ghent
The luxury IC Bus – an intercity bus service operated by German Railways – connects Düsseldorf in Germany with Lille in France once per day. En route, the buses stop in Eindhoven in The Netherlands as well as in Antwerpen and Gent in Belgium.
See By IC Bus from Düsseldorf to Antwerp, Eindhoven and Roermond for more details on this part of the journey.
The IC Bus is usually a modern double-decker bus with comfortable seats, very good legroom and free wifi. The buses also have a snack bar service and WC.
All regular savings offers and deals of Deutsche Bahn are also valid on the IC Bus. This is especially useful for families – children under 15 travel for free with parents but the names must be entered at time of booking. The IC Bus is a long-distance service so regional transportation tickets such as the Ländertickets are not valid but BahnCard savings are possible.
Düsseldorf to Lille by IC Bus or Train
Düsseldorf to Lille is at first glance not the most obvious route for German Railways to send their new luxury intercity IC Bus in competition with regular Deutsche Bahn and Thalys TGV trains. Train connections are frequent although using the Thalys TGV or an ICE train via Cologne and Brussels can be very expensive.
The fastest link between Düsseldorf and Lille takes only 3:30 on the direct Thalys TGV trains between Düsseldorf and Brussels and then by high-speed train to Lille. However, these trains are expensive and not very frequent. Multiple transfers are usually required when traveling from Düsseldorf to Lille making a train journey time of five hours more normal, which is also the time that the IC bus takes.
The daily IC Bus takes five hours from Düsseldorf to Lille. However, the savings can be significant and no transfers are required. The full-fare train ticket is around €105 while the bus, the full fare IC Bus fare around €65.
Special savings fares and deals on the IC bus can be as low as €19. Bahn Card saving may be applied to both IC Bus or train fares.
The IC Bus departs from the bus station (ZOB) directly to the north of Düsseldorf Hauptbahnhof train station in Worringer Straße. In Lille, the IC bus stops in Boulevard de Turin outside Lille-Europe station.
Currently, the direct bus departs from Lille at 10:00 to arrive in Düsseldorf at 15:05 and from Düsseldorf at 16:55 to arrive in Lille at 22:00.
Düsseldorf to Ghent by IC Bus
The daily IC Bus between Düsseldorf and Lille calls en route in Ghent / Gent in Belgium. Ghent is around an hour from either Antwerp or Lille.
The IC Bus stops in Ghent at the Gent-Dampoort bus station.
Tickets are not sold for transportation on the IC Bus between Gent and Antwerpen but are available for travel from Ghent to Lille, Eindhoven or Düsseldorf.
Other Buses from Düsseldorf to Lille
The IC Bus is easily the most comfortable bus service between Düsseldorf and Lille but other services are also available. Eurolines and Flixbus may also have buses on this routing although many require transfers in Brussels, or very uncomfortably in Paris. It is worth comparing prices and families will usually gain from the more family-friendly prices offered by the IC Bus.
From Düsseldorf, intercity buses (and German Railways trains) are available to almost any city in Germany.
See also By IC Bus from Düsseldorf to Antwerp, Eindhoven and Roermond for more details on this part of the journey. (The previous Düsseldorf-Brussels routing on the IC Bus has been canceled.)