Ghent combines the old and the new. A perfect fit.
Water and towers
The Belfort, the Sint-Niklaaskerk and Sint-Baafs Cathedral are Ghent's most prominent features. The towers are silent but imposing witnesses to Ghent's rich history.
Ghent grew at the merging point of the rivers Schelde and Leie. The presence of water has been invaluable throughout the centuries for the economic development of the city.
In prehistoric times and during the Roman Empire, the rivers formed a natural defense against possible enemies. Later in the Middle Ages, Ghent was able to benefit from the close proximity of the waterways, which allowed the city to grow to become one of themost important trade centers of the time.
In the Middle Ages Ghent was a metropolis - the biggest in the world after Paris. The economic importance was considerable and the expertise high. The Schelde and the Leie shipped goods to and fro. In particular, the production and export of luxury wool blankets was responsible for unprecedented growth from the 13th to the 15th century.
Thanks to visionary and dynamic administration, Ghent has evolved in the last 15 years from a rather sleepy provincial city to a bustling and lively spot where it is a pleasure to live, work and study. You can literally breathe in Ghent's rich history while strolling through the city center. The Gravensteen, the Oude Vismijn, the Duivelsteen, the Sint-Pietersabdij, the Graslei: these authentic monuments are just a stone's throw away from one another.
City of the 21st century
But the 21st century has also made its mark on Ghent. For every façade from the Middle Ages there is a modern equivalent, for every Flemish Primative - a Panamarenko or a Fabre. Old and new fit seamlessly together, ensuring a unique, timeless balance.
How to get there?
Ghent is only 45 minutes from the international airport of Zaventem 'Brussel Airport', where flights arrive from and depart to more than 70 destinations.Brussels airport is a major European airport and has plenty of connections. It has direct highway and train access to Ghent.
The airport is connected to the 3 railway stations in Brussels (South or Midi, Central and North Stations) by 3 direct trains per hour. Train tickets can be purchased at the airport (level -2). There are several connections to Ghent. So, if there are no direct trains from the airport to Ghent: first, take a train to Brussels South, Central or North, and change for a train to Ghent.
Brussels South/Charleroi airport is located in the south of Belgium and is 70 minutes from Ghent. There are more than 20 bus connections from the airport to the capital every day. From there frequent train connections to Ghent are available. There are also bus connections from the airport to Charleroi-Sud railway station. Trains for Ghent can also be boarded there. A ticket that combines the bus and train services can be purchased at the Airport Ticket Desk. More information about the bus is available here.
Ghent is easy to reach by train from all Belgian and European cities and is only half an hour from Brussels South Station (by 'IC' Inter City or 'IR' InterRegio train). Here the Eurostar and Thalys high-speed trains can rush you from Paris or London in 1½ hours and from Amsterdam or Cologne in 2½ hours.
At Gent-Sint-Pieters railway station you can browse information at a digital 3D information point.
Note: In Belgium there is a reduction on train tickets for the elderly (65+). These reductions are valid for travelling after 09.00 am on Monday through Friday, there are no time restrictions for travelling during the weekend.
Ghent is located on the intersection of two major European motorways: the E17 connects Northern Europe to the South, and the E40 runs from the North Sea right across to Eastern Europe.
From the E17 you take the ‘Gent Centrum’ turnoff. On the E40, from the motorway intersection in Zwijnaarde you first follow ‘Antwerpen’ (E17) and then take the ‘Gent Centrum’ turnoff.
The images on this web site are reproduced with the permission of the copyright owner, Stad Gent