Light Festival Ghent

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Welcome to Light Festival Ghent, a captivating event that transforms iconic landmarks and medieval streets into a dazzling canvas of artistic expression. As you embark on a journey through the city, you’ll be mesmerized by the interplay of light, shadow, and creativity. Come and explore the city and experience more of this breathtaking festival.

 

Light Festival Ghent
Festival highlights

About the Festival

Light Festival Ghent is an event that celebrates the symphony of art and light, brought to life by national and international artists to captivate everyone from all walks of life. 

An event to remember, Light Festival Ghent features enormous light art installations, jaw-dropping projection mapping, holographic neon light displays, and fanciful hanging lanterns of various designs, transforming the city into a stunning work of art.

Light Festival Ghent Dates (2024)

Light Festival Ghent will illuminate the Belgian city from January 31 to February 4, 2024. It will be the best opportunity to immerse yourself in a magical world of electrifying light shows and unique light artworks.

Where It’s Located And How To Get There

The festival happens throughout various locations in the historic city of Ghent, Belgium, such as the Historical City Centre, Spaans Kasteelplein, and Prinsenhof.

The nearest major airport to Ghent is Brussels Airport, approximately 60 kilometers (37 miles) away. The journey from Brussels Airport to Ghent takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Additionally, there are train connections from the airport to Ghent, which typically takes around 1 hour. 

You can also reach Ghent by train:

From Brussels (Belgium):

  • Start your journey at Brussels Central Station (Bruxelles-Central) or Brussels Midi/Zuid Station (Bruxelles-Midi), depending on your location in Brussels.
  • Purchase a train ticket to Ghent (Gent) at the ticket counter or from a self-service ticket machine. Trains to Ghent depart frequently throughout the day.
  • Board a direct train to Ghent-Sint-Pieters Station. The journey takes approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the type of train.
  • Relax and enjoy the scenic ride passing through the Belgian countryside.
  • Arrive at Ghent-Sint-Pieters Station, Ghent’s train station.

From Antwerp (Belgium):

  • Begin your journey at Antwerp Central Station (Antwerpen-Centraal).
  • Purchase a train ticket to Ghent (Gent) at the ticket counter or from a self-service ticket machine.
  • Board a direct train to Ghent-Sint-Pieters Station. Trains run regularly and take approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the train type.
  • Enjoy the picturesque journey as you travel from Antwerp to Ghent.
  • Arrive at Ghent-Sint-Pieters Station, the train station in Ghent.

From Bruges (Belgium):

  • Start at Bruges Station (Brugge).
  • Purchase a train ticket to Ghent (Gent) from the ticket counter or self-service machine.
  • Board a direct train to Ghent-Sint-Pieters Station. Trains are frequent and take around 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the train type.
  • Enjoy the scenic ride through the Belgian landscape.
  • Arrive at Ghent-Sint-Pieters Station, the primary train station in Ghent.

From Amsterdam (Netherlands):

  • Begin your journey at Amsterdam Central Station.
  • Purchase a ticket for a Thalys high-speed train to Brussels Midi/Zuid Station in Belgium. Make sure to reserve a seat.
  • Upon arriving at Brussels Midi/Zuid Station, transfer to a domestic train to Ghent-Sint-Pieters Station.
  • The total travel time from Amsterdam to Ghent is approximately 2.5 to 3 hours, including the transfer.
  • Enjoy the comfortable ride and scenic views as you travel through two beautiful cities.

From Paris (France):

  • Start at Paris Gare du Nord Station.
  • Purchase a ticket for a Thalys or TGV high-speed train to Brussels Midi/Zuid Station in Belgium. Ensure you have a seat reservation.
  • Upon arrival in Brussels, transfer to a domestic train bound for Ghent-Sint-Pieters Station.
  • The total travel time from Paris to Ghent is approximately 2.5 to 3 hours, including the transfer in Brussels.
  • Sit back and enjoy the high-speed train journey through two stunning countries.

From London (United Kingdom):

  • Begin your journey at London St Pancras International Station.
  • Purchase a Eurostar ticket to Brussels Midi/Zuid Station in Belgium. Be sure to book a seat reservation.
  • Upon arrival in Brussels, transfer to a domestic train heading to Ghent-Sint-Pieters Station.
  • The total travel time from London to Ghent is approximately 3.5 to 4 hours, including the transfer.
  • Enjoy the comfort and convenience of the Eurostar train as you cross the English Channel.

Other lights festivals in Europe are:

Berlin Festival of Lights

Copenhagen Festival of Lights

Festival Hours

Light Festival Ghent comes to life from sunset to midnight. It is the perfect time to create memories with your loved ones as you stroll through the dazzling city.

Light Festival Ghent

Cost to Visit Light Festival Ghent

Light Festival Ghent is a free event, allowing everyone of all ages to enjoy unique and creative artworks based on light.

Weather and What to Wear

Ghent often experiences a chilly and damp climate during the festival dates, with temperatures ranging from -2 to 6 degrees Celsius. You can comfortably enjoy the festival by dressing warmly in layers, which include a waterproof coat, gloves, a scarf, and a pair of walking shoes.

Where To Sleep – Hotels Nearby

For a cozy stay during the festival, consider these nearby hotels:

Pillows Grand Boutique Hotel Reylof Ghent

Pillows Grand Boutique Hotel Reylof Ghent is a luxurious hotel ideal for you to stay during the festival. It features a range of amenities, such as an indoor pool, a banquet room, and a bar. The hotel offers air-conditioned rooms with free high-speed internet service, minibars, and flat-screen TVs. 

1898 The Post

Known for their cocktail bar The Cobbler, this charming hotel is a cozy place to wind down after indulging your senses in the festival. It features soundproof, air-conditioned rooms with coffeemakers, flat-screen TVs, and free WiFi connection. The hotel also offers amenities such as board games for families to bond over, bicycle rentals, and kid-friendly activities.

Van Der Valk Hotel Gent

Van Der Valk Hotel Gent is a luxurious hotel that offers a range of amenities, such as a banquet room, fitness center, and free high-speed internet. Pet lovers will be thrilled to learn that pets are allowed to come inside. Van Der Valk Hotel Gent is an ideal place to stay during the Lights Festival.

Light Festival Ghent

What To Eat

Aside from the dazzling festival, Ghent is home to some of the best dining spots in Belgium:

Pakhuis

Pakhuis is a galleried restaurant serving Belgian and international cuisine. They serve dishes such as Salmon Fillet a la plancha, Fillet of Cod, Oven Roasted Knuckle of Ham, and Grilled Steak, among others. For desserts, they offer Belgian Chocolate and Sorbet with Fresh Fruit.

Amadeus

Amadeus is a restaurant known for their Spareribs. Everyone is sure to enjoy the restaurant’s Steak and Barbecue. Amadeus is a perfect place to hang out after enjoying the festival.

Het Moment

Het Moment is a cafe known for their Espresso, Chocolate Croissants, and Vegan Cake, among others. A visit to this cozy place after a stroll in the illuminated city complements the festival experience.

More Things To Do In The Area

Explore Ghent’s treasures beyond the festival:

Gravensteen

Gravensteen, also known as Castle of the Counts, is a medieval fortress in the heart of Ghent. This 12th century castle is a majestic example of medieval architecture. Travelers and tourists can explore its towers, stone walls, and moat.

St. Bavo’s Cathedral

St. Bavo’s Cathedral is a stunning example of Gothic architecture. The cathedral is known for housing the remarkable Ghent Altarpiece, which you can admire, along with stained glass windows and beautiful chapels.

Ghent City Museum

Ghent City Museum features a diverse art collection, multimedia presentations, and interactive displays. Visitors can learn the city’s history from some of the city’s historical artifacts.

A Final Sparkle: Wrapping Up Your Experience in Light Festival Ghent

Light Festival Ghent celebrates artistry and innovative technology that transports visitors and tourists to a realm of wonder and possibilities. 

With more places and attractions to explore, Light Festival Ghent promises to be an event that will sparkle in your heart forever. 

FAQ

Are pets allowed at the Light Festival Ghent?

While pets are generally not allowed at the festival due to the large crowds and installations, it’s best to check the festival’s policy for exceptions.

Is the festival accessible to individuals with mobility issues?

The festival organizers strive to make it accessible to all. Many installations grace public spaces, but some may have limited accessibility. Check with the festival for specific information on accessible routes and services.

Can I take photographs and videos during the festival?

Photography and videography are encouraged, but be considerate of other festival-goers. Some installations may have restrictions, so follow any guidelines provided.

Can I access the festival by public transportation?

Yes, Ghent is well-connected by public transportation, including trams and buses. The festival’s central locations are typically within walking distance of Ghent’s main train station, Ghent-Sint-Pieters. Public transportation can be a convenient way to reach the festival.

Are food and refreshments available at the festival?

While the focus is on the light installations, you can often find food stalls, food trucks, and refreshment stands scattered throughout the festival area. These provide an opportunity to enjoy local snacks and warm beverages.

Are there any age restrictions for attending the festival?

The Light Festival Ghent is open to visitors of all ages. Families with children, couples, and solo travelers can all enjoy the enchanting light displays and artistic performances. Some installations may be particularly appealing to children.

How can I stay updated on festival information, such as dates and locations?

To stay updated, visit their official website and social media channels.

Where can I park when visiting the Light Festival Ghent?

Parking during the Light Festival Ghent can be challenging due to the influx of visitors. The city offers multiple public parking garages near the festival area, as well as Park and Ride options on the outskirts of the city where you can leave your car and take public transportation to the festival. It’s advisable to plan your trip and parking situation in advance to make the most out of your Light Festival experience.

Sources:

https://visit.gent.be/en/calendar/ghent-light-festival

https://www.pakhuis.be/en/menus

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