Ghent Illuminated Walk (Flanders - Belgium)

First of all, never have I ever, awaited night fall like when I was in Ghent. Even during Diwali / Deepavali in India, the wait wasn’t much because its in winter and the sun sets very quickly. Same in London Christmas or New Year nights as well. 

Stadshal / City Pavilion
But here, in Ghent, by end of August, the sunlight did not go away till past 9 PM! I was sitting in my hotel, looking out of the window, waiting for darkness to plunge in. My guy was happily watching the TV and laughing at the sight of me feeling miserable!!! Finally at about 9:30 PM, slowly the darkness came in and we set out.
Light accent close to Belfry

This entire concept began in 1998. Light accents were placed in all important sites - facing the monuments and not like street lights!!! So the whole town is illuminated and safe, but unlike any other town, the beauty of the Historic City Centre is displayed in full glory at night! This light plan also keeps in tab the light pollution as well as rational use of energy! The current Light plan has been in place since 2007 which not only lights up the City Centre, but also certain important monuments in the suburbs.

This lighting is so awesome that it has won several international awards incl City People Light Award, Auroralia award for sustainable urban lighting in 2004. Ghent has been also the president of Lighting Urban Community International in 2012-14. Once in every 3 years, Ghent Light Festival also happens. The last one happened in 2015 and the next is happening on 31st Jan to 4th Feb of 2018. Since last Light Festival, ‘The Blue Birds from Mr. Maeterlinck’ is still in display as a souvenir! 
Here are some pictures we took at day and night of the same locations & monuments:

Belfry with a bit of Stadshal / City Pavilion - Day & Night

View of River Lys / Leie from St.Michael's Bridge - Day & Night

View of 3 Towers from St.Michael's Bridge - Day & Night

St.Michael's Church / Sint-Michielskerk as seen from Graslei - Day & Night

Saint Bavo's Cathedral / Sint-Baafskathedraal - Day & Night

Graslei - Day & Night

To Stay:
Hotels at all price points are available in Ghent City Centre.
Here’s my review of Ghent River Hotel where I stayed.

To Get There:
Nearest Airport: Brussels 
Nearest Railway Station: Ghent Dampoort & Gent Sint-Pieters
From Brussels to Ghent: 68km (intercity trains are available and takes about 1 hr) 

Here’s a map of the Illuminated walk. Do this before midnight, coz as the clock strikes 12, the regular lights take over the ambiance lights!

My complete Gent travelogue: Belfry & BeguinagesGravensteen Castle of the CountsSt.Bavo’s Cathedral & St.Michael’s CathedralHistorical City Centre

P.S: I was invited by VisitGent to experience the city and hosted by Historic Hotels Belgium for review purposes, however the opinions are my own and this post does not to advertise the product/service.


An ardent traveler by passion. Being an ex - Art History Teacher, my area of interest especially lies in Nature and Heritage. Visited 85 UNESCO World Heritage sites as of June 2022. I've been listed among the Top 7 Women Travel Bloggers of India, Top 50 in UK. I have been interviewed in a couple of TV Shows, Radio Channels and Events as well. Read more about me and read the testimonials of different brands


  1. I like the sound of an illuminated walk, and Ghent looks like the perfect city! You capture it beautifully in your photos. Thanks for sharing the map, I'll remember it when I visit.

  2. Whoa. No sunset till 9 p.m.? I have never experienced it. Haha, I can understand your woes as you waited for the darkness to fall. With all those amazing light accents, I am sure the wait was worth it!

  3. Congrats on being nominated! I left a comment on the link, so I hope you get it!
    I love how city planners really think about how best to highlight their city. I think that sometimes cities get lost at night, but it's fun to see great lighting and installations that keep the city alive!

  4. First of all Congrats for being nominated in Indiblogger award. You waited till 9.00p.m. for sunset to capture the stunning architectural beautiescof city. Ghent looks stunning in night as well as in day. It is good that special buildings of Ghent are highlighted with lights and it really adds beauty to city.

  5. I'm not sure I can wait that long with anxiety killing me. That feeling you get when you are about to experience something terrifically georgrous. I like the idea of an illuminated walk but its just fir 3 hrs?�������� That's so unfair. And congrats in your nomination.

  6. Congrats on your nomination! And yes indeed, Ghent is a wonderful city. However, I had no idea they have a lighy festival every 3 years. But then again O guess they have all the reasons to have one. Are you planning to visit for the 2018 festival?

  7. I do not always go out at night when we are on vacations. However, I increasingly see that cities also make their night scenes beautiful with illuminations. I will be more adventurous to go out at night in future trips.

  8. I love the concept of a 'night city'. Your photos are wonderful to depict a beautiful city - both day and night. And congrats on the nomination!

  9. Belgium looks great at night. The old structures looks highlighted with the bright lights.

  10. Totally different perspectives to see a city during the daytime and at night. I love that you took pictures of both for us to see the differences! My first time in Rome, I saw all of the landmarks at night and loved it! I recently returned and saw them during the day, but the illuminated ones at night remain my favorites !

  11. Wow! You take amazing night photos! Good job!!

  12. I should try my own illuminated walk, inspired by you!
    Congrats for this nomination :)

  13. I should try the illuminated walk as well, inspired by you. And congrats for this amazing nomination!

  14. The nighttime is absolutely gorgeous in Belgium...wowzers! Congratulations on the well deserved nominations. Your photos are beautiful.

  15. You day and night photos of Ghent are gorgeous. They have taken great pain to create a magnificent light show. I'd love to go to the 2018 festival.

  16. i love how well thought of the Light Plan is!! It preserves the historic beauty and cares about pollution. If only all cities were like that.

  17. congrats on the nomination! That is awesome :) I love cities at night when they illuminate them like that! Here is Mauritius they do an awesome event in December called 'Porlwi By Night', the whole city of PL is illuminated, they do light shows and such. Very very popular event

  18. I know what you mean by the late nights in summer, it can be frustrating if you are waiting for the night lights. It gets light in the morning super early too! You've taken some beautiful reflection photography in this post.

  19. The city looks so different during the day vs at night! Your night pictures captured the beauty of the city well. I will take note of the Ghent Light Festival when I visit!

  20. I love the way you have shown the comparison of the same place in daylight and night. Beautiful beautiful pictures, especially the night shots. Did not know that they had an official light festival. Well covered.

  21. Wow, I love beautiful this place is. Truly, I love how they come up with the concept of a night city. It is very captivating and just so romantic at night. I also love all your stunning photos, you have captured the real beauty of the place. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

  22. I've read many inspiring blogs about Ghent like this one. I've been to Bruges and hoping to see Ghent as well soon. Lovely night photos!

  23. I remember how I had waited for the fall of the night in Paris to see the lights of Eiffel when I visited Europe in Summers. All that and so much to do with lights in Ghent sounds and looks interesting. The Ghent Light Festival must be something to look forward to.


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