Travel and transport
An important part of planning your visit to Ghent University - whether it is just for a few days or for a couple of years - is arranging your trip to Ghent, and once you are here, getting around in Ghent.
Belgium has a number of commercial airports but the principal international airports are Brussels Airport and Charleroi Airport (or 'Brussels South').
You can travel by high-speed train to Brussels from:
- Paris, Amsterdam, Aachen, Köln, Schiphol, Den Haag, Rotterdam with the Thalys train
- London, Ashford, Lille with the Eurostar train
- More international destinations
If you are planning to travel to Ghent by bus or coach, you can contact Eurolines. The bus stops near the main train station.
Ghent is at the crossroads of two great European motorways:
- E17 connecting Lisbon, Paris, Ghent, Antwerp, Köln, Copenhagen, Stockholm
- E40 connecting London, Calais, Ghent, Frankfurt, Vienna, Budapest, Sophia, Istanbul
- Contact information of Ghent University
TOP TIP - Watch this instructional video on how to travel from Brussels International Airport to Ghent Sint-Pieters Station.
Ghent University has issued a map of the city listing all the major university locations and services. Get a hard copy at the GUIDe Infodesk.
Belgium has a well developed public transport network. Over greater distances, it is most common to travel by train on the Belgian Railways ('NMBS').
Top tip: if you buy a ticket to Brussels Airport, make sure to specifically ask for 'Airport', not just 'Brussels'. There is a special tax ('Diabolo tax') for train travel to the airport.
In towns and cities, the usual means of transportation are buses, trams, the underground and taxis.
Unless you bring your own car, you should consider whether it is worth incurring the rather high costs involved in buying or renting a car in Belgium, particularly if you come alone. You may find it more reasonable to use public transport on trips undertaken during your stay in this country. For shorter distances, a bicycle can be an ideal alternative.
- Portal of the Belgian Government: public transport
Exploring Ghent on foot
Ghent's pedestrian-friendly city centre is the largest in Belgium, with an area of 30 hectares.
The historical city centre is a perfect place to walk or just saunter. There are treats for all the senses: your view is not obstructed by traffic, you can hear the excited chatter of the people around you and smell the delicious aromas coming from the shops and restaurants.
One golden rule you must remember: the tram has right of way and will not stop for lowly pedestrians!
Finding your way in Ghent has never been easier. Especially now the brand new pedestrian signposting has been installed. From now on the city is divided into two districts, and each district into several sites. Arrows in different colours point the way from one site to the next and tell you in which district you are.
At the very top is a vertical blue or yellow panel that tells you at which site and in which district you are. Immediately below this, a blue or yellow arrow points to the shortest way to the other district. Below this are blue or yellow arrows pointing to the other sites within this district. The grey arrows point to an attraction, car park, or information point. This signposting also point the way to the stations and coach parks.
I want to ride my bicycle...
Check out the UGent bike facilities.
Public transport: bus and tram ('De Lijn')
Public transport is rarely hindered by car traffic, so it gets to its destination faster and easier.
And no: tram 4 does not go all the way to Moskow...
- Detailed information on using the public transport (fare, buying tickets, routes etc.)
- Interesting tourist deal: the Museum Pass
Call for a taxi
Taxis are relatively expensive in Belgium and are generally used in exceptional cases, e.g. if there is no other means of transport to take you home at night or if you have heavy luggage. You can order a taxi by telephone or you will find one at a taxi rank. It is not customary to flag down taxis in the street. In addition to the basic fare, taxi users are charged a fixed amount for each kilometre. The driver's meter, which is installed in all taxis, will show what you have to pay at the end of the trip. A tip is sometimes expected.
Still car crazy?
Get to grips with driving around in a car in Ghent...