Holiday to Belgium-Exploring the Ghent Light Festival

Our second day in Ghent started with breakfast in our hotel.

The breakfast was super fun, as we made our own freshly squeezed juice and waffles.

After eating we walked to the Belfry of Ghent, which is one of the three medival towers in the city centre.

Work on the tower was completed in 1380, however further construction on the upper parts of the Belfry has been carried out over the years.

Placed at the very top of the Belfry is a dragon, which is the symbol and mascot of Ghent. It’s also there to watch over the city.

Once inside we paid €8 each to enter and took the lift to the top. (It’s worth noting that despite there being a lift, you still have to walk some narrow and worn stone steps).

View from the top.

St. Nicholas’ Church.

Inside the Belfry we saw the drum, which controls all of the bells inside the tower.

Every fifteen minutes you can see the drum in action and listen to the bells ringing.

After visiting the Belfry, we decided to make the most of the sunshine and went on a canal boat ride.

Once we’d seen the city by water, we decided to explore the sights by foot.

Our first stop was Gravensteen, which means ‘castle of the count’.

The castle was built in 1180 and served as the seat of the Counts of Flanders, before they abandoned it in the 14th century.

The castle was then used as a prison, courthouse and finally left to decay. It was due to be demolished at the end of the 19th century, when the city of Ghent bought the castle and renovated it.

We’d hoped to go inside Gravensteen but they’d stopped selling tickets early; however, we was still impressed by the sight of this beautiful building.

After Gravensteen we visited Graffiti Street.

The Stadhuis (Ghent Town Hall).

And admired the quaint streets and canals.

As it was getting pretty cold, we headed back to our hotel for a rest.

Before heading out for dinner in the evening. We ate at Komkommertijd (Cucumber Time), which is a vegan buffet.

The food was really good and there was lots of healthy curries and other vegetable dishes.

After dinner, we visited more of the Lichtfestival (Light Festival) as it was the final night it was on.

We managed to walk most of the 6.6km and see nearly all of the light installations. I took mostly videos as some of my favourite displays can only be properly enjoyed with music and sound, so I’ll be posting them on my Instagram in the future.

Forgotten

One of my favourite displays was ‘Forgotten’, which links back to the dragon on top of the Belfry in Ghent.

This newly imagined piece shows the dragon keeping a watch over the city, which caused the residents of Ghent to lock up the dragon for fear he would reveal their secrets. He was forgotten until now.

Forgotten featured the dragon breathing real fire and was very cleverly done.

Geluksvogels

Geluksvogels is illuminated and chirping birds, that reflect how children see themselves; as little birds of happiness.

Children from a school in Ghent helped to create this sweet piece of art.

Pixel forrest

Pixel forrest is upside-down water containers, made to look like a pixelated forest in the city.

Patern 5.0, Live Sessies

The Luminus power plant is brought to life with images and sounds during a live DJ session.

De Maanfluisteraars

Another beautiful piece of art created by children using lamps. This light installation is an illuminated sky, where you walk underneath and see how your dreams can bring you closer to the moon.

Synapse

The swirling colours and sounds of Synapse are supposed to resemble something from a dream.

The atmosphere was dreamy with all of the lights and snow falling.

As it was nearing midnight and the end of the Lichtfestival, we headed back to our hotel, ready for our last day in Belgium.

18 thoughts on “Holiday to Belgium-Exploring the Ghent Light Festival

  1. I love going up towers and getting a high vantage point to see a city while travelling. It’s such a good way to survey the overall layout of the city and see their building styles. That drum which controls the bells at the Belfry of Ghent is so neat! I wonder if the locals get sick of hearing the bells though…
    Nice to see you got improved weather during your visit!
    The Light Festival showcase looks really interesting – and all that walking is good exercise too! 😉

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    • Me too. We’ve walked up a lot of towers/high buildings to take in the view of cities. I liked the view of Ghent as the city hasn’t changed too much or modernised. It still looks traditional☺ It’s really cool to watch the drum moving and all the bells going. 😂 they change the tune of the bells every two years at Easter. It must be so locals don’t get sick of the sound haha. Yes! The worst day was our first in Ghent as it rained most of the day. This day was cold but sunny. 😂 well I need it! I thought to myself, I’ve not exercised much Feb and March, but I did nearly 4 miles just in the evening seeing the Light Festival☺ x

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  2. Love reading your travel posts. It must have felt somewhat magical with all those lights on.
    I also wonder how locals take it hearing the bells so often but then I remember when I moved to London, hearing church bells was one of the sounds I missed and set it as an alarm in the morning😁

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    • Aaw thank you💕 It did feel magical. You’d walk ’round a corner and see lights and pianos playing. All the lights and sounds was really beautiful☺ Haha I like the sound of church bells. I found when I was in town I couldn’t hear the bells, I only noticed the sound from our hotel, but then we was next door!😊 x

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  3. Oh my gosh you had me at breakfast! I am SO hungry now! And the Belfry looks stunning! So cool you guys got to go up in it. And oh my lanta girl your pictures! I am seriously obsessed! They are all so gorgeous and i love the ones of the lightship. Ghent is SO dreamy! ❤

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  4. The view from the tower looks like – remind me of the top of the duomo in Milan – the skies looked nice and clear too!
    Cucumber time i such a fun name for a restaurant – it’s nice to hear that they had more on the menu than fifty ways of doing cucumber!
    I bet the snow ending the light festival was a lovely way to end your stint in Ghent!

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    • It does. It was a really cold but clear day, so the views from the tower were perfect😊 Haha it’s a good name! I’m glad it wasn’t just a restaurant selling salad too. It was. I took a video of one installation, where someone played piano and the keys shone in patterns on the walls and you can see the snow falling. It was really lovely😊 x

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