The sun sets quite late in parts of Europe in the summer months, so after a long day of exploring we’re usually ready to get in bed once the sun dips below the horizon.
However, in the city of Ghent (Belgium), once the sun sets- the city lights up again!
Therefore, during our one night in Ghent, we made an exception and purposely stayed up late to experience Ghent Illuminated– a walking tour that takes place at night.
Thousands of strategically placed lights come on at 11 pm and stay on until midnight.
The carefully designed lighting displays illuminate landmark buildings throughout the city, such as Town Hall (shown above and below).
What are you waiting for?! Grab a map and start walking!
Now, don’t be intimidated by the fact that this tour takes you through a few grafittied alleys. This is, in fact, part of the tour and it’s perfectly safe!
To experience another unique walking experience in Ghent, be sure to take the full-length self-guided Concrete Canvas (Graffiti) Tour, which I also highly recommend!
St James Church is one of 53 stops on this after-dark walking tour.
Of course, no tour in Ghent is complete without a stop by the Vrijdagmarkt.
Unfortunately, an hour (11pm-midnight) was not enough time for us to do the entire tour. I guess that’s why Visit Ghent‘s slogan is ‘Ghent: More Than a One Night Stay‘!
As a result, we were only able to see a small portion of the city-wide tour, but it was enough to rekindle our passion for nighttime photography!
Seeing a city after the sun goes down offers visitors a glimpse of the beautiful architecture in a whole new light… literally!
One of our favorite stops on the self-guided tour was Gravensteen Castle, which literally means the Castle of the Counts!
This beautiful and historic castle originates from the Middle Ages.
Our Ghent CityCard provided us access into the castle during opening hours, so it was neat to see this grand structure both during the day and at night.
Ghent is a charming Flemish town and although our time there was brief, we enjoyed the culture, food, architecture, and vibe enough to put it on our list of places to return to someday!
Ghent a very walkable city and the local tourism board goes above and beyond to make sure visitors have all of the information and resources needed to make the most out of their time. Heed their advice and stay more than one night! After our too-short stay, we now understand why Ghent is considered more of a destination than just a stopover location!