Do you need to know how to get from Brussels to Ghent? Or how to travel from Ghent to Brussels?

Putting Brussels and Ghent in your itinerary is a great choice! Most travellers will start their journey in the capital and Ghent is one of our favourite places in the world. The city has a wonderful young and trendy feeling and will leave you stunned with its many sights.

Any Brussels – Ghent transport is pretty straightforward, whether you choose to drive or go from Brussels to Ghent by train or bus.

We’ll discuss each option so you can pick the one that is right for you!

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How to get from Brussels to Ghent

Best option

If you are looking for the most convenient way to reach Ghent when you’re coming from Brussels, we recommend catching the train. Both cities are too large to comfortably use the car and parking is rather costly. Besides, the journey will only take about 25-40 minutes (depending on the station) while driving should at least take an hour. Click here to book your train ticket!

the boats on the main canal lined with old houses in Ghent
Taking a (covered) boat ride in Ghent

Option 1: Brussels to Ghent by car

Many people travel in their own car while in Belgium. In that case, you’ll obviously want to bring it along with you. And even if you’re flying in, if you prefer to have your own means of transport, renting a car is a pretty popular choice to travel around the country.

The distance from Brussels to Ghent is 57 km which should take you about 1 hour with regular traffic. The drive is pretty straightforward, as you only have to take the highway connecting both cities (E40 Brussels – Ostend) and take the connecting highway E17 in the direction of Antwerp where you’ll find the Ghent city centre exit a couple of kilometres along the road.

Keep in mind that traffic jams are no exception. Overall, the major problematic zones are the highways around Brussels and Antwerp, so if you’re driving the Brussels-Ghent distance you might get lucky and avoid being stuck. However, make sure to add at least half an hour to your schedule if you’re driving during rush hours.

If you don’t have a free parking space included in your accommodation, it might be a good idea to leave your car at one of the 7 park + ride parking zones. These free car parks on the edge of Ghent allow you to drop your car close to the highways and use public transport to get into the city. Keep in mind that these car parks are not secure (however, we’ve never had any issues). Read more about the different Park&Ride areas here.

Option 2: Train Brussels to Ghent

Most travellers will choose to take the train from Brussels to Ghent as it is by far the most convenient way to travel between both cities.

Brussels is a fairly large city and has 3 main train stations to choose from (there is also a Brussels Airport train station and a couple of smaller ones in the suburbs). All intercity trains stop at every station. The 3 train stations in Brussels are called Brussel-Noord/Nord (North Station), Brussel-Centraal/Central (Central Station) and Brussel-Zuid/Midi (South Station). The last one is where international trains such as Thalys, Eurostar, TGV and ICE serve from.

Ghent has 2 train stations, with Gent-Sint-Pieters being the main hub but about 2,5km outside the city centre, while Gent-Dampoort is a lot smaller but only a short walking distance from all the main sights.

There is a direct Brussels – Ghent train to Gent-St-Pieters four times an hour. There is no direct train to Gent Dampoort. However, there are connections between Gent-Sint-Pieters and Gent Dampoort every 5 minutes. Other options are to walk into the centre (30 minutes) or take tram #1 in front of the station.

The Brussels to Ghent train time is 25 min if you’re leaving from Brussels South, 36 min from Brussels Central and 40 minutes from Brussels North.

The earliest trains Brussels to Ghent leave around 5.30 AM and the last one is around 00.30 AM. You can check the current Brussels Ghent train timetable here.

The Brussels to Ghent train cost is €9 for a single ticket, while a retour is €18 . If you’re under 26, a single ticket is €6,6 and a retour € 13,2. For every paying adult, 4 children under 12 travel for free. Should you travel during the weekend (from friday at 7PM to sunday), you can buy a retour ticket at the reduced price of €10. It is convenient to book your train ticket online. Click here to book your tickets.

Option 3: Brussels to Ghent bus

Although the bus is by far the cheapest way to travel around Belgium, it’s not recommendable to use this form of transport for this connection. Buses from Brussels to Ghent offer no direct service, so you’d have to pass through Aalst (70 min, bus #214, get off at the station) and then continue on to Ghent (60 min, bus #96, get off at Gent-Sint-Pieters). You can use this website to plan your trip.

Belgian buses are not convenient to transport luggage. I’m not saying it isn’t possible (because it is, we’ve done it a lot of times), but there is no room to store your suitcase, you should put it in the middle section of the bus and stay there to keep it from falling.

The cheapest bus tickets are the ones you can buy in the app. A regular ticket is €1,8 and is valid for 60 minutes. This means that this trip will cost you at least €5,4. Other options are smartphone tickets or regular tickets bought at a store. You can no longer buy them from the driver.

Option 4: Brussels to Ghent by taxi

A taxi from Brussels to Ghent will definitely be the most expensive way to travel. However, if you do not wish to rent a car and prefer to have a private means of transport, a taxi or private transport company might be the best choice for you.

A 4-person standard car will cost you about €90 for this trip, while an 8-person minivan is €115. Click here to book your private transfer.

close up of a gothic building in Brussels
Stunning architecture in the capital!

How to get from Ghent to Brussels

If you’d like to return to Brussels, the same options as above are available.

For travellers with their own car or a rental, driving from Ghent to Brussels is pretty straightforward. Keep in mind that traffic around the capital is usually heavy and traffic jams are common. The distance from Ghent to Brussels is 60 km and should take you about an hour in regular traffic. If you prefer private transport but don’t want to drive yourself, you could travel by taxi. This will cost you € 91 for a regular car (4p) or €115 for a minivan (8p). Click here to book your private transport.

The third and best option is to take the train Ghent to Brussels. The trip from Gent-St-Pieters to any of the Brussels’ stations will take between 25 and 40 minutes. A regular single ticket will cost you €9. Click here to book your ticket online.

The last option is taking the Ghent to Brussels bus, but as there is no direct route this option is fairly complicated and long. It will take you about 2,5 hours to complete this trip. Plan your trip here.

How to get from Brussels Airport to Ghent & back

Brussels Airport to Ghent by car or taxi

Driving from Brussels Airport to Gent will take about 55 minutes if you don’t encounter too much traffic. If you’re not up to driving by yourself, you can book a taxi from Brussels Airport to Ghent. A 4p regular car will cost you €104 and an 8p minivan is €131. You can book your driver here.

Brussels Airport – Ghent train

To travel from Brussels Airport to Ghent by train there are direct trains available every 40 minutes. Furthermore, it’s possible to first take a train to one of the 3 main stations in Brussels (North, Central or South) – there should be one every 10 minutes or so and then take the intercity train to Ghent.

The same route can be followed for the train from Ghent to Brussels Airport.

All trains from and to the airport require an additional DIABOLO fee (€5,50). This makes a regular ticket for trains from Brussels Airport to Ghent € 15,70 (€12,10 for -26, €12,30 for 65+). Book your online ticket here!

Brussels Airport to Ghent bus

Taking the bus from Brussels Airport to Ghent or the other way around is impractical and therefore we wouldn’t recommend it. If you really prefer to take the bus instead of the train, take bus #272 or #471 from Brussels Airport to Brussels North Station. Then, hop on bus # 212 or # 214 to Aalst Station. Continue on to Gent-Sint-Pieters with bus #96. It should take you a little over 3 hours and will, therefore, cost you €7,20.

view on the canal from the Zuivelbrug in Ghent while the sun is setting
View from the Zuivelbrug – Ghent

Final words

When deciding your way of transportation between Brussels and Ghent, consider your preferences. Do you like to reach your destination as quickly as possible or would it be nice to be able to stop along the way?

Do you mind travelling with others, possibly having to stand up if you’re travelling during rush hour? Is the budget important or do you not mind spending a little extra for more comfort?

Although travelling by car is easy and convenient, parking in the cities can be quite a hassle. If you don’t need the freedom of your own car, we’d recommend the Brussels – Ghent train or the Brussels Airport train to Ghent. Trains in Belgium are convenient, fast and not overly expensive. The connection between Brussels and Ghent is a great one.

If you prefer your own transport and don’t mind spending a little extra, hiring a private driver or taxi is a great idea. Especially for people travelling in a bigger group, this might be an interesting option.

No matter which option you utilise, you’ll be sure to have an amazing time in Ghent. Have a great trip!

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