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Ghent Altarpiece parking

My husband and I will be in Ghent in mid-May and, of course, we want to see the Altarpiece. We are seniors and walking can be problematic. Does anyone know the address of the nearest parking lot if we can't find street parking?
I would appreciate any help.

Posted by
1464 posts

If you Google "parking near st bavo's ghent" you should come up with three option nearby. Maps and links to the websites are available.

Posted by
7196 posts

Does anyone know the address of the nearest parking lot if we can't find street parking?

These are the closest to the cathedral:

Parking Reep - Seminariestraat 9 - 9000 Ghent
Center Parking - Korte Meer 22b - 9000 Ghent

Posted by
27759 posts

Plan to take extra time getting your car to the carpark. Gent is undergoing years of roadworks and redesign in the centre and expect routes to be diverted, often without a clear direction to go.

Street parking is possible, but not close to your destination. It is all on meters. The carparks are easier and are called out on signs as you follow the parking route. Those signs will also give you the number of available spaces.

Drive very carefully around the trams. Do not overtake a stopped one, especially in the right hand lane. Watch out for bicycles.

Posted by
1860 posts

I stumbled on while reasearching a driving trip. Didn’t use it much so unsure of its accuracy, but it looks comprehensive.

Posted by
5484 posts

Joanna, your visible profile does not reveal if you live in a car-centric United States location. Driving in a medieval town center is very different from going to (my neighborhood ...) Garden State Plaza. I have walked to St. Bavo's, and I have taken the public bus from the train sation. I have also driven in downtown Antwerp, which probably has much more traffic than Gent. But I don't recommend driving in either. A GPS is an absolute must because of all the one-way streets, and folding mirrors are useful for tight corners and medieval building ornaments. Also, the (not cheap) indoor and underground parking in Belgian cities has astonishingly narrow stalls and driving aisles. I would not take any car larger than a Camry (and a Corolla size is preferable) into one of those garages. You also have to consider whether there will be visible luggage encouraging theft from the car.

Check to see if you might need to go to two locations to see a second part of the altarpiece undergoing restoration. (I haven't been there in several years.) Gent is a very attractive city, but it sounds like a long walk on cobblestones is not in your plans.

Posted by
1669 posts

Joanna – Before giving my opinion where will you come from that day and how problematic will be walking for both of you. If it happen you are coming from Bruges for instance I think it will be better using the train and tram, just questioning.

I visit Ghent every month with my own car and think the place is difficult driving through if you have no experience there.

Posted by
12 posts

Thank you all for your help.

This was my plan:
As we are arriving at Brussels airport early in the morning, but staying in Ypres that day, I thought we could go directly to Ghent to see the Altarpiece and then drive on to Ypres. I am still working on our 5 week itinerary (Belgium, Luxembourg, some of Germany, flying home from Amsterdam after meeting friends), so I am not sure if we’ll get back to Ghent.
We learned from 5 weeks driving around the UK and 5 weeks driving around Ireland and some driving in Paris - we rent as small a car as we can that will fit all luggage in a trunk! We rent a car and drive, rather than do trains, as we love small villages and rural areas, off the beaten path places, spending less time in cities.
I have some parking lot suggestions, but is there public transport from the train station that would get us closer? Would leaving the car at the train station be safe if no luggage, etc., were visible?
We are seniors and I know we’ll be tired from our flight to the east coast and our overnight flight, but we always plan something to do arrival day, fighting jet lag, and going to bed at a normal time.
Thanks for all your suggestions.

Posted by
1669 posts

Yes to my opinion parking in Parking Gent-St-Pieterstation will be way more convenient as it is more easy to reach from the freeways. It is underground, clean, spacious, well lit and there are elevators or you can walk the long slope to get to street level. You can go by bus or tram to the centre, the latter will stop at Korenmarkt and will be announced vocally and by matrix board. The parking is safe and speeking for myself it is safe too if you leave your luggage in the car if it is not visible from the outside. But to be sure store it in one of lockers inside the station.

If you want to see everything of the Altarpiece you have to go to the MSK / Museum of Fine Arts too, about a km from the train station. Half of the front panels are under restoration and you can see the specialists at work there. There is a bus stop near the museum and a tram stop a bit further away on the same line (line 1) for going to Korenmarkt. The ticket for the tram is also usuable for the bus and it can make sense buying a dayticket instead of a single ticket if you want to keep walking to a minimum and moving around as much as possible.

Posted by
1669 posts

Update parking in Gent.

If you want to park as close as possible to St Bavo’s Cathedral, Parking Zuid (P3) is a good option too. Driving along and coming from Brussels on the freeway E40 follow direction E17 – Kortrijk – Antwerpen – Gent at intersection Zwijnaarde. Then keep following Gent –Centrum B401 for about 4km. At the end of the park and staying on the left lane you will drive straight into Parking Zuid (P3), practice a bit with Google Streetview.

You will see also signs for Parking Reep (P2), but do that only if you are confident with the traffic in Gent. There are some roadworks going on for the moment and no garantuee it will be easy with al those one way streets leaving Gent without loosing serious time.

Parking Zuid - at street level there is a bus and tram stop with direct connection to the cathedral, best place is getting out at Gent Duivelsteen close to the backside of the cathedral. Walking this half mile distance will need about 10 to 15 min.

For getting out of Parking Zuid follow exit (there are several exit’s) Franklin Rooseveltlaan E17 E40 for going straight to the freeways south of Gent.

Nevertheless parking near Gent-Sint-Pieters as explained before remains to my opinion the most hassle-free option (+ storing your luggage and visiting MSK) if not familiar with driving through Gent.