Getting to Belgium by airplane
The closest airport to Ghent is Brussels National Airport (BRU), a.k.a. Zaventem, 42 miles/67 kilometers from Ghent. There are direct flights to all major European cities several times per day.
There are also 12 daily direct flights from/to the following North-American cities (airline): New York JFK (American, Jet Airways), Newark (Continental, Jet Airways), Washington (United), Philadelphia (US Air), Atlanta (Delta), Chicago (American, United), Toronto (Jet Airways, Air Canada), Montreal (Air Canada)
Other convenient airports are Amsterdam Schiphol (225km/140mi) and Paris Charles De Gaulle Roissy (270km/167mi). Each have high-speed train connections to Ghent (see below).
Getting to Ghent by train
If you are coming from France, the Netherlands, parts of Germany, or even the UK, it may be faster and/or cheaper to take a train. There are high-speed trains running from all these countries to Belgium (TGV, Thalys, ICE or Eurostar). High speed trains require reservations. While you may be able to purchase your ticket in the train station, we recommend you to book it prior to your departure. More detailed information can be found below.
Getting from Brussels airport to Ghent
The train leaves inside the airport (lower level – follow signs). The departure station is called Brussel Nationaal Luchthaven (Brussel-Nat-Luchthaven or Bruxelles-Nat.-Aéroport in French). The destination station is Gent Sint-Pieters (Gand St.-Pierre in French). Tickets can be bought in the train station for about 15 euros per person for a one-way ticket.
There are 3 trains per hour to Ghent, 1 of which is a direct fast train (53 mins), 1 of which is a slow direct train (1u32mins), and 1 of which requires a connection in Brussels Nord (59mins). You can take any of these three trains from the airport. However, if you are not on the fast direct train, you should get off in any of the three Brussels stations (Bruxelles Nord/Brussel Noord, Bruxelles Central/Brussel Centraal, or Bruxelles Midi/Brussel Zuid) and connect to an intercity (IC) train to Ghent. The final destination of this IC train usually is Oostende, Knokke, or De Panne. Check the signs to verify that it stops in Gent St.-Pieters.
From the train station in Ghent, it is about a 20-30 minute walk to most conference hotels. With luggage, the easiest is to take a taxi (about 8-12 euros), the cheapest option is to take a tram, which stops right in front of the train station (about 2 euros). So, the train option will cost between 17 and 27 euros one way. Tickets for within-Belgium traveling can be booked via the Belgian railways website.
Getting from Paris or Amsterdam airports to Ghent
Trains from Paris CDG Roissy to Ghent take on average about 2h30. There are two routes. Which of the two routes is faster depends on your exact time of arrival and the exact train schedule at that time. The first option is to travel via Lille (Rijsel in Dutch). This connection involves a change of station from Lille Europe to Lille Flandres, but they are close to each other (5 minute walk). The first part is by TGV, the second part is by regular train. Total travel time is between 2h38 and 3h34. The second option is to travel directly towards Brussels (Bruxelles Midi/Brussel Zuid). You would take the TGV/Thalys train from CDG to Brussels and connect to Ghent from there. Total travel time is between 2h15 and 2h45. In either case, the TGV requires a reservation, which is best made before departure.
Trains from Amsterdam AMS (Schiphol) to Ghent also take about 2h30. The Thalys high-speed train takes 2h00 (reservation required) while the Intercity train takes 2h54 or 3h24. Both connect in Antwerpen Centraal (Antwerp/Anvers). There are 3 trains per hour: 1 Thalys and 2 IC.
Getting to Ghent by taxi
Taxis are available outside the airport building. We do not recommend this option as taxis are very expensive in Belgium. A taxi ride from Brussels airport to downtown Ghent will cost between 175 and 250 euros. Therefore, we will not reimburse taxis taken from Brussels to Ghent.