Ghent is known for its vibrant history and cultural richness. Just like every big city in the world, Ghent presents also a complex maze of parking zones that can perplex. Whether you’re planning a short visit to admire the famous artworks in the Sint-Baafskathedraal or Grasslei, understanding the parking system in Ghent will save you time and avoid unnecessary stress. This quick guide provides a detailed overview of parking options in Ghent, designed to help you find the most cost-effective parking solutions.

Understanding Parking in Ghent

Ghent’s parking system is thoughtfully designed to accommodate the needs of its residents and visitors, ensuring accessibility and convenience throughout the city. The parking zones are cleverly divided by color, each tailored with specific rules and tariffs to suit different purposes and durations.

  • Red Zone: Situated in the heart of Ghent, the busiest parts of the city, the Red Zone is ideal for short visits. Parking is chargeable from 9 AM to 11 PM at €2.50 for the first hour, increasing to €6 for two hours and €10 for three hours. However, it offers a reprieve with free parking from 11 PM to 9 AM, and on Sundays and holidays, making it perfect for late-night outings or festive visits.
  • Orange Zone: Encircling the central area, the Orange Zone is slightly more relaxed, allowing up to 5 hours of parking. Charges are applicable from 9 AM to 11 PM, with rates at €1.50 per hour until 7 PM, then dropping to €1 per hour. This zone also features a daily maximum charge of €6, appealing to visitors who plan to spend a substantial part of their day in the city.
  • Yellow Zone: Located a bit further from the center, the Yellow Zone is designed for moderate stays, with parking allowed for a maximum of 5 hours at a rate of €1.50 per hour between 9 AM and 7 PM. Parking becomes free from 7 PM to 9 AM and on Sundays and holidays, catering to evening visitors or those enjoying a leisurely weekend.
  • Green Zone: As the most economical option, the Green Zone is perfect for longer visits, charging only €0.80 per hour with a daily maximum of €3. It also offers the convenience of free parking from 7 PM to 9 AM and the first 30 minutes free with a ticket twice a day, making it an excellent choice for budget-conscious travelers or day-long explorers.
  • Blue Zone: Unique in its offering, the Blue Zone provides free parking with a disc for a 2-hour stay from 9 AM to 6 PM. Outside these hours, parking is unrestricted. This zone is particularly suited for visitors who need to use their car frequently throughout the day.

Special Parking Areas: Commercial Streets

Ghent designates certain areas as commercial streets where parking is intended to facilitate shopping and short visits. Here, you can park for a maximum of 3 hours between 9 AM and 7 PM. Examples include parts of the Antwerpsesteenweg and Brusselsesteenweg. Note that residents with permits can park without restrictions.

Ultrashort Parking for Specific Needs

In some areas, Ghent provides parking spaces for ultrashort durations—ideal for kiss-and-ride scenarios, quick drop-offs, or loading activities. These are available for 15 or 30 minutes, depending on the zone, from Monday to Saturday, 7 AM to 7 PM.

Parking on Sundays and Public Holidays

Ghent is more lenient with parking on Sundays and public holidays, offering free parking in all zones. This can be particularly useful for visitors planning day trips or local exploration without the worry of parking fees.

Park and Ride: A Smart Alternative

For those preferring to avoid parking hassles in the city center, Ghent’s Park and Ride (P+R) options are a smart choice. Facilities like P+R Flanders Expo/The Loop are free and offer frequent tram connections to the city center, reducing stress and potentially high parking costs.

Tips for Parking in Ghent

  • Always check local signage: Regulations can vary by street and time of day.
  • Use parking apps: Mobile apps can help you find and pay for parking efficiently.
  • Consider a day pass: If planning extensive travel within the city, a day pass for parking might be more economical.
  • Watch the time: Ensure your parking does not exceed the maximum allowed duration to avoid fines.

FQA: Parking in Ghent

When parking in Ghent, it’s essential to pay attention to the color-coding of the parking machines, as they correspond to specific zones. For instance, if you’re in the ‘orange zone,’ look for a machine with an orange top. This becomes particularly crucial in areas where two zones intersect, as the nearest machine may not correspond to your zone.

To use the parking machines, input your vehicle’s number plate, select the desired parking duration, and make payment using a card. Unlike traditional systems, these machines do not issue physical tickets for your windshield. Instead, parking inspectors verify compliance based on your number plate.

One advantage of this system is the flexibility to relocate your vehicle within the time limit to a cheaper zone without additional payment. However, it’s important to note that you cannot upgrade to a more expensive zone without paying again.

Navigating Ghent’s diverse parking options doesn’t have to be daunting. With a bit of planning and an understanding of the local parking rules, you can enjoy your stay in this beautiful Belgian city with ease and convenience. Whether you’re here for the art, history, or the lively cafes, Ghent’s welcoming streets are best enjoyed without the worry of parking woes.


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