Search form

menu menu
  • Daily & Weekly newsletters
  • Buy & download The Bulletin
  • Comment on our articles

Light fantastic: Glowing festivals brighten winter skies across Belgium

Brussels Bright Festival
18:20 26/01/2024

From dancing lasers to magical illuminations, light shows are being switched on around the country.

Cheer yourself up during the dog-days of winter by following one of these colourful and twinkling trails. The are also free and family-friendly!



Festival des lumières Until 25 January & 1-4 February

The first light festival in Wallonia is currently wowing audiences with its spectacular light trail. A total of 27 installations and projections are sited along the 3km path wending around medieval and historic quarters of the city. In a poetic theme celebrating Surrealism’s 100th anniversary, Mons honour’s the movement’s roots in the Hainaut region.

While conceived by local creatives and businesses, the guest artist is internationally-renowned Scottish-born, London-based artist, poet and sculptor Robert Montgomery. He’s known for his site-specific installations in public spaces created from light and text as well as billboard and fire poems.

All the lights used for the trail use LED lamps, points out Mons mayor Nicolas Martin, who says the city hopes to make the event an annual winter attraction.

Individual as well as group tours are available each evening, departing from visitMons tourism office, priced at €10 for adults, €5 for 12 to 18-year-olds.

To help draw entice visitors from further afield, additional trains and buses have been laid on for the duration of the festival.



Licht Festival 31 January to 4 February

Staged in the heart of the city centre, this 7.2km looped route is strewn with 31 dazzling light installations. While visitors are invited to join the trail wherever they want, they are advised to respect the right walking direction. Don't worry, an online map makes it easy to find your way around. Alternatively, pick one up from one of the four info points or print it out at home.

The itinerary of the wildly-popular event has been modified for its sixth edition. This year, it crosses Schipperskaai and Kleindokkaai along Oude Dokken, also passing through the renovated Baudelohof as well as the historic and medieval centre and Sleepstraat.

One reason not to miss Ghent’s fantastic light festival is that it only takes place every three years. The luminous installations by Belgian and international artists are also highly impressive; a digital zoo, 3m-high mask, facades transformed into skylines, giant soap bubbles, drone show, firefly dance and even diving into an underwater world, are all designed to thrill spectators.

Bright Festival 2023


Bright Festival 15-18 February

The capital’s annual light show returns with a spotlight on Europe in a nod to Belgium’s current presidency of the EU council. So this year, it’s the city’s royal quarter and EU neighbourhood that will be hosting the installations and the fun.

Alongside the immersive and multisensory installations by national and international artists, an additional fringe programme is offered by local museums and stores. It includes guided tours, live entertainment and heritage illuminations. A new children’s zone promises to keep the little ones further distracted, located in Place d’Espagne.

Meanwhile, youngsters, or the young at heart, can party to the wee hours at the Disco Bright Party in Ravenstein gallery. Elsewhere, a Bright Market sells lamps of various kinds, and performances pop up around the city, including an illuminated roller skating parade.

The festival is collaborating with the company Access-I to make the trial and activities as accessible as possible to people with reduced mobility.

Photos: ©Bright Festival 2023; ©Festival des Lumières Electroson Studio; Ghent Licht Festival previous edition; Bright Festival 2023

Written by Sarah Crew