Lys region cycling route

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Lys region cycling route

57,9 km
85% Verhard

Zuiderlaan, 9000 Gent

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Extended route description

Between Ghent and Deinze, the picturesque Lys region beckons with a landscape that rightly inspired many painters. Welcome to the most artful East Flanders region, with its areas of nature, idyllic villages and cosy cafés.

Starting point

Walking node 52

The starting node 52 is located at the little bridge between the Vissersdijk and Aan De Bocht streets. 

Kasteel Grand Noble and Parkbos


After the first few kilometres along the water that demarcates the centre of Ghent, you land up in the vast Parkbos. The area of nature is one of the new green lungs around Ghent: 1,200 hectares and extending across Zwijnaarde, Sint-Denijs-Westrem, De Pinte and Sint-Martens-Latem. There are 9 castles here, including Grand Noble Castle, a neoclassical castle with three beautiful avenues. 

In addition to the castle itself, the lands also feature a landscaped park with accompanying pond, carriage houses and gardener's house. This used to be private land, but now you can walk in it and – behind the castle – even picnic at a new picnic table. Bridges and boardwalks in the wetlands add to the fairytale atmosphere.

Hospice Forests

The 58-hectare Hospicebossen – also called the Nazareth Forests – are known for their biodiversity. Different tree species are divided into separate plots there. The name refers to the former owner of these woods, the Hospice of Ghent, now the Public centre for Social Welfare. Today, the forest is owned by the Province of East Flanders, which engages in sustainable management there, increasing the habitat for bat and owl species, among other things. Cyclists, hikers, mountain bikers, equestrians and dogs (on a leash!) welcome, every day from half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset.

Astene sas

Astene sas 1 TOV.jpg

Astene Lock is a picture: a historical drawbridge over the Lys that is still manually operated, a well-preserved lock, plus a ship's café full of curiosities and ship's attributes. A little further on, you come to another idyllic spot: the Maaigemdijk, a 1.3 km dirt road with a tall line of trees along the banks of the Old Lys. Some people call this the most idyllic spot in Deinze!


At 't Oud Sashuis, a ship's café with a little museum, quench your thirst with a Schobiak beer and satisfy your hunger with a house dish. The owner / lock manager Wim and house parrot Boris will provide the ambiance. Wonderful café by the water!

Ooidonk Castle


The Renaissance Ooidonk Castle, one of the gems of the region, exudes pure class with its impressive towers and stepped gables. It is privately owned and cannot always be visited – check dates and times on the website! – but the beautifully maintained gardens are open to the public every day (except on Mondays and Tuesday mornings).

Dhondt-Dhaenens Museum

This museum near the village centre of Deurle was founded by Irma Dhaenens and Jules Dhondt, a businessman and patron of the Flemish Movement who funded, among other things, the first Festival of Flanders in the early 1960s. Throughout their lives, the couple built up an extraordinary private collection. When their only son Roger died at 14, they donated the lion's share of their collection to the museum that bears their name. With verve, Dhondt-Dhaenens focuses heavily on temporary exhibitions by domestic and foreign artists. You will often discover temporary projects in the garden as well. As an arts centre, it plays an important role in the international art world.

Gust De Smet Municipal Museum

Along with Permeke and Van den Berghe, painter Gustave "Gust" De Smet (1877-1943) was one of the "big three" in Flemish expressionism. After his death, his home became protected heritage and opened to the general public in 1950. A selection of some 100 works, mostly small canvases and drawings, hangs in the living room, studio and bedroom on the second floor. 

D’Ouwe Hoeve

At this obligatory stop on your route – formerly a pastor's house, town hall and school in turn – you will sample catered brasserie dishes prepared with mostly artisanal produce from local growers and breeders. D'Ouwe Hoeve has a blissful terrace on one of Flanders' most beautiful village squares. 

Gevaert-Minne Museum

There is nothing to be found of the hippie commune and the old LIMA factory (now an art gallery) here today. However, there is now the Gevaert-Minne Museum, with many masterpieces by Latem painters such as Xavier De Cock, Valerius De Saedeleer, Constant Permeke and Albijn Van den Abeele. The museum, protected since 1996 and beautifully situated in three hectares of woodland, is the former home of painter, poet, writer and composer Edgar Gevaert. Temporary exhibitions or lectures related to Sint-Martens-Latem regularly take place in the 'sheepfold'.

Latem village


Latem Village, the artists' village in the East Flanders Lys region, is a painting in itself. A great many painters immortalised the recognisable double curve of the Lys and the two characteristic farmhouses near St Martin's Church more than a century ago. One of the farms is the Tempelhof, which has been owned by St Peter's Abbey of Ghent since the 12th century. Albijn Van den Abeele and George Minne, among others, found their final resting place in the Latem cemetery.

Old Abbey

In Afsnee, cross the Lys by ferry, then follow the water along Dijkweg until you reach Drongen Abbey. Unfortunately, it cannot be visited individually – unless you are going there for reflection. But in a group, you can look inside this Norbertine abbey with 10 hectares of land. An engaging guide will open the doors to some special gems such as the neo-Gothic chapel, the unusual elements in the building corridors, the paintings and artworks. Tours last an hour and a half and can be booked for 10 people or more.

Walking node 52