Drongen: The Assels Walking Route

Hi! I hope everyone is doing ok, because let’s be honest, it’s been a crazy couple of months. Honestly, there were days during this ‘lockdown light’ where I moved mountains but there were also a lot of days where Netflix keeps asking me if I’m still there, and I’m like yeah buddy still going strong, keep playing. As for my blog, it took me a while to find interesting topics to write about. But then I figured, why not write about the activities that made me feel the most energetic and motivated. That’s been mostly rediscovering my hometown Drongen, while riding my bike and going on nature walks. Drongen is a district within the city of Ghent, about 5km’s from the historical center. The outskirts of Ghent offer a lot of beautiful green spaces like the Bourgoyen-Ossemeersen Nature Reserve and the Gentbrugse Meersen for example, but the Assels Walking Route is for sure my favorite. So are you ready for a relaxing walk in nature?

Drongen

During this walk we will explore the Drongense Meersen and the ‘Oude Leie’. The starting point of our walk is Drongenplein. Upon the square you will immediately see Drongen Abbey, which dates back to 1138 when the Norbertin monks founded it.

As soon as we cross the Pont Bridge, we are in the lake area of “De Assels”, a natural flood area of the Leie and an excellent walking area for bird watchers. While you walk along the Leie you can marvel at the stately villas across the river or spot the many pleasure yachts that are passing by. Especially in summer the Leie is one of the busiest waterways in the Gent region. And believe me it’s really nice and relaxing to explore Afsnee, Drongen, & Sint-Martens-Latem from the water. You can rent your own boat or kano via Leie Yachting, just next to the Pont Bridge.



In the neighborhood “Drie Leien” the Leie splits into two parts before reaching Ghent. Usually this is also the place where I take a break and enjoy a drink on the terrace of café ‘Oude Drie Leien’, so let’s hope we can go back to doing that soon! #fingerscrossed


Afsnee

Three kilometers further we are at the ferry to Afsnee. The last couple of months the ferry service was closed, so I wasn’t able to do the crossing. However if you have the chance make sure to visit Afsnee. The St. John the Baptist Church, the presbytery and the village view are gems that have been protected as a monument. Naturally you can explore rural Afsnee some more, but I usually start my return voyage home once I have reached the ferry.

This article is a bit different from all my other posts, as I mainly focus on cultural highlights. During this walk you will not find many of those, but the beautiful and peaceful scenery definitely will make up for that. I don’t know about you, but walking along the waterside always has a very relaxing effect on me.

Brasserie Aurelle

At the moment, I am counting down the days until the restaurant and bars can open their doors again! But if you are lucky and the ‘Horeca’ is back in business, Brasserie Aurelle is the place to be for a delicious breakfast, lunch or an afternoon pancakes or ice-cream break. On Friday night you can start the weekend off right with a delicious dinner. Believe me, I have frequented this brasserie a lot and the food has always been super yummy, so you are in for a treat!

Practical Information

  • The Assels walking route is 6 kilometers long and signposted with hexagonal signs.
  • Free parking is available next to the Pont Bridge.
  • Public transportation: From Korenmarkt ‘De Lijn’ Bus 17 & 18 direction Drongen, stop: Drongenplein

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