Ghent: Everything You Need To Know About This Belgian Gem
Ghent is one of Belgium’s most alluring cities and some say it is the best-kept secret in the country. With its striking medieval architecture, cobbled lanes, small waterways and independent shops, it is no wonder why the locals love it so much. But what do those who are planning to visit Ghent need to know before they get there? Here we present an in-depth guide to all aspects of the city.
Getting to Ghent
The easiest way to get to Ghent is by train. There are a number of direct connections that come into the city’s two train stations; Gent Sint Pieters Railway Station and Gent Dampoort Railway Station. Alternatively, there are also buses and boats (these mainly run seasonally and stop at Varkensmarkt). For those travelling from abroad, the nearest international airport is Brussels International Airport; regular direct train connections run from this to Ghent.
Where to Stay
Ghent has a great selection of places to stay for all budgets. At the mid-range, there are plenty of comfortable apartments, B&Bs and boutique hotels dotted throughout the city centre. For those with a maximum budget, camping is even an option in the form of Europe’s first river camping: Camping ter Duinen. This is a unique campsite that is situated just outside of Ghent, allowing visitors to enjoy a tranquil setting on the banks of the beautiful De Lieve river whilst still being within a commutable distance to the city centre.
Exploring Ghent’s charming historic centre
Most of Ghent’s attractions can be found in its historic centre which is a joy to explore if you have the time. Highlights include the mystical Gravensteen castle; a St Bavo’s Cathedral famous for housing the glittering Adoration of the Mystic Lamb painting by Van Eyck; and boat trips along the city’s characteristic waterways. Not to mention the cosy little lanes that lead through the city centre, perfect for getting lost in and finding independent shops and old-fashioned bars such as Kaffa, where you can enjoy authentic Belgian beers and traditional dishes like Waterzooi.
Nightlife in Ghent
When the sun goes down, Ghent’s nightlife really comes alive. Weekdays offer a more low-key experience with people gathering in bars such as Den Dyver for post-work drinks. In contrast, Fridays and Saturdays are when the city’s clubs truly sparkle as DJs from around Europe descend upon Ghent to play anything from electro to techno. For something a little bit different, don’t miss out on Groentenmarkt’s ‘Roulette’ night which runs weekly and offers an eclectic mix of jazz and classical sounds alongside indie remixes and new Belgian electronica.
All-in-all, Ghent has something for everyone – from its history to its nightlife – and should be top of any traveller’s list when visiting Belgium! If you’d like more information about Ghent before you go, it’s worth checking out VisitGent, the official tourism website that provides useful information about events and attractions in Ghent.
Ghent: Everything You Need To Know About This Belgian Gem
If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path destination in Europe that’s brimming with art, culture, and history, then look no further than Ghent. This enchanting city is situated in the Flemish region of Belgium and is often overshadowed by its more popular neighboring cities like Brussels and Bruges. But Ghent has a charm all of its own, and its rich history, stunning architecture, delicious cuisine, and vibrant art scene make it an ideal destination for any traveler. In this insider’s guide, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about Ghent, from the must-see attractions to the hidden gems.
One of the most remarkable things about Ghent is the beautiful architecture that defines the city. From the towering belfries to the quaint cobblestone streets crisscrossing the picturesque neighborhoods, you’ll never run out of things to see and marvel at. Here are some of the top local attractions to check out in Ghent:
This impressive medieval castle is one of the most well-preserved in Europe, and its imposing stone walls and turrets offer a fascinating glimpse into the region’s rich history.
Saint Bavo’s Cathedral
This cathedral boasts a stunning Gothic facade as well as an interior adorned with priceless art including the famous painting, ‘The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb’ by the Flemish master Jan van Eyck.
This bustling central square is the perfect place to relax and people-watch while enjoying some of the best street food and drinks in Ghent.
Belgium is well known for its delicious cuisine, and Ghent boasts a wide variety of restaurants and cafes serving up traditional Flemish dishes made with local ingredients. Here are some of the top dining spots to check out in Ghent:
This modern restaurant serves up innovative dishes showcasing the best ingredients sourced from local farms and producers.
This cozy eatery is located in a historic building and serves up classic Flemish dishes like stoofvlees and Gentse waterzooi.
Holy Food Market
This renovated old church turned food hall offers a unique dining experience with a variety of food stalls selling dishes from around the world.
Ghent’s rich history and vibrant art scene make it an ideal destination for those wanting to immerse themselves in local culture. Here are some of the top cultural experiences to have in Ghent:
Museum of Fine Arts
This museum houses an impressive collection of Flemish art from the Middle Ages to the present day, including works by renowned artists like Rubens and van Eyck.
The Ghent Altarpiece
This iconic painting, located in the Saint Bavo Cathedral, is one of the most important works of art in Western history, and a must-see for any art lover.
Ghent Light Festival
This biennial festival, held in the winter, transforms the city into a mesmerizing light show with installations and performances across the city.
Ghent has a fascinating history, which is reflected in its many historic buildings and landmarks. Here are some of the top local history experiences to have in Ghent:
This charming medieval neighborhood harks back to the city’s early days and is now a popular spot for dining and exploring.
This towering structure has been a fixture in Ghent’s skyline since the 14th century and offers stunning panoramic views of the city.
This narrow alleyway is covered in colorful graffiti and offers a unique glimpse into Ghent’s vibrant street art scene.
If you’re looking to get away from the crowds and explore some of Ghent’s hidden gems, then here are some suggestions for you:
This understated sandwich shop serves up some of the best sandwiches in Ghent, made with fresh, local ingredients.
Design Museum Gent
This museum explores the world of design and features both historical and contemporary exhibits.
These charming, centuries-old compounds were once home to single women who lived in pious seclusion, and they offer a fascinating glimpse into Ghent’s social history.
Ghent may not be the first city that comes to mind when planning a trip to Europe, but it’s definitely worth a visit. With its beautiful architecture, rich history, delicious cuisine, and vibrant cultural scene, Ghent is a gem of a city waiting to be explored.
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