Belgium’s fourth-largest and most beautiful city is home to a quarter of a million people and a flourishing flower export trade. An important port, Ghent’s city centre is a pedestrian area that is like a museum to early Flemish architecture and a testament to the city’s medieval might. Impressive Gothic sites, such as dramatic St. Bavo’s Cathedral and the Castle of the Counts, inspire awe, truly.
If you haven’t heard of Ghent you’re not alone, we stumbled upon it whilst travelling from Brussels to the coast. This is one of the main reasons why Ghent is actually one of our now go-to destinations in Europe, what a city, the gothic architecture and modern atmosphere reveal a truly wonderful city and the people are even better.
I guarantee that if you ever visit Ghent, even for a one night stay you will be booking to stay for longer, it’s rare that you travel to a city or travel through a city and really want to stay and absorb what it has to offer, historically too.
I’d recommend if you ever want to travel to Ghent that you should stay a minimum of 3 days, but I’d say 5-7 is enough to really get intimate with the city and see what it has to offer.
The things I most recommend to see are –
Medieval Ghent at Gravensteen ‘The castle of the counts’, built in 1180 and houses an arms museum with various weapons used in warfare and torture (not a great one for the younger kids though!).
The picturesque St Michaela Bridge – amazing to gaze at the surrounding architecture, what a view.
St.Bavo’s Cathedral – 11th Century cathedral where Charles V was baptised, that’s something I never knew! It’s where you’ll find paintings dating back to the 1400’s and truly marvellous architecture.
And finally our favourite food and drinks…
The ‘Vrijdagmarkt’ which translates to Friday Market has been hosted every friday since the 12th Century, and what a tradition it is! It’s a busy meeting point for locals and visitors with market stalls and you can admire the wonderful buildings around whilst having a drink in some small Belgian pubs (Taven Dulle Griet being our favourite!).
Our favourite Ghent Restaurant:
Kin Khao – The best Thai we ever had! So nice that we went back on the 2nd night and had to argue against the 3rd!
All in all, Ghent is a wonderful city and it’s definitely on our recurring travel plans.