Bruges and Ghent represented for us the most romantic part of our tour through Belgium. Bruges is known as the Belgian "little Venice", but also Ghent, albeit less noble, won us over with its canals and picturesque streets in the centre.
Ghent is strategically positioned between Brussels and Bruges, therefore easily accessible from one of these two cities. We have been there twice, once on the way to Bruges and the second time before going to the airport. For us, it deserves much more than a simple visit and we have therefore decided to include, in a dedicated article, the main points of interest and some gourmet proposals for lunch.
We were also lucky enough to see it on two days with completely different weather: the first time with clouds and a diffused mist and the second time with a bright sun and a turquoise blue sky. One more reason to dedicate maybe two half days to it!
Ghent's main attractions are located in the city center and can be easily reached on foot. We undoubtedly start from its particular triptych of imposing towers: the Belfort, the cathedral of San Bavo and the church of San Nicola.
The Belfort is the city's civic tower, the highest in all of Belgium, you can climb to the top if you want! We opted to visit the one in Bruges and therefore we avoided it here.
The Sint-Baafskathedraal (St. Bavo's cathedral), on the other hand, deserves a visit, not only for the historical role it played in the past, but also for the works found inside its museum, among which a pictorial complex made on twelve wooden planks, referred to as the mystical lamb of Van Eyck. The work is truly impressive, striking for its complexity and its details: it is easy to understand how it is among the most stolen works in history, 13 times! The museum can also be easily visited with a stroller, thanks to the internal lift.
From here continue towards the Sint-Michielsbrug bridge, dedicated to San Michele, to observe the imposing homonymous church (closed and under renovation during our visit).
From the bridge, go down the stairs to reach two characteristic streets along the River Leie: Graslei and the Korenlei. Characteristic guild buildings overlook these banks and are undoubtedly worth the walk!
The past dedicated to commerce and the wealth of the town can be easily seen walking in this area of the city, observing the elaborate entrance to the ancient fish market, decorated with the statue of Neptune, or the historic biscuit factories with facades decorated with sculptures.
In a few steps you can then arrive at the castle of the Counts of Flanders, or Gravensteen. It can also be visited inside, but due to several stairs it is not accessible with a stroller. We hadn't equipped ourselves differently and therefore we gave up.
We went on to visit the other points of interest, among these the Gothic Town Hall of Ghent undoubtedly deserves the most, with its richly decorated facade and the nearby artists' street Werregarenstraat: a short street where artists can create their works and which is constantly updated .
Moreover, during the month of December in the main squares you will also find various Christmas markets where you can stop for a quick snack or to make some themed purchases.
Little famous, but so beautiful, Ghent has remained in our hearts! So we advise you to include it among the destinations not to be missed on a tour through Belgium.
Before your trip
- How to move around? Ghent can be easily explored on foot: the distances are short and feasible even with a stroller
- How many days? We visited Ghent on two different days, using it as a stop along the way. Certainly deserves more than a hit and run, there is no doubt
- Where to eat? We recommend three different but truly unmissable venues.
- If you are looking for a quick but tasty lunch, give it a try to Soup'R wide choice of soups, from classic to ethnic ones, with bread or rice. We tried two different versions, a curry and a Vietnamese soup, both really good and tasty, great price
- If you are looking for a sweet snack, you will also find a location of Aux Meraveilleux to taste not only their meringue-based pralines, but also their chocolate bread: spectacular!
- For a more relaxed lunch, in the unusual context of an old industrial building, Pakhuis offers a modern and quality cuisine. Don't miss the lobster, really tasty. Service a bit hasty, but the place is really full, reservations are essential