Ghent at a glance
Moderate (4 of 5)
Level of costs
Ghent was once the largest town in western Europe and you’ll find ample evidence of this former glory. It is paradise for the idle ambler, with numerous museums, beautiful squares, luxurious cafés and fascinating architecture. The modern town is energetic and chic while the older streets retain an appealing calm. Ghent grew in importance on the back of the cloth trade until, in 1350, the city boasted a population of 50,000, an enormous figure for the day. The powerful counts of Flanders made it their base and adorned the town with a series of splendid buildings. However, with the decline of the cloth trade, the town declined in wealth and importance. Industrialisation in the nineteenth century restored some of the town’s fortunes and today it is the third largest city in Belgium.
Start exploring at the Gothic St Baaf's Cathedral, in the corner of St Baafsplein. It holds the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, a beautiful early fifteenth-century altarpiece believed to be by Jan van Eyck. Continue on to the west to visit the fifteenth-century Lakenhalle. Admire its splendid façade and be sure to check out the adjoining fourteenth century Belfry. A glass lift takes you up to the roof providing wonderful views over the city centre. A little to the north is the Stadhuis. Each ornate niche on the elegant façade holds a statuette of a powerful and famous local figure. Stroll on through the elegant streets until you arrive at Korenlei, the western side of the old city harbour where you can explore the fantastic gabled merchants' houses. A little to the north is the Castle of the Counts, the interior of which holds an impressive and frightening collection of torture instruments.
Check out some of the town’s fine museums. The old casino has recently been turned into a museum of contemporary art known by its unfortunate acronym SMAK. The renowned Museum voor Schone Kunsten has a first-rate collection of old masters, housing works by nearly every great Flemish artist. Discover the life of eighteenth century Ghent in the period rooms of the Museum voor Volkskunde, which is located in a series of restored almshouses. Wander the surrounding lanes and narrow streets and get a feel for the Ghent of the past. The best shopping is on Veldstraat which is thronged with young and fashionable Belgians. Be sure to have some coffee in one of the many elegant cafés and don’t forget to sample some of the local beer.
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. but also a great place to spend a weekend, possibly combined with a one-day visit to Brussels Ghent has a rich history, one of
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While the adults will obviously want to try some Belgian beers (our recommendations are Gruut, Gulden Draak, Liefmans Kriek and Au
, but Ghent?! I am totally, completely in love with the city. In all honesty, it seems most people either love one or the other. T
– a place everyone recommended I see. I honestly wasn’t expecting it to be all that great and only planned to stay one day. But af
The city of Ghent is timelessly beautiful. The imposing medieval architecture, incredible Cathedrals and the romantic canals in Gh
Ghent is a charming city, situated in the Flanders region of Belgium. , Ghent has a lot to offer in terms of tourist attractions.
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