Spotlight on Ghent

May 26, 2016

There’s still plenty to discover outside of Bruges and Brussels, Belgium’s 2 most famous cities, and Ghent is a fantastic city in its own right. At one time, Ghent was one of the most powerful cities in Europe, and the look and feel of the city still harks back to this era to this day. With wonderful medieval architecture, and a car-free city centre, and rivers and canals running through the streets, walking through Ghent can feel like stepping back in time.

The city is also home to a young and cool student population, as well as a mix of ex-pats, artists and natives young and old. People of all walks of life call the city home, and view themselves as fortunate to do so.

Things to do in Ghent

  • Admire the godlike ability on display in Jan and Hubert Van Eyck’s masterpiece, the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb (also known as the Ghent Altarpiece) in St Bavo’s Cathedral.
  • Marvel at the wonders of the MSK museum, styled like a Greek temple and with works from Magritte, Claus, Pieter Breughel the Younger and more.
  • Catch up with the student population of Ghent in Patershol, with low-key, laid-back restaurants, bars and cafes popping up among a maze of streets.
  • Scale the Belfort for stunning views across the city, and to meet the weather vane dragon, the city’s unofficial mascot.
  • Check out Werregarensteeg, known locally as Graffitistraatje, the tiny alley where graffiti and street art is actively encouraged.
  • Indulge yourself in a little retail therapy in Veldstraat, the largest pedestrian shopping street in the city.

Where to eat

  • Wake up early for a bright and breezy breakfast at GUST, which serves a range of healthy breakfast, brunch and lunchtime dishes suitable for families, friends, couples and more.
  • Sample a delicious homemade quiche at Quiche Keurig, which also offers a range of hearty dishes should you fancy something different.
  • Treat yourself to the delicious chocolates on sale at Yuzu chocolate boutique, or the Temmerman sweet shop.
  • Say cheese at Het Hinkelspel, which serves a range of dairy creations from cows and goats, served with the dairy’s own beer!
  • Experience the maritime delights of Guido Meersschaut, where you can sample all sorts of fish and seafood dishes.

Grab a drink

  • When you ask Ghent’s locals where the best coffee is, they’ll tell you to check out Simon Says, the colourful bar/restaurant/hotel in the centre of the city.
  • Pick from over 170 specialist beers at Het Trappistenhuis, run by an expert on all things boozy.
  • Find out what the craic is at Speakers Corner, a cool café with an Irish-themed décor and a wide selection of whiskeys to choose from.
  • Café Den Turk, the oldest brown café in town, hosts jazz and blues artists to entertain you as you sample the numerous beers on offer.

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