Ghent was an extra special surprise on my European trip itinerary and I’m so glad I carved out a few days to spend here. Ghent (the English spelling), or Gent (Dutch/Flemish spelling) is a quick 30 minute train ride from the Belgian capital of Brussels. It is possible to do 2 days in Ghent and see it all but if you have enough time, stay an extra day and night.
Ghent was once a powerhouse trade city in the 15th century and again in the 18th and 19th centuries with their textile industry. The architecture around the city, most built during these periods and feels like you’ve stepped back to medieval times. The Belfry was my favorite sight and is smack dab in the middle of St Bavo’s Cathedral and St Nicholas’ Church. Take the elevator and skip the claustrophobic stairs all the way to the top for fantastic Ghent views. And it has free WIFI so you can Snapchat all views like I did.
Ghent squares are generally lines with restaurants and beer houses with tables lining the “sidewalks”. Most of Ghent uses electric trams and bicycles to move about (Ghent has the most bike lanes/roads/areas in all of Europe) and cars are few which basically makes it a free for all in where to walk. Watch out for those bikes though- they can move!
Belgian beer is the best in the world. There- I said it! It really is. And much of the time it is cheaper than water at restaurants. Belgians will not serve tap water anywhere so you can spend 3 Euro on boring water or 3 Euro on a delicious Belgian beer. I usually opted for the beer and stuck a secret bottle of water in my purse that I filled up at my AirBnB. The tap water is good here and very drinkable, it is very strange to me that the environmentally conscious insist on bottled water.
This place was one of the highest rated beer bars in Ghent and had over 200 different kind of beer. If you ordered the big fancy glass they took a shoe and put it in a basked that hung from the ceiling as collateral so no big glasses “accidentally” walked out.
After that Belgian beer, go into St. Bavo’s Cathedral and contemplate the whale inside. Hmmmm…
Ghent has different neighborhoods like every other city. Canals help separate these places and make for a gorgeous city hike.
As you can see from my photos it was mostly cloudy when I was in Ghent but luckily the rain only fell at night or early in the morning. I love it when the weather cooperates.
During the one brief period on sunshine, it was golden hour too, I ran around the the different squares getting photos as fast as I could. It was fun.
I had an amazing 2 nights in Ghent and would definitely return again.
Reader Question: Do you have a favorite country for beer? Whales in churches- normal or strange?