Small city or large village? Well that all depends on who you ask. But either way Ghent with its well preserved gothic architecture, represents one of the wealthiest medieval cities in the Flanders region, just 2 hours away from London by Eurostar, was once home to proud merchants and powerful counts and kings.
Often overshadowed by traditional tourist favourites Brussels and Bruges, graceful Ghent is an ideal short breaks destination in its own right. It's a vibrant city full of charm and history, with eclectic art galleries, scenic waterways ripe for cruising, inviting cafes spilling on to medieval streets and cobbled squares. With its bustling markets preferring the city's unique flavours, Ghent has plenty to offer if you are hungry for food or taking in a shopping trip. From the craft market on Groentenmarkt, to the flea market for antiques and curiosities in Bij Sint-Jacobs, you can grab some great bargains.
Getting around Ghent is really easy thanks to the reliable tram network. Nevertheless, it's also great to discover the city by foot. A recommended way to cover all the main sights is to follow the self-guided walking tour or you can take a more leisurely boat trip along the river Leie. Ghent has plenty to offer for everyone. Standing proud on the edge of the atmospheric Patershol district is the Castle of Counts – otherwise known amongst the Dutch speaking locals as Gravensteen, where older children can explore the dark corners of the medieval era with grisly horrors of the torture chamber and guillotine. For amazing views across the roof tops of the city, ascend the castle steps and climb to its top. Ghent is the place to be if you want to discover new sights and enjoy a more laid-back city break
. Places to visit in Ghent:
Graslei and Korenlei (see Van Eyck's famous work 'The adoration of the mystic lamb'), the breathtaking St. Bavo's Cathedral – one of the most popular attractions with tourists, Patershol – the city’s most desirable neighbourhoods, Our Lady Ter Hoyen Beguinage, Saint Nicholas Church, Dulle Griet, Belfry and Cloth Hall, Ghent Town Hall, St. Michael's Bridge – we recommend a visit after dusk to capture the true essence of the city basked in lights, and the Fine Arts Museum. Each year the population of this great medieval city celebrates the ten-day-long ''Ghent Flanders Festival''. Every September this very popular festival showcases international and national artists performing classical and world music.