Ghent Travel Information
With as many historic monuments as neighboring Bruges, and a network of
picturesque canals, Ghent is one of Belgium's best kept secrets.
Bustling modern day life played against a mediaeval backdrop lends this
university city a unique charm, particularly when the sun shines and
colourful stalls and pavements cafes fill its streets and squares.
A beautiful historic town, packed to the brim with castles, spirals and
churches. A mixture of architecture from Romanesque to Baroque adorns
Ghent is located at the confluence of the Rivers Scheldt and Lys and is
ideally situated to visit the other regions of Flanders and the
beautiful Lys Vally.
Ghent Travel Information
With its modern development and main roads, at first glance Ghent
feels more like a provincial town than a centre of tourist interest, but
it in fact boasts a wide range of historic buildings, including a
striking Gothic cathedral, several interesting churches and a medieval
castle. Add to museums, pleasant pedestrianised streets, waterways and
old Flemish houses, and there is enough to fill a visit of several days.
St Bavo's cathedral is at the heart of the central area,
approximately 2km (1.25 miles) across, which gives a good view of the
city, after climbing the 444 steps of the tower! The town's various
towers and belfries can also be admired from nearby Saint Michael's
Bridge. The old port of Graslei is lined with lovely old buildings and a
great place to relax in one of the many cafes. Also worth visiting is
the Castle of the Counts, rebuilt in 1180, formerly a mint and a jail
but now housing a museum, crypt and display of instruments of torture.
In north west Belgium. 36 miles
north west of Brussels and its airport. 42 miles east of Ostend
and ferry port. In the flatlands,
dotted with a few small hills. Ghent is built around 3 rivers serving as
important transport arteries, and cut through by several canals.
Where to Stay
The accommodation options range from B&B's, to
youth hostels, a camping site and even a boat hotel. Liberally scattered
through town, the few larger hotels in the centre are all modern.
What to Do
Daytime: guided walking tour
(leaflets from tourist office, charge), bus tour, boat excursion or
short carriage ride (weekends and holidays); international exhibitions
at Expo centre.
Nightlife: choice of nightclubs, discos and live
music, mainly in the Zuid (South) quarter, also known as Ghent's 'Red
Light District'; the best buildings in the central area are lit up at
night in summer and at weekends.
There are many
decent restaurants serving mostly French food to traditionally high
standard and with generous portions. The historic Patershol district has
a high concentration of places to eat. Cheaper snacks are available
from bars and taverns, of which there are plenty around the cathedral.
International food is also available.
For shopping, the
Veldstraat and Lange Munt are the main areas to find retail chain
stores. Smaller boutiques can be found in Volderstraat, Henegouwenstraat
and Mageleinstraat. A flower market all week at Kouter; flea markets at
Bij Sint Jacobs on Friday and at Beverhoutplein on Saturday and Sunday.
Fresh food market on Sundays at Sint-Michielsplein.
Full day tours: boat trips; 15th-century belfry in
Aalst; museum of renowned mapmaker Gerard Mercator in Sint Niklaas;
Bruges, Antwerp and Brussels, more or less equidistant.
Good bus and tram networks radiate outwards
from the terminal in front of the main post office. It is cheaper to buy
your ticket at a newspaper shop or supermarket rather than on the bus.
Nightbus on Friday and Saturday evenings. Taxis available, or for more
flexibility Vespa and car rental.
Explore the historic city centre on foot, and use the local buses and
trams to venture further afield.
Who is it for?
Ghent is a
university town, it has a certain liveliness and its historic sites
will attract those interested in history and culture. Most visitors are
from neighbouring countries, with a steady trickle from the rest of the
world. Some business visitors, largely attending exhibitions at the Expo
Direct flights from the UK to Brussels airport are
available at discount rates from your local airport. From Brussels it is a 50 minute train journey to Ghent.
The 'Row of Towers' of St Bravo's Cathedral, St Nicholas Church and the
Belfry; these are spectacularly illuminated by night. Don't miss the
striking Castle of the Counts, whilst at the Graslei a splendid row of
guild houses overlook the Old Harbour.
The Castle of the Counts, Ghent
Take a canal trip for another view of the city. Visit the Museum of
Decorative Arts, the Folklore Museum and the former Bijloke abbey for an
insight into the region's history. Just outside the city centre, take a
stroll in the University's Botanical Gardens.
Ghent has over 350 restaurants, and as a university city, there are
plenty of lively cafes and cosy bars.
For shopping try the main streets of Kouter and Volderstraat. Markets
include the daily flower market at Kouter and an antique market at the
Daily average temperatures (Approx) 'C
JAN 5 FEB 6 MAR 8 APR
11 MAY 17 JUN
20 JUL 22 AUG 21 SEP 18 OCT
12 NOV 7
Ghent by Hessle Travel
> Larger than Bruges, smaller than Brussels and close to both,
Ghent is a unique combination of the two
> Famous paintings by Flemish masters combine with an amazing blend
of Gothic, Renaissance and Romanesque architecture
> Ghent houses the most listed monuments in Belgium
> Visit the Castle of the Counts
> Wander along narrow, cobbled streets, see ancient guild houses by
> Relax in the cafes which surround the Market Squares of Ghent
Book yourself a flight or city break to Ghent with Hessle Travel.