This is NOT a sponsored post, we just loved using the Ghent City Card and highly recommend it, but there are affiliate links in this post! If you make a purchase using one of these links it means I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Surprisingly, as the largest cultural center in Western Flanders, Ghent has been easily overlooked by its more popular neighbor, Bruges for its charming canals and beautiful architecture. Originally coated in layers of grime from years of being an industrial center, the town underwent a restoration program in the 1980s which has resulted in the city emerging as one of the best kept secrets in Europe! Not only is it a true gem, but one of the most exciting places to visit in Belgium!
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How to AVOID Looking Like a Tourist in Europe
And I have to admit, I, too, fell head over heels in love with Bruges before I even heard of Ghent, but I quickly fell in love with the picturesque canals and bridges and was kicking myself stupid for waiting so long to visit! Ghent is STUPID PRETTY and a city of historic treasures beautifully blended together with innovative and modern museums and galleries, leading the way for a better future and even has one of the most exciting culinary scenes in Europe.
There are many reasons to visit Ghent, especially with its imposing medieval castle, cobbled lanes leading to picturesque alleys and waterfronts along some of Europe’s most beautiful canals and numerous churches, Ghent is a photographer’s paradise. With a wide variety of delicious
not good for my diet cuisine and the overall lack of crowds of tourists, the city feels like the bigger sibling to Bruges with a more authentic feel to it and totally deserves to be on your European itinerary! Best of all, these are Ghent things you can do in a day without a free walking tour!
Some Quick History of Ghent
The city was first founded as a small settlement just at the confluence of the Rivers Scheldt and Leie in 640 when St. Amandus decided to establish an abbey here. The city quickly became one of the most important and richest cities in Europe between 1000 – 1550 and was even at one time, larger than London, yet smaller than Paris. With over 50,000 people during the High Middle Ages and a highly developed mercantile zone, wool had to be imported from Scotland and England, however that relationship would significantly deteriorate during the Hundred Year’s War. Ghent would seek favor with the King of France and since then Dutch has been the official language.
The textile industry wouldn’t bounce back until the 18th and 19th centuries when Lieven Bauwens managed to smuggle the intricate industrial and factory machine plans out of England and bring them to Europe, which introduced the first mechanical weaving machine to the continent. This would lead Ghent to becoming the continent’s first major industrial center and eventually the first trade unions.
During the Second World War, the city was occupied by Nazi Germany, but luckily managed to survive the war with little destruction. However, the city was covered in industrial grime and by the 1980s the city undertook a massive restoration project to clean up the city and today is a vibrant alternative to Bruges!
Tips to Better Enjoy Ghent
For our weekend visit to Ghent, we opted for the first time to actually buy a city card. I never believed in these city cards until I finally sat down, researched every place we wanted to visit in Ghent, did the math both with and without the card and realized that “Hey, this is a good investment!” It also included using public transportation all day, every day! While the historic part of Ghent is pretty compact, it was still nice to hop on and jut across town or to reach other sights we would have otherwise not visited. In total, we would have paid 86 € for the both of us (excluding museums) for the sights and tram without the card, but with the Ghent Card, we paid 60 € saving us 26 €! I would say in my best Smash Mouth voice, “I’m a believer!!”
Experience Ghent with The Ghent City Card:
The Ghent All In City Card saves you around 15.00 € during the low season (November – March) and 20 € during the high season (April – October) and gives you access to:
- All the top attractions, monuments and museums
- Guided boat tour
- Public Transportation
- Bike rentals (1 day)
- Hop On Hop Off water tramway (1 day)
Where can you buy the CityCard Gent?
- The Ghent Tourist Office (Sint-Veerleplein 5)
- All participating museums and attractions
- Ghent’s hotels
- All sales points of public transport company De Lijn
48 hours: 30 € per person
72 Hours: 35 € per person
Also be sure to grab the complimentary city map and paired city guide book loaded with facts and history about each location in town!
What to See & Do in Ghent
Gravensteen Castle (Het Gravensteen)
First and foremost, let’s talk about the main attraction in Ghent, the Gravensteen Castle. I mean, after all, who doesn’t love a good medieval castle right smack in the middle of a historic city? With its strategic location on the Leie River, the Castle of the Counts enlightens you to the violent history the city endured.
The castle is a meticulously restored 12th century castle that comes with a moat, turrets, 24 towers and once inside a very un-Disney-esque exhibition of medieval torture devices. (And I thought waxing was barbaric!) If your stomach hasn’t turned over, head up to the rooftop for a lovely view over the city which is bound to put you right again! Get there early to avoid the tourists! We were actually the first and left just as they were coming in, so we had the whole place to ourselves!
Summer (1st April – 31st October): daily from 10am – 6pm
Winter (1st November – 31st March): daily from 9am – 5pm
Without the Ghent City Card: 6 – 10 €
With the Ghent City Card: FREE
The Great Butcher’s Hall (Groot Vleeshuis)
Built in the 15th century, the Great Butcher’s Hall was once a thriving indoor meat market where all meat sales could be centralized thus ensuring the quality and freshness of the meat. Meat hung from large wooden beams, but today only a few hams hang from the rafters to cure traditionally, as well as being a reminder of the history of the market. One side of the market houses a restaurant which serves delicious local cuisine while the opposite side is a delicatessen.
Every day except Monday 10 am – 6 pm
The Best Waffles in Ghent
Ok, ok, so I have no comparison, but we liked this one so much, we went back twice! The lady was really chatty and gave us super fresh waffles! You can find her on the corner of a row of houses near the Grasbrug bridge at the end of the Graslei embankment!
The Graslei and Korenlei Harbor
Along the Leie Waterfront, two of the loveliest embankments in the city face one another across the Tusschen Brugghen, the Graslei and the Korenlei, which was once Ghent’s medieval harbor. Along the Graslei embankment, you’ll find typical red brick guildhouses dating from the 16th century while the opposite side boasts more historic houses from a later period, though equally charming. This stretch of embankment has been and still is one of the main focal points of the city and the nearby St. Michael’s Bridge offers some of most beautiful views. I honestly couldn’t stop taking pictures every five feet!
The Old Post Office
Located along the Graslei embankment, you’ll find the former Post Office of Ghent looking regent, however, you would be surprised to know it was only constructed at the beginning of the 20th century and blends beautifully with the rest of the medieval buildings in the city. While the Post Office might be decommissioned, it has since been transformed into the 1898 De Post Luxury Hotel as well as several shops inside, but of interest are the decorative statues on the facade, the Disney-esque turrets as well as its high clock tower!
St. Michael’s Bridge (Sint-Michielbrugor)
If you’ve seen a picture of Ghent, then it was probably taken from the most picturesque bridge in the city, St. Michael’s Bridge. It is one of the most iconic locations in the town looking towards the city center. Named after the nearby St. Michael’s Church, the view from the bridge offers an impressive vantage point of the Graslei and Korenlei embankments and the recently renovated Old Fish Market. It’s from here that you can also catch a glimpse of ALL the Medieval Towers of Ghent – St. Nicholas’ Church, the Belfry of Ghent and St. Bavo’s Cathedral, all beautifully lined up one after the other. Get here early in the morning if you want photos without foot traffic or bus traffic, or come back at blue hour of photos of Ghent! No matter from which angle, it’s always a classic, picture perfect shot!
St. Nicholas’ Church (Sint-Niklaaskerk)
The first of the three Medieval towers in the city is that of St. Nicholas’s Church, the oldest and most remarkable church in Ghent. Built in the 13th century in typical blue-grey stone from Tournai in the distinctive Scheldt Gothic style, the church stands out among the rest with slender turrets at each of the four corners, next to the bustling Korenmarkt. The central tower once housed the town bells until the Belfry of Ghent was completed in 1380. The front portion of the church has been temporarily turned into a book market while entering from the side, you can visit the inner remaining portion of the church.
At the back of the church, you can find the Roeland Bell, the alarm bells that have hung in the Ghent Belfry since the 14th century. They were given a new permanent home next to the church and the City Pavilion and you can hear a soft ding dong charm emanate from the bell.
Daily from 10 am – 5 pm except Mondays which is open from 2pm – 5pm.
The Ghent Belfort
The Belfry of Ghent is renowned for being the tallest belfry in Belgium, standing at 91 m (299 ft) high and is inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, as well as several other belfries from both Belgium and France. It’s main intention was not only just to serve as a bell tower, but also as a watch tower. The Belfry has dominated the Ghent skyline since the 14th century and is topped with a golden dragon which has taken to being the city mascot, as well as boasting an impressive 54-bell carillon which chimes every 15 minutes. Those who love a good vantage point should take the lift up to the top for impressive views over the city, a view of St. Nicholas’ Church as well as St. Bavo’s Cathedral! Stop at different levels along the way up to learn about the history of the bell tower. Once at the top, hold on tight because it can be quite windy!
Daily from 10 am – 6 pm
Without the Ghent City Card: Basic 2.70 – 8 €
With the Ghent City Card: FREE!
St Bavo’s Cathedral (Sint-Baafskathedral)
Named after Ghent’s very own 7th century saint, St. Bavo’s Cathedral was built over several stages, ranging in a variety of Gothic styles from the 13th to 14th centuries. After continuous work and renovations, including modern ones, the cathedral is one of the most impressive.
The cathedral also prides itself on being the home of the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb (1432) by Hubert and Jan van Eyck. The Ghent Alterpiece is considered to be the first major piece of artwork from the Renaissance but has been cursed with bad luck, as it has fallen into Napoleon’s hands and was later requisitioned by Nazi Germany. The ‘Just Judges’ panel was stolen in 1934 and to this day has not yet been found, and therefore, the lower left panel has been replaced by a reproduction until its return. Every day, from 12-1pm, the side panels are closed so that you may also see the outer panels. While inside the chapel, absolute silence is demanded of visitors nor are photos allowed. It was, however, rather annoying that the tiny room was jam packed with visitors. If you’d like to see the panel in its full glory without the crowds, come early!
Daily from 8:30 am – 5 pm except Sundays which is open from 10 am – 5 pm
Entry to the Cathedral is FREE.
To view the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb between 10:30 and 4pm:
Without the Ghent City Card: 1.50 – 4 €
With the Ghent City Card: FREE
Just beyond the St. Bavo’s Cathedral, you’ll find the more foreboding looking castle, Geeraard de Duivelsteen, or better translated as the “Devil Castle”. The 13th century Gothic structure was named after Geerard Vilain who earned the nicknamed “Geerard the Devil” due to his dark hair and complexion. However, despite its gloomy appearance, it has since actually served as many purposes, from being a knights’ residence, an arsenal and prison, a monastery, a school, an insane asylum and recently a national archive.
The City Pavilion (Stadshal)
A recent addition to the Ghent city center, the City Pavilion was constructed in 2012 as part of a massive city revitalization program which transformed the Peoljemarkt into an architectural masterpiece between several of the major landmarks. Concerts, dance performances and markets can be held here and at night, the pavilion lights up and shines though small slits in the ceiling. The city clearly experimented with modern art, but the residents quickly took a liking to it, despite having earned the nickname ‘the sheep pen’. Not surprisingly though, the pavilion has already been awarded with several architectural awards in Belgium and the EU. But, you should decide for yourself what you think of it!
The City Hall (Stadhuis)
What might appear to be two different buildings is actually the Ghent Town Hall which combines two different architectural styles. The older half dates back to the 16th century and flamboyantly displays an elaborate Gothic facade while the newer portion is a simple Renaissance facade. The city hall is still used as a main administrative center and, therefore, it is still quite common to see a wedding or two taking place. Visitors are also allowed inside to marvel at the Arsenal Hall, Wedding Chapel, the Pacification Hall and much more via a guided tour during the week everyday from 2 – 4pm. However, because we got there too late, we missed the chance to go in.
Graffiti Alley (Werregarenstraatje)
As soon as I knew we were going to Belgium, the first thing I did was look for street art in Ghent. It’s so rare to find in Germany and I get so excited. So when I discovered that this alley turned dynamic sketchbook in Ghent, I had to see it. In this rule-free zone, local artists have the chance to express themselves here without destroying historic sites. Often the wall will be painted white so that artists can have free range, other times it looks like a chaotic alley with tags, cartoons or impressive pieces. It’s a constantly changing and ever evolving piece of work! I did however find this cute little bloke! It’s definitely one of the more unique sights to see in Ghent!
Today, this busy market square which translates to “Friday Market” is a hustling meeting point in the city center, however, historically, the square was once used to receive rulers, have elaborate feasts and for settling disagreements. Besides that, the square is lined with traditional Flemish houses and many cafes to stop and enjoy a coffee while people watching.
It’s also here that you can find the Tavern Dulle Griet, a traditional cafe which serves over 500 international beers of which 250 are Belgian! They are considered to be one of the most celebrated “beer academies” in Belgium with beer memorabilia covering every wall in a medieval fashion with cartwheels and beer barrels. If you’re looking for a traditional drink, exchange your shoe for a Max beer served in a boot-shaped glass or make a reservation for a Trappist Beer Tasting for 13,50 € per person which includes perfectly paired cheese and salami. A table was reserved for us and the waiter gave us some info about the beers we were trying.
Trappist beers are always blonde and are made by monks. There are only 11 monasteries that brew Trappist beers, six in Belgium, two in the Netherlands, and one in Austria, Italy and the US. Sadly, none for Germany. Each and every single beer in Belgium must come with its very own, unique drinking glass and all money made from drinking Trappist beers is donated to a good cause! So drink up, buttercup!
We began with the Orval which is a special beer as it’s the only beer produced by the brewery. Guess once they perfected it, there was no need to make more. Up next was the Chimay red, which is the oldest. It’s a coppery red dark ale with a sweet fruity flavor. Lastly, we moved on to the Westmalle Dubble, a dark, heavy beer which can be either sweet or bitter.
Price: 13,50 € per person (NOT included in the card!)
Het Huis van Alijn
On the opposite side of the river not far from the Vrijdagmarkt are a row of humble whitewashes cottages surrounding a grassy courtyard which is actually one of Belgium’s best folk museums showcasing every day life from the 19th century. Built in 1363, the picturesque houses were originally built as a children’s hospital by the Rijm family, however, not as a simple act of kindness, but rather for penance for the murder of two members of the a rival family, the Alijns.
Without the Ghent City Card: 2 – 6 €
With the Ghent City Card: FREE
Streets of Patershol
Once considered to be a dodgy neighborhood, Patershol is now an idyllic cobble-stoned street littered with traditional picturesque old houses and is a great place to soak up Ghent’s medieval atmosphere as it has apparently not changed much until it was cleaned up in the 90s. Today, it’s one of the chillest places to hang out, loaded with hidden restaurants and bars, although when we went, it was quite quiet, so perhaps during the warmer months it’s more lively.
Ghent by Night
For lovers and photographers, strolling through the city at blue hour and late into the night is quite possibly 1. The most romantic thing to do in Ghent and 2. utterly, totally and magically stunning! The city really lights up against the evening sky.
Ghent has a myriad of museums with both fixed and temporary exhibitions ranging from fine arts, to photography and history. You can find a complete list of Ghent’s museums here.
With the Ghent City Card: Prices vary from 1 – 8 €
Where to Stuff Your Face in Ghent
If there was one thing you absolutely had to try that is a local Ghent delicacy, I would say it would be the cuberdon, which translates into English as “Ghent noses”. Satisfyingly, they taste much better than they sound. The traditional one is simply fruit jellies made with raspberries in the shape of a cone or pyramid. However, in recent years, they have come in a variety of flavors. While the outside is hard, the inside is gelatinous and because of their tendency to crystallize after a few weeks, they are not exported out of Belgium. Therefore, you have to stuff your face with as many as possible while in Ghent! You’ll find them around town in cute little bike stands!
If you’re wondering where to eat in Ghent, Chez Leontin, decorated in antique style decor and stacks of books and old photographs, provides mouth-watering traditional Belgian cuisine! We were recommended to go here, and even though the price felt a little steep, it was worth every penny! I had the best Vol au Vent to date from here while my husband enjoyed his yearly pot of mussels and frites!
Het Waterhuis aan de Bierkant
Afterwards, meander the five steps to Het Waterhuis to enjoy a traditional beer cafe along the Leie waterfront. We sat here and each enjoyed a few Belgian beers, including the tavern’s own brewed beer, Gandavum as well as a locally produced beer from Ghent called Gulden Draak, named after the golden dragon atop the Ghent Belfry! We easily could have sat here all evening drinking a variety of over 200 beers if it were not for the fear of
1. looking like alcoholics and 2. breaking the bank!
Frituur Het Puntzakje
Trips to Belgium are the one time we really let our inner
fatties foodie out to play because everything is just so dang good! Just feet from the Het Gravensteen is a traditional Belgian friterie (frituur) where we also had to have our yearly dose of deep friend Belgian food! Normally, we always stuck with a traditional burger and frites, but this time, we felt we were ready to take on anything and tried a variety of deep fried foods! Still not entirely sure what we ordered, but I would definitely recommend them: A chicken burger with onions, Vleeskroket (breaded minced poultry), Bami Blokken (no idea) and a Samourai (sausage with spicy sauce) and two frites!
Where to Catch a Good Snooze in Ghent
Hotel Astoria Gent ⭐⭐⭐ – As one of the few family-owned and operated hotels in Ghent, you can bet that your stay in one of the 27 stylishly decorated modern rooms just a bit outside of the Ghent City Center will be comfy cozy! Here, you can enjoy a fresh, homemade breakfast every morning before you head out into town for sightseeing! Our room was adorable with a unique closet build over the bed while our bathroom was quite spacious.
I honestly CAN’T believe it took us so long to finally make it to Ghent! I loved the mix match uncoordinated theme of the architecture in Ghent, the plethora of canals and turreted buildings! It was honestly like walking through a city fairy tale! People always head straight to Bruges, and I’m not gonna lie, I did too. But, if I had to choose Bruges vs Ghent, it would be a hard choice! Bruges is known for wayyy more romantic canals, hundreds of swans and stunning architecture, but that beauty comes at a price as being too touristy. Although, you can never go wrong with a visit to Bruges. But Ghent offered a more down to earth city feel with a ton of cute beer cafes to pop into and stunning grey stone architecture! Overall, Ghent is definitely worth visiting!!
If you’re interested in visiting Europe and are looking for more information, I highly recommend using the DK Eyewitness Travel Guide or Lonely Planet! Without these guides, I would be lost! This is my travel Bible! As well as two books on Belgian beer I highly recommend for understanding Trappist beers and all of Belgium’s beers!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one and make a purchase, I might make a little extra spending money, at no extra cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own and these products/services have been found useful during our travels and come highly recommended to you from yours truly!
Day Trips from Ghent:
What to See & Do with a Weekend in Bruges
A Self-guided City Guide to Eating, Drinking and Sightseeing Your Way Through Brussels
The Blissful Belgian Coast: Blankenberge Beach
3 Days of Debauchery at the Aalst Carnaval
Replies to The Budget-Friendly Guide to Ghent
looks like a bigger Bruges:) I’d love to visit it
Oh yes it’s a full blown city!
I’m sure we must have been in Ghent at the same time (from 13th Feb?). If so we probably passed each other in one of the tourist attractions as it looks like we did similar things. Small world ? #citytripping
No, we were there a few days earlier from the 9-11! Almost ran into you though! What a small world!
It is always good to know if a city card is worth buying so thanks for doing the maths! I’ve never been to Ghent but your photos make it look interesting. And I always appreciate a budget guide – I’m always on a budget! #citytripping
Glad I could help out and entice you to visit!
Ghent is really a beautiful city. I was often in Brussels and it’s such a shame I never had the time to visit Ghent.
I think city cards like this are such good value and make you see more of the city than you would otherwise. Who knew Ghent was so pretty and I adore the architecture! You hear a lot about Bruges but Ghent looks just as fantastic. Off to pin and keep this destination in mind for my next city trip
I really want to visit Ghent – it sounds like an affordable city break, and the architecture looks amazing. And waffles…mmm! #citytripping
I’m like you and usually think the city cards aren’t worth it but just occasionally they are and it looks like this one was good value. Ghent looks lovely, I must admit it has never really been on my radar, but you’ve shown it to be very visitable! #citytripping
You certainly did a lot! I do think the City Cards are great value if you are doing lots of sights and no doubt you covered far more ground because of it. Ghent looks beautiful and you got such great weather too! You’ve definitely tempted me. Thanks for linking #citytripping
First off, Ghent looks so gorgeous! I haven’t been to Belgium yet, but it’s definitely on the list. It looks so unlike any city I’ve ever seen over here (and I’d love to try real Belgium beer!). Now I have to convince my husband!
Secondly, I just stumbled upon your blog via a Pinterest search for Bamberg. I’m also an American living in Germany, so I had to see where you are. My husband and I lived in Regensburg two years ago – it’s one of my favorite places, we go back frequently! Such a small world. Love your blog and I can’t wait to keep reading and discovering new places!
Oh how awesome! Such a shame we didn’t meet two years ago! Glad to have you following along and if you are ever in RGB again, hit me up! 🙂
We love a City Card they make skipping round a new place so much easier. The last time I was in Ghent was in the early 80s when it was beautiful but grimy, time to revisit I think! #CityTripping
Beautiful by day and even more beautiful by night! The Graslei looks so elegant and the waffles look so delicious! #citytripping
Great photos – especially the nighttime ones! I’ve only been to Brussels in Belgium but I’d love to rectify that someday and make it to Ghent.
I miss a link to a very cozy and original hostal: Treck Hostel, about 15 minutes walk from Ghent, located near a canal. Every room is a caravan, furnished in a special theme, the Hawaiian, the Retro, the Grafitti, The Up, the Beach … You can find more info at http://www.treckhostel.be/hostel. And with a terrific bar, the Treckhaak (https://www.facebook.com/treckhaak/)
Oh man I wish I had known about that before!! Sounds amazing!
Ha, I wrote a blogpost just like that on my Dutch travel blog last year. It’s just the best thing about Ghent, that there’s soooo much to do for free or on a small budget!
Oh wish I had seen it!! Ghent is amazing!
I don’t think that I realized how major of a city historical Ghent was until your post! It’s so beautiful with all of the historic buildings and architecture. We usually don’t get the city cards too, but sometimes like in the case of Ghent it’s totally worth it!
I’ve been on the fence regarding Ghent. Have done a lot of the other towns in Belgium. Looks nice, so I might have to reconsider 🙂 #wanderfulwednesday
You won’t regret it!
This is such a beautiful city! In general, I think Belgium is full of tons of gems. I like the idea of using a saving card in a city. In some way, it gives you structure since you can get a clear idea of the place you are visiting (plus sometimes transportation is included or discounted). Another city on my European bucket list! #WanderfulWednesday
I think by having the card it encouraged us to visit a few places we would have otherwise not done!
OMG how good were those cuberdon?! As you know, we visited Ghent on a very sombre occasion so I look forward to returning one day to see it in its glorious best. Belgium is so underrated but I love it!
Ya that was so sad you visited right as that event happened!
I’ve read so many great things about Ghent that it’s top of the places I most want to visit in Belgium. It looks absolutely gorgeous in your photos. I could easily spend a few days here. I’ve used city passes before – they’re often well worth the money as you can save quite a lot. #FarawayFiles
I hope you make it to Ghent then! You’ll love it!
Ghent looks STUNNING! And who can say no to waffles? or Belgian beer? #FarawayFiles
I love a good medieval castle too! I’m definitely adding Gravensteen Castle to my list. I’m also adding those waffles to my list! And now I’m craving waffles and nutella… #citytripping
It’s a great list! 🙂
The water tramway sounds right up my alley but I imagine that Ghent must be such a bike-friendly city as well – hard to make a decision! I’d certainly want to see the town from above and visit the castle though – that’s for sure 🙂
It’s all flat and easily laid out that renting a bike would definitely be an enjoyable option, especially during warmer months!
Such a comprehensive guide – it’s really making me want to visit ASAP! I love all the architecture and of course, wouldn’t mind a beer or two. I think we would definitely be visiting Tavern Dulle Griet – what an incredible selection they have! #farawayfiles
We loved Ghent, and really wished we’d had more time there, or at least could have stayed for the evening lights. I loved the architecture in Ghent, and the meeting of modern and old together in one building. Of course we also loved the graffiti alley, and wished we would have had a can of spray paint or two in our bag! Your photos as always are stunning. Funny, I’m not sure what you meant about Ghent feeling more authentic then Bruges, but maybe it’s because Bruges is so touristy it almost feels unreal? Still we were able to see Bruges after dark when the tourists went home, and it was like a completely different place. #farawayfiles
Ya Bruges felt somehow straight out of a story book that it felt it couldn’t possibly be real! Bruges in the evening is even more surreal when it suddenly empties out and the lights flip on!
You have definitely convinced me. I’m going to be carrying this guide as I explore the streets of Ghent and get stuck into some foodie fabulousness.
I have a friend in Copenhagen from Ghent and you’ve just reinforced everything she has told us about her hometown! So lovely and such yummy looking food! I love that the Ghent card gives you a free bike rental (coming from Denmark – that is big thumbs up!) Thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles
I hope I did her town justice then!
Wow so pretty – and so much to do! I loved Bruges so I definitely need to check out Ghent now.
Been to Belgium for for the first time last year and while I loved it I felt that everything’s pretty expensive there. So love your money-saving guide – some grgeat suggestions here! 🙂
We opted for Bruges over Ghent, but if I can get back to Belgium (I hope, I hope!), we will plan to include time in Ghent. This is a great post for information and inspiration!
I need to visit both Bruges and Ghent. Nice that you were able to save money with the card. Some cities have good tourist cards and some don’t, so will definitely keep that in mind when visiting. #TheWeeklyPostcard
Ummm charm overload! I think House Hunters International was trying to tell me something lol. The couple was boating in front of the castle as they were trying to “make their decision”. I was like is this a normal thing in Ghent? lol
Haha I watch that show too! Will have to find that episode!
Wow! What a beautiful city! Another spot to add to my ever-growing list of places to visit back in Europe. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard.
I can always rely on your recommendations so I’ve pinned this post. You did the right thing re the city card – always worth doing a quick tally and working out if its worth it. I think cards which include transport are a great advantage: makes things so much easier, even without the discount.
Aw so glad to hear that! 🙂 thank you!
What a great informative blog. I will use this when we head over to Belgium – looks like a fab place to visit !!
All these photos of food are making me hungry! Also loved your photos, especially the ones of Ghent by night 🙂
This is exactly the kind of guide I need for Ghent! I’ve lived in Germany for almost three years and still haven’t been to Belgium. I think I would love to just wander the city and admire the architecture.
Great guide to Ghent. I’ve heard about this town but didn’t realize it’s so beautiful. I love using city cards if I have enough time in a city, but I always check what’s included before buying. City cards are not always worth your money. #TheWeeklyPostcard
Glad to put it a little bit more on your radar!
We visited Ghent back in 2014 during the annual Gentsee Festival and loved it! I’m so glad more travelers are adding this gorgeous city to their Belgium itineraries! This is an excellent guide, too. Since we were there during the festival, I didn’t get to see a lot of things on your list. I’ll definitely be saving for a future visit!
Unrelated: My mouth started watering as soon as I saw the photo of the waffles. No one does waffles better than Belgium!
Haha this is true – Belgium’s waffles are unparalleled!
I’m so with you on Ghent – Belgium is great, Flanders especially, and within Flanders, Ghent is a hidden gem! Bruges is definitely worth it, but it can feel so touristy after a while. Ghent keeps it real!
Wow, Lolo, what a great look at Ghent! Ann has been dying to visit Bruges, but I’m definitely leaning towards Ghent now. (See the trouble you’ve started? 😉 The buildings are just beautiful – we are definitely hooked on Medieval old towns and those big, beautiful cathedrals. And then there’s the waffles. That looks delicious! Being an early industrial city, I imagine the city must have been an exciting place, and probably has many good stories to tell! Definitely pinning for later. Thanks for sharing!
Oops… sorry not sorry! ?
I once edited a travel guide to Belgium (in French, back when I lived and worked in London) and Ghent had caught my eye. Now your post and your fabulous photos make me itch to go and visit, if only for the waffles!
I really love Belgian architecture. It’s got a personality all its own. Beautiful photos, especially the blue hour shots. You know I can’t resist that or a good lamppost. 😉 I’m also craving a true Belgian waffle now… the only kind of waffles I will eat. I really need to go back to Belgium. I never see good fare sales for it though – I wonder if US airlines just don’t fly there regularly. Hmm… things to check out.
I saw flights are pretty affordable to Amsterdam and so perhaps you can rent a car and go to Belgium!
Ooh, you get so much for this card!! We only spent a few hours in Ghent (and were super exhausted) – but I really want to go back and give it its due by spending a few days there! I don’t usually buy city cards but this is a great review so I’d def consider it.
Great guide to Ghent Lori, so glad you enjoyed your visit and made it to the street art alley and Chez Leontine. Beautiful photos as well (as if there’s a bad photo of Ghent!)
Thanks David! It’s thanks to you we had such a great meal!
500 beers? That’s insane! How does the bartender remember them all?! But seriously, Ghent looks out of a fairytale, with its canals and castles and overall cuteness. Pinning, tweeting, etc. for when I DO visit some day! #farawayfiles
Haha if you grow up drinking all of these beers, I guess you remember them well! I’m sure Belgian bartenders have to go through some extensive Belgian beer tests before becoming a bartender haha
I love the beautiful architecture, but is it so bad to admit that I paused the longest to stare at those waffles? They look yummy! I’m also a big fan of city cards. I’ve generally saved a lot of money using them, except in Rome, where I ended up taking buses for the sake of it towards the end of my trip to try to make it worthwhile! I think in Ghent, I will definitely get myself one of these cards!
Oh how interesting that Rome sounds like it wasn’t worth it! And aren’t those waffles drool-worthy??
Great budget friendly guide to Ghent. I have not visited Belgium yet but when I do I must visit Ghent with this awesome comprehensive guide. I do like the idea of the City Card and your hotel & restaurant recommendations. I will pin this for later for my visit to Ghent. Thanks for sharing! #feetdotravel