There’s more to this city than its three famous towers
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Ghent is a historic city in Belgium. This city offers a special mix of a rich past and modern life. In the city you can clearly see the riches of historic times. Good food and drinks in the restaurants can be enjoyed on terraces.
The city has a large number of museums, so you have a lot of entertainment even in bad weather. The city silhouette of Ghent's old town is dominated by the three towers. A dive into history is special. These are the most beautiful sights of Ghent. To which I also added some of the best excursions.
St. Bavo's Cathedral is world famous. The church dates from the 14th century and is best known for the art in the church. The masterpiece is the painting The Adoration of the Lamb of God by Jan van Eyck dating back to 1432. The high altar from the 1700’s is also beautiful. In the tower there are 7 bells that weigh 5500 kgs. This cathedral can get very busy, so plan your visit well.
More info: sintbaafskathedraal.be
The famous Belfry Tower of Ghent is 95 meters high. You can visit the tower, but the most beautiful excursion is the ascent of the stairs. For this you have to pay extra, but then you get the most beautiful view over Ghent. Especially at the end of the day it is very beautiful. Look for the dragon on the roof.
The Sint-Niklaaskerk is the third tower of Ghent. This church is built of bluestone from Tournai, which can still be seen in this special color. The tower is 76 meters high. You can visit this church, but it can get busy. It is best to go early in the morning. Saint Nicholas Church was built in the 13th century.
Gravensteen is the only remaining medieval castle in Flanders. And it's in the middle of the city of Ghent. Nowadays it is a museum. You can easily visit the gatehouse, the wall, the donjon, the grave residence and the horse stables.Read my tips for Gravensteen
The Friday Market (Vrijdagmarkt) is a square in Ghent. The name comes from the market that has been organised here weekly on Friday mornings since 1199. This square became the center of social life for many people. It was a place for parties, but countless people were executed here. Beheading was done by the guillotine.
The particularly beautiful Toreken (also called Tocalcula) is the oldest building on the Vrijdagmarkt. It dates back to the 15th century and is clearly recognisable by the stair tower. You can still see the market clock hanging on the Tocalcula.
The Ghent Festivals are also well-known. This festival in the summer lasts ten days and has countless performances by musicians and DJs. It also hosts theatre performers and dance performers.
The Ghent Festivals are always organised in the last two weeks of July. If you want to experience this, make sure you book your accommodation in advance. It is very busy and the number of accommodations are limited. And yes, it is very expensive.
More info: gentsefeesten.stad.gent
The Korenlei and the Graslei are opposite each other. These famous streets are located on the River Lei in Ghent. The old warehouses are still in a very good condition. From the 11th century onwards, all kinds of goods were stored in these houses, including a lot of grain. Something you can still see in some houses.
Some of the famous houses are the Korenstapelhuis, which dates from the 12th century. The stepped gable is one of the oldest in the world. Also beautiful is the guild house, der Vrij Schippers from 1531 and Oud Postgebouw (post office). Today, many warehouses have been converted into restaurants. The sunset on the Korenlei and Graslei is beautiful.
Ghent is easy to see from the water. Various boat tours are offered. You can go under the guidance of a captain or you can hire a boat to sail yourself. You sail over the River Lei and all kinds of side channels. Along the way you will get a lot of information about the city with all kinds of stories.
The city has had several Beguinages for centuries. The most famous is the Klein Begijnhof Gent, which is officially called Klein Begijnhof Onze-Lieve-Vrouwen ter Hoyen. It dates back to 1235 and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Gentse Klein Begijnhof is located in the Lange Violettestraat.
Ghent is very well known for its Street Art. At various places in the city you will come across the graffiti of artists such as Bué and ROA, who are both from Ghent. Although ROA is a pseudonym, no one knows exactly who ROA is. The colourful Werregarenstraat is also called the graffiti street. Here you mainly see work by budding artists.
Visiting Ghent in one day is possible, but the city has a lot to offer. So staying in a hotel or Airbnb is a good option. Experience the evening in the city, and witness the city waking up in the early morning. I think this is one of the best moments of the day.