How does one even begin to write about a place they fell in love with? I visited Ghent simply because it was enroute to Bruges– a place everyone recommended I see. I honestly wasn’t expecting it to be all that great and only planned to stay one day. But after that one day, I found myself captivated and ended up spending a whole extra day in Ghent. Even that wasn’t enough and I still find myself yearning to be in Ghent, sitting along the canals and soaking up all the visual details. If you’re planning a trip to Belgium, I beg you to make a stop in Ghent. Here are just a few of the reasons you need to visit Ghent, Belgium.
The architecture throughout Belgium is incredible, but it is even more so in the Flanders region of Belgium. In 1913, the city hosted the World’s Fair. Most cities who hosted the fair renovated and modernized their cities. But Ghent decided to do the opposite. They restored their old buildings in a way that preserved the Medieval architecture. As a result, the city has a certain charm that is difficult to find elsewhere. When you visit Ghent, you are transported through time as you reflect on the historic facades of the buildings.
Sure, there are many cities throughout the world that are riddled with canals. But there’s just something so magical about The Leie that runs through the city. Between the way it reflects the buildings, and the way it perfectly sculpts out the city, the Leie is one of the most stunning parts of Ghent.
Speaking of the canals, when you visit Ghent you will have the opportunity to explore them on your own. The city has an open boating policy, which means while you may opt to take a tourist boat tour to see the canals, you are also welcome to rent a kayak or bring your own small boat onto the water. This way, you can relax and enjoy the city from the water, at your own pace. This is not the case in nearby cities, like Bruges.
The potty struggle is real when traveling in Europe. Most everywhere you go, you’ll find that you have to pay to use public toilets. This is not the case in Ghent! This city has multiple locations where you can find public bathrooms that don’t charge a fee. Visit Ghent, and you can save your 50 cent coins, and avoid doing the potty dance in the streets.
Ghent is a touristy city- yes. But the expanse of the place allows travelers to spread out and enjoy the city without being shoulder to shoulder with other people. While visiting the famous city of Bruges, I felt herded around in the hoards of tourists all day. But Ghent did not give me this feeling at all! Especially when exploring the city during the mornings or late afternoon.
Not only is Ghent a beautiful city from the surface, but there are also plenty of opportunities to view its beauty from above. By visiting places like Gravensteen Castle, or the Belfry, you can see some incredible views of the city.
Ghent is such an easy city to navigate. It is easy to walk from one major attraction to the next. In addition, the lovely cobblestone streets just make you want to wander and get lost in the beautiful city. And for those attractions that are not close by, the public transportation system is also very easy to understand and use.
For a tourist city in Europe, Ghent is surprisingly affordable to visit. Purchasing a Ghent City Card for just €30 allows you free access to 18 different attractions in the city, as well as free public transportation, a 1 day bike rental, and a guided boat tour. Food and drink can also be done on a budget when you visit Ghent, visiting the local markets and delis to save on euros.
Have I got you convinced? Here’s how to spend 48 hours when you visit Ghent!
*Note: Thanks to Visit Ghent for providing me with a complimentary CityCard. As always, all opinions expressed are 100% my own.