Even though Ghent is relatively small, it still is one of the biggest and most well-known cities in Belgium and is located in the northeast of this country. Not only is Ghent a true student city, but it also has a very rich history that goes back to the Early Middle Ages. The city is known for its generous people and its many interesting, cultural monuments.
When you’re visiting Ghent, you absolutely must visit the renowned Gravensteen Castle, which is located right in the heart of Ghent. Even though this castle was built in the 12th century, it has remained intact to this day and it’s easily accessible for the public. Nowadays, this castle mainly functions as a museum where you can get a chance to see the kinds of weapons and torture mechanisms they used to wield back in the days, and thus, you should definitely check it out!
If you get lucky, you might even be able to enjoy one of the many medieval performances that are held there. Then, several actors get dressed in traditional medieval clothing and they give the public a show filled with music, dancing, and martial arts. These kinds of performances definitely will give you your money’s worth!
What Do You Like Best About Ghent?
The architecture for sure! Especially in the heart of Ghent, you will find a lot of houses that still look like they might belong in the Middle Ages. Besides that, Ghent is filled with big cobblestones and those really contribute to the authentic feel that you inevitably will get when you’re walking around the streets in Ghent!
Best Walk in Ghent
The Blaarmeersen are located on the outside of Ghent, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s an exceptional natural area with a lot of greenery. Not only will you be able to find beautiful hiking routes there, but there’s also a stunning lake where a lot of families and young people gather during the summertime to enjoy a nice swim!
The Citadel Park
The Citadel Park is located in the center of Ghent and might just be the most popular park in Ghent. It’s filled with cozy little benches, thus this park is perfect if you want to take a stroll with your loved ones. Furthermore, you can really find some ancient trees there and so, you could really keep your eyes peeled when you’re there.
A fun fact about the Citadel Park is that there’s a dog shelter there. Thus, if you would be interested, you could even take one of those dogs out for a walk if you decide to explore the Citadel Park!
Best Restaurants in Gent
Ghent is filled with a lot of cute restaurants, both local and international. However, two restaurants that really stand out are the Amadeus and the Mosquito Coast, both located in the city center.
If you decide to give the Amadeus a go, you can enjoy all-you-can-eat ribs with very juicy, buttery potatoes. However, if you decide that the Mosquito Coast is more your style, you will be able to enjoy foods (and cocktails) from all over the world, so this restaurant will really give you value for your money!
Best Music/Festival in Ghent
Each year at the end of July, the city of Ghent organizes the Gentse Feesten, an amazing music festival that lasts 10 days. When this music festival is in town, the city center is packed with food stalls, little clothing stalls, carnival attractions, to just name a few things you’ll find there. More importantly, though, there are also a couple of stages where you can enjoy some of the best local music! All in all, Ghent is always filled with positive vibes when the Gentse Feesten rolls around.
Best Nightlife in Ghent
As mentioned, Ghent is a true student city at heart and thus, the nightlife is also mostly dominated by students. More concretely, there’s one particular party street in the middle of Ghent, called the Overpoortstraat. This street is filled with a lot of different clubs. The best thing about the Overpoortstraat is that basically every music genre is represented, which means that there’s something out there for everyone! The Overpoort is always packed with people, but it gets slightly out of control on Thursdays. Namely, that’s the day in the week that the majority of the students come together to party!
However, another great dancing café that’s not limited to students is the Charlatan. While the overall music there can be slightly alternative, you can be guaranteed that you will have a good time when you decide to visit this joint!
Best Day Trip out of Ghent
Belgium is only a very small country, so you basically can reach every city in only a matter of hours tops starting from Ghent. However, it’s always a great idea to take the train from Ghent to the coast of Belgium. The train ride only lasts about 2 hours, so this would be the perfect day trip if you’re looking to get out of Ghent for one day.
Moreover, you could also just as easily reach the capital of Belgium, Brussels when you take the train from Ghent. The best part about this trip is that you won’t even need to travel more than an hour if you decide to take the train. Thus, this is also a great idea!
Something That Not Many Travelers Would Know About Ghent
Ghent has a very delicious and well-known local delicacy, called Neuzekes. If you would translate this to English, you would read “little noses” and that’s because Neuzekes are purple little pieces of candy that are shaped in the form of little noses. Now, there are two big vendors of those Neuzekes and they each have a stall where they sell them in the middle of Ghent. However, the problem is that these stalls are located right next to each other and the vendors have been fighting with each other over those Neuzekes for years!
This is a really funny anecdote that only the true locals know of, so tourists often have a strange look on their faces when they’re strolling around Ghent and notice these two vendors shouting profanities at each other!