Situated between Bruges and Brussels, which are probably the most touristy cities of Belgium, Ghent is also an attractive destination for travelers to Western Europe for its history and beautiful landscape. This city is an interesting crossover of historical atmosphere and cosmopolitan vibes. It is the home of over 60,000 students and a quarter of a million citizens. There are many things you can do in this small city that will make you fall in love with Ghent immediately.
1. Walking along the river banks
With its main tourist attractions and Ghent’s typical small, old houses lying along the Leie River, Ghent is an ideal place in the summer for walking outdoors. During the warm, lively summer months, local people tend to come sit around the banks, have a beer and hang out with friends while relaxing under the sun.
2. Taking a boat trip
If you are more into exploring the many canals around Ghent, take a boat trip. Boat trips are organized every day. Your captain will also be your guide. There are various normal or themed tours you could take such as De bootjes van Gent - Rederij Dewaele (about architecture), Gent Wateroerist (about history), Redeij De Genteaer and Boat in Gent (both are general tours). Basic prices for most of these tours are around 4 EUR and 7 EUR (roughly 5 to 8 USD).
3. Climbing up the Belfry
The center of Ghent is so small that it’s possible to discover all of the main attractions on foot. Lying in the middle of the city centre, the Belfry tower (Belfort Gent) can be spotted easily. This 91-metre tall tower is the symbol of the city’s independence. For 6 EUR (roughly 7 USD), you can enter the tower and its Cloth Hall, which is built onto the side of the Belfry. Take the lift up to its upper gallery to enjoy a fantastic panoramic view of the city.
4. Seeing a church
Another must-do in Ghent is to visit St Nicholas’s Church on Korenmarkt Square, which is open daily to visitors. Walk around to enjoy the spiritual atmosphere inside the church, and view its impressive Flemish architecture, which dates back to the 13th century.
5. Visiting the Castle of the Counts - Het Gravensteen
To experience what it was like in the past to defend Ghent as a soldier, enter the Castle of the Counts (Het Gravensteen). With its over 2-metre thick walls, this castle has survived many battles and attackers. Though it is slightly expensive to enter the Het Gravensteen nowadays (8 EUR / roughly 9 USD), you will be able enjoy great views of Ghent’s rooftops and Belfry tower from here. When visiting during Christmas, the castle is transformed into a Winter Wonderland.
Check out this cool hotel!
Lying just on the bank of Leie River in downtown Ghent, where you can have one of the coolest views of the Belfry, the Ghent Marriott hotel offers a top-quality modern facility and excellent services for guests. The experience of walking into this hotel is astonishing. From the outside, it seems like just another old medieval building lying along the canal. However, inside you will find everything you could have asked for in a 4-star hotel.
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