The Best of Ghent
Collected by Alison Cornford-Matheson, AFAR Local Expert
While tour buses descend upon Bruges, in-the-know travelers in Belgium are discovering the Flemish city of Ghent. This lively university town has picturesque canals, stunning architecture, quirky shops, delicious dining options, and even its own castle.
Oude Houtlei 110, 9000 Gent, Belgium
Centrally located, the sumptuous Hôtel Verhaegen is a mine of local history. Formerlya private mansion inhabited by barons and counts, the five room hotel has been carefully restored by its current owners, a pair of interior designers. Original...
Korenlei 10, 9000 Gent, Belgium
Poor Ghent often gets overlooked, thanks in large part to nearby Bruges. For some reason Bruges has always been labeled as the pretty one, or the one most likely to succeed. What most visitors don’t realize is that Ghent also enjoys many of the...
Sint-Baafsplein, 9000 Gent, Belgium
This view overlooking Ghent is a common one in Belgium. Many Belgium cities feature bell towers centrally located, some of which visitors can still climb to the top, like this one. For a nominal fee, visitors can wind their way up the stairs, or...
Groentenmarkt 3, 9000 Gent, Belgium
On the Groentenmarkt in Ghent you'll find this wonderful shop that sells its own freshly made mustard. All you have to do is pick out your favorite container and they will fill it from a barrel standing beside the counter. Their mustard is strong...
Koestraat 42, 9000 Gent, Belgium
Chocolate seems to be a Belgian obsession and many areas of the country have their own specialties and unique approaches to this popular sweet. Ghent is no different and I found a wide variety of chocolates from the traditional to the modern. My...
Jan Breydelstraat 36, 9000 Gent, Belgium
As Canadian expat in Belgium, one thing I miss is the sea (and good lobster), so when I saw "Lobster Six Ways" on the menu at the House of Eliott in Ghent, I had to try it. Far from the traditional 'crack it open and dig in' style lobster I was...
Hertogstraat 42, 9000 Gent, Belgium
Waterzooi (VAT-ter-zo-ey) is a traditional Flemishstew made with chicken, vegetables, cream, and eggyolks. (In years past, chicken was omitted in favor offish plucked from the city’s waterways.) In the trendyPatershol quarter, order a much-lauded...
Goudenleeuwplein 3, 9000 Gent, Belgium
I’m a weird guy, so when I tell people I enjoy eating foods named for destinations most people don’t even bat an eye. Sometimes the food is great, sometimes it’s not, but one of my favorite eponymous culinary delights is the Belgian waffle. Before...
Groentenmarkt 7, 9000 Gent, Belgium
Housed in the old meat market is an innovative shop and cafe, the Het Groot Vleeshuis. Here visitors can sample a variety of Ghent and Flemish foods, learning about the region along the way. One of the highlights of the restaurant is the famous...
Groentenmarkt 12, 9000 Gent, Belgium
Jenever is a juniper flavored liquor from which gin evolved. Today it’s only made in the Netherlands and Belgium and is a strong and popular drink. While the straight stuff may be a bit harsh, jenever bars also feature a wide range of flavored...
Fernand Scribedreef 1, 9000 Gent, Belgium
Art-lovers should not miss the Museum of Fine Arts (Museum voor Schone Kunsten) or MSK, in Ghent, Belgium. This bite-sized museum offers a great overview of of European art, particularly Belgian, from the Middle Ages to the early 20th century....
Jan Breydelstraat 5, 9000 Gent, Belgium
If you like your art to have practical purposes, don't miss Ghent's lovely Design Museum. Here you will find decorative arts such as furnishings, appliances and dishware from Belgium's design history. The museum is inside the 18th century Hotel de...
Godshuizenlaan 2, 9000 Gent, Belgium
The new and high-tech city museum of Ghent is well worth a visit. Interactive exhibits make the museum fun for all ages, but it's the contrast of modern and ancient that is truly unique. The STAM is located on the larger Bijloke site. Now a haven...
Korianderstraat 2, 9000 Gent, Belgium
Belgium is known for a lot of things and fine beer is near the top of that list. Given how popular beer is I was surprised to learn that there’s only one operating brewery in Ghent itself, but what a brewery it is. The Gruut Brewery is relatively...
Sint-Veerleplein 11, 9000 Gent, Belgium
Going here and seeing all the instruments of torture really sent shivers down my spine. Very cool to see but in a really creepy way, like the Human Body Exhibit :). From the top you get very nice views of Gent. Worth a visit if you are in Gent.
Barrestraat 3, 9000 Gent, Belgium
I assume Gent would be amazing at any time of year but we visited over the last weekend of their Gentse Feesten which was a blast. We really stumbled which reminded me that some of the best travel adventures are completely unplanned. What a fun...
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