Ghent, often overshadowed by its more famous Belgian counterparts like Brussels and Brugge, is a hidden gem that offers a unique blend of history, culture and modernity. Located in the Flemish region of Belgium, Ghent has a rich history evident in its well-preserved architecture, such as the Gravensteen Castle and the stunning St. Bavo's Cathedral, which houses the world-famous Ghent Altarpiece. Scenic canals crisscross the city, reminiscent of those in Amsterdam, providing a beautiful backdrop for leisurely strolls or boat tours. Ghent is also a university town, lending it a youthful energy and a vibrant nightlife, with numerous bars, cafes and restaurants offering a taste of Belgian cuisine and the famous local beer. With its combination of historical landmarks, lively atmosphere and cultural attractions, Ghent provides a well-rounded experience for any traveller looking to explore the multifaceted charm of Belgium. Ghent’s history dates back to the Roman era, but it was during the Middle Ages that Ghent truly flourished, becoming one of the most prosperous and powerful cities in Europe. The city's architecture, including the iconic Gravensteen Castle and the stunning St. Bavo's Cathedral, stands as a proof to its historical significance. The cathedral is particularly noteworthy for housing the Ghent Altarpiece, a masterpiece of early Flemish painting by the Van Eyck brothers.
- Where is Ghent?
- What is the history of Ghent?
- What are the best things to do in Ghent?
- What is the transportation like in Ghent?
- Are Christmas markets crowded in Ghent?
- What are the most visited Christmas markets in Belgium?
- What are the best music festivals in Belgium?
- Is Ghent expensive?
- Is Ghent safe?
Ghent was a hub of textile manufacturing in the medieval period and its wealth was evident in the grandeur of its public buildings and the opulence of its private residences. The language predominantly spoken in Ghent is Dutch, as it is part of the Flemish region of Belgium. However, English is widely understood due to its status as a university city and its appeal to international tourists. The city is home to Ghent University, one of the largest and oldest educational institutions in the Low Countries (Netherlands and Belgium), which attracts a large student population and contributes to the city's youthful and vibrant atmosphere. Ghent is the capital of the East Flanders province, home to over 260,000 people. The demographics are diverse, with a mix of young students, working professionals and older residents. The city has a relatively low crime rate and is considered safe. Ghent experiences a temperate maritime climate, characterised by mild summers and cool winters. Rainfall is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year, so carrying an umbrella is advisable when visiting. The city's climate is similar to much of Northwestern Europe and is generally considered to be pleasant, although it can be unpredictable at times. As for interesting facts about Ghent, the city was the birthplace of John of Gaunt, a 14th-century nobleman who played a significant role in the Hundred Years' War and was the Duke of Lancaster. The term “Ghent” is believed to be derived from the Celtic word ‘Ganda', which means confluence, a fitting name for a city built at the meeting point of the Rivers Scheldt and Leie. Ghent is also known for its local specialities, including ‘Gentse Waterzooi', a creamy fish stew and ‘Cuberdons', a type of raspberry-flavoured candy.
The city is a pioneer in environmental sustainability and has one of the largest car-free areas in Belgium, encouraging cycling and the use of public transport. Ghent is also famous for its annual Festival of Flanders, a music festival that attracts international artists and large crowds. This Ghent Travel Guide will help guide people to explore one of Belgium's most interesting cities. Whether one is keen on knowing the city's rich history, exploring its culinary delights or simply wandering through its beautiful streets to soak in the local culture, this guide aims to cover all bases. From must-visit landmarks like the Gravensteen Castle and St. Bavo's Cathedral to hidden gems that only locals know, the guide provides all the information one needs for an unforgettable experience. With tips on the best times to visit, how to navigate the city and where to find the finest waffles and beer, this resource should be considered one's go-to for all things Ghent.
Where is Ghent?
Ghent is a city located in the Flemish Region of Belgium, in the northern part of the country. It is 55 km (34 miles) northwest of Brussels, the capital of Belgium. Ghent is a significant city in its own right, known for its rich history and cultural vibrancy, it is not the capital. Belgium has other major cities, such as Antwerp, Liège and Charleroi, with unique attributes and significance. Ghent stands out because of its well-preserved architecture, educational institutions like Ghent University and cultural activities, making it a must-visit city for those exploring Belgium.
What is the history of Ghent?
Ghent, one of Belgium's oldest cities, has a rich and complex history that dates back to the Roman era. It is located at the confluence of the Rivers Scheldt and Leie, a location that made it an ideal trading post in ancient times. The city's name is derived from the Celtic word ‘Ganda', which means ‘confluence'. During the Middle Ages, Ghent grew in prominence due to its thriving wool and textile industry, becoming one of northern Europe's largest and wealthiest cities. It was a key player in the Hanseatic League, a commercial and defensive confederation of merchant guilds and market towns. In the 14th century, Ghent was the scene of social unrest, culminating in the Ghent Uprising of 1539 against the policies of Emperor Charles V, who was born in the city. Despite its defeat, Ghent continued to be an important economic and cultural centre. The signing of the Treaty of Ghent in 1814, which ended the War of 1812 between the United States and the United Kingdom, is another significant event in the city's history. The Industrial Revolution brought further prosperity by establishing factories and opening the Ghent-Terneuzen Canal, which connected the city to the North Sea. Ghent was also the site of Belgium's first Labour Day demonstration in 1886. Ghent, in the 20th century, was occupied by German forces during both World Wars but escaped significant destruction. Today, Ghent is known for its well-preserved medieval architecture, including landmarks like the Gravensteen Castle and Saint Bavo's Cathedral, which houses the famous Ghent Altarpiece. It is also a major educational and cultural hub, home to Ghent University and numerous museums and galleries.
What language is spoken in Ghent?
The primary language spoken in Ghent is Dutch. Ghent is located in the Flemish Region of Belgium, where Dutch is the official language. Evidence of this linguistic predominance can be seen in various aspects of daily life, from road signs to official documents . While Dutch is the dominant language, the city's diverse population and status as a cultural and educational hub mean that other languages, such as French, English and a variety of non-European languages, are also spoken, particularly in academic and international business settings. However, Dutch remains the main language for day-to-day interactions and official matters. This linguistic landscape reflects Ghent's position within the Flemish community and its adherence to the broader linguistic policies of the region.
What timezone is Ghent on?
Ghent is in the Central European Time (CET) zone. This time zone is UTC+1 during standard time and shifts to Central European Summer Time (CEST), which is UTC+2, during the daylight saving period. Evidence of this time zone alignment can be found in official timekeeping standards observed by the country and its adherence to European Union regulations on time. The daylight saving period in Ghent, as in the rest of Belgium and most European countries, starts on the last Sunday in March and ends on the last Sunday in October. During this period, clocks are set forward by one hour to use natural evening daylight better. This time zone is consistent with many other countries in Central Europe, including Germany, France and the Netherlands and it affects various aspects of life, such as business hours, public transportation schedules and even the timing of cultural events.
How many people live in Ghent?
The current population of Ghent as of 2022 is estimated to be 265,086. This figure represents Ghent's urban agglomeration, including the city's population and adjacent suburban areas. The population has grown by 0.22% annually. In 1990, the population of Ghent was 230,543. The area of Ghent is 156.2 km² and the population is divided among males and females with a median age of 38. Males are 49.9% while females are 50.1% of the population. People over 65 years are 43,970, 18-64 years are 170,541 while 0-17 years are 50,575.
What are the most interesting facts of Ghent?
Listed below are the most interesting facts of Ghent:
- Ghent Currency: The currency used in Ghent is the Euro (€), the common currency for 19 of the 27 European Union countries. This makes it convenient for travellers from other Eurozone countries as there's no need to exchange currency. The Euro is subdivided into 100 cents and comes in various denominations in coin and banknote forms.
- Timezone: Ghent operates on Central European Time (CET), which is UTC+1 during standard time and shifts to Central European Summer Time (CEST), UTC+2, during daylight saving time. This timezone is shared with many other Central European countries, making it easier for business and travel. The daylight saving period starts on the last Sunday in March and ends on the last Sunday in October.
- Language Spoken: The primary language spoken in Ghent is Dutch, as it is part of the Flemish Region of Belgium. Dutch is used in all official communications, educational institutions and daily interactions. However, due to its cosmopolitan nature and the presence of Ghent University, there are also other languages like English and French spoken in the city.
- Power Plugs Used: In Ghent, the power plugs and sockets used are of type E, which is the standard for Belgium. The standard voltage is 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. This is crucial information for travellers who may need to bring adaptors for their electronic devices.
What is Ghent famous for?
Ghent is famous for its well-preserved mediaeval architecture, vibrant cultural scene and significant contributions to art and education. The city is home to landmarks such as the Gravensteen Castle, the Saint Bavo's Cathedral, the famous Ghent Altarpiece by the Van Eyck brothers and the stunning Graslei and Korenlei streets along River Leie. Ghent's historical significance can be seen in its numerous museums, galleries and historical sites attracting millions of tourists annually. Additionally, Ghent is known for its university, Ghent University, one of the largest and oldest in Belgium, which contributes to the city's youthful and intellectual atmosphere. The city is also famous for its festivals, including the Ghent Festival (Gentse Feesten), one of the largest cultural festivals in Europe. Ghent has a significant port, the Port of Ghent, one of the largest in Belgium and a major economic driver. The city has also been a centre for the textile industry since the Middle Ages, a legacy that continues to influence its culture and economy today. Overall, Ghent is famous for being a multifaceted city that combines historical grandeur with modern vibrancy.
What are the best things to do in Ghent?
Listed below are the best things to do in Ghent:
- Visit Gravensteen Castle: Gravensteen Castle offers a glimpse into the city's past. The castle features a museum that showcases various archaic artefacts, including weapons and armour. It's a must-visit for history enthusiasts and one of the top things to do in Ghent.
- Stroll along the Graslei and Korenlei: Graslei and Korenlei are two beautiful streets along the River Leie, filled with historic buildings and vibrant cafés. A walk here provides a beautiful view of the city's architecture and is a great place for people-watching. It's a relaxing activity that captures the essence of Ghent.
- Explore St. Bavo's Cathedral: St. Bavo's Cathedral is home to the famous Ghent Altarpiece, the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb. The artwork is considered one of the most important pieces of Early Flemish Renaissance art. Visiting the cathedral and seeing the altarpiece is a cultural experience one shouldn't miss in Ghent.
- Take a Boat Tour: Ghent has a network of rivers and canals that offer a unique perspective of the city. Boat tours take visitors through these waterways, providing a different angle on Ghent's historical buildings and landmarks. It's a great way to see the city and learn about its history.
- Visit the Museum of Fine Arts: The Museum of Fine Arts houses a collection of works from the Middle Ages to the 20th century, including pieces by famous artists like Rubens and Van Dyck. It's a must-visit for art lovers and offers a comprehensive look at the evolution of art over the centuries.
- Attend the Ghent Festivities: Ghent Festivities is a 10-day festival every year in July. It includes music performances, theatre shows and other cultural events. Attending the festivities is a great way to immerse oneself in local culture if one is in Ghent during this time.
What to do in Ghent for a day?
Listed below are things to do in Ghent for a day:
- Morning at Gravensteen Castle: Gravensteen Castle is a great way to start the day as it is one of Ghent's most iconic landmarks. The castle opens early and offers a fascinating glimpse into history through its museum. It's an ideal way to kickstart 24 hours in Ghent with a dose of culture and history.
- Midday Walk along the Graslei and Korenlei: By midday, the Graslei and Korenlei are bustling with activity. These picturesque streets along River Leie are perfect for a walk, offering beautiful views of historic buildings and an opportunity for some great photos. It's a relaxing way to spend part of the day in Ghent.
- Lunch at a Local Café: Ghent offers a variety of dining options, from traditional Belgian fare to international cuisine. Choose a café along the Graslei for a meal with a view. It's a culinary experience that fits well into a day's itinerary.
- Afternoon at St. Bavo's Cathedral: The St. Bavo's Cathedral is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. One can spend the early afternoon exploring as it is home to the famous Ghent Altarpiece. This offers a cultural and spiritual touch to the 24 hours in Ghent.
- Boat Tour in the Late Afternoon: Take a boat tour along Ghent's rivers and canals as the day winds down. This is a relaxing way to see the city from a different perspective and learn about its history. Most tours last about an hour, fitting perfectly into a day's schedule.
- Dinner and Evening Stroll: End the day with a delicious dinner at one of Ghent's renowned restaurants. After dinner, one can stroll through the city's illuminated streets, perhaps revisiting the Graslei and Korenlei to see them differently.
What is the ideal visit duration for a Ghent visit?
The ideal visit duration for Ghent largely depends on what one wishes to accomplish, but a common recommendation is to spend at least 2 to 3 days in the city. While it's possible to see the main highlights in a single day, as previously outlined, Ghent offers much more to explore, including its museums, parks and lesser-known historic sites. If one has only 24 hours or a single day, the focus will likely be on major landmarks like Gravensteen Castle, St. Bavo's Cathedral and the Graslei and Korenlei. However, a 2 to 3-day stay allows for a more leisurely exploration, including time for shopping, dining at various local restaurants and perhaps taking in a cultural event or two. Therefore, while a day can give one a good overview, 2 to 3 days offer a more comprehensive experience of what Ghent has to offer.
What to eat in Ghent?
When in Ghent start with some classic Belgian waffles, often served warmly with powdered sugar or a dollop of whipped cream. For lunch, consider trying “stoverij”, a traditional Flemish beef stew, often accompanied by a serving of Belgian fries. Speaking of food in Belgium, Ghent is also known for its vegetarian cuisine, thanks in part to its “Thursday Veggie Day” campaign that encourages plant-based eating. Seafood is another local favourite, with a must-try dish like “waterzooi”, a creamy fish stew. Finish the culinary journey with Belgian chocolate or a locally brewed beer. Overall, Ghent offers a diverse and delicious range of options catering to all palates, making it a food lover's paradise.
What are the top restaurants in Ghent?
There are three top restaurants in Ghent to try. Firstly, Oak provides a modern dining experience, offering a menu that is both innovative and rooted in traditional Belgian flavours. It's an ideal spot for dinner, but one needs to book a reservation well in advance.Secondly, LOF Restaurant is another gem, known for its elegant atmosphere and a menu that perfectly balances local and international cuisines. It's a great place for both lunch and dinner, offering a variety of options to suit different tastes. Lastly, when it comes to the best restaurants to eat in Ghent, Pantheon certainly earns its place on the list. Known for its exquisite seafood dishes and impeccable service, it's a dining experience that leaves a lasting impression. Reservations are highly recommended here as well. These establishments offer exceptional food and contribute to Ghent's reputation as a culinary hotspot.
Where to stay in Ghent?
Listed below are the best neighbourhoods to stay in Ghent:
- Graslei (Grass Quay) and Korenlei: Graslei (Grass Quay) and Korenlei are the heart of Ghent's historic centre, offering a stunning setting by River Leie. The area is lively, featuring a mix of traditional Belgian architecture and modern amenities. Cafés, shops and museums are many, making it a convenient and vibrant place to stay.
- Patershol: Patershol is known for its narrow, winding streets and offers a quieter experience. This neighbourhood is a haven for food lovers, boasting a variety of restaurants that serve everything from traditional Belgian cuisine to international dishes. The area also has a relaxed atmosphere, making it ideal for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle.
- Post Plaza: Post Plaza is a hub for shopping and dining, featuring a range of boutiques and eateries. The neighbourhood is also close to key attractions like the Ghent Cathedral and the Gravensteen Castle. It is well-connected by public transport, making it easy to explore other parts of the city.
- Prinsenhof: Prinsenhof is a residential area that provides a more local experience. The neighbourhood is less crowded than the central areas but still offers a good range of amenities like shops and restaurants. It is also close to some of Ghent's parks, providing opportunities for outdoor activities.
What are the best hotels in Ghent?
Listed below are the best hotels in Ghent:
- Pillows Grand Boutique Hotel Reylof: Pillows Grand Boutique Hotel Reylof offers a blend of modern comfort and classic elegance. Guests can enjoy amenities such as a spa, an indoor swimming pool and a fine dining restaurant. The hotel's location makes it convenient for exploring Ghent's attractions.
- 1898 The Post: 1898 The Post offers a unique setting in an old post office building, providing a distinct, atmospheric experience. The interior is lavishly decorated with dark, moody colours and antique furnishings. The hotel's central location places it within walking distance of major sights.
- Hotel Carlton: Hotel Carlton is near Ghent's main railway station, making it convenient for those using public transport. The rooms are modern, comfortable and well-equipped with amenities such as free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs. The hotel's location makes it a short journey for those keen to explore the city.
- Ghent Marriott Hotel: Ghent Marriott Hotel offers a riverside location with modern amenities and comfortable rooms. Guests can take advantage of a fitness centre, business facilities and an on-site restaurant. The hotel's central location places it within easy reach of key attractions like Gravensteen Castle and Saint Bavo's Cathedral.
What is the transportation like in Ghent?
Transportation in Ghent is highly efficient and offers a variety of options to both residents and visitors. The city boasts an extensive public transport network, including buses and trams operated by De Lijn, which makes getting around the city quite convenient. For those arriving from other cities, Ghent is well-connected by train. The journey from Brussels to Ghent takes approximately 30-40 minutes by train, making it an easy day trip from the capital. From London, one can take the Eurostar to Brussels and then a quick train to Ghent, with the entire journey taking around 3-4 hours. If one is coming from Brugge, the train ride is shorter, taking about 30 minutes. Cycling is also a popular mode of transport, given the city's bike-friendly roads and numerous cycle paths. For those who prefer driving, there are several car rental services available. Whether one is travelling within Ghent or considering how to get to Ghent from other cities, there are multiple convenient and efficient options available.
How to get from Ghent to Brussels?
Listed below are the steps of Ghent to Brussels:
- Firstly, visitors should determine the mode of transport they wish to use to travel from Ghent to Brussels. The distance between the two cities is 57 km (35.4 miles).
- Secondly, if opting for the train, head to Gent-Sint-Pieters railway station, the main station in Ghent.
- Thirdly, purchase a ticket to Brussels from the ticket counter or the automated machines. The ticket can also be bought online in advance.
- Fourthly, board the train to Brussels. The journey usually takes around 30 to 40 minutes.
- Fifthly, upon arrival at Brussels Central Station, disembark and make the way to the exit.
- Sixthly, if one is travelling by car, start by setting the GPS to the destination in Brussels.
- Seventhly, drive onto the E40 motorway, which is the main route connecting Ghent and Brussels.
- Eighthly, one should continue on the E40 until they reach the exit for Brussels, then follow the signs to their specific destination within the city.
- Lastly, find a suitable parking spot once one arrives in Brussels. Parking facilities are generally well-signposted.
Are Christmas markets crowded in Ghent?
Yes, the Christmas markets in Ghent are generally quite crowded, especially during weekends and evenings. The Ghent Christmas markets are popular, drawing both locals and tourists. The festive atmosphere, complete with twinkling lights, seasonal treats and an array of handcrafted goods, makes it a must-visit during the holiday season. Therefore, if one prefers a quieter experience, visiting during weekday mornings is advisable. However, the bustling crowds contribute to the lively and spirited environment many seek when attending Christmas markets.
What are the most visited Christmas markets in Belgium?
Listed below are the most visited Christmas markets in Belgium:
- Brussels Winter Wonders: Brussels Winter Wonders is located in the heart of the capital city and is one of the largest and most popular in Belgium. It features over 200 chalets selling various goods, from traditional Christmas ornaments to Belgian waffles. The market also offers a range of activities, including an ice-skating rink and a Ferris wheel, making it a festive destination for families.
- Bruges Christmas Market: Bruges Christmas Market is in the city of Brugge and is known for its romantic atmosphere. The market is set against the backdrop of historic buildings and cobblestone streets, offering a truly magical experience. Visitors can enjoy traditional Belgian treats, shop for unique gifts and even ice skating in the central square.
- Ghent Christmas Market: Ghent Christmas Market is located in the vibrant city of Ghent and is a must-visit for those who enjoy a mix of tradition and modernity. The market is one of the Christmas Markets in Belgium that features an array of stalls selling everything from handcrafted gifts to delicious food items. The highlight is the ice-skating rink set up in the middle of the historic city centre.
- Antwerp Christmas Market: Antwerp Christmas Market sprawls across several of the city's squares, offering diverse goods and activities. From traditional Christmas decorations to international cuisines, there's something for everyone. The market is also known for its sustainable practices, including eco-friendly stall materials.
- Leuven Christmas Market: Leuven Christmas Market is known for being one of the oldest Christmas markets in Belgium and offers a traditional experience. The market is famous for its local products, including Belgian beers and chocolates. Visitors can also enjoy live music and performances, adding to the festive atmosphere.
Is there music in Christmas markets in Belgium?
Yes, there is music at Christmas markets in Belgium. The presence of live music performances, carol singers and sometimes even orchestras is a common feature that adds to the festive atmosphere of these markets. Whether it's traditional Christmas carols or contemporary tunes, music is an integral part of the experience, creating a joyful backdrop for visitors as they explore the stalls, enjoy seasonal treats and partake in various activities. The inclusion of music not only enhances the overall mood but also contributes to each market's unique charm and appeal, making it a memorable experience for those who attend.
What are the best music festivals in Belgium?
Listed below are the best music festivals in Belgium:
- Tomorrowland: Tomorrowland is a global phenomenon, attracting music lovers from all over the world to the small town of Boom. It's one of the world's largest electronic dance music festivals, featuring a lineup that reads like a who's who of the EDM world. The festival is known for its elaborate stage designs and top-notch production values.
- Rock Werchter: Rock Werchter is a multi-genre music festival held in the village of Werchter, near Brussels. The festival has been a staple in the European music scene since the 1970s and has won multiple awards for its organisation and lineup. It features a mix of rock, pop and electronic music, attracting a diverse audience.
- Pukkelpop: Pukkelpop, held in Kiewit, Hasselt, is one of Belgium's biggest multi-day music festivals. It offers various musical genres, from indie and pop to hip-hop and electronic. The festival is known for its relaxed atmosphere and is a favourite among the younger crowd.
- Graspop Metal Meeting: Graspop Metal Meeting is a dedicated heavy metal festival located in Dessel. The festival has been running since 1996 and attracts a global audience of metal enthusiasts. It features multiple stages with bands representing various sub-genres of metal.
- Dour Festival: The Dour Festival takes place in the Walloon town of Dour and focuses on electronic, hip-hop and indie music. This is one of the Belgium music festivals that has been around for over 30 years and is known for its eclectic lineup and vibrant atmosphere. It's a five-day event that attracts a diverse, international audience.
What is the weather like in Ghent?
The weather in Ghent is temperate maritime, characterised by mild summers and cool winters. The city experiences four distinct seasons, with an average high temperature of around 22°C (72°F) in the summer months of June to August and an average low of 2°C (36°F) during the winter months of December to February. Rainfall is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year, although the late spring and summer months can see more showers. Snowfall is relatively rare but possible in the winter. The city is often overcast, with cloud cover prevalent throughout the year. The weather can be quite variable, so it's advisable to check the forecast and prepare accordingly when planning a visit.
Is Ghent worth visiting?
Yes, Ghent is definitely worth visiting. This Belgian city is a hidden gem, often overshadowed by its more famous neighbours like Brussels and Brugge, but it offers a unique blend of history, culture and modernity that is hard to find elsewhere. Ghent is home to stunning medieval architecture, including the Gravensteen Castle and the Saint Bavo's Cathedral, which houses the world-renowned Ghent Altarpiece. The city's canals and waterways add to its picturesque charm, offering plenty of opportunities for boat tours or leisurely strolls. Ghent is also a vibrant university town, bringing a youthful energy and many bars, cafes and shops. Its museums, such as the Museum voor Schone Kunsten (Museum of Fine Arts), offer a deep dive into Flemish art and history. The culinary scene is diverse, from traditional Belgian fare to international cuisines. Whether one is interested in history, art, food or simply soaking in the atmosphere, Ghent provides a rich and rewarding experience for all types of travellers.
Is Ghent expensive?
Ghent is moderately expensive, especially when compared to other cities in Belgium. The cost of basic goods like milk, cigarettes and water is slightly above the European average. Prices in Ghent are varied; for example, a litre of milk may cost around €1, a pack of cigarettes can be around €6.50 and a bottle of water is €1.50. Regarding the cost of living, Ghent is not the cheapest option in Belgium but is more affordable than Brussels. The cost of travelling within the city is also moderate, with relatively inexpensive public transport options like trams and buses. A tram or bus ticket costs €3 if bought on board but can be cheaper if purchased in advance. As for the nightlife, the price of a pint of beer in Ghent can vary depending on the establishment, but one can expect to pay around €4 for a pint in a standard bar. While Ghent is not the cheapest city to visit or live in, it offers good value for money given its rich cultural offerings, beautiful architecture and quality of life. The cost of basic goods and the cost of travelling within the city are moderate, making it a feasible destination for a range of budgets.
Is Ghent safe?
Yes, Ghent is generally considered a safe city, especially when compared to other urban areas globally. The crime rates in Ghent are relatively low and it is not known for having high levels of violent crime. Most criminal activities are limited to petty crimes like pickpocketing, particularly in crowded tourist areas and public transport. However, it's always advisable to take standard travel safety precautions, such as being aware of one's surroundings and keeping personal belongings secure. Regarding travel safety, the public transport system is reliable and considered safe, even at night. Police presence is noticeable and emergency services are efficient. Nevertheless, it's always good to be cautious and avoid poorly lit or deserted areas late at night. Ghent is a safe city with low crime rates, but like any other city, it's important to exercise common sense and take basic precautions to ensure one's safety.
Is Ghent easy to visit with kids?
Yes, Ghent is quite easy to visit with kids and offers a variety of family-friendly activities. The city is known for its welcoming atmosphere and has numerous parks, playgrounds and open spaces where children can play. Many of the city's museums and attractions also offer special activities and exhibitions designed for younger visitors. For example, the Ghent Zoo and the Blaarmeersen, a large recreation area, are popular spots for families. Public transport in Ghent is reliable and easy to navigate, making it convenient for families to move around the city. Additionally, many restaurants and cafes are child-friendly, offering special menus and high chairs for the little ones. Ghent with kids and toddlers qualifies as a family-friendly city that offers a range of activities suitable for children of all ages, making it an ideal destination for families.
Are there any beaches near Ghent?
No, Ghent has no beaches as it is an inland city in Belgium. However, if one is keen on enjoying some beach time, the Belgian coast is easily accessible by train or car. The closest beach towns are Knokke-Heist and Ostend, which are approximately an hour's drive from Ghent. These coastal towns offer sandy beaches, promenades and a variety of water activities, making them popular destinations for both locals and tourists. Knokke-Heist is known for its upscale atmosphere, featuring luxury shops and fine dining options along the beachfront. Conversely, Ostend is a more traditional Belgian seaside town with a lively boardwalk, a casino and several museums. Both towns are well-equipped with amenities like beach chairs, umbrellas and public restrooms, making them convenient for day trips. While Ghent does not have beaches, the Belgian coast offers several options for those looking to enjoy sun and sand, all within a reasonable distance from the city.
What are the UNESCO world heritage sights in Belgium?
Listed below are the UNESCO world heritage sights in Belgium:
- Towers of the Saint Peter’s Church, Leuven: The Towers of the Saint Peter’s Church in Leuven are a prime example of Brabantine Gothic architecture. They are one of the oldest cathedrals in the country, dating back to the 15th century. The church is famous for its intricate carvings, beautiful stained glass windows and an impressive collection of religious art.
- Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp: The Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp is an iconic landmark in the city. The cathedral is famous for its stunning Gothic design and houses some of the most famous artworks by Peter Paul Rubens. The cathedral's tower is one of the tallest in Belgium and offers panoramic city views.
- Historic Centre of Brugge: The Historic Centre of Brugge is a well-preserved example of a historic settlement that has maintained its historic fabric as it has evolved over the centuries. The Historic Centre of Brugge is one of Belgium's UNESCO World's Heritage Sites that showcases the country's architectural and artistic movements. The city's architecture and canal system make it a popular tourist destination.
- Basilica of Our Lady and City Tower, Tongeren: The Basilica of Our Lady and City Tower in Tongeren are significant for its Romanesque and Gothic architectural elements. The basilica is one of the oldest churches in Belgium, with its origins in the Roman era. The basilica houses an impressive treasury filled with religious artefacts.
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