Ghent was a beautiful surprise for me: a city that perfectly mixes up the past and the present, the medieval and the modern (a medieval castle from the 15th century is located right in the city center!!) I loved walking between beautiful churches, admiring the endless canals, the three imposing towers, the nice architecture, the buildings with flowers at their windows. Ghent is usually underrated compared to Bruges, but, for me, each one of the cities has its own charm.
How to get there from Brussels
Ghent is located only 30 minutes by train from Brussels. The train’s timetable is one train per hour and the cost (with weekend discount) 10 euros/return/person.
How to get from the train station to the city center
The train station from Ghent is 30 minutes away from the city center. I would recommend you to take the tram 1 – it will leave you in the center.
What to see
Gravensteen castle is a restored castle from 15th century, which hosts a museum of torture and weapons. The castle is one of the biggest attractions in Ghent and its strange position (right in the center) is giving Ghent a unique medieval spirit. The noisy tram that is passing by is the only one that disturbs the quietness and that brings you back to the reality: the modern times.
The entrance is 10 euros (6 euros for young < 25 years)
The stairs are a bit annoying as they are in a circle and narrow and you will feel a bit dizzy but the good part is that there are not too many. Once in the castle, you will admire a spacious room with armors, swords, daggers. In other rooms, you will see some torture tools (one of them are really disgusting and scary)
Once you reach the top of the castle, you will admire the beautiful views of Ghent!
Then, we took a boat tour (7,5 euros/person/50 minutes) It is the better way to be introduced in the city`s history and the views are not to be missed! The tour guide was giving us a lot of interesting information.
From the boat we saw a big part of the city, we admired architectures, the towers, the old post office and an medieval market that looks great!
Strange as it may seem, this building is a butcher’s hall dating back in the 15th century! It is simply adorable!
Old Post Office of Ghent – In past it served as post office and now is a hotel and shopping center. This building was intriguing me from the first step in the center of Ghent. Its tower was similar somehow with the Big Ben tower form London (well, a mini one). The guide told us that this was the intention – to be similar to Big Ben. The clock tower has only 54 meters. It is decorated with lots of sculptures and its style is Neo-Gothic.
St. Nicholas Church – built in 13th century in Scheldt Gothic style, this gray stone church is really interesting and one of the beautiful landmarks of Ghent.
Belfry – part of UNESCO’s World Heritage List. You can overlook Gent from its imposing tower (up to 91 m).
St Bavo’s Cathedral
Adorable city with lots of lowers!
Last but not least, you cannot miss the local sweets: cuberdons!
Train ticket from Brussels: 10 euros/return
Ticket at the castle: 10 euros
Boat tour: 7,5 euros/person
Ticket tram: 1,50 euros
Travel. Enjoy. Repeat.