We debated whether to leave Bruges early in order to stop in Ghent on our way to the airport or stay longer in Bruges. I am glad we chose to leave early. Not because we didn’t like Bruges, as we could’ve easily spent 3 more days there, but because we had the opportunity to see more of Belgium.
We didn’t have much time, only 5 hours to do a quick walking tour of the city, seeing some of the highlights and have lunch before catching the train to the airport. Lonely Planet calls it “one of Europe’s greatest discoveries” and it sure is. Ghent is really beautiful. The whole city is an architectural masterpiece. There is a medieval castle right in the middle of the city, for god’s sake! Something I have never seen in any other place I visited.
Ghent makes it a great stop when traveling between Brussels and Bruges because most trains stop in Ghent, so it is really easy to take the train in Brussels or Bruges, hop off in Ghent, have lunch, drink a beer and hop back on the train to your next destination.
This is a college town and therefore there are plenty of bars and cheap eateries around. Unfortunately we decided to stop at Restaurant Brasil thinking it was going to be authentic Brazilian food, but instead we ended up having shrimp curry. They didn’t have some of the items advertised on the menu, so we shared 2 appetizers, drank a caipirinha and beer and left. This is a perfectly skippable restaurant.
We were in awe with the architecture and special “vibe” of this city. It sure didn’t feel too touristy or crowded. To me, it felt more authentic. We felt like we could have spent an entire day or maybe two in Ghent, especially to enjoy the food since we did not have the chance to relax and actually enjoy trying to see as much as we could in only 5 hours. Whether you make Ghent a pit stop or a proper stop with overnight stay, I am sure you will not be disappointed.
Do not miss
St. Bravo’s Cathedral and the magnificent Adoration of the Mystic Lamb altarpiece by Jan and Hubert van Eyck.
Great views of the city from St. Michael’s bridge
Graffiti Street in Ghent (Werregarenstraat)
It feels so out of place but so cool at the same time.
Enjoy the wonderful architecture of the city
See the city from a boat. Boat tours are very popular and a fun way to relax while admiring the city.
We cannot recommend this city highly enough. It’s beautiful, charming, quaint and vibrant.