The best way to see Gent I thought was to go walking. The main sights are all in a pretty compact area. I saw so much, and don't forget to look up, its amazing what you see! There are guided walking tours available through the Tourist office, or, what is really good,you can download a map and do it yourself. It gives you all the information you need from website..... www.visitgent.be ........... click onto "where to" then "sightseeing," then "walking " and you can download and print out the map.
The Boat Trips are really good too. Theres a 40min tour for 6 euros p/p or a 90 min tour for 9.50 euro p/p. Boats depart from Abfahrten Korenlei 4A (The green Boathouse) every 20mins, from 10 - 6pm March to November daily. If you want more information, the website for the boats is........
One of the pleasures of our day in Gent was strolling by the canals. Although only February the weather was pleasant – hazy sun and only a slight chill in the air. The canals are lined with beautiful old buildings, most of them linked to the medieval trade that centred on the canal network. The best places to see these are Graslei and Korenlei. Graslei means “street of herbs and vegetables” and Korenlei “street of wheat”. The names indicate that these products were traded in this area.
Some of the most striking buildings are:
- the Spijker, the oldest house on the Graslei, dating from the end of the 12th century. In this house, wheat was stored for two or three weeks before being transported, because Gent had the privilege of stocking grain and wheat as a reserve in times of famine.
- the guild house of the Free Sailors, perhaps the most beautiful house, with a beautiful late-gothic facade. The original house was built in 1355 but later rebuilt after it was sold to the guild of sailors in 1530. The guild of sailors was one of the most powerful guilds because they had the privilege for ship transportation through the harbour of Gent.
On the left side of the Spijker stands the Grain Counters House and next to it the Angel with a beautiful renaissance facade.
For much of the year you can also take a boat trip on the canals but these apparently weren't running in February.
After the game we decide to go and see the city by night, we walked by some Dutch football supporters who where singing and dancing in there orange hats and t-shirts.
It expected to see a lot of lights on the beautiful old buildings but that was a bit disappointed. Well that didn?t matter much because the next day we had the whole day to explore this beautiful old city.
The numerous waterways running through the inner city, all flow to the old port at the GRASLEI.
The elegant façades of the Gralei and (opposite) the Koornlei, represent different architectural styles. Together they constitute a unique site Ghent can rightly be proud of. Each façade reflects a period of history reminding you of the spirit of enterprise and the busy commercial activities of the old Guilds.