Gent Travel Guide

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Gent Things to Do

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  • Castle of the Counts - Gravensteen

    4 out of 5 stars

    An imposing landmark in the city centre is the castle Gravensteen, the word Gravensteen is Dutch and stands for "Castle of the Counts", so the castle was the seat of the counts of Flanders. Built in 1180 by Philippe d’Alsace, count of Flanders The Counts of Flanders abandoned it in the 14th century and moved to a new residence. The castle was then...

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  • St Bavo's Cathedral

    4.5 out of 5 stars

    The 1st building that so dominant from the road is Sint-Baafskathedraal/ St. Baaf (Cathedral of St Bavo), This beautiful Saint Bavo Cathedral dates back to the 10th century. It is based upon the Chapel of St. John the Baptist. It was remodelled a number of times (first in Romanesque style from the 14th onwards in Gothic style) and only considered...

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  • Belfry Tower

    On the west side of Cathedral of St Bavo stands the 91-meter-high belfry, symbol of the city's independence, where the charters of the privileges of Ghent were kept. The tower was begun about 1300 and by 1338, it was mainly completed. The present-day spire was restored to its original 14th-century form at the beginning of this century and replaced...

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Gent Hotels

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Gent Restaurants

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  • Gruut Gentse Stadsbrouwerij

    Together with VT member irisbe (Dannie) and wandeljp (Jean-Pierre) I visited the Gruut Gentse Stadsbrouwerij on a Sunday afternoon at the end of December 2013.The place is a sort of brewery pub, which brews its own beer after ancient local recipes. They use a mix of spices (gruut) instead of hop for the production of the 5 different beers, which...

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  • Gwenola Pannenkoekenhuis

    In the late afternoon of my first full day in Gent, I needed a rest from the explorations of the city. More by chance I found the Gwenola Pannenkoekenhuis, which is a kind of cafe specialised in pancakes.As it seemed to be well frequented by both locals and tourists I decided to give it a try. On this winter Saturday afternoon it was difficult to...

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  • Frituur 't Puntzakje

    The Frituur 't Puntzakje seems to be a typical Belgian fries fast food place. You can order and pay your meal at the counter and either enjoy it on the street or take it to a table on one of the upper two levels of the building.The menu is dominated by small fries for 2,70 Euro and large fries for 3,10 Euro. A selection of almost 20 sauces for 1...

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Gent Nightlife

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  • The Waterhouse on the Beerfront

    I already give this cracking pub a mention under "Things to Do" - And Who Says Belgians Have No Sense Of Humour? on the basis of an afternoon visit, but now that I've had evening out here I'll add this tip.Not only is the pub worth seeking out for its extensive beer menu - 14 on draught and about 150 bottled - it makes for a very laid-back night...

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  • Dulle Griet Pub

    Together with VT member irisbe (Dannie) and wandeljp (Jean-Pierre) I also visited the Dulle Griet Pub, which is named after the nearby big cannon.The place is a typical Belgian pub serving up to 250 different drinks, including many so called Trappist beers, which are brewed by monks in the monasteries. A pecularity in the Dulle Griet Pub is the...

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  • Hot Club de Gand

    During my VT meeting with irisbe (Dannie) and wandeljp (Jean-Pierre) we also took a quick break in the Hot Club de Gand. The name is derived from the Paris counterpart Hot Club de France.The place seems to be a good mixture of a music venue, a bar and a pub. It consists of two small rooms on different levels and an adjacent backyard terrace, which...

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Gent Transportation

  • The Belgian Rail Pass

    Note - Since VT have decided to promote our "Country" pages as a sort of city and town gazetteer then there's no point is writing this tip as part of a Belgium page. Therefore it'll appear in exactly the same form on all my Belgian locations which have a train station.The best way to travel around Belgium, in my opinion anyway, is by train. The...

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  • Car, Train

    Ghent lies at the intersection of the E17 and the E40 motorways and is therefore easily accessible by car or coach. With two railway stations in the city and the international ‘Brussels Airport’ at Zaventem less than an hour’s drive away, arrival by train or plane are certainly easy options. Shuttle bus to and from Charleroi Airport:Nine times a...

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  • Getting to Ghent

    Train is the best mode of transport to Ghent (Gand in French). From Brussels Midi station, trains depart roughly every 15 minutes and take half an hour, and they are fairly inexpensive. This is how we got to Ghent for the day.

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Gent Shopping

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  • The Nose of Ghent

    “After passing through Ouse, by six in the evening, I arrived at Ghent. This is a city of so great a circumference, that it is reported to be seven leagues round; but there is not half of it now built, much of it remaining in fields and desolate pastures even within the walls, which have strong gates towards the west, and two fair churches.”— from...

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  • Mustard in Ghent

    “Everything looks just as it did before. The building is a monument, inside and outside. Yeah, the interior is protected. Than come here quite often people who once lived in Ghent. Fortunately, they say then, here’s at least everything it remained the same.”— Mrs. Caesens, owner of Mosterdfabriek TierenteynMostaard Factory stands in the beautiful...

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  • Dance shoes

    Great choice of dance shoes beside the traditional shoes. Friendly service. 10% discount when you buy shoes there. From 75 euros to ...

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Gent Local Customs

  • Cuberdon

    A cuberdon is a cone-shaped Belgian candy. In Dutch it is known as a neus (nose), Gentse neus (Ghent nose), or neuzeke (little nose) for its likeness to a human nose. In French, cuberdons are also called chapeau-de-curé and chapeau-de-prêtre (priest's hat).The taste is sweets with a soft raspberry centre, though more recently differently colored...

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  • European survey

    These young people in red T-shirts, from various European countries, were doing some sort of project for a summer school that they were on. They wanted to ask me some questions in English about European integration and also wanted to take my picture, which I said was fine if I could also take their picture.Their English was somewhat rudimentary (A2...

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  • Brick houses

    Buildings in Ghent, as in the rest of Belgium (and the Netherlands, northern Germany, Denmark and Poland) have traditionally been made of bricks, rather than stone or wood.The choice of bricks as the main building material is logical when you consider that this low-lying region has no huge stone quarries or towering forests, but it does have ample...

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Gent Warnings and Dangers

  • Beware Of Biting Bats!

    On my Sept 2011 visit I'd stayed overnight at the atmospheric Monasterium Hotel, which as the name suggests is a former monastery, and handily-located in the city centre.The hotel, although basic, was fine for my brief overnight stay which involved arriving about 10.30 pm and heading pretty much straight out to catch a few late beers. When I got...

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  • Urinating in public

    I was already well informed by VT member Nemorino's Wildplassen tip, that urinating in public can be quite expensive in Gent. It is fined 60 Euro as shown on the warning signs. This not only refers to human beings, but also to dogs as can be seen on some signs on the pavement.I must admit that I usually don't urinate in public, at least not in the...

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  • Car towing

    Luckily I came to Gent by train, so I didn't have to worry about where to park my car. Nevertheless, during my 3 days in the city I noticed a few illegally parked cars being towed away by tow trucks.So if you come to Gent by car, make sure to only park your car at a legal parking space to not experience any unplanned surprises.

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Gent Tourist Traps

  • Restaurant De Gekroonde Hoofden

    This restaurant is very dirty inside; it is overpriced for what you get and the quality of the food is not great.Despite of the beautiful building, this restaurant is to avoid.

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  • Moroccan restaurant in centre

    Don't order meals at the Moroccan restaurant on the bridge in the centre of the city. The food is not good for the price you pay for it. The location of the restaurant is excellent but that's it. Better visit another restaurant.

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  • Trafic signs

    How trafic signals can turn upside down and have a total different interpretation.Maybe my fault but when i read this :- I'm on a priority road - It is obligated to wear a bra- Maximum cup : 90 I think that a cup 90 is bearable This "Tourist trap" is just for fun and found by coincidance on my way to work"Hon.." - Kennedylaan - Ghent

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Gent What to Pack

  • In Your Pocket - Gent

    Although I usually use the excellent "In Your Pocket" guides on my travels to Central- and Eastern Europe, I didn't know that the city of Gent in Begium is also covered by this series.I only discovered this after my trip when researching information for my VT page.So if you plan to visit Gent, the "In Your Pocket – Gent" guide might be a good...

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  • Free brochures from the Tourist...

    Gent's Tourist Information Office is well equipped with all sorts of free maps and brochures about the city. So it makes sense to at least pick up a free city map, which apart from the location of the main sights, also includes the tram lines and a street index.Another interesting free brochure is the "Visitor's Guide" with short descriptions...

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  • Keep warm and comfortable on the...

    As few and as small as possible particularly if using public transport. For a winter visit remember the sun sinks down early and the north sea winds blow cold so layers, gloves, scarves and headgear are highly recommended. There are lots of cobbles - hard on the feet in unsuitable shoes. I was thankful for my smart city walking boots and the...

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Gent Off The Beaten Path

  • Graffiti Street

    On Sunday afternoon of my time in Gent I met the local VT members irisbe and wandeljp, who showed me some more off the beaten path places of Gent I hadn't seen before.Among these was the narrow pathway Werregarenstraat, which is also known as Graffiti Street It is one of the very few places in Belgium where graffiti is legal. So the appearance of...

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  • Side trip to Brugge

    Brugge is the capital of the province West Flanders and can easily be visited on a day trip from Gent. The distance between the two cities is less than 50 km and there is an at least hourly train connection serving this route.The city centre is dominated by a mix of canals and narrow cobbled streets. Beside many churches and historic buildings, the...

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  • The Book Tower

    The 64 metres tall Book Tower (Boekentoren) was completed in 1942 after the modernist designs of the Belgian architect Henry van de Velde. It belongs to the university library and is said to house approximately 3 million books or in other words 46 km of reading material.Directions:The Book Tower stands more or less on the highest point of Gent in...

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Gent Sports & Outdoors

  • Biking, skirting a small river and tree...

    Something I did and liked was cycling in Greater Ghent years ago.I don't remember of the name of the spot we were in. I know it was in Greater Ghent. Quite a countryside with nice alleys and dirty roads (yes!)We skirted the little river there, with trees along our flat path. That was a nice ride that ended with a hot chocolate in a nearby stamcafý,...

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  • Six days biking - top sport Flanders

    Cycling is without doubt (next to soccer) the most popular sport in Belgium. I had the occasion to visit several disciplines of cycling. The "Tour the France" in Ghent - the "Cycle cross championship" in Hooglede, the unique "Tour de Flanders" and not at least the "6 days cycling festival" in Ghent.At the six days (20-25/11/2007), most rememberal...

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  • Kayaking.Canoeing

    Must be a great experience, canoeing on the river "Leie" and or "Lieve". From the center of the port to the sluice gate "Rabot"From the Meat Halls and previous Fishmarket up to maybe ...."Bruges" You never can tellbecause the river " Lieve" floats direction belgian coast. I have to tell a few VT members that transportation around Ghent is possible...

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Gent General

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  • Gent by night

    Gent is well worth seeing at night, when most of the sights as well as other prominent buildings are beautifully illuminated. In 1998 the city government decided for a light plan to not only make the city centre more attractive, but also safer.In 2004 the city was even awarded the City-People-Light Award by Philips and LUCI (Lighting Urban...

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  • Graslei and Korenlei

    Graslei and Korenlei are two quays facing each other at the river Leie. In medieval times the area was home to the city port, therefore the quays are lined by picturesque guild houses dating back to the times between the 12th and 16th century. The oldest building at the Graslei is said to be the 12th century Romanesque style Staple House (Spijker),...

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  • Finding Your Way Around

    Gent's old city is compact and easily walkable - although the cobbles can be a bit hard on the feet. All the main sights and places of interest are well signposted with directions on pretty much every corner. There's also plenty of easy-to-read city maps posted at strategic locations.

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