Ghent and I, we saw each other a bit more than I had anticipated beforehand. Within three weeks I went two times to this Flemish city. Why do you ask? Well, the first time didn’t went all too perfect. Train failure, trains that were cancelled and slow local trains, it caused a three hours delay. And when you are just going for a day to Belgium this is a lot out of your time. After running around Ghent for a short afternoon, we decided this city was far too nice and we had to come back. And we did. A few weeks later we again got on a train to Ghent, this time for a weekend. In this article I will tell you all about my tips for this city. Just keep on reading!
Breakfast at Clouds in my coffee
A city trip starts with a good breakfast. And for this I went to Clouds in my coffee. Not the obvious choice, because this cafe is pretty far outside the city centre (near station Dampoort). Still, their pictures of the Indian Summer Granola convinced me that I had to go there. I love yoghurt and fruit for breakfast and granola is my favorite. Clouds in my coffee serves this breakfast with sweet grapes and berries. Also this trendy café houses an interior shop and a B&B and is lovely decorated. A good place to get your morning started!
Taking a glance at castle Gravensteen
One of the most prominent buildings in the centre of Ghent is the light grey burrow called ‘Gravensteen’. With the location at the water this medieval castle is a true eye catcher. The ‘House of the Count’ (translation of Gravensteen) is one of the best kept castles of the Benelux. Until the end of 2015 it was free for the people of Ghent to visit Gravensteen, but sadly this advantage was waved recently. However, they still get a discount and can visit the castle for free on Sundays between 10 am and 1 pm. I didn’t went into the castle, but looking at the building from the outside was already impressive.
Wandering is my favorite hobby and in Ghent the best place to do this is Patershol. This small medieval area, consisting of thirteen streets and a square, is filled with small colorful cottages. Back in the days the cotton workers lived here, now this neighborhood is a culinary spot in Ghent with restaurants. It is not too crowded here and you can easily explore it in peace.
Tasting the delicacies of Ghent
You cannot leave Ghent without tasting the local delicacies. On our list were the Gruut beers and the ‘Gentse neuzen’ (the noses of Ghent). This last one is candy shaped as a cone (or with a little bit of fantasy you can see a small pointy nose). They come in different colors and the inside is filled with soft jelly. You won’t see them outside Ghent, because these sweets are perishable. That makes transporting hard. Though I really loved the look of the candy, the taste was a bit too chemical for me. One or two was enough!
The fronts of Ghent
Ghent is a city where you can continuously find yourself looking up. To the fronts of the houses, the shapes and the different colours. My favorite place to look at the fronts was at the Friday Market, one of the oldest squares in Ghent. All the big medieval events took place here: the jolly dancing feasts but also the cruel executions. Though the square has been around for a while, the houses surrounding it are not that old. The striking Bond Moyson and Our House are only a little bit over 100 years old. And off course, the square is also used for the weekly market, not only on Friday, but also on Saturday.
Looking at the boats at the Korenlei
Ghent is a city of water. I like that about a city, because it gives an open and spacious feeling. You are not closed in by building after building.The best way to enjoy the water in Ghent is to sit at the quays of the ‘Korenlei’ of ‘Graslei’. With a summer sun it is great to look at the boats and the people. You can also enjoy the view at the water from one of the many bridges like the Saint Michael’s bridge.
Burgers at JACK
With all that walking I was pretty hungry when the sun started to set. Through Facebook I got a tip to go to Mosquito. Unfortunately, this café was already packed when I got there. But it did look very nice, so maybe another time. We continued searching and ended up at JACK Premium Burgers. The delivery guys kept on walking in and out this cafe, so I though the food must be good here if people also want to eat it at home. And it turns out, the food was really good! They have three vegetarian burgers to choose and they all looked delicious. I highly recommend this place!
And the last tip I want to give you is to check out all the street art you can find in Ghent. This blew me away and I not only explored street art in Ghent but also in the nearby town Oostende. I will tell you more about in the upcoming post.
What are your tips for Ghent?