Ghent was by far the biggest surprise of our trip to Belgium. I had decided to visit Brussels and Bruges, when I noticed Ghent as a stop on the way. After giving it a Google, pictures were relatively underwhelming but the general consensus was that it was a ‘hidden gem’ so we decided to stop for the night on our way back to Brussels.
We stayed at the ‘Sandton Grand Hotel Reylof’ which was absolutely stunning… until I realised I had booked the wrong date for our stay and had to pay again for the correct evening! Oops, blew a bit of a hole in our budget there.
After check-in we took a leisurely walk into the ‘Korenmarkt’, a square in the middle of the historic centre of the city which we had heard was a great place to start. Due to the location of our hotel, our walk into the the square was incredibly picturesque. We crossed a bridge over the Leie river where we could see all the way down the ‘Graslei’ and ‘Korenlei’ quays whilst also catching a glimpse of St Nicholas’ Church.
As we crossed the bridge and came into the Korenmarkt we had a beautiful view of St Nicholas’ Church and the square was bustling with the Christmas market stalls and attractions.
We were amazed by how many churches and cathedrals were packed into the city and popped inside the St Nicholas’ Church, one of the oldest and most prominent buildings in Ghent, to see its interior.
After visiting St Nicholas’ and wandering around the market stalls, we walked to the ‘Gravensteen’ castle and took a tour of the inside rooms. The castle is still in great condition, and offers amazing views of the city from its battlements. We timed it well as we were able to capture panoramic views of the city during sunset.
As the sun set we walked around the city to find somewhere to eat. I’d heard good things about Ghent’s restaurants and local specialities but I’ll be completely honest – we ended up eating at Pizza Hut due to the costly check-in mishap we’d had earlier in the day! We found that generally, eating out is quite pricey in Belgium compared to other European countries.
We only had one full day and one night in Ghent but I felt like we were able to get a feel of the city in that time. We were so glad to have chosen it as a destination on our whistle-stop tour of Belgium.
I’d love to hear about anyone else’s experience of Ghent and if there’s anything we missed that I need to go back for one day!
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