Discover the best of Ghent: 7 reasons to visit during the winter season

The tiny streets, city center full of life, breathtaking cathedrals, so many things to do and of course the pictures’ canal views make Ghent unforgettable destination for me. I was not there for the Christmas market but if you want to visit it, it is opens until 6th of January.

It has over 400 historical buildings and it will leave you feeling like travel back in the 12th century. The city is quite big but only the city center has the unique spirit of medieval, mystical atmosphere. Here are my top 7 reasons to visit this beautiful place:

1. The best canal views

The amazing amazing canal view is only at the city center. You will spot it once you enter it. There are few bridges that will make your pictures glorious.

2. Amazing cosine and nightlife

The Flemish cuisine is excellent and there are few good places I can recommend you to visit. Bear in mind the prices are a bit higher than usual for this area of Europe and going for budget trip while having great time would be a challenge. All the nightlife, restaurants and bars are mostly in Patershol.

This is the most desired neighborhood, and once you lay a leg there you will find out why. All the houses are originally built in 1329, restored and reflecting the original look of the town. You will find your best options for restaurants exactly in this area. You can choose all different cuisines, however please give a try to the Flemish kitchen.

Breakfast: To be honest I either skipped it or went to the desserts and cake place that I mention below.

Lunch: Superette It is outside the city center, but totally worth it. The sandwiches and quiches there is to die for. The portions are big and made of organic food.

Dinner: Het Spijker. I can recommend only place that are in the city center since we did not want to drink and drive 🙂 The atmosphere in the restaurants, food and service are fantastic.

Dessert and best cake I have ever tasted: Julie’s House
In a beautiful 16th century building you will enjoy the best coffee and cakes in town and I in my opinion the best cakes ever to be tasted. This place has huge variety of cakes and also a lot of cupcakes.

Drinks and clubbing: Woody`s

The beer lovers (like me) can visit De Dulle Griet. There you will find the finest selection possible of a Belgian beer in the city.

Good to know: Every Thursday here is a veggie day. Ghent promotes healthy lifestyle and focus on reduce meat. This is why you will find a lot of restaurants and brunch places that are veggie only.

2. Cathedrals

Right in the heart of the town is St. Bavo Cathedral is a stunning, Gothic style cathedral that took exactly 500 years to build. There you will find a lot of art pieces and rarest of them is The Adoration of the mystic lamb, painted in 1432 and it is considered the masterpiece of the medieval painting. It is made of 24 panels and one of them is missing since 1932.

3. Gravensteen

Build at the end of the 12th century it was a court, a prison and a cotton factory is one of the largest medieval castles in Europe. You can learn a lot about Flemish history and you can still see today live sword fights. The trip of the castle will take you around 45 minutes and on the top of the castle you will find stunning view over the whole town – best places for pictures of course.

Tickets: around 10 euro

4. Graffiti street, street art

Ghent is graffiti friendly city if you enjoy street art, you can go to the graffiti street and check out some amazing artwork. Pictures and more recommendations to be found here.

5. A night walk in Ghent

A night walk near the canals and crossing the bridges in Ghent is pretty amazing. The canals are fabulously lightened and you can see the beautiful reflection on the canals. It is great moment for pictures and a romantic walk.

7. Shopping in Ghent

There are so many amazing shops, main brands like Mango, Zara etc, but also local brands. It is totally worth to walk through the shopping street.

Additional activity: Stedelijk museum for contemporary art is pretty famous there, and for the people who would enjoy art. I suggest instead visiting museums, visit the St. Baafs Cathedral instead, where you will find fine art pieces and amazing stained-glass windows.

Where to stay:

I staid in the city center in a pretty amazing place booked via Booking.com – Hotel Onderbergen. I even gave my very first 10 review score, (coming from a person who travels a lot and works in Booking.com), it means I confidently recommend it to you all.

Wish you enjoy Ghent as much as I did and bring your best halves with you, because this is one of the most romantic places I have visited in Europe.

Let me know if you like my article and if you liked Ghent, and please subscribe if you like my content.
Xxx

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Christmas Magic in Bruges: 7 things to do while visiting Bruges for the Christmas Market

Is it the most charming city in Europe? Why Hollywood movies are taken here? Is the Christmas market worth visiting?

Yes, because it is gorgeous, and of course yes!

Bruges is packed with tourists during the Christmas market, but this is only because the city is insanely beautiful. There is so much to see, and the Christmas lights in their authentic center make it simply glorious. Go and book Bruges right now, you will not regret it.

You will find bright lights, gluhwein, a lot of delicious snacks (like every other Christmas market :)), but what is making it special is the atmosphere of the city center itself.

What I can advice you to is first to follow the sightseeings, then the Christmas market and finish with gluhwein. What I did was: first a walking tour, then visited only the church of our lady and at the end – the Christmas market. I did not have more time for sightseeings unfortunately, however, if you have more time, you can follow the list below:

1. Church of our lady: Besides the size and the amazing atmoshere and details of the church, what you need to focus on is its altarpiece. The marvelous sculpture of the Madonna and the child is by Michel Angelo, made in 1504 in Italy and brought here. It was actually created for Sienna in Tuscany, and then it was purchased and brought to the Church of our lady. Definitely worth to see and after visiting Ghent and their cathedral and seeing this piece of art, you will have a pretty good idea of the art for the region.

2. Frietmuseum. The one and only museum dedicated to French fries. If you are up to bizarre museums, spend some time there and take some fries. You will also find out why french fries are called French and not Belgium.

Spoiler alert: They are originally coming from Belgium, where people used to eat small fish, caught in the river. In the 1750s the river froze, and they decided to cut potatoes in the same size and form of the little fish and fry it.

3. Shop in the old town of the city

The old town of Bruges is famous with their lace. If you start to wonder in the old town, you will come across shop after shop, and take a quick look at the lace pieces, they are usually very exquisite.

4. A brewery tour of De Halve Maan

If it gets too cold outside, and you did not drink too much gluhwein, you can escape the winter cold and take a tour of De Halve Maan. The whole tour will take around 45 min and you will be able to taste amazing blond beers which is always a good idea, just in case you are not going to mix it with the gluhwein :D.

In case you are tired of the Christmas lights and you want some cultural/educational/historical experience (which I was not in the mood for) you can visit also these places:

5. Choco-story: chocolate museum:

6. Stedelijk museum voor volkskunde – If you want to see the local history, please visit the folklore museum. There you will find history of the 19-20th century of Bruges and the local area.

7. Sint Janshospitaal.

It is 8 centuries old, and carrying a lot of history for pilgrims, nuns, monks and a lot more.

Places to stay:

I would suggest you to book the hotel where the movie “In Bruges” was taken, it is fabulous, perfect location, amazing view and not to mention – very romantic:

Hotel Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce, A Luxe Worldwide Hotel

It is a bit pricey, but for a short stay of 2 nights it would be doable. Book it in at least 3 months advance, because Bruges is always desired of many tourists.

Thanks a lot for visiting, and if you like my content, please like, share, comment or simply subscribe for the blog by adding your email.

xxx