Ghent

Dining:

  • There are numerous cafes and inexpensive restaurants in the area around the Korenmarkt, Vrijtagmarkt and St. Baafsplein.

Night Life

  • A high concentration of student bars, cafes and clubs are located near the University on Overpoortstraat (just north of the Museum voor Schone Kunsten).

Sights:

  • From the Ghent-St. Pieter's Station take Kolm Elisabethlaan into Rijksesteenweg. Although this street changes names several times, if you keep walking north along it (for about 10-15 minutes) you will eventually arrive in the Center of Ghent, the Korenmarkt.
  • Start your tour by going into the 13th century St. Niklasskerk.
  • From there walk to the Lakenhalle, which you will need to pass through in order to reach the Belfry. Climb up the Belfry to get a wonderful view of the city. (In the crypt of the belfry is the tourist information office, where you can get a map of the city and information about sights and events.)
  • Next to the Belfry is the Stadhuis (tours of its interior are offered Mon-Thurs at 2pm only).
  • Behind the Lakenhalle is the Gothic St. Baafskathedraal, which contains Eyck's Adoration of the Mystical Lamb as well as other interesting treasures.
  • Walk west from the rear of St. Nichlaaskerk until you reach the river (you should pass the neo-Gothic post office building on your right). Cross over the St. Michielsbrug bridge, which offers the best view of the harbor and St. Niklasskerk. St. Michielskerk, on the other side of the bridge, has a beautiful interior and a crucifixion by Van Dyke.
  • Walk north along Korenlei, where you see a number of interesting 18th century Neo-Classical merchant's houses. Across the opposite side of the river, on the other hand, along Graslei are a number of late medieval guildhouses.
  • If you walk north along either Korenlei or Graslei you will eventually come to Gravensteen, the Castle of the Counts of Flanders, which dates back to the 12th century. Inside the castle is a delightful collection of medieval instruments of torture that you will certainly not want to miss.
  • Walk east across St. Veerleplein onto Kraanlei and you will come to the Museum voor Volkskunde [Kraanlei 65], whose period rooms give a nice sense of local life in the 18-19th centuries. In the streets behind Kraanlei are the alleyways of Patershol, a preserved area where many houses date back to the 17th century.
  • Cross over the river again and you will come to the Vrijdagmarkt, the old political center of Ghent. At the eastern end of this square you will find the Toreken, the former tanner's guildhouse. Behind the guildhouse is another interesting square, the Bij St. Jacobs.
  • Walking south along Belfortstraat, you will eventually return to the Korenmarkt.
  • If you have time, stop into the Museum voor Schone Kunsten, which is located at the edge of the Citidelpark at Nicolaas de Liemaeckereplein 3 (a few minutes walk east from the train station), which contains an eclectic collection of artworks from the Middle Ages to the 17th century.


Getting There by Train:

  • There are frequent train connections to Ghent from Leuven, Brussels and Brugge.

Getting Around Ghent:

  • Ghent is the one city in Belgium where you may want to make use of public transportation to see the major sights. From the Ghent-St. Pieter's Station take tram # 1 to get to the center of the city.

Festivals:

  • The Gent Festival---which is a good time to see the city at its most lively---is held on July 21.