The city of Ghent is situated within the Flemish region of Belgium and is the capital and largest city of the country's East Flanders province. This wonderful Belgian city maintains a constant balance between the vibrant and bustling parts of the city centre, where many students and young people can be found, and the quiet and tranquil outlying districts of the countryside, where verdant scenery and peaceful ambience are at the forefront of the experience. Ghent also boasts a collection of historic architecture displayed around the oldest parts of the city. The city's rich culture and heritage can be traced back to the middle ages and many ancient structures still remain and can be observed simply by walking through the regions quaint streets. The area's combination of lively city life and relaxing, secluded environments creates a unique charm and distinctive ambience popular with tourists from across the world.
Tours of the city are a great way to see all that Ghent has to offer and learn more about the regions rich culture and history. Several types of tours are available to visitors, including walking tours, jogging tours and riverboat cruises of the canal, all of which guide tourists around the most significant landmarks and attractions across the city. Ghent's most popular attractions include:
St. Bavo's Cathedral
This spectacular cathedral boasts a stunning exterior comprised of Romanesque, Gothic and baroque style architecture, whilst the interior is packed with impressive works of art including a 24 panel altarpiece named ‘The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb', created by Jan van Eyck in 1432. Other incredible artwork within the cathedral includes the recently restored ‘The Conversion of St. Bavo' completed by Ruben in 1623.
Belfry and Cloth Hall
The construction of Ghent's Belfry, designed as an icon of the city's independence, began in 1313 until its completion in 1380. Visitors can take the lift up to the Belfry's upper gallery to see the bells that have rung there for many centuries and observe panoramic views of the city from this fantastic vantage point.
Castle of the Counts
This dramatic castle was built by Count Philip of Alsace in 1180 upon his return from the Crusades. He based the design of the castle on those he had seen whilst fighting in the Holy Land. The castle now contains a fascinating museum and access to the high battlements, which offer excellent views out over the surrounding region.
Shopping in Ghent
The Vridagmarkt, or Friday Market, has been an important part of Ghent's culture since the 13th century. Nowadays, the market is still an amazing place to pick up a variety of local items including arts, crafts and produce. Other shopping districts in the city include Burgstraat, Veldstraat, Onderbergen and Sint-Niklaasstraat.
Eating Out in Ghent
An exceptional variety of authentic Flemish cuisine alongside a selection of delicious international cuisine is on offer in many fabulous restaurants and cafes across the city of Ghent. A range of tempting options can be found in many different eating establishments alongside a collection of popular and dependable fast food outlets.