When the train rolled into the town of Ghent, I was immediately in love. A medieval town is full of energy and charm. Every café ornately decorated, and students bustling through town. For those of you visiting Belgium for the likes of Brussels, I encourage you to hop on the train that takes you 30-minutes north to Ghent. It’s part of the Flanders region of Belgium, and the second-largest city in Flanders – apart from Antwerp.
I checked into the very central and affordable, Guest House Chambreplus, where each room was based on a different theme. Mine being safari-themed, complete with an outdoor fireplace. I could have stayed in my safari room all day, sipping tea out of my giraffe cup and watching the fire… but Ghent was calling!
My first stop in Ghent was to the charming tea and coffee house, Alice. I think that what surprised my most about Ghent (and Bruges for that matter), was how ornately decorated every café and restaurant seemed to be. After breakfast, I found myself along the river signing up for a boat tour through the canals. As we cruised along at a snails place, taking in all of the architecture and learning the history of Ghent, I knew that this town was something special.
After the boat tour, I made my way to the Gravensteen Castle. While the castle truly wasn’t anything special, it did offer great views of the city. Which is the only reason I’d recommend to go. You’ll also learn that the Gravensteen Castle is different from all other castles because of its location in the city. The castle was built in the center of the town versus on the outskirts. This is important because castles are typically built on the outskirts of the city to stop people from entering and attacking. Needless to say, this castle wasn’t successful from a protection standpoint.
After visiting a bland castle, with great views, I took myself for drinks at Café Barrazza. Situated on the water, it’s the perfect place to watch the boats go by.
After a few drinks, it was finally golden hour. Head back to the river and watch the sunset behind the medieval buildings, lighting them up a burnt orange while painting the sky a blueish-pink.
And alas, that sums up 24 hours in Ghent! I hope to be back one day for at least 24 more!