Situated between Brussels and Bruges, the city of Ghent is another charming city in the country of Belgium. Like Bruges, it also boasts of a few choice pieces of medieval architecture. Ghent offers a lot of interesting things that you can’t find anywhere else in the Belgian landscape.
Situated in between the rivers Scheldt and Lys, Ghent started out as a settlement in the middle ages before slowly progressing as one of the largest and most popular cities in the European continent. It holds many old landmarks such as the Saint Bavo Cathedral, the most famous tourist destination in this quaint Belgian city. Spend a couple of hours in the Cathedral and soak in the history of this marbled cathedral. The 13th-century crypt, which used to be the original church, and the famous “Mystic Lamb” by Jan van Eyck are must-sees in this architectural gem. Many recommend joining a tour for a more enriching experience inside St. Bavo Cathedral. Aside from the St. Bavo, you can also check out the Gravensteen, a castle originating from the Middle Ages. Just like the Cathedral, Gravensteen is a site laden with a rich history. Translated as the “Castle of the Count”, this 13th-century castle has served as a courthouse, factory and even a dungeon for prisoners before it was renovated in 1885. Although most of the castle has been refurbished, it is still a place worth checking out. The city authorities have transformed the interior of the castle to showcase a collection of medieval weaponry and torture implements.
After a long day in Ghent, you can sit back and enjoy their interesting cuisine. On Thursdays, the city holds a meat-free day called Veggiedag. This is your chance to taste some vegetarian cuisine in a country famous for its hearty beef stews and soups. Another interesting culinary treat is the mastel, the Belgian counterpart of a bagel. Many call it Saint Hubert bread because of the culinary tradition that surrounds it. It is said that, on the feast day of Saint Hubert, bakers flock to the church to have their mastel blessed before selling it.
Because the center of Ghent is a car-free area, it is recommended to leave your cars in a Park &Ride zone and take the trains or trams. But, to fully absorb the culture of this amazing Belgian city, a leisurely walk around Ghent is the best way to go.