As we knew we had lots of time to explore Bruges during our stay there, we decided to take a day trip to Ghent. With it being only a half an hour train journey away, we thought we should take the opportunity to visit another Flemish city. Ghent is a city which can easily be seen in a day and, with our day planned out, we managed to take in the most interesting parts of the city. I thought I’d share what we saw and did on our day trip to Ghent, as well as how best to get around the city and the areas that are worth exploring!
Once we’d got off the train in Ghent, we took a tram to the heart of the city. Despite the tram stations and voice over being in Dutch, they were surprisingly easy to navigate as long as we knew what our stop was called. To see the main tourist sites in Ghent, we needed the tram stops “Korenmarkt” and “Gravensteen”, which were so close to each other we could walk between the two. It took around 10-15 minutes to get from the station by tram to the Korenmarkt in the city centre, and the trams were a great way to see the city from a different perspective.
When we reached the Korenmarkt, an historic square in the centre of Ghent, we were surrounded by beautiful buildings that were worth a photo or two. Surrounding the square we found three of Ghent’s most well known buildings: The Belfry, St Nicholas’ Church and St Bavo’s Cathedral. The Belfry in Ghent is the tallest in Belgium, making it all the more impressive when we were stood beneath it. This area of the city is definitely the busiest, but it really gave us a sense of what the city was all about.
Close to the Korenmarkt we found the Ghent canals and plenty of places to stop for lunch. We ate at one of the many brasseries that were on the Korenmarkt road, and with so many to choose from it’s the best place to find somewhere to eat if you’ve never been to the city before.
Our next stop after lunch was the Gravensteen – my favourite part of our trip to Ghent. The Gravensteen is a large castle that you wouldn’t expect to find in a city centre. For a very reasonable price (just 6 Euros for under 25s), we could spend as much time as we wanted exploring inside the castle walls. I was surprised at how large the castle felt on the inside and we ended up finding lots of different rooms and passageways. The highlight of the Gravensteen was definitely reaching the top, where we were met with a view over the whole of Ghent. Heights are not something that I enjoy, but it was worth facing my fear for that view and it’s one I’ll never forget!
So, if you’re planning a trip to Ghent, the Korenmarkt and Gravensteen are the must-see areas of the city. The trams are the easiest way to get around, as long as you make sure you’re going in the right direction! Ghent is definitely a city worth visiting and is one that can be explored in a day. For anyone staying in Bruges or Brussels, it’s the chance to do something different and see another part of Belgium that you may not have thought of before.