Ghent Stories and Tips

The City Is Old, but the Night Is Young...

Silhouette of St. Nicholas Church Photo, Ghent, Belgium

Ghent is another Belgian city that has magnificent lighting that makes the Old City come alive at night. Young people line the Graslei and the Korenlei and St. Micheal's Bridge becomes a very busy thoroughfare. The Friday Market Square is lined with restaurants and pubs, all of which are very crowded indeed. Tourists who are staying overnight in Ghent mix with locals at the restaurants and students and hostelers meet in the pubs and along the river and canals. While a few of the outside areas are brightly lit, most of the lighting inspires romance (for any age). Nights and evenings in Ghent are times to relax. Locals and tourists alike amble slowly through the streets and along the river and canals, some holding hands or arm in arm, appearing as though no one wishes to disturb the reverie. Like Bruges, it is magic.

If you are staying only one night and wish to wander through the old city, this is my suggested route. Ideally, this route would take a couple of nights if a few extended refreshment stops along the way were included. So while it is not a recommendation because relaxation is the operative word, it is doable. However... if you were to have a little extra time...

I would start at the rear of the Belfry (the Tourist Information Desk, "Infokantoor") is in the basement). From there you will be facing St-Baafskathedral which is beautifully lit from most angles. Walk down Kapittelsrtaat turning right and crossing past the front of the cathedral. Turn right at the corner and continue to the Belfry and then to St-Niklaaskerk. Then continue until you pass the "Old Post Office" on your right, cross St. Michael's Bridge and take the walkway on the right that leads under the bridge. You will then be on the Korenlei side of the Leie River looking across at the Graslei. Walk along the Korenlei while viewing the Graslei, then retrace your steps and recross the St Michael's Bridge. Turn left at the corner just past the Old Post Office, and find a spot to take a break. You haven't walked far, but you deserve a beer!

Continue on Korte Munt and turn left on Grasburg. Stopping in the middle, there are lovely views of either side of the bridge. Finish crossing the bridge and turn right continuing to Burgstraat where you will turn right and have a nice view of Het Gravensteen ("Castle of Counts"). Turn left at the corner for other good views of the castle. More good views are available if you continue up one block to Lievestraat, and turn left. The views will be on your left. Retrace your steps back to the entrance to the castle and turn left (Burgstraat becomes Bekelingestaat and then Kraanleistraat). Turn right at the bridge and enter the Vrijdagmarkt, which is wonderfully lit and filled with delightful places to stop. Take a break.

Leave the "Friday Market" on Kamerstraat and walk to Belfortstraat and turn right. Follow Belfortstraat to the starting point and have a beer!

Now you can truthfully say that you saw Ghent - well, most of it anyway. Cheers!

Note: Most of the photographs are identified on the lower part of the image, but it is necessary to view them in "Full" mode.

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