Gent Tourist Information
Gent, also known as Ghent, is an incredibly popular destination in Belgium. The word “Gent” is actually the Dutch spelling for the city of “Ghent” and the two terms are often used interchangeably. Gent is filled with exciting things to see and do and travellers will not be disappointed by the recreational offerings in Gent. Travellers can immerse themselves in the culture and history of Belgium by seeing the myriad abbeys, beguinages, churches, castles, historic landmarks, and museums strewn throughout the city of Gent.
Gent was, at one time, second only to Paris in terms of popularity and size. In the 1830s, Gent showed the significant signs of industrialization, as more and more factories were established within the city. Gent is a thriving city, one that possesses a population of well over 500,000 people. It is also estimated that well over 30,000 people travel into Gent each day, for work and social activities. Since 1950, the city has undergone a significant phase of revival: the canal has brought many businesses into Gent. Currently, with its transportation network and many working opportunities, the city of Gent continues to thrive and it is the capital of East Flanders, Belgium.
Places of interest:
The city of Gent holds so many things to see in do. Travellers can get the perfect scenic overview of the entire city by touring the Belfry or the Castle of Counts in the historic city of Gent. In fact, from the top of either location, other famous sites are easily viewable; sites that include the Veerleplein, the Vleeshallen, the St. Niklaas Church, the Library of the University, The medieval harbour, St. Michiels Church and Gent’s shopping centre.
In the heart of Gent, travelers will also find St. Baafs Cathedral, a historic building filled with biblical artwork. The artwork in St. Baafs Cathedral includes images of Adam, Eve, and the Serpent in the Garden of Eden; the Tree of Life; the Holy Cross, and the images of the different counts of Flanders also appear in the Cathedral. Further, the cathedral holds the tombs of the Flemisch Bishops and houses four pillars that were a gift from the Tudors of Britain. Finally, the cathedral possesses some of the most stunning stain-glass art imaginable.
While in Gent, travelers shouldn’t miss out on touring the fifteenth century canon, now a monument, located near the Vrijdagmarkt. The Vrijdagmarkt is a square in Gent, offering opportunity for the travellers and residents of Gent to get a taste of medieval life by viewing the existing medieval architecture.
Things to do:
While staying in Gent, there is certainly no lack of things to do. First, travellers will want to make sure they see as many of the churches and cathedrals as possible, because no two churches are exactly alike; each church holds its own unique artwork and architecture, thereby making each religious site seeing destination more difficult to pass up while touring the city!
The Sint-Baafskathedraal Cathedral was built in the fourteenth century. Sint-Baafskathedraal in St. Bavo’s Square has no entrance fee, unless the traveller is looking to view “The Adoration of the Lamb,” a prized and cherished painting by Jan Van Eyck. The entrance fee to see Van Eyck’s work is nominal, and the cathedral is open from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily.
The Gravensteen, also known as the Castle of the Counts of Flanders, at Sint-Veerleplein 11 was built by Philip of Alsace in the late 1100’s. The word Gravensteen is actually Dutch which, when literally translated means “castle of the counts.” It is the very first stone castle erected in Gent. Prior to the Gravensteen, only wood structures existed. Finally, the Gravensteen has been restored to its former glory and a number of medieval displays can be viewed within the castle: offering viewing enjoyment for the entire family.
Food & Drink:
Those in the mood for seafood can dine at Vier Tafels on Plotergracht 6. The Vier Tafels is a bar and a restaurant, offering international delicacies, wines, cocktails, fresh seafood, salad, rice, salmon, Gambas, mussels and more. Vier Tafels is honoured for its universal cuisine, so there is something for everyone’s palate.
‘T Keteltje at Nederkouter 1 is the perfecting dining spot if one is looking for a romantic dinner while staying in Gent. Fully dressed tables and a variety of season dishes make the ‘T Keteltje one of the finest places to dine in Belgium. Likewise, the De Foyer Brasserie at Sint-Baafsplein 17, is housed in the former Royal Dutch Theater. The De Foyer serves fine dishes like tomato crevettes, grey shrimp, chicken waterzooi, crème brulee, chocolate mousse, tiramisu, and tarts, among other incredible desserts.
The Chez Leotine Restaurant at Groentenmarkt # 10-11 also serves Waterzooi, Flemish Beef Stew, and frites. Waterzooi is a unique Belgium dish, much like Cream of Chicken Soup, that has chicken, carrots, celery and onions in the mix. After having your meal at the Chez Leotine Restaurant, travellers may find that the size of the servings offered there has left little to no room for dessert!
Hotels & Accommodation:
Hotel Den Yzer Gent
Hotel Ibis Gent Centrum Opera
Holiday Inn Gent
Campanile Gent / Gand
Hotel Monasterium PoortAckere
Travellers looking for entertainment can enjoy the nightlife of Gent when they stop into the Het Waterhuis aan de Bierkant. The Het Waterhuis aan de Bierkant at Groente Markt 9 offers a fine choice of beers, both guest and seasonal. Weary travellers can rest and relax as they sip at the beer of their choosing and take in the scenic view of the canal.
Families can also take in a little culture when site seeing at the Alijnhuis, a museum located at Kraanlei 65, that offers hours of viewing entertainment and enjoyment. With craft rooms, displays portraying medieval life in Gent; bridal artifacts and the like, the Alijnhuis proves entertaining for the entire family. Finally, some children’s games are offered at the Alijnhuis.
The Friday Market in the city centre of Gent, is an outdoor market that gives travellers a chance to enjoy a day of shopping. Olives, fresh fish, sausages, chicken, cheeses, fruits and vegetables, breads, and bakery items are offered at many of the booths in the market. Further, travellers can purchase souvenirs, clothing, furniture, woodcarvings, knick-knacks and an array of items are sold every Friday. The Friday market surrounds one of the popular monuments in Gent’s city square: the Jacob Van Artevelde, a monument to one of Gent’s formidable political figures.