Visiting the city of Ghent, more than a one night stand
Ghent is well worth a weekend trip. It’s ideal for a last-minute city trip as well. Ghent offers a fascinating cultural cocktail brimming with trendy, modern urban life. Ghent is a city where people enjoy life: a chilled-out place where anything goes and a city that feels human. Its friendly, welcoming people love the good life. Don’t miss the chance to admire the world-famous masterpiece—the Mystic Lamb by the Van Eyck brothers—during your weekend trip.
The Castle of the Counts
Any trip to Ghent is not complete without a visit to the mysterious Castle of the Counts. An important sight in the city, the castle has a very turbulent past, closely intertwined with the complex and often stormy political and social history of the city.
The only remaining mediaeval castle with a moat and largely intact defence system in Flanders, your visit to the Castle of the Counts will give you a complete picture of heraldic culture in the 12th century. The gatehouse, ramparts, keep, count’s residence and stables are open to visitors. You can read more about the Castle and it’s history here.
The Ghent Altarpiece
A painting that was completed in 1432 by the Van Eyck brothers, is recognized worldwide as a great work of art and is better known as ‘The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb’. It is also recognized as one of the most influential paintings ever done. This piece is a must-see on any trip to Ghent.
Comprised of a total of 18 panels, the piece forms a magical depiction of scenes from the Bible, as well as a portrait of the churchwarden, Joos Vijd, who commissioned the altarpiece, and his wife Elisabeth Borluut.
St. Michael’s Bridge
Have your camera or phone at the ready. Take a moment to stop on the bridge to take a spectacular selfie. This bridge is also the only vantage point in the city to take a picture postcard photo of all three of Ghent’s famous towers in a row.
While on the bridge take in the views of the Graslei and Korenlei with the Old Fish Market, the Castle of the Counts, St. Michael’s Church and the back of Het Pand. St. Michael’s Bridge used to be a flat turntable bridge, but it was replaced by stone arches at the beginning of the 20th century. In the middle of the bridge is a beautiful central lantern with a bronze statue of St Michael.
St. Bavo’s Cathedral
This Cathedral in Ghent is magnificent, so do not just walk by during your visit to the city. St. Bavo’s Cathedral is the oldest parish church in the lively heart of Ghent. It stands on the site of a 10th century church and a 12th century Romanesque church. The latter was dedicated to St. John the Baptist. In the Middle Ages, Ghent was a rich and powerful city that had the means to commission ever-larger and more opulent churches. So the Church of St. John the Baptist was converted during the 15th and 16th centuries into the imposing Gothic St. Bavo’s Cathedral.
Food and Drink
So if eating and drinking like a local are on your list when you visit, here is a list of foods that are must haves. The top 10 foods to satiate your taste buds and appetite are Belgian Fries, Moules-Frites, Stoemp, Shrimp Croquettes, Speculaas, Watersooi, Belgian Waffles, Belgian Chocolates, Sirop de Liege and last but not least Tomates aux Crevettes Grises. Of these foods, we are all well aware of Belgian Waffles, Chocolates and of course beer.
Here is a link (click here) to a short article about the Belgian Brews and a few of the breweries in Ghent. You could include the city as a stop while on a beer tour of Europe. Maybe we will put together a European crawl to sample some of the world’s best brews. If this is of interest to you, contact us and we will see what we can do!