• Ashley Nicole

Ghent - The Underappreciated City of Belgium

As the weather begins to cool off and the sun sets sooner, we begin to realize that summer is slowly winding down. As we try to hold onto our last moments of this beautiful season, we can look forward in anticipation because of the great things that this upcoming season provides. 

For many, that looks like the changing of colours in the trees, apple cider and maybe even pumpkin picking. As for me here, I get to experience my first autumn here on the island and behold everything that it entails.

The tourist season, for many places, comes to and end and costs of travelling often begin to drop. If you have some unused vacation time, this may be an excellent opportunity to start planning an autumn holiday, especially if you are looking to go abroad.

Today I wanted to share with you about a town in Belgium that is worth visiting. Being such a small country, many of its cities are lesser known. The most famous of its cities include Brussels, Bruges, Antwerp and Ypres. Bruges is known to be extremely beautiful, but has become extremely touristic over the years. Last year, I took a day trip to Ghent, which held the many beautiful charms of Bruges, but seemed to be much less crowded by tourists. I want to share about this beautiful town, as it is a great place to visit, especially if you are searching for a Belgian gem that has fewer crowds.  

Ghent is one of the beautiful European cities that has a beautiful canal running through it. One of the coolest ways to see the city itself is to take one of the boat tours that is offered. They are often decently priced and taking a boat tour gives you an overview of the layout of the town, it takes you to many unique points throughout, as well as it provides some cool history and information about the different buildings and areas along the way.

The buildings in Ghent are beautifully designed. While there is quite a variety in the types of building and architecture, you can find hits of medieval and Gothic styling as well.  

As I travel around, I especially try to make an effort to visit the cathedrals which are open to the public. In these are places, I can often stand and stare for the longest time, taking in the beauty. It always blows my mind thinking of how much effort and soul is put into the work of designing and building these cathedrals – with the heart to honour God through the craftsmanship and final product. No wonder they turn out so incredibly! St. Bavo’s Cathedral is the one you will want to check out when visiting Ghent.

As do many Belgian cities, Ghent has a “city-centre,” which is built up incredibly. It includes a beautiful city hall which has a stunning design and is at the heart of the city. It is a large open area, surrounded by many little shops, and is made to be walked around in. 

Another special attribute of Ghent is that it holds the Castle of the Counts. This castle is in the middle of the city and is open for visitors to pay to explore. This was a really unique way to pass some time in the city.

Every time I go to Belgium, I try by best to get my hands on waffles and fries…because I do believe that the Belgians make the best in the world. During our time there, we managed to make time to have both throughout the day, along with some cuberdon, one of Belgium’s popular candies. There were many places to try all of the above, so if you do manage to get yourself there, be sure to stop and treat yourself with one, two or all three of the above.

There are a few of the many gems that I personally got to experience during my short visit to Ghent. There are many more unique things to do and places to see beyond this short list. If it wasn’t on your radar before, I would certainly recommend putting in on a list of places to stop in for a visit, if you are in the area. It is a quaint town which offers a unique day or more of special experiences.