A couple of days ago, I visited my grandmother to wish her a happy New Year. My cousin was there as well and we started talking about how we both would like to make a short trip to a nice city in Europe (anywhere in the upcoming weeks). We briefly spoke about visiting the city of Gent, in Belgium. I had heard a lot of great stories about this place and really wanted to check it out myself. My cousin was pretty enthusiastic as well! We texted back and forth once we were home and decided to just spontaneously go on a day-trip to this town the next Saturday.
Before I knew it, the Saturday had come and I stepped into my cousin’s car together with one of his friends. Gent, here we come!
We left quite early, and therefore already arrived around 11 AM. We thus still had the entire day ahead of us. Before we left, I had done some research and wrote down the nicest places to visit in town. With this list at hand, we parked the car and headed outside.
The first sight we saw of Gent, was the St. Michael’s bridge (see the first picture of this blog). This one was actually also at the top of my list. By standing on this beautifully constructed bridge, you can see (almost) all of the magical towers and churches the city has to offer. What a great start of the day!
Since it was around lunch time, the three of us all really craved some Belgian Fries. After a bit of hunting for the best spot to get this snack, we ended up at the Frites Atelier. This very fancy restaurant is the perfect place to get some delicious fries while sitting in a very trendy and warm (it felt like it was freezing outside!) environment. Yes, you pay a little more but it is 100% worth it!
While we were trying to find a nice place to eat some fries, we accidentally already saw a big part of the city. We soon discovered that Gent actually isn’t that big. All the fantastic historic buildings are so close to each other! We passed by the Gravensteen; the big castle of Gent. You can actually go inside this castle! We, however, decided not to do so since we would lose quite a lot of time and none of us were really interested in finding out more about the castle on that day. If you stay in Gent for longer than a single day, I can image that it would be great to visit this castle, if you are intrested in finding out more about buildings that played a large role in history (like this one)! Tip: the café In Choc on the opposite site of the street of this castle, is a perfect place to enjoy some hot chocolate and cake!
We walked a lot on this day, a total of 12 kilometers I believe! I must admit that we sometimes walked the same streets multiple times because we ended up on the same square all the time (for some strange reason we got here so many times this day!) and then had to depart from this point again. We looked at all of the beautiful houses that still look so authentic! I sometimes felt like I was walking in the midst of the Golden Century; everything about this city was just so perfect and fairytale-like!
Sometimes you just need a little break from all of the walking and exploring, for moments like these, I know the perfect spot for a coffee right in the city centre: on the Korenlei, you can find restaurant/café Meraki. You can sit outside (practically next to the river Leie) and enjoy a drink here while the heaters keep you warm as you take in all the impressive buildings around you.
There are a lot of churches in Gent, all incredibly beautiful. We walked around most of them and admired all of the stunning clock towers. We actually climbed up the stairs of the Belfry of Gent and were rewarded with the most amazing views of the entire city! I always love to look at a new city from above; it offers a very refreshing perspective and it is a great location to take some amazing pictures.
Apart from yummy fries, Belgians are also known to make really good waffles. I wanted to test this for myself. We headed to restaurant Krokantino, went up the stairs of the restaurant and chose a spot next to the window; from this place, we could look over the cute houses and the square with the Christmas market! I ordered a waffle with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and warm chocolate sauce! It was so good but also very heavy; it might be a good idea to share this one.
We basically walked around the entire day. To me, that really is the best way to explore Gent. There are so many buildings that you will encounter while you are strolling around the city. It is also a good way to burn off the huge waffle ;). If it was a bit warmer that day, I would have liked to jump on a canal boot tour; I think that would be pretty cool! Because of the heavy wind and the low temperatures, today just didn’t seem to be the right day for this activity.
I absolutely loved Gent. This city is so cozy and filled with trendy restaurants and shops. The architecture is so special to see, you probably will not get enough of all the beauty this town has to offer!
I hope you liked reading this blog. Have you ever visited Gent? Or are you planning to do so?
Lots of love,