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Ghent and Brussels in 2 Days

Map tips: each color represents a different day. Click a marker to learn more about the spot, and click the star in the map header to save the entire map under Your Places in Google Maps.

Day 1

  • Grand Place
  • Mannekin Pis
  • Graslei e Korenlei
  • Belfort van Gent (Ghent Belfry)
  • St. Michael’s Bridge

Flew into Brussels, Belgium and took the train into town on the way to Ghent. Stored bags at the train station and walked to the Grand Place. Beautiful square with lots of interesting architecture.

Grand Place, Brussels

Swung by Manneken Pis (very small statue, quite ridiculous that it’s famous) on the way back to the station and walked through some very neat areas. Took the train the rest of the way to Ghent (English spelling; Gent in Dutch) and walked about 25 minutes to our hotel (Grand Hotel, 5 minute walk west of Korenlei/Graslei. Great hotel). Set out to just walk around and get a feel for the city. The Ghent Belfry was stunning:

The whole city is very accessible and beautiful, especially from St. Michael’s Bridge – one of my favorite views in the world. The bridge goes over the Leie, or Lys, River with Graslei to the east and Korenlei to the west. These are the two most popular areas of Ghent with lots of people, shops, cafes, and restaurants lining the water. The view from the bridge with the different towers to the east, the canal to the north with the castle in the background, is just mesmerizing. Ate dinner and went back to hotel.

One of the my favorite views ever, from St. Michael’s Bridge with St. Bavo’s Cathedral and the Belfry in the middle
Spires everywhere
Looking down the canal from the bridge at night

Day 2

  • Rabot Sluice
  • Gravensteen Castle
  • Graffiti Street
  • Saint Bavo’s Cathedral

Walked to Rabot Sluice – could have easily skipped, not too interesting if you’re short on time but a neat structure (two towers).

Rabot Sluice

Walked to Gravensteen Castle, and it was awesome. Definitely go in, the views from the top are wonderful and it’s so cool that the castle is right in the middle of restaurants, roads and the canal on one side.

Gravensteen Castle from the outside
The Ghent skyline from the top of the castle

Walked around the rest of the city, down Graffiti Street (exactly what you’d think, worth it) and past St. Bavo’s Cathedral. Did some shopping, came back to the Graslei and Korenlei area to get some waffles and beer, then set out for dinner. Flew home the next morning after taking the train back to Brussels.

St. Bavo’s Cathedral
Graslei, as seen across the canal from Korenlei

I loved Ghent and think it blows away Brussels (had been to Brussels previously, not Ghent). It was either going to be Ghent or Bruges, and even though I’ve never been to Bruges, I have no regrets on our choice. Went with my mom and wife, and it was the perfect place to spend 1.5-2 days. We didn’t go in St. Bavo’s Cathedral to see the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, but walked around it and it’s a beautiful structure (although under construction, scaffolding ruins the tower). We walked everywhere, don’t need to take public transit but it is available. In late March we were fine in a hoodie and jeans. Wonderful trip.

Traveled in March 2014

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