Ghent is a historic city, yet at the same time a contemporary one. The daily life of the city’s active inhabitants plays itself out against a gorgeous historical backdrop. Ghent is praised for its “brilliant mix of a wonderful past and a contemporary, vibrant city”. At the end of November 2008, the National Geographic Traveler Magazine published a top 109 of the most authentic destinations worldwide. The historic city center of Ghent ranked third! The magazine is a reference for anyone who enjoys travel, fine photography and insightful journalism. Furthermore, Ghent was ranked 7th by the Lonely Planet in their list of ‘Best Travel in the World’ in 2011, being referred to as ‘Europe’s best kept secret’…
Ghent is divided into two quarters: the historic center and the artistic quarter. In the historic center, nearly 1400 years of history are still tangible today: a medieval castle surrounded by a moat, an imposing cathedral, a belfry, three béguinages… Nowhere else does one find this much history per square meter than in the historical heart of Ghent! From the year 1000 to around 1550, Ghent was one of the most important cities in Europe. It was bigger than London and second only to Paris in size. In 1913, Ghent showed its best side during the World Exhibition. Because it suffered little bomb damage during the two world wars, Ghent’s historical heritage has remained largely intact right up to the present. The artistic quarter counts a lot of museums. Here you can find a museum of modern art, a museum for fine arts, the design museum and a textile and fabric museum.
Nowadays, Ghent is a rather small yet vibrant city with a pleasant atmosphere. Ghent has the largest number of students of all Belgian cities: 67 000! In no other city in Belgium do students and other inhabitants live together in such harmony. Ghent has a dazzling nightlife to suit all tastes.: there are bars, clubs, theatres, etc .
“De Gentse Feesten” (The Ghent Festivities): the largest street festival in Europe (19th-28th of July 2019). Site: http://gentsefeesten.gent
This festival for the people, and for the senses, sets the city aflame for 10 days. It opens with a parade and closes with the ‘day of the empty wallets’. The Festivities include parties and cultural activities like the International Street-theatre Festival, Puppet Buskers Festival, free musical performances on various stages in the centre and more than 700 theatre performances, exhibitions, guided tours and fireworks.
Belgium fires one’s imagination. Tourists from all over the world are attracted to Belgium and its cosmopolitan capital, Brussels, also known as the capital of Europe.
Those with a craving for art and culture or architectural beauty, will be pampered in our cities of art (Bruges, Brussels, Ghent, Antwerp…). Those who want a taste of our gastronomy, cultural events and nightlife, will have their every wish satisfied. As a result, the many cities of art – with Brussels at the top – are able to depend on an ever-increasing interest from tourists.
Besides the busy cities, Belgium has two other places worth visiting: the Ardennes and the coast. Do you like hiking, cycling, sports, nature and tranquillity? Then you will undoubtedly enjoy the green woods of the Ardennes, Belgium’s lungs. Are you more likely to be tempted by sun, sea, sports and enjoyable bustle? Then there is the lure of the Coast. Not only can you enjoy the long sandy beaches, there are also many World War I memorials to visit near the Belgian coast. Tourists from all over the world visit Flanders Fields to commemorate their fallen compatriots.
This little country plays an important part in the gastronomic life of Western Europe. The Belgians are known as bonvivants who appreciate fine gastronomic food. However a real Belgian can also enjoy fries, beer and chocolate. Bruges has its own beer museum where you can learn more about the history of beer and the breweries. Of course there is the possibility to enjoy a heavenly Belgian beer afterwards. The chocolate museum is also located in Bruges: it shows you the process from cacao to chocolate and promotes the quality of the Belgian chocolate.