Ghent Weekend Getaway

Photo by Sandeep Pawar

Music, food and more in Europe's veggie capital

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Planning a quick visit to the city’s many highlights? What a pity: Ghent should be savored to the full, and to do that, you need more than one day.

Friday in Ghent

5 p.m. | Grab a beer
Find yourself a spot along the Graslei and enjoy the impressive row of medieval houses (on both sides of the river) and the cosy atmosphere. This is where the people of Ghent grab a beer. Start with a Gruut, the only beer that is brewed here in the city using traditional methods.
7 p.m. | Poor man’s dinner
What used to be a poor man’s dinner is now a speciality. Gentse Waterzooi with chicken, fish or even vegetarian – after all, Ghent is the Veggie Capital of Europe!

9 p.m. | Enlightening
Lights out, spots on! Hidden gems during the day are suddenly put in the spotlight at dusk. To enjoy Ghent by night to the full try the Ghent Illuminated walk. Get your map at the Ghent Tourist Office.

11 p.m. | The night is still young
Friday night at Vrijdagmarkt ? Good idea! Start off with a Kwak at beer bar De Dulle Griet. You’ll have to leave your shoe in a hanging basket as a deposit for the amazing glass. A stone’s throw away you’ll enjoy the hustle and bustle of the Vlasmarkt, with its rock music and DJs playing till early morning.

Saturday in Ghent

8 a.m. onwards | Early risers’ opportunities
Browsing vinyl records, snapping up a second-hand jacket or scoring the perfect souvenir? Early birds can do precisely that at the flea market near St James’ Church.

10 a.m. | Castle of the Counts
Ghent’s oldest building is the Castle of the Counts, the impressive medieval fortress in the city centre. Go back in time and shiver at the sight of armour, weapons and torture instruments.

11.30 a.m. | Ghent delicacies
Taste and buy typical products from Ghent and East Flanders under the impressive vaults of the Great Butchers Hall. RoomeR is the ideal aperitif. If you have a sweet tooth, buy cuberdons. For a spicier touch try Tierenteyn mustard on the other side of the square.

12.30 p.m. | Easy as duck soup
Soup is the new fast food! Plenty of choice, always tasty and of course healthy! The Souplounge near Vrijdagmarkt offers delicious soups with a view of the Lys. And a free apple, because an apple a day…

1 p.m. | Don’t miss the boat
Work up your appetite on the water! You’ve watched them pass by all morning, now it’s your turn to hop on a boat! After all, that’s the best way to see Ghent from a different perspective. The captain will give you a taste of history laced with juicy little anecdotes, in a language of your choice.

2.30 p.m. | The art of choosing
The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb is the absolute masterpiece of medieval art. Grand with overwhelming detail. This altarpiece by the Van Eyck brothers is an absolute must-see, but there’s plenty more: Flemish (and other) masters at the Museum of Fine Arts, modern art at the Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art (S.M.A.K.) and an interactive overview of Ghent’s history and its people at the new City Museum (STAM).

4.30 p.m. | A few more hours (and euros) to spend?
Shop at the Veldstraat ! Or discover hidden gems in the side streets, typical products at the Koestraat, Bennesteeg, Jan Breydelstraat and Serpentstraat. Bag a bargain from 1 to 31 January and from 1 to 31 July!

6 p.m. | Rock ’n’ roll cuisine
Feeling adventurous? The Flemish Foodies, three culinary free spirits who chose to open their respective restaurants in Ghent, will introduce you to a playful, dynamic cuisine filled with tasty surprises. They’ve also inspired other chefs to launch similar initiatives. J.E.F., De Vitrine, De Superette, Publiek, Vrijmoed, Naturell, Horseele… there’s something for everyone.

10 p.m. | Take a shot
Time for a nightcap. At Dreupelkot you can choose from over 200 (!) types of ‘jenever’. Vanilla jenever has conquered the world, though the chicory version isn’t likely to. The adventurous leave through the back entrance to discover the narrowest street in Ghent. Want to bet you won’t feel like heading home or to your hotel?

Sunday in Ghent

10 a.m. | Flower power
Sundays in Ghent start at the flower market with a coffee, a chat and a walk along the colourful stalls. To top it off: oysters and champagne at the blue kiosk, while discussing what to do next.

This itinerary is compliments of Visit Gent.

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