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Best of Ghent, Brussels

Once the crown jewel of medieval Europe, this vibrant Belgian city has returned to its former glory.
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Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Duration: Multiple days

Overview :  Its Flemish sisters Antwerp and Bruges may be better known, but the town of Ghent, a 30-mile drive northwest of Brussels, has the best... more »

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Points of Interest

The restaurant is set in a 13th-century granary on the oldest canal in town. Expect low beamed ceilings, a backlit lounge, and stainless-steel accents. The menu includes updated Belgian classics such as eel stewed in cream and herbs.

Address:
10 Graslei
Ghent
Belgium

Phone:
32-9-280-0100

A moored canal boat refashioned into a seven-room floating hotel.

Address:
44 Voorhoutkaai, Portus Ganda
Ghent
Belgium

Phone:
32-9-267-1030

The place to go in town for oysters, with an Art Nouveau glass roof and cast-iron interior that could have been built by Gustave Eiffel.

Address:
4 Schuurkenstraat
Ghent
Belgium

Phone:
32-9-223-5555

The husband-and-wife team run a cooking school in the cellar where guests learn to make Belgian chocolate. Upstairs, you’ll find three spacious guest rooms—the best of which is the honeymoon suite, with private access to a vine-covered garden.

Address:
31 Hoogpoort
Ghent
Belgium

Phone:
32-9-225-3775

Opposite the towering St. Nicholas church, you’ll find this Michelin-starred restaurant where the nine-course seasonal menu of local specialties such as grilled herring and beef carpaccio with clams is lighter than it sounds.

Address:
3 Cataloniëstraat
Ghent
Belgium

Phone:
32-9-223-3040

A building in two parts: the old wing, an 18th-century mansion that showcases re-creations of domestic life in that era; and next door, a modern extension with rotating exhibitions and a permanent collection that ranges from early-20th-century Art Nouveau cabinets by Henry van de Velde to whimsical 1970’s Flemish furniture.

Address:
5 Jan... More

7. Eva Bos

The designer makes custom vintage-style jackets and dresses. Pick up one of her tailored, Audrey Hepburn-inspired evening gowns.

Address:
66 Vlaanderenstraat
Ghent
Belgium

Phone:
32-9-495-496-164

8. Het Oorcussen

Caroline Naudts was so taken with Belgium’s emerging fashion scene that she opened this boutique to showcase innovative designers such as Ann Demeulemeester and Dries Van Noten.

Address:
7 Vrijdagmarkt
Ghent
Belgium

Phone:
32-9-233-0765

To sample the best in Belgian ale, head to the cozy bar overlooking the Leie River. What to try: one (or more) of the 22 beers brewed by Trappist monks. Rochefort and Orval are our favorites.

Address:
9 Groentenmarkt
Ghent
Belgium

Phone:
32-9-225-0680

At the family-run property, top-floor rooms have views of the Kraanlei canal and the city’s tiled rooftops.

Address:
37 Kraanlei
Ghent
Belgium

Phone:
32-9-324-2680

11. Obius

A clothing boutique with Martin Margiela sweaters and Veronique Branquinho heels.

Address:
4 Meerseniersstraat
Ghent
Belgium

Phone:
32-9-233-8271

In the Patershol district, British transplants Simon Turner and Christopher Joseph opened this B&B at their casual coffeehouse. The Art Nouveau building has two contemporary rooms with funky white fluorescent light fixtures and sandstone bathrooms.

Address:
8 Sluizeken
Ghent
Belgium

Phone:
32-9-233-0343

The Gothic spires are one of the town’s most recognized landmarks, but inside the church is the true treasure—the 15th-century altarpiece Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, a towering, multi-panel painting by Jan van Eyck.

Address:
1 Bisdomplein
Ghent
Belgium

Phone:
32-9-225-1626

14. Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (S.M.A.K.)

A two-story, white-walled space in the southern part of the city, this museum is one of the best contemporary art museums in Belgium, with a permanent collection that includes works by late-20th-century artists such as Joseph Beuys and Luc Tuymans.

Address:
Citadelpark
Ghent
Belgium

Phone:
32-9-240-7601

15. Vitrapoint

Midcentury Modern furniture by such legendary designers as Charles and Ray Eames and Jean Prouvé.

Address:
107 Vlaanderenstraat
Ghent
Belgium

Phone:
32-9-234-0709