Day Trippers: An Afternoon in Ghent

January 6, 2017
January 6, 2017 Hilary

Day Trippers: An Afternoon in Ghent


Determined to see as much as I could during our visit to Belgium, we chose Bruges as our home base with a plan for quick trips to other nearby cities. Ghent, The 2nd largest municipality in Belgium, not only has beautiful architecture and a large medieval castle, but it was only 30 minutes away, making it the perfect day trip destination.

Getting There


St. Nicholas’ Church

Purchasing our tickets at the station the day of, we traveled from the Bruges Station to the Gent-Sint Pieters Station. If you’re traveling with kids, keep in mind that under 12s are free on the trains in Belgium. Upon arrival to the Ghent station there are multiple ways to get into the city center, we chose to ride the tram.

Tram tickets are available outside from a machine or at the Ticket/Information office inside the Gent-Sint Pieters Station. Advised by the clerk to purchase one 10 ride ticket, all four of us rode roundtrip for a total of 14 euro. As soon as you board the tram you’ll validate your ticket once for each passenger and use the same ticket again on the way back.


Our stop was the Korenmarkt, which is the center of town. Immediately upon arriving you’ll see the St. Nicolas’ Church and the Belfry, and if you look a bit further down the street you’ll see St. Bavo’s Cathedral too! These three tall towers on the same street are quite fittingly known as the Three Towers of Ghent! The very modern Ghent City Pavilion located between the Belfry and St. Nicolas’ Church is used for public gatherings.

Gravensteen Castle


Our first stop was Gravensteen a medieval castle. Although there isn’t a lot to look at inside, as most of the castle is empty, there are brief explanations of each room along the way and the numbered path is very clearly laid out. The visit was only about one hour and for me the highlight was walking the castle walls with views of the canals and city rooftops. Simon enjoyed the weapons exhibit quite a lot. Admission prices are 10 euro per adult and kids under 19 are free.


View from Gravensteen Castle

We walked along the River Leie on our way to lunch and although it was a really pretty walk there seemed to be a lot of construction going on, so I didn’t take many photos. We enjoyed a lovely lunch right on the river bank, but I was so busy enjoying my meal I forgot to take any photos. Oops!


Walk along the River Leie

Grafitti Street


Wanting to see something a bit off the beaten path and big fans of street art, we were excited to learn that Ghent has a dedicated graffiti street called Werregaren straat. Really more of a pass through or alley than a street, its pedestrian only, and if you like street  art definitely worth a look.


Due to the temporary nature of street art and graffiti the walls of Werregaren straat are constantly changing. We really enjoyed this and loved the idea of a dedicated place where anyone can express themselves freely. Elliot really wished we’d had a can of spray paint or two, so he could contribute. Maybe next time!

St. Bavo’s Cathedral


“Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”

If you’re an art lover you might like to visit The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb painted by the Van Eyck brothers in 1432. This important piece of Flemish artwork has survived mostly intact throughout quite a turbulent history which includes, Protestant Iconoclasm as well as seizure by Napoleon, and the Nazis.

For the past 50 years it’s been hanging right where it belongs in St. Bavo’s Cathedral.

The painting can be viewed for a fee of 4 euro, but if you’re not interested in paying the fee there is a replica of the painting (which worked perfectly for my needs), inside the cathedral, which can be viewed free of charge. There are many other works of art, some more modern (one is pictured above), throughout the Cathedral.

St. Nicholas’ Church


Much less ornate on the inside than St. Bavo’s we also visited St. Nicholas’ which was undergoing some renovation, but beautiful nonetheless. After our long day wandering we opted not to climb to the top of the Belfry. Instead, we stopped for a soda and a rest in a little shop nearby before boarding the tram and heading back to Bruges.


We really enjoyed our afternoon in Ghent and would have loved more time in this lovely city. An evening walk along the canals to see the award winning lights would be at the top of my list!

Take Me With You!

Would you like directions to all these fabulous places? Why not take me with you! you can download this and other fun hilarystyle articles using the GPSmyCity app!


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I love to travel & explore the world both near and far! I do my best to make the most out of life each and everyday! I have two boys and they are, at the ages of 13 and 18, world travelers and all around go along guys. There isnt anywhere I cant take them. It is my hope this blog will be a way to share the fun things Ive learned while on our many adventures together!

Comments (20)

  1. I did the reverse, we stayed in Ghent and visited Brugge. Both are so beautiful, your blog makes me want to go back! Xx

    • I had no idea I would but I loved Belgium. Ha ha! My blog makes me want to go back too! 😘 I hope
      I do someday! #memories

      • Only my eldest has been so I will for sure go back with the younger 2 in a few years when they are big enough to remember 😊

  2. Kat

    Arrgh, now I know that I should have stopped in Ghent as well! Better luck next time…#CityTripping

  3. Ruth

    Love to read your posts! Ghent looks like a perfect city for a day trip. I can see myself walking around the castle and old town. I am surprised by City Pavilion and street art. They add a nice touche to the city. #citytripping

  4. ARgg I am dying to visit Ghent! We ran out of time on our last little visit. But I will get to it this year! Saving this bc you showed me some new parts of Ghent! #CityTripping

  5. Love the street art. Ghent looks like the perfect day trip and good to know that 12 and under ride free in Belgium. I’m chuckling at your mention of not taking any photos bc you were too involved with your meal – I’ve done that numerous times! #citytripping

  6. What a gorgeous city- I love Bruges but have never made it to Ghent. It looks like there’s so much history to discover, with fewer crowds to battle through as well! #citytripping

  7. I’ve never been to Ghent but this makes me want to go. I like the look of the street filled with graffiti. I didn’t realise it was so close to Bruges…am getting an idea for a future trip! Thanks for linking to #citytripping

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