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Ghent Festivities Every year this long-established, ten-day cultural event takes over Ghent’s historic city centre. There is free music on all the central squares and hundreds of other activities, plus six international-level festivals: 10 Days Off, MiramirO, the International Puppet Buskers’ Festival, the ‘ Jeugdcircusfestival’, Boomtown and Gent Jazz Festival.
Ghent citycard from 25 Euros for 48 hours
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From Calais, take the A216, A16, E40,N466 and R40.
Ghent is Flanders’ hidden gem, sandwiched between Brussels and Bruges. This attractive medieval canal city has long been overlooked by visitors on the traditional art-town hop between Belgium’s big three. Its 900-plus listed buildings are testament to the fact that not only did the city survive the World Wars, but also that it was very wealthy in medieval times. During the fifteenth century, Ghent was Europe’s largest cloth producer importing wool from England, and was also the continent’s largest city outside Paris.
Province Of Oost-Vlaanderen
The city sits on the junction of the Leie and Scheldt Rivers and was the seat of the Counts of Flanders who built a fearsome castle that is still visible today. These days, Ghent is the capital of the province of Oost-Vlaanderen and has a large university population. This compact medieval city offers a range of stylish international hotels in addition to many trendy smaller boutique properties and a vast amount of restaurants to cater to your every desire. Not to be missed is the local speciality, Gentse Waterzooi, a creamy fish and vegetable stew which can also be made with chicken.
There are two sides to Ghent - the historic and the quirky, with the latter providing another level of cool.
Wander down Vlaanderenstraat and you will find all kinds of one-off boutiques in this up and coming part of town. Eva Bos is a good example, a vintage couture shop that sells everything that the eponymous owner likes, vintage, her own unique designs, plus the latest Paris collections. Essentially, it's an eclectic mix of everything that a girl needs to get ready for a party, sold from a shop with an original Art Deco frontage. Other funky shops to look out for include Queens, Vitrapoint, Oona and Barista Coffee & Cake.
Something Completely Different
For a quirky take on a museum, head to Patershol and visit the House of Alijn, otherwise known as the Museum of Things That Never Pass and you will be led through displays of curiosities from popular culture and everyday life. In the evening, Belga Queen, an imposing 13th century granary that accommodates a swish restaurant, a beer bar and a club is the place to be. Here, top quality products, usually locally sourced produce, are used in the preparation of the dishes and all of the wines on the list originate from Belgian winegrowers around the world. Or, for something completely different, go to Dulle Griet, where the MAX house beer is served in a large round-bottomed Kwak style glass, complete with wooden stand, so sought after that you have to hand over a shoe as collateral. It may seem strange to you and me, but it's just another night in Ghent!
"Ghent should rank as the most surprising city in Flanders, combining beauty and culture with creativity, cutting edge design and a vibrant restaurant and nightlife scene." John Brunton, The Observer.
Must sees in Ghent
Graslei and Korenlei - Ask ten inhabitants of Ghent what the most beautiful place in their city is and nine will answer the Graslei. Today this medieval port with its unique row of historical buildings, which are reflected in the long river, is the meeting place par excellence.
Belfry - Belfry is the proudest symbol of the city’s independence. The Cloth Hall was built onto the side of the Belfry. In a euphoric Brabant Gothic style, this monument glorifies the industry to which the city owes so much. At the corner of the Cloth Hall is an old jailer’s lodge.
Travel from Hull to Zeebrugge and spend over 5 days on the Continent from only £199 each way (inclusive of web discount), with a car and 2 passengers, en-suite cabin and all taxes.
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