Ghent as home base

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Dec 6th, 2018, 11:37 AM
  #1
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Ghent as home base

There are 6 of us in our early 50's traveling through Europe in late May, early June 2019. We talked about staying in Bruges for 3 nights, then changed our mind to Brussels with a day trip to Bruges, but now I am leaning toward Ghent with day trips to Bruges and Brussels! Does anyone have any thoughts on Ghent? From what I have seen and read so far, it seems like a lovely spot and is mid way between Bruges and Brussels! Looking for opinions, if anyone has some!
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Dec 6th, 2018, 11:49 AM
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I agree with your choice, and give Ghent at least a day by itself.
https://flic.kr/s/aHsjp3P2t6
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Dec 6th, 2018, 12:50 PM
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For me Gand (Gent) is probably the prettiest and easiest city in Belgium.
Bruxelles deserves at least a daytrip, but Bruges (Brugge) for me does not need more than one day.
You could also go to Tournai or even better Lille.
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Dec 6th, 2018, 01:02 PM
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Yes Gent is great - less tourists than Bruges which is a wonderful city for a day - last Sunday in May I believe is the Procession of the Holy Blood - a holy relic houses in a local church - I've seen the procession several times and though streets are thronged a great spectacle - with the venerated holy blood relic in a box ending the parade. Locals dress up in medieval garb - great time to day trip to Bruges. But Gent is a more normal city and has some Bruges-like areas too- can day trip also to Antwerp or to Saint Niklaas to see one of Europe's largest town squares. Forget cars and take trains - for lots on trains check: https://www.belgiantrain.be/en/home; www.seat61.com; BETS-European Rail Experts and www.ricksteves.com. No need to pre-book as domestic Belgian trains I believe have no seat reservations and a ticket can be used on any regional train. But scour the Belgian Railways site and see if any discounts are possible such as group discounts or whatever.
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Dec 6th, 2018, 03:08 PM
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We used Gent as a base for 5 nights this May and we thought it was the right choice.
Gent proper has enough sights, restaurants and cafes in its town center to keep you entertained for a day or rather two.
And it was also easy to get in and out of the city (we had a car) for day trips to Ypern, Brugge, the Coast, Antwerpen and Lille.
We voluntarily skipped Brussel this time, but it would have been no issue to go there as well.
Which might have been a good idea since we found Lille a bit underwhelming.
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Dec 6th, 2018, 03:32 PM
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Ghent is a great home base, better than Bruges for sure, IMO.
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Dec 6th, 2018, 08:09 PM
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Another yes to Ghent as a base. The central area along the river has many restaurants and is a nice open space. We used Bruges as a base and the day we went to Ghent, I wanted to stay and wished we had brought our luggage with us. It is nice though to stay late in the evening the day you go to Bruges because it is lovely all lit up at night. I also enjoyed biking around the outskirts of Bruges and taking the train to Oostende.
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Dec 7th, 2018, 02:05 AM
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Just returned from visiting all 3, post river cruise.

Brugge is Disneyland-esque. Beautiful and crowded, great at night and early morning before the masses come. Reminded me of Rothenburg ODT in that way, if you can avoid the daytrippers, so much more enjoyable. All the buildings lite up at night make for great photo ops.

Brussels- Too busy, big city feel. Being there on Black Friday didn't help

Ghent- perfect. We stayed in a air B&B in pedestrian zone, overlooking the Groetemarkt. Really enjoyed our time here. Good energy with the colleges kids.
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Dec 7th, 2018, 07:08 AM
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Groeten markt or groentenmarkt or groote markt ?
Close words but meaning different things...
'grand place' (main square) is groote markt
Groeten is 'regards' like in best regards.
Groenten is vegetables, which I offered to plenty of Flemish guys before one told me I probably meant 'regards'.
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Dec 7th, 2018, 07:25 AM
  #10
 
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Yeah, butchered that spelling.
Perhaps fitting, as they use to have executions there.

https://visit.gent.be/en/see-do/groentenmarkt
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Dec 7th, 2018, 08:46 AM
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I would choose Brugge as the base because then you can day trip to Ghent, Brussels, and Antwerp, and be IN Brugge early morning and evening when most of the day trippers have left and it is the most pleasant.
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Dec 7th, 2018, 09:55 AM
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https://www.bloedprocessiebrugge.be/en/

Procession/Festival of Holy Blood in Bruges on Ascension day - really neat.
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Dec 7th, 2018, 11:58 AM
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Isabel, that is a good point!
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Dec 7th, 2018, 03:48 PM
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I agree with Isabel! Loved Brugge, liked Ghent a lot, Brussels meh.. good for a day.
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Dec 11th, 2018, 11:30 AM
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A gruesome aspect of Gent is its castle's Torture Museum:

https://www.google.com/search?q=gent...w=1280&bih=625
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Dec 11th, 2018, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by joannyc View Post
I agree with Isabel! Loved Brugge, liked Ghent a lot, Brussels meh.. good for a day.

Brussels is so underrated on this forum. I love the vibe there.
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Dec 12th, 2018, 03:31 AM
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I am glad Brussels is underrated.
Gent train station is out in the boonies in relation to Gent's attractions.

Closer to Van Eyck
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Dec 12th, 2018, 11:36 AM
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Lowlands locals really like Brussels as do I having spent many days there in past - so much more than the tiny area most tourists go to. But for first-time many foreign travelers here do not seem to care much for Brussels - to busy - too modern - not old-worldish enough. And I'd suggest Gent, Bruges and Antwerp as nicer places all in all for the foreign tourist on limited time. Pop into Brussels and see the famous sights but spend more time imo in those cities - then on future trips take time to explore Brussels and you'll find some really neat places, especially if into Art Nouveau areas.
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