Ghent as home base

Dec 6th, 2018, 11:37 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 88
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!
srianda is offline  
Dec 6th, 2018, 11:49 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 20,479
I agree with your choice, and give Ghent at least a day by itself.
Michael is offline  
Dec 6th, 2018, 12:50 PM
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 329
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.
thibaut is offline  
Dec 6th, 2018, 01:02 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 75,965
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:;; BETS-European Rail Experts and 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.
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 6th, 2018, 03:08 PM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 7,711
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.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Dec 6th, 2018, 03:32 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 45,646
Ghent is a great home base, better than Bruges for sure, IMO.
StCirq is offline  
Dec 6th, 2018, 08:09 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 9,304
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.
Sassafrass is online now  
Dec 7th, 2018, 02:05 AM
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 72
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.
bdokeefe is offline  
Dec 7th, 2018, 07:08 AM
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 329
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'.
thibaut is offline  
Dec 7th, 2018, 07:25 AM
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 72
Yeah, butchered that spelling.
Perhaps fitting, as they use to have executions there.
bdokeefe is offline  
Dec 7th, 2018, 08:46 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,562
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.
isabel is online now  
Dec 7th, 2018, 09:55 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 75,965

Procession/Festival of Holy Blood in Bruges on Ascension day - really neat.
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 7th, 2018, 11:58 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 9,304
Isabel, that is a good point!
Sassafrass is online now  
Dec 7th, 2018, 03:48 PM
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,744
I agree with Isabel! Loved Brugge, liked Ghent a lot, Brussels meh.. good for a day.
joannyc is online now  
Dec 11th, 2018, 11:30 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 75,965
A gruesome aspect of Gent is its castle's Torture Museum:
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 11th, 2018, 09:34 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 3,403
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.
menachem is offline  
Dec 12th, 2018, 03:31 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 1,484
I am glad Brussels is underrated.
Gent train station is out in the boonies in relation to Gent's attractions.

Closer to Van Eyck
cdnyul is online now  
Dec 12th, 2018, 11:36 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 75,965
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.
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 17th, 2018, 04:43 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 978
I would second Bruges.
Bruges effectively suffers from day visitors, but when you stay in Bruges in the evening/night or go for an early morning walk before 10am, you will enjoy Bruges in a completely different way. Bruges is also smaller than Gent and Brussels, so easier for car access and general 'getting around'. Gent is a nice town, bigger, lots of students, more complicated to get around. From Bruges, you can easily schedule a walk on the North Sea beach, be in Knokke or in De Haan or Oostende.
baldrick is offline  
Dec 17th, 2018, 05:27 AM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,814
I'm a bit tardy in commenting, but here's our trip report from November 2017 when we stayed in Ghent for several nights--definitely glad we did

Thanksgiving Week in Germany and Belgium
texasbookworm is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:14 PM.