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Ghent combines some of the medieval grandeur of its Flemish neighbor Bruges with the modernity of Brussels, tempering the officiousness of the latter by way of a vivacious student population that mixes with all comers in the city's several hundred pubs and cafes. After clambering up the imposing towers of the Belfort to enjoy the city-wide view, most visitors head down the street to St. Baaf's Cathedral to take in the Van Eyck brothers' 20-panel masterpiece, Adoration of the Mystic Lamb. A clutch of museums presents the city's impressive artistry, including the cultural double act of the Museum of Fine Arts and the adjacent Museum of ...

Ghent combines some of the medieval grandeur of its Flemish neighbor Bruges with the modernity of Brussels, tempering the officiousness of the latter by way of a vivacious student population that mixes with all comers in the city's several hundred pubs and cafes. After clambering up the imposing towers of the Belfort to enjoy the city-wide view, most visitors head down the street to St. Baaf's Cathedral to take in the Van Eyck brothers' 20-panel masterpiece, Adoration of the Mystic Lamb. A clutch of museums presents the city's impressive artistry, including the cultural double act of the Museum of Fine Arts and the adjacent Museum of Contemporary Art (which, thanks to the initials of its Flemish name, has the unfortunate acronym SMAK). Arguably the most beguiling is the Design Museum, with its fantastic Art-Nouveau furnishings. The friendly social scene ranges from attending classical music and modern dance performances to juggling glasses of jenever (Belgian gin) and Delirium Tremens (a beer with an alcohol content of 9.5%).

Paul Smitz
About the Expert

Paul Smitz has coauthored a dozen guidebooks for Lonely Planet on places such as Australia, New Zealand, Malaysian Borneo, Brunei, various Pacific Islands, Prague, and Brussels.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Located in northern Belgium about 30 miles from Brussels
  • Language: Dutch, French
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Rainfall

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Weather-wise, between April and September