When it comes to Ghent, the first image that comes to my mind is that of a historic city center. But after immersing myself for two days in the city’s delights, it shows that Ghent has more layers than I (and I guess many others with me) originally thought. There even is a comparison with Berlin, but as the inhabitants are self-opinionated, Ghent provides an unique twist on the creative street style vibe: Burgundian.
Where Berlin is raw, Ghent is warm. Dozens of pavement cafes invite you to discover Ghent’s specialities. It may be a historical city, but it’s at the same time very contemporary. As many as a third of it’s inhabitants are students, which results in a creative melting pot, a welcoming place for every one.
Last week I visited Ghent on behalf of Stijlmeisje, so let me take you along my very own Ghent experience….
Typically Ghent: the ten day Ghent Festivities. This 765.000 m2 open air festival takes place on 10 squares in the center and is an uber friendly music and arts show. With hundreds of activities there’s entertainment for everyone, from hipster to 60-plus, from minor to party animal. Every year as many as nearly 1.5 million people visit the Ghent Festivities and it is with reason. This is bucket list material!
Food heaven – also for veggies
In Ghent there are no bad restaurants. Even in the most touristic places you still get served a decent meal and you’ll still run into locals. The city is heaven for foodies. Vegetarians make sure to visit Ghent on Thursday: it’s veggie day and restaurants put (extra) vegetarian dishes on the menu.
At Balls & Glory the traditional and innovative kitchen melt together in delicious meals. You get served ‘stoemp’ (stew) and meatballs filled with for example peas and mint, chicken and appel, cherry or spinach and risotto.
I also had a tasty vegetarian pasta at Belfort (Emile Braunplein 40) and goat cheese salad at De Witte Leeuw (Graslei 6). In the mood for something traditional? Be sure to eat your Brussels waffles at Max (Goudenleeuwplein 3), inventors of the sweet treat!
Street art and graffiti
Whether it is graffiti or street art everyone can decide for themselves. The fact is that Ghent cracks works of graffiti, often applied by (internationally) know artists as Roa, Bué and Smates. Visit Ghent has outlined a number of different routes by foot or by bike to admire the most beautiful works you’ll find in the city. Always wanted to do some spraying yourself? Take a detour to the ‘Graffiti Street’ renamed Werregarenstraat, where you can legally spray your tag, name or artwork.
You cannot leave Belgium without chocolates. Forget the ‘normal’ Belgium pralines and try the sweets Nicolas creates (YUZU, Walpoortstraat 11a). The spectacular fills with Chinese herbs, Indian Chai, roasted cacao, roses and even tobacco are a feast for your tongue! Not daring enough? Head over to Spice Bazaar for chocolate insects (Burgstraat 25). Brr.
The city slogan is ‘More than a one night stay’ and that is nothing short. Actually the one night I stayed was just too tight. Ghent really surprized me with it’s burgundian/ artistic vibe and I’m sure it will amaze you too!