Ghent is often called Europe’s best kept secret, a hidden gem away from crowds like those in Amsterdam, Paris or Bruges. While it is definitely true that Ghent still remains in the shadows of Brussels and Bruges, more and more visitors are discovering this diverse city, both a historic gem rich in history and architecture and a vibrant, innovating city. Come and explore Ghent’s highlights and hidden gems with a local guide!
As one of Belgium’s oldest cities, Ghent has a very interesting story to tell. Its history dates back to the Roman times but it is especially in the Middle Ages and the Industrial Revolution that Ghent really made a name for itself. The story of Ghent is illustrated in its architecture, with its mix of Medieval and Renaissance/Baroque buildings and structures from its industrial era as well as modern architecture.
Ghent is not only a historic and architectural gem but also very much a living city. It is one of the most important student cities of Belgium (with more than 75,000 studying in Ghent!) and partly because of that it is the most progressive and innovative city of Belgium. Especially concerning environmental and social sustainability. It is for instance the veggie capital of Europe and the entire city centre is a Low Traffic Zone. The city council also strongly promotes fair trade and has many projects that are aimed at reducing inequality. A very interesting city indeed!
This tour is a comprehensive overview of these diverse sides of Ghent. Medieval history and architecture with castles, belfry, churches, guild halls, abbeys and merchants’ and patricians’ houses. Repurposed industrial structures and the monumental buildings of the socialist movement from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Picturesque neighbourhoods and photogenic bridges over one of Ghent’s rivers or canals. 13th century beguinages (closed community formerly inhabited by a movement of pious laywomen) and 21st century modern structures. Disappeared abbeys and palaces. University buildings and many students.
Ghent has so much to offer and this local would love to show it to you!
Any Ghent hotel or Ghent train station
The tour starts in the historic centre with the highlights of Ghent. There are too many to sum them all up, but this private tour will definitely include:
There will be plenty of hidden gems on the tour, some of them in the main historic centre, some of them a bit further away in the southern district (just 10 minutes walking). Including the former Industrial Age slums (beautifully renovated), the hypermodern library, the beguinage hidden in the middle of a busy neighbourhood, street art, picturesque alleys and streets, historic and modern university buildings, and so much more.
Ghent is a very walkable city but we will need anyway a few breaks during the day to rest our feed. We will take this opportunity to explore a different aspect of Belgian and Ghent culture, food and drinks! Ghentians love to eat and enjoy a drink in one of the many bars, restaurants or snackbars. As a local, your guide knows where to get the best fries, chocolates and beers. But, why not try a more alternative delicacy? For instance, a shot of jenever for instance (as Belgian as beer) or a Ghent Nose (a local candy).