Shhh, don't tell everyone about Ghent. Just go there and love it. It has all the history, architecture and art of the more touristy Bruges, Brussels and Antwerp, but is also a lively modern city with a big university and healthy calender of annual festivals.

Ghent sits at the meeting point of two rivers: the Leie and the Scheidt, so it's always been an important port - which helped make it wealthy. With roots right back to the Stone Age, Roman times, and abbeys founded in 650AD, by the 13th century Ghent was the largest European city after Paris. During the 14th century it was building its wealth through trading with England, turning English wool into cloth and selling it back. Inevitably war and taxes brought all this undone, culminating in the defeat of the city by one of its own sons, Charles V who had become Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain and did not appreciate the feisty opposition of the merchants of Ghent not wanting to pay hefty taxes to fund his military campaigns.

Alongside the impressive history which permeates Ghent - Gravensteen castle, St Bavo Cathedral (the patron saint), the Belfry (great views) and the old port of Graslei – the city has excellent museums of art, from Hieronymous Bosch to Joseph Beuys.  It also hosts annual techno music festivals, film festivals, and the renowned Gentse Feesten, ten days when the city is taken over with music and theatre.

Tours & Tickets

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Ghent and Bruges Day Trip from Brussels

4 star rating: Recommended 1075 Reviews

Discover two of Flanders' special gems on a full day trip to Ghent and Bruges. No visit to Belgium is complete without a visit to these two beautiful cities, ...  Read more

Location: Brussels, Belgium
Duration: 9.5 hours

From USD $62.56

Bruges Day Trip from Amsterdam

4 star rating: Recommended 425 Reviews

Discover Bruges – one of the most captivating cities in Belgium – on this day trip from Amsterdam. After traveling to Bruges by coach, you will receive a brief ...  Read more

Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 11 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $92.20

Private Tour: Ghent and Bruges Day Trip from Brussels

Visit the historical cities of Ghent and Bruges in one day on this must-do private tour from Brussels! With an attentive private guide at your side, explore ...  Read more

Location: Brussels, Belgium
Duration: 9 hours (approx.)

From USD $140.94

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