Travel Plans for Gent, Belgium – Eating, beer, things to do

Discussion in 'Featured' started by dnoll5, February 12, 2017.

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  1. dnoll5

    dnoll5 Member Blogger

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    In what I hope becomes a regular piece here at Tottenham Live (because if Spurs keep winning in Europe, I’ll keep writing them), I am giving you, the traveling supporter of Tottenham Hotspur, a city guide to Gent, Belgium, site of Tottenham’s latest European excursion. In these pieces, I hope to give you some suggestions as to what to do when you’re not at the match- what to see, what to eat, what to drink, where to stay, local customs, etc.

    Traveling There
    Gent is a quick 60 kilometers away from the Belgian capital of Brussels. I would assume that most Spurs supporters will take the EuroStar to Brussels, and from there, trains run every fifteen minutes or so. The ride takes anywhere between a half hour and one hour depending on your connection, but a train to Gent-St. Pieters from Brussels should be a piece of cake.

    There are also nine direct buses daily from Brussels-Charleroi airport if you have chosen to take the flight to Belgium.

    The city centre of Gent is imminently walkable and quite pretty. It is compact and you’ll get to walk down those old cobblestone streets and marvel at the beauty of the canals that surround the centre of town. One might even consider that the best thing to do in Gent is to walk about, find a purveyor of fine Belgian beers, and take a seat….but more on that later.

    Tourist Attractions/Things to Do
    I went to Gent several years ago with some Belgian friends, and only for one day, so I’ll admit to not seeing it all. This list is a practical one and will only include what many consider the “must-do” attractions in Gent.

    Gravensteen Castle is perhaps the most famous building in Gent. Dating from 1180, this castle comes complete with all the typical features including torture devices and the familial coats of arms symbolizing its many inhabitants. It even has its own moat. You can climb to the top turrets and get a nice view of the city centre. The price of admission is ten euros.

    Gent’s “Three Towers” dominate the skyline and each are worth their own visit. If you can only visit one, St. Bavo’s Cathedral certainly makes a claim as the smart choice. The interior of the cathedral is impressive, but most people are there to see “The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb”, an altarpiece by Hubert and Jan Van Eyck. Admission is four euros.

    The unique design of the St. Nicholas church near to St. Bavo’s is what attracts the visitors. The tower is uniquely located in the exact center of the structure. Admission to this church is free.

    The belfry is where you can get the best vistas in all of Gent and as you make your way to the top of the 91-metre structure, you can see the inner workings of the famous clock that adorns the side of the tower. Admission is eight euros and you can take the stairs or the elevator to the summit.

    To top off the visit to these landmarks, venture to the St. Michaels Bridge which is said to be the best spot in all of Gent to take a perfect photo of these three iconic towers.

    The city boasts three great museums- STAM, the Ghent City Museum; MSK, the Museum of Fine Arts; and SMAK, the Museum of Contemporary Art. Each cost eight Euros and each features exactly what the name implies. If you’re a museum buff, the Ghent City Card might be a good idea. It will also help cut down on the price of things if you decide to visit any of the above attractions. It’s 30 euros for 48 hours and 35 for 72 hours.

    You’re in Belgium, so beer is definitely going to enter into the equation. Gruut Brewery is the hometown choice. The brewery offers free visits everyday, but for a small price, you can get a tour in English and three samples after the tour. Eleven euros gets you the tour and the beer, and 18 gets you the tour, the beer, and a small platter of local meats, cheeses, and mustards. In order to go on the tour, you must book in advance.

    Of course, Gent has its fair share of bars and pubs and you can find them anywhere. De Dulle Griet, Cafe Den Turk, and Het Trappistenhuis seem to be popular favorites in the centre of town. When I visited, we went to Waterhuis aan de Bierkant and it was great. We took a seat outside that overlooked the canal.

    I can’t confidently give you a selection of eating choices in Gent as we were at the mercy of our Belgian friends, but it seems that if you’re looking for a hearty meal in Gent, you won’t have to venture outside the city centre. I can however, highly recommend the head cheese and mustard as an accompaniment to any beer. Oh, and the fries. Don’t call them french fries here though, they’re Flemish. And they’re delicious.

    Some of the highest rated restaurants are within the old city centre and should be easily accessed by foot. De Rave is for those that want a fine dining experience while in Belgium. Vrijmoed also falls in that category if you want to splurge a little. If you don’t want to spend all your money on food, Georges is a place where you can eat the most famous of Belgian dishes- moules frites.

    And you can’t go to Belgium without eating some chocolate and/or some waffles. Max is a great spot for some authentic “Belgian Waffles” while some top chocolatiers include Céleste, Neuhaus, Chocolaterie Van Hoorebake, and HD Ghent.

    Seeing as I’m not you and I have no idea your budget or preference when it comes to lodging, I cannot easily recommend a place to stay. Trip Advisor has 110 choices on their website and Airbnb gives over 300 options for short stay use.

    KAA Gent’s Ghelamco Arena
    Many of you will be using transportation provided by Tottenham Hotspur, but there are public options if you have to use them. The Ghelamco Arena is five kilometres outside of town and shuttle buses are available before and after the match from Woodrow Wilsonplein. It is free if you leave between 2:30 and 1:45 before the match, otherwise it is one euro. It is similar for the return trip.

    So, enjoy Gent, enjoy some beers, and enjoy Tottenham Hotspur in Europe!
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  3. Keith G Guest

    Thanks for the info. Need the trip to rid myself of the farcical performance I watched yesterday!!
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  4. Mattj78

    Mattj78 Well-Known Member

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    What a fabulous article!!! Superb. Good work.
  5. Dace Member

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    Not going but an excellent article.
    Very informative in interesting.
    Thanks for taking the time to write it .
    Too long a journey for me !!
  6. Bazza47

    Bazza47 Well-Known Member

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    Brilliant dnoll....I only wish I was a travelling supporter....

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