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Expat Exchange - The Essential Guide to Ghent 2024
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Ghent, Belgium


The Essential Guide to Ghent

By Betsy Burlingame

William Russell
William Russell

Summary: Our Guide to Ghent: Top Attractions, Culinary Hotspots, Nightlife, and More. Plus, Tips on Making Connections with the Locals and Finding Fun Recreational Activities

Welcome to Ghent! If you're planning to move to Ghent, congratulations on taking the first step towards a new adventure. While there are many things to think about before you leave, such as visas, housing, and transportation, it's important to remember that once you arrive, the fun really begins. In this article, we'll introduce you to some of the best sites, restaurants, and nightlife that Ghent has to offer, as well as provide tips on recreational activities and making friends in Ghent.

Ghent, is a city rich in history and culture, offering a plethora of attractions for both tourists and locals. The city's medieval architecture is one of its main draws, with the Saint Bavo's Cathedral being a must-visit. This stunning cathedral houses the world-famous Ghent Altarpiece, a 15th-century painting by the Van Eyck brothers. Another iconic landmark is the Gravensteen, a well-preserved medieval castle that offers panoramic views of the city from its towers. The Belfry of Ghent, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is another must-see, with its carillon of 54 bells and a dragon weather vane at the top.

The city is also home to several museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts, which houses works from the Middle Ages to the 20th century, and the STAM Ghent City Museum, which provides an overview of Ghent's history and culture. The Design Museum Gent showcases a collection of contemporary and historical design objects. For those interested in the city's industrial past, the MIAT (Museum about Industry, Labour and Textile) is a fascinating visit. Ghent's botanical garden is a peaceful retreat, with its collection of more than 10,000 plant species.

Ghent's restaurant and nightlife scene is vibrant and diverse, catering to a range of tastes and budgets. The city is known for its gastronomic scene, with several Michelin-starred restaurants such as 't Vlierhofke and Jan Van Den Bon. For traditional Flemish cuisine, De Stove and Brasserie Pakhuis are popular choices. Ghent is also a vegetarian-friendly city, with restaurants like Avalon and Le Botaniste offering a variety of plant-based dishes.

For drinks and nightlife, Ghent has a plethora of bars and pubs. Het Waterhuis aan de Bierkant is a traditional Belgian pub with a wide selection of beers, while Dreupelkot is known for its homemade jenever, a traditional Belgian spirit. For a more modern vibe, visit The Cobbler, a stylish cocktail bar located in the 1898 The Post hotel. Ghent also has a thriving music scene, with venues like Vooruit and Handelsbeurs Concertzaal hosting concerts and performances.

Recreational activities in Ghent are varied and cater to different interests. The city's canals offer opportunities for boat tours, which provide a unique perspective of Ghent's historic buildings and landmarks. For those who prefer to explore on foot, the city's pedestrianized center is perfect for leisurely strolls. The city also has several parks and green spaces, such as the Citadelpark and the Blaarmeersen, a recreational area with a lake for swimming and other water sports.

Cycling is a popular activity in Ghent, with numerous bike rental services and cycling routes available. The city's cultural scene also offers plenty of recreational opportunities, with theaters, concert halls, and cinemas hosting a variety of performances and screenings. The Capitole Gent and the NTGent are among the city's most renowned theaters. For those interested in sports, the Ghelamco Arena is home to the city's football team, KAA Gent.

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Insider Tips from Expats in Ghent: Making the Most of Life and Connections

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GeoBlue is a trusted leader in international health insurance. Wherever your destination, GeoBlue can keep you and your family covered with the right health insurance. Get a GeoBlue Quote Today!

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About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


William Russell
William Russell

William Russell
William Russell

Ghent, Belgium

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SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
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