Photo Essay: Falling In Love with Ghent


“You must visit Ghent,” they said, “It’s the hidden gem of Belgium,” they said. Even Lonely Planet called it “the best kept secret in Europe.” And yet… I was still not prepared for Ghent’s incredible beauty. In August, I spent a week traveling throughout Belgium. Brussels charmed me, Antwerp underwhelmed me, and Bruges met all of my dreamy expectations. But Ghent? Ghent stopped me in my tracks.

I arrived on a glorious summer’s day in August and almost immediately regretted my plan to only spend 24 hours in the city. Please, do yourself a favor and spend at least 3 days in Ghent. Exploring the streets of Ghent is like walking through a historical painting. Your eyes are treated to an architectural feast of castles and cathedrals around every corner. Completely mesmerized, I kept asking myself, “People actually LIVE here?”

Due to my tight schedule, I hardly had any time to check out all of the attractions. Nevertheless, I was more than content with just strolling through the streets, camera in hand. Instead of reading me rave about Ghent for 10 more paragraphs, I’ll let my pictures do the talking. Hopefully, you’ll fall a little bit in love with Ghent too.


I can’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon in Ghent than strolling along the Leie River and admiring that gorgeous Belgian architecture.


Can you spot a mini Big Ben?! London is my favorite city so this was wonderful to see.


Korenmarkt has become a large outdoor terrace where locals and tourists alike come to enjoy their surroundings and find a bite to eat.


Despite being the second biggest city in Belgium, Ghent remains spacious and charming with lovely plazas such as this.


Here’s a view from the back of Saint Nicholas’ Church, one of the oldest and most prominent landmarks in Ghent that dates back to the 13th century.


Colorful flowers line the river walk in Ghent as you approach St Michael’s Bridge.


Getting lost in Ghent is something I’d highly recommend to any tourist.


In the distance, you can see a part of Gravensteen Castle which originates from the Middle Ages.


This photograph reminds me a bit of the colorful Nyhavn buildings in Copenhagen. Does anyone else see the resemblance?


Those people on the left had the right idea to sit along the river and admire the wonder that is Ghent.


I had to save this picture for last because it is my absolute favorite. The best spot to admire Ghent’s cityscape is by walking across St Michael’s Bridge.

Which photo is your favorite? Have you ever been to Ghent? I’d love to know! Leave a comment below.

Happy travels!

Picture 3



  1. Mike says:

    I have obviously never been to either Ghent or Antwerp but from photos alone I can see and FEEL a difference in what you experienced and why you preferred the former! It’s absolutely beautiful, Lauren! Speaking of your bite to eat I would love to see some of your Belgian dishes you had! Great post 🙂

    • Lauren Meshkin says:

      Mike,Ghent is just unreal. So magical. Also, I am SO bad at remembering to take food pictures – unless I’m on a food tour! I’d be a horrible food blogger as I’m too impatient and start digging in before snapping away! 🙂

  2. Eddie says:

    Hi Lauren,
    I have a trip planned this coming March/April to the continental West, and will have about 3 days to explore some of Belgium. I’d like to have a day trip to Luxembourg City too. I should have booked a few extra days, but that’s my mistake after being undecided on Belgian cities.

    April 9th I arrive in Amsterdam at 1:30pm – I could go straight to Belgium or spend the night (I will already have a night or two at the end of my trip).
    April 10th – day trip in Bruges
    April 11th – day trip in Luxembourg City
    April 12th – day trip in Brussels until an 8:30pm flight to Lisbon.

    Would you recommend maybe basing myself in Ghent and exploring Brussels, Bruges and Luxembourg City on day trips (instead of lodging in one or more of these cities?). I would not really have a “full day” in Ghent, but I could enjoy Ghent for 2-3 evenings.
    Alterntively, I know you did not enjoy Antwerp as much, but perhaps Antwerp would have more nightlife than Ghent and maybe could be a better as a base.

    Any suggestions would be helpful if you still check this!

    • Daphne says:

      Hello Eddie,

      Unfortunately I’m not Lauren. However, I was checking this post out & I came across your comment, and I saw that it had been left unanswered so I thought I would reply. I hope this is not too late!
      I’m from Brussels, but I live in London and I travel to Belgium every winter and summer, so I thought I would give you my personal insight.

      Geographically, Brussels is in the centre of Belgium. So, for travelling, basing yourself in Brussels would probably be best if you plan on going to Antwerpen, Brugge and so on, and so forth. However, obviously, this does not mean that you can’t stay elsewhere. Also, the nightlife in Brussels is really good (obviously, because it’s the capital). However, I can understand if you do not want to stay there because it is rather busy and quite packed, but I’m a bruxelloise so obviously, I would recommend Brussels as your base 😉 aha.

      If you want somewhere that you can just come home and relax – then Ghent is probably the best option. It’s quieter than Antwerp. However, it is still a city. So if you’re looking for a place with a good nightlife, and Ghent is more to your liking, then it’s not a problem. There are loads of bars, and clubs. Despite what the pictures depict, it is still a lively city!

      I know that Lauren said that Antwerp was not to her liking, I, personally, love Antwerp. It resembles a dutch Brussels, which I love. It’s really fashionable, and chic, and I just love love love the people. Also, there are loads of canals which are really gorgeous. So, I would also recommend staying in Antwerp too. It’s also kinda central so travelling to Luxembourg City and Brugge wouldn’t be too bad. (Not that it matters too much as Belgium is a small country, so travelling within Belgium is not that taxing). The nightlife would probably be more vast, as in more bars and clubs and so on, and also probably more people. However, not necessarily better. So, honestly it’s up to you. Antwerp may be a bit more pricey than Ghent. However, I’m not sure.

      Maybe Antwerp since it’s not scheduled on your trip?

      I hope this helped!

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