Country code 32, area code 9
Ghent is a city with a population of a quarter of a million. Its size and position allow the inhabitants to enjoy a city with an interesting crossover between open cosmopolitanism and the quiet atmosphere of a provincial town.
Ghent is thriving as many young people choose to live here instead of in the countryside or the crowded city centers of Brussels and Antwerp.
Ghent is a city of history. During the Middle Ages, it was one of the richest and most powerful cities in Europe and was once considered the second largest city north of the Alps, after Paris. The impact of this rich past can be clearly seen when viewing the imposing architecture of churches and the houses of rich traders. The entire city center is restored and still breathes the atmosphere of a thriving late-medieval city state. As the city council made the center free of cars, it is now a very welcoming and open area, which does not fail to impress even the people who live there.
Ghent is also a university city with more than 60,000 students. As such, its streets are filled with young people. There is an interesting mixture of foreigners who came to live there, or artists, amongst the native people of Ghent. Interestingly, other than the smaller provincial cities or the bigger city of Antwerp, this mixture makes the people more tolerant and open-minded. This atmosphere seeps into every aspect of city life. Ghent is also known for its thriving music culture and has been designated UNESCO CREATIVE City of Music.
Getting around in Ghent
Main vanue: Campus UFO, Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 25, 9000 Gent
The center of Ghent is quite small, so you can walk around on foot. However, the main station (Gent Sint-Pieters) is not in the city center, but takes a walk of about half an hour to the city center and 20 minutes to the venue.
The best option is to take the tram (No. 1), which takes you directly from Ghent St. Pieters Station to the center in 10 to 15 minutes. A single ticket costs 3.00€ if bought in the bus/tram or 1.60€ if bought from ticket machines near stops, such a ticket is valid for an hour's travel on all trams and buses. Another option is to send a textmessage “DL” to 4884, which will cost 2.25€. You can also buy a pass for 16€, that is valid for 10 trips.
Closest public transport to venue:
Savaanstraat or Verlorenkost tram stops, 500m from main venue and University campus
Zuid tram stop, across the Muinkschelde river behind the venue.
Bagattenstraat bus stop
Though the mobility plan makes visiting the city by car a little tricky, taxis can be a good work around. There are numerous taxi companies based in Ghent, all of which are supposed to operate at the same rate. Environmentally conscious travellers may opt for an electrical taxi, but not all companies can provide this service. Asking is key. Electrical taxis in Ghent are, by the way, no more expensive than their non-electrical counterparts.
Taxis are waiting for you at the Gent-Sint-Pieters (leaving the station through main city exit, turn right and go down to the underground taxi stand) and Gent-Dampoort train stations, and at many other strategic locations around the city: Korenmarkt, Woodrow Wilsonplein (‘de Zuid’) and Flanders Expo.
Major service providers are:
V-tax: call 09 222 22 22 or 09 223 23 23 or book online, also offer electric taxis
Taxi Gent: call 09 333 33 33 or book online, also offer electric taxis
Full list of service providers can be found here.
Central Ghent is a car free city. Since January Ghent city is also Low Emission Zone. That means restricted access to the city center. You can find more information on the city government website: https://lez.stad.gent/en/flows/controleertoegang
Shops are typically closed on Sundays and state holidays. However, every first Sunday of the month most of the malls are open.
There is a market every Friday (7:30-13:00) and Saturday (6:30-11:00) at the Vrijdagsmarkt square. Most cafes and food places open around 11:00 or 12:00 and close around 20:00 or later at night. Some restaurants may close in the afternoons to prepare for dinner.
Eating out in Ghent
Ghent is considered European vegan capital. There are many options of local and international cuisines all over the city. It is recommended to have a look at the Oudburg street, a lively restaurant area in the foodie neighborhood of Ghent. Please keep in mind that reserving a place ahead in time is recommended as locals tend to go to eat out a lot and venues are full.
There is a list of local delicacies to be tasted, see more here.
Ghent is the city where Van Eyck painted his world-famous masterpiece and where for the past six centuries, millions of visitors have gathered from all over the world to admire the altarpiece.
Go here for more information: https://visit.gent.be/en/omg-van-eyck-was-here
Ghent has a very lively nightlife scene. The thousands of students, lively atmosphere and cool music scene make Ghent the ideal destination for a night out.
Most of the places to go are all close to each other. At the Oude Beestenmarkt, you will be tripping over trendy places to go. De Vlasmarkt is a meeting place for real night owls, filled with bars and dance places. De Overpoort (close to Uni campus) is where you will find the students and where you can party until late the next morning.
Useful links about Ghent
Ghent official tourist website: https://visit.gent.be/en
Like a local guide to Ghent nightlife: https://www.likealocalguide.com/ghent/nightlife
Eating out in Ghent: https://thesquare.gent/leisure/dining-ghent/
City government website about access to low emission zone: https://lez.stad.gent/en/flows/controleertoegang