Where to Stay in Ghent
As a cultural hub and university town, Ghent has been on avid travelers' radar for a long time now.
But the appeal of the Belgian city is much more multifaceted than one would think.
With its picturesque waterside setting, immaculate old-world cityscape, and flourishing gastronomy, this port city is everything you could wish for from a weekend vacation prospect.
Ghent has three separate railway stations, with a major international transportation hub being the southern Gent-Sint-Pieters.
Commuting within the city is hassle-free, as it has an efficient tram and bus network covering most locales.
Here, we have listed some of the best neighborhoods of Bilbao and what they might have in store for you travelers!
Graslei and Korenlei
While technically still a part of the central Patershol, the riverside Graslei and Korenlei definitely warrant a separate mention.
Originally the city's historic port, the twin neighborhoods have now been repurposed as tourist attractions.
Combined together, they have also developed a reputation as a bit of a cultural hub for Ghent.
And it all starts with the neighborhood's growing gastronomy.
The riverside is lined with terraced cafes and casual eateries that serve some of the best-known local delicacies, including stoverij and waterzooi.
There are also beer bars and pubs with similarly quaint outdoor seating.
Ghent's association with desserts and pastries goes way back; homegrown businesses have been producing distinctive baked goods for a long time now.
Amongst some must-try delicacies are the mastel and mastellena (which are basically sweet breads), the chocolate pralines, and cuberdon candies.
The medieval-era cityscape around the quays - built in linear fashion running parallel to the Leie river - also make the vicinity one of the most walkable of all city neighborhoods.
You will enjoy trotting down the riverside, marveling at the majestic-looking facades one after the other.
The twin neighborhoods lie fairly close to the city center.
You can reach the neighborhood through the road or by using a tram to arrive at a nearby station.
Given the pedestrian-friendly appeal, you would want to choose walking for all travel around the quays.
The go-to choice for many first-time travelers flying into the city, Patershol is where you'll find Ghent at its old-world best.
This immaculate neighborhood, which makes up the historic city center, is where you'll find several of the iconic 12-13th century landmarks and tour-worthy museums.
Start your city tours with a visit to the grand 1180-built sandstone castle of Gravensteen.
The massive structure has been variously used as a residence for the Count of Flanders, a court, an industrial factory, and a prison through various eras and is one of the city's most recognizable landmarks.
From the Gravensteen castle, you could make your way to other central historic district landmarks, including the Saint-Nicholas Church, the city's oldest church and home to the Aristide Cavaillé-Coll-made pipe organ; the Saint Bavo Cathedral, known for the stunning central art—Ghent Altarpiece; the Old post office building; and Belfry, the third medieval-era bell tower.
The streets around Patershol are also European in their appeal.
This city teems with eye-catching architecture, cozy cafes, and restaurants, which will give you plenty to look forward to.
The Gentse Feesten is one of the most popular events, with vigorous activities ranging from mimes to live musical acts.
Patershol is the central business district of Bilbao and sits atop the confluence of Leie and Leive rivers; accessibility is fairly straightforward.
The neighborhood has multiple stations on the Ghent Tramway network and the bus network.
Across the Leive river on the southwest from Patershol is the charming neighborhood of Prinsenhof.
It borrows a lot of the rustic and historic appeal from the city center in terms of architecture and urban design but offers a unique and relaxing experience given the absence of big-city crowds.
You will enjoy taking long evening walks along the riverside.
Walking trails run parallel to the river and are not nearly as crowded as you'd expect from such a central location.
The picturesque setting of leafy trees covering the roadside, with canoes parked by the wayside in the river, is a perfect getaway you can get without having to travel too far out of the city center.
The homely appeal of the Prinsenhof also resonates in the entertainment options that the neighborhood has to offer.
Prinsenhof is home to a few low-key performance venues, art galleries, and exhibition halls that showcase local talent.
Centre and Buurthuis Prinsenhof are famous for their collection of paintings, artifacts, and rotating outdoor art exhibitions.
The neighborhood is connected to Patershol through a few major city bridges, and you should not have any trouble commuting between the two neighborhoods.
And while in Prinsenhof, you'll have the luxury to stay in a relatively inexpensive hotel or bed-and-breakfast located just outside of the city center.
Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat is the go-to choice for history-buffs, where you will see some of the city's best museums.
An expansive neighborhood, it occupies a central location just south of the quays.
First things first, though!
Make sure that you pay a visit to the big fish, including The world of Kina, the main natural history museum; the Sint-Pietersabdij, its accompanying abbey, and vineyards; the Museum voor Schone Kunsten, housing some of the finest exhibits of European art across the globe; and STAM, situated right across the other side of the river.
And going back to the prime location, there are plenty of things for travelers to look forward to who choose to base themselves in Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat!
Travel a little northward, and you'll find yourself in the midst of busy shopping districts with huge international and indie boutiques.
Or you can choose to hang around the central and southern part of the neighborhood, which has one of the highest concentrations of restaurants and bars in all of Ghent.
Peter's Square, in particular, is teeming with an endless list of dining and drinking options to choose from.
Sint-Amandsberg is sandwiched between the flashier neighborhoods of Graslei and Ledebeeg and remains easily accessible from both ends.
Multiple stations on the Ghent Tramway and the efficient road network ensure that you are always just a short public transport/private ride away from all major city landmarks.
The southern neighborhood of Ledeberg is where you are likely to come across a large chunk of the city's Gen Z population.
The University of Ghent has its main campus just southwest of the neighborhood; as a result, it has developed a bit of a 24/7 lifestyle to suit the choices of the college students.
Take-out restaurants and fast-food joints dot the city streets, which come alive in the evenings.
The neighborhood also has a long list of clubs and watering holes to choose from; most establishments stay open till late into the night, lending the neighborhood a lively nightlife.
Some parts of Ledeberg may feel slightly farther out than most centrally located names on the list, but the presence of multiple stations of the Ghent Tram network and the bus network in the vicinity make access hassle-free.
You should not have too much trouble finding inexpensive accommodation in this part of the city either.
Hostels and shared living spaces are also common, given the large student population living close to the Ghent University campus.
And for the last neighborhood on the list, we bring you the outdoorsy Sint-Amandsberg.
Tucked away into the western corner of Ghent, this is the place best suited for travelers looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city center.
The neighborhood is your typical suburb, with a great mix of modern homes and vintage architecture.
Largely residential, it is built according to the needs of the local community.
And that's a day spent in the neighborhood that will get you the most intimate look at the life of people living in Ghent.
You can choose to spend time around the neighborhood's supermarkets, looking for fresh produce, socializing with the local crowds at the nearby bar, or dining at one of the many restaurants.
The neighborhood is home to lush green spaces that make for the perfect spots for picnics, outdoor grills, and small get-togethers.
Look a little further, and you might as well come across a few great hiking areas.
Sint-Amandsberg is an expansive neighborhood, but travel remains largely hassle-free given that it has multiple stations on the Ghent Tramway network.
While in the neighborhood, you might want to look for a lovely homestay or bed and breakfast for your accommodation.
And that's our complete list from Bilbao.
Take a look and have a great time planning your next vacation; a Belgian haven awaits!