When you think about a trip to Belgium, you probably think of visiting Brussels since it is the capital and one of the most popular choices. However, smaller cities like Ghent and Bruges are also top picks for travelers. While Brussels deserve a visit, a lot of people choose to stay in Ghent, which is just an hour away by car or half an hour by train. In fact, there are some great reasons to choose Ghent for your stay if you want to get a taste of Belgium. Take a look at these top reasons to pick Ghent over Brussels for your first visit to Belgium.
Easier to Walk and Bike
One of the best reasons to pick Ghent over Brussels is that it’s much more pedestrianized. Unlike some other European countries, driving and owning cars is still pretty popular in Belgium. There have been efforts to make cities more friendly for pedestrians and cyclists. Ghent’s city center was pedestrianized in the 90s, and expansion of the pedestrian zone began last year. In Brussels, however, pedestrianization is progressing more slowly. There are three pedestrianized squares, but they’re still trying to make further changes – and many people are resistant.
Visiting Europe can get expensive. Just getting over there is fairly expensive and that’s before you start traveling around. Fortunately, you can always find ways to save money. However, you may not want to spend all your time staying in hostels and cooking for yourself to save on food. If you pick Ghent over Brussels, you’ll get more for your money. You can enjoy a beautiful stay at the Ghent Marriott Hotel, and find more affordable restaurants to try, too. Although it’s a smaller city, you won’t be limited when it comes to choice.
Anywhere that you visit in Belgium will have plenty of history to explore. However, many people like Ghent for its beautifully preserved medieval center compared to the many modern buildings in Brussels. Of course, Ghent has some modern architecture too, but there are also quaint canals and buildings that have been around for hundreds of years. The selection of museums allows you to explore a wider history too, from the museum for contemporary art to more unusual establishments like the Dr. Guislain Museum which is hosted in a 19th century psychiatric hospital.
Easy to Take Day Trips
Choosing to visit Ghent doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on other places. You can base your stay in Ghent, but still have easy access to other towns and cities by car or public transportation . Brussels is only half an hour on the train, and Brussels airport about an hour, while Bruges is about 25 minutes away. Belgium is a small country, so you can get just about anywhere in a day. If you find yourself bored of Antwerp and Leuven, there’s always the option of Paris, Amsterdam or Cologne.
Brussels might be the most popular in Belgium, but try Ghent for a cozy and comfortable stay. You can always take in the sights in Brussels on a day trip.This post may contain affiliate links.