By Lauren Kmec
Ghent
Belgium
Photo gallery
Located in Belgium’s East Flanders province, Ghent is the fourth-largest city in Belgium and is perhaps best known for its flowers. This port city at the intersection of the Sheldt and Lys Rivers is centrally located in Belgium, making it easily accessible from all over the country. Though it is often overshadowed by the neighboring cities of Brussels and Antwerp, this lively and progressive city is truly one of Belgium’s hidden gems.

EscapeWizard.com invites you to visit this lovely destination. Ghent itself does not have a major airport, so the easiest way to get here is to fly into Brussels International Airport (BRU) and continue on to Ghent by train. A direct train ride from Brussels International Airport takes ~45 minutes. Make your flight arrangements with EscapeWizard.com by following this link (www.escapewizard.com/flight.php). Let EscapeWizard.com help you find the perfect place to stay in Ghent to ensure your comfort during your visit (www.escapewizard.com/hotels.php?flag=htl). We recommend the Holiday Inn Express as the best rates in the city.

EscapeWizard.com encourages travelers to visit St. Bavo Cathedral, arguably Ghent’s most recognizable symbol. Originally constructed during the High Middle Ages, the cathedral was a work in progress for many years, as it was continually expanded until the 16th century.  The cathedral was most recently restored in 2006, and it is now open to the public for worship and tourism. St. Bavo Cathedral is renowned for its impressive collection of artwork, dating from the 8th century A.D. through the 1990s. By far, the most distinguished work in the cathedral is the world-famous “Adoration of the Mystic Lamb,” a painting by Flemish masters Hubrecht and Jan van Eyck. Other artistic treasures include works by Rubens and van Gent, as well as a magnificent Baroque-style altar made of marble.

The Gravensteen (aka “The Castle of the Counts”) is another of Ghent’s unique attractions recommended by EscapeWizard.com. The castle was constructed in 1180 for Count Philip of Alsace, but historians suspect that a castle existed on this site as early as the year 1000—and parts of the original walls are still intact. By 1353, the Gravensteen had been abandoned, but it served a variety of purposes over the next few centuries: First, it was used as the Belgian Mint, and then it became a prison until the 1800s, when it was converted into a textile factory. The Gravensteen was restored to its original grandeur in the 1900s. Today, it houses an arts facility and a museum on the history of prison life.

EscapeWizard.com suggests venturing to the Graslei and the Koornlei, two scenic streets lying on the old harbor on the banks of the Lys River. This area was a port in Medieval times that specialized in the trade of vegetables, herbs, and wheat. These streets are lined with traditional Medieval guild houses, which are reminiscent of the power and wealth centered in Ghent during the Middle Ages. Be sure to check out “The Spijker,” the oldest house at the Graslei, dating back to the end of the 12th century. The Grain Counters House and the House of the Free Sailors are also noteworthy.

St. Michael’s Bridge, situated in the center of town, is probably the best place from which to admire Ghent’s abundantly beautiful architecture. St. Michael’s Church is located at one end of the bridge; the Graslei and Koornlei are on the other.  The bridge itself is an impressive structure, which is best observed from the Graslei. EscapeWizard.com recommends viewing Ghent’s amazing sights after dark when the city is illuminated in style, thanks to the Ghent Lighting Plan, an organized system of lights designed to highlight the splendor of this incredible city.

For a taste of the “true” Ghent, EscapeWizard.com encourages you to explore the Patershol, an interesting neighborhood that has recently become a trendy dining hotspot. This 11-acre area is located near the Gravensteen, and its very narrow streets harken back to the Middle Ages, when the Patershol was a prime spot for trades and handicrafts. The area fell into disrepair in the late 19th century; however, the Patershol was rejuvenated after World War II, and it is now one of Ghent’s most desirable areas.

With a plethora of historic attractions and its village-like charm, Ghent, Belgium is the perfect choice for a European retreat. So don’t hesitate; book your trip to Ghent today with EscapeWizard.com.
Hotels in Ghent
By Adam J. Mohney
Holiday Inn
Maaltekouter 2, St. Denijs-Westrem, Belgium
Photo gallery
Book Holiday Inn-Gent Expo on EscapeWizard.com and you will not sacrifice comfort or location for low cost during your Belgian vacation. Located in the historic center of the city of Gent, Holiday Inn-Gent Expo offers safety and satisfaction to guests without being unaffordable to travelers on a budget. Guests of Holiday Inn-Gent Expo will enjoy easy access to several local attractions, such as the Petershol, a famous medieval style restaurant and the nearby World War I battlefields.

EscapeWizard.com guests of Holiday Inn-Gent Expo will stay connected during their stay in Belgium with an available telephone, television and free wireless internet access. Also in-room are a mini-bar and a coffee or tea maker. All rooms also feature the comfortable Holidreamer bedding, patented by Holiday Inn.

Guests of Holiday Inn-Gent Expo seeking fitness during their stay will appreciate the recently renovated, air conditioned mini-gym with a variety of exercise equipment. Holiday Inn-Gent Expo also caters to traveling families in a variety of ways. These include available kids menu, a kids eat free program and babysitting. Safety is also a concern of the staff, as a safety deposit box is offered at the front desk to all guests. Business travelers will also be able to work as they enjoy Belgium at the unstaffed Holiday Inn-Gent Expo business center.

EscapeWizard.com guests will eat well during their stay at Holiday Inn-Gent Expo, as well. The Atrium Restaurant offers a full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu of local Belgian beers and cuisine. Atrium also includes a delicious and extensive breakfast buffet each morning, so guests can get their long, adventurous days started right. Travelers looking to unwind at the end of long days will appreciate the internet accessible Altrium Bar featuring a wide array of wines, champagne and cocktails. The free wi-fi in the bar makes it the perfect place to unwind with a couple of drinks while catching up at home. Each day at 5 p.m. is also happy hour, where Altrium patrons will enjoy two for one drink specials.

You do not have to sacrifice location, comfort and security for cost during your next stay in Belgium. EscapeWizard.com invites you to enjoy the culture in the heart of historical Gent, Belgium at a rate that is affordable in a place that is accessible by booking Holiday Inn-Gent Expo now. Click to get started (www.escapewizard.com/hotels.php?flag=htl).