Right at the end of last year I had one of my annual trips to a Christmas market. Basing myself in Lille (France), I had my eye on a day trip to Belgium. Ghent was my chosen location and is only one hour and a quarter away by local trains. This is my account of the short visit I made to this beautiful Belgian city.
With historic, colourful buildings and a bustling Christmas market, Ghent is easy on the eye, even on a cloudy day.
The train ride involved one change at Kortrijk in Belgium. Having crossed the border between France and Belgium we were ready to switch trains but it turned out the same train merely changed its number and became the second train. So we basically just had to wait for fifteen minutes and carry on towards Ghent. I found this amusing as I had got off the train looking for a different one but hadn’t needed to.
Getting from Ghent station to the centre (Korenmarkt) took about eighteen minutes. It was extremely crowded as Ghent is a proper tourist trap. Arriving near a fantastic church and famous bridge (St Michael’s bridge), the view was well worth the wait and discomfort of the crouded tram.
After taking in the architecture, we walked over to a place where everyone was hopping on boats. Straight away we got onto a forty minute boat tour which took us along the canals and past the intimidating Castle of the Counts (Gravensteen).
Although it was a fairly short tour, we went down three arms of the canal and had a chance to see all of the important sites.
Afterwards, we made our way to the nearby Christmas market which was impressive and had many of the same features as the one in Lille, such as the Ferris Wheel.
My favourite thing was sampling a hot dog and some famous Belgian fries.
In A Nutshell
Deciding to walk along the canal back to the train station rather than taking the tram, I realised that Ghent is packed with history, shops and intrigue. I know that I will visit again and spend more time enjoying this fantastic place. Although I was on a rush to get back to Lille (because Eurostar trains were on hold and I thought I would need to go to Calais), my brief hours in beautiful Ghent were satisfying and the city looked just as picturesque as instagram suggested.
Check out my Bonjour Lille article for more about my Christmas travels. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog. Please follow me for similar future content.