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Brussels for a day and a stop in Ghent

We will be arriving in Brussels on our way to Lyon.
We would like to spend a day in Brussels and a day in Ghent.
Any suggestions of what to see and do? We only have a day each place, so we can't do one thing that takes the majority of the day.
Also, any suggestions for restaurants? we like to explore what the country has to offer.

Thank you

Posted by
5019 posts

What are your interests?
If you check a guide book, you'll find food tours, cheese tours, beer tours- then there are the canals, museums and history.
Perhaps review the threads posted here under that country. Also do a Search here once you've defined your specific preferences.
Please share more of your interests and travel style.
Safe travels!

Posted by
6832 posts

Hi, Maria,

You will love Ghent! I stayed for for 3 nights back in 2018 and it was my favorite place in Belgium. It's such a beautiful and livable city, with gorgeous buildings and walkability. I'm not sure what you like to see but it does have a beautiful cathedral that is worth a visit. Here is an article (no paywall) that you might like to read through that gives some of the highlights of Ghent. I just enjoyed walking the city, eating in the many good restaurants and enjoying the great vibe it put out. 36 Hours in Ghent - What to Do?

Posted by
90 posts

If this is your first time in Belgium, I would suggest looking into a day trip to Bruges rather than spending the day in Brussels. Bruges is easily reached by a short train ride from either Brussels or Ghent and is more charming and has more interesting sights than Brussels. The only must see in Brussels is the Grand Place in my opinion, which you can easily do for dinner or drinks at the end of the day once you get back from Ghent or Bruges. Brussels could easily fill a day however depending on your specific interests, especially if those interests include shopping, chocolate and beer. The Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Brussels is a minor art museum by European standards, but if you love art, is still worthwhile. As far as restaurants, if you choose not to eat on the Grand Place for the atmosphere, then Brussels is famous for its art nouveau cafes, including Falstaff and Le Cirio.

The big thing in Ghent is St. Bavo's Cathedral, including the Ghent Altarpiece. After that, probably the biggest attraction is just the city itself. Rick Steves has a pretty good walking tour in his book. Ghent feels similar to Bruges but is bigger and feels more like a place where people live rather than mostly a tourist destination. I still feel like Bruges might be more worth your time, but many people prefer Ghent for the reasons I described. I didn't have any food in Ghent that was so memorable that I'd recommend it, but there's a lot there.

Posted by
6732 posts

Here’s my list of things to see in Ghent when we were there in 2018.
Gravensteen castle
Sint Veerleplein square
St. Michaels bridge
Graslei and Korenlei - walking
Belfry and tower
Stadhuis - City hall
Vrijdagmarkt - square
Korenmarkt - square
Het Groot Vleeshuis – beer hall
Rabot Sluice – a lock
Van Eyck brothers statue
St. Bavo’s cathedral - alter
Glass alley – red light area, Pieter Vanderdoncktdoorgang 1
Metselaarshuis - Mason’s guild hall
Castillo de Gerardo el Diablo
Werregarenstraat - alley with bright paintings.

Have a nice trip.

Posted by
5019 posts

You need to check the website for each site for current info, but many places are closed Sundays and Mondays.
Safe travels!