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Ghent canal cruises

We will be day-tripping to Ghent from Bruges on a Sunday. We already have reservations to see the Alterpiece at St Bavo's, and a two-hour walking chocolate tour.
Is it necessary to decide on one of the 40 minute canal cruises in advance? From what I've read, the canal cruises don't cover much distance, but do offer some beautiful views on a good day. Maybe a nice break for the feet. Did you find it necessary to purchase a ticket in advance? It seems the tickets aren't for a specific time.
Also, does the town shut down at 6:00pm on Sundays in the spring, or are cafes and chocolate shops still open?
Thanks for all your help and insights!

Posted by
265 posts

Did a canal cruise in Bruges recently and waited just briefly. The day before I was in Ghent. I did not do a canal cruise in Ghent but there were far less people in Ghent, so I imagine you could walk up and board fairly easily.

Have also done river/canal cruises in Amsterdam, Berlin, London, Paris, Venice. It’s a nice experience and great way to experience the place from a different perspective.

I am a big fan of Ghent and feel it is grossly underrated. Maybe it’s better if it stays that way. Wink, wink. The altarpiece is breathtaking and you can almost instantly understand why it has been stolen more than once. Thankfully, it’s in its rightful place. Consider the castle, too, if you can. Sure, it’s not ornately decorated but it’s fun and has nice city views. Van Hoorebeke might be on the chocolate tour but if it’s not you should pop in there.

Posted by
1426 posts

“ Also, does the town shut down at 6:00pm on Sundays in the spring, or are cafes and chocolate shops still open?”

This is Belgium, so cafes definitely won’t close as early as 6 pm :-)
On a Sunday shops, museums etc will likely close at 6 pm or sometimes even earlier.

Posted by
33339 posts

chocolate shops still open?

the best chocolate comes from the lovely little shop mentioned above. Their hours, like most, are 7 days a week 10 to 6.

It would have been surprising if they were open longer on a Sunday than any other day. The few (mostly family) workers want to go home to be with their families.

Posted by
399 posts

When I was in Gent last October, I reserved my boat ticket the same day, but I did have to come back an hour or so later; it was not just walk on. My observation about Sunday was that places open in the afternoon and normally open in the evening did not close at 6. However, many of the restaurants I wanted to try were closed on Sundays and/or Mondays. There were still ample choices.

Posted by
5163 posts

Thanks for all the helpful info, most notably the chocolate recommendation. Here is a rookie question- is the Belgium chocolate dark chocolate or milk chocolate, or both? So many pix I have seen are dark chocolate. Altho a fan, in Switzerland, I love the milk chocolate, as it's so smooth and tasty. But I do digress, as often happens here. Thanks again!