Exploring the Charm of Ghent: A Journey Through Picturesque Delights

Anuradha Kumari
7 min readJan 26, 2024


Hi everyone, I have been thinking of writing my travel experiences for quite a while, and what better time to begin than with the first trip of this brand new year? So, let’s dive in.

I write this from my perspective, places I visited and what were my experiences.

Why do I travel?

Traveling to new places is something that refreshes my mind and soul. I love exploring different countries, cities, cultures, histories, and the beauty of nature. And so, I am always thinking about planning a new trip haha.

Why Ghent?

In 2024, I want to travel more, so I was just zooming in to Google Maps, narrowing down my list of desired destinations for the first trip of the year. That’s when I spotted Ghent!

Ghent is a vibrant city in the northwest of Belgium. I have always wanted to visit Ghent, ever since I visited Bruges (my first trip to Belgium).

I love visiting Belgium because:
- There are so many amazing places and so much to explore.
- Stunning architectures
- I love fries and waffles
- Perhaps most importantly, Belgium is an ideal destination for a day trip from the Netherlands — convenient, budget-friendly, and doesn’t demand extensive planning in advance.

Day of travel and mode of transport

For the day of travel, I picked Saturday. It is the best option for me for a day trip to somewhere far away because then I could rest on Sunday and gear up for the upcoming week.

Also, I checked the weather forecast, because even though it’s wishful thinking, I would prefer no, or very little rain on the trip haha. I was lucky as it did not rain that weekend, and it added that positive touch to the trip. Don’t get me wrong, I love rain, but during winter, it’s freezing, and then the best way I enjoy rain is by sipping tea while reading a book from the comforts of my couch.

For transport mode, there were two options — train or bus. The factors I consider are time of travel, direct connection, and comfort during travel. The first two were the same for both, train might have been a bit more comfortable. However, bus (flixbus) tickets were almost half of the train price for the date and time I preferred. So, I went ahead and booked bus tickets. The journey went smoothly — the bus was punctual and comfortable, making it a pleasant experience overall.


When planning the itinerary, I check multiple things — a thorough Google search for tourist attractions, explore Instagram pages dedicated to the destination, and watch suggestion videos for additional insights.

I always create a dedicated list on Google Maps and bookmark every place that looks interesting. Google reviews also help a lot with this process. I also take into account the bus/train stop in that city so that I can manage time well. And then when I am on the trip, I also let myself wander across any path that I find interesting. Sometimes, we find hidden gems just by exploring without the maps.

Usually, I travel solo, but this time I was traveling with a friend and that was such a lovely experience, we had loads of fun.

Exploring Ghent

Our first destination in Ghent was Saint Bavo’s Cathedral. So we walked from the bus stop to the Cathedral, and we found a heritage area on the way — Saint Bavo’s Abbey, it is always surreal passing by the ruins as it feels like time is still frozen over there. We went through the Herberg Macharius, and it had some impressive graffiti on the walls, adding a modern and artistic touch to the historical surroundings.

The Van Eyck brothers’ monument

As we walked further, we were impressed by the architecture. I felt like being transported to the past just walking by the canals. Then we came across this medieval-looking building just before the cathedral. And there stood a grand monument — The Van Eyck brothers which was quite intriguing. We also liked the stone sheep in a small children’s playground beside that monument.

Van Eyck brothers monument in the backdrop of Saint Bavo’s cathedral

Saint Bavo’s Cathedral

And, then came the Cathedral — impressive architecture, and rich, baroque interior. There was so much to explore, and also you could see the mystic lamb after paying for tickets.

Just a few meters further, there is a monument dedicated to Jan Frans Willems, a Flemish writer.

Inside Saint Bavo’s Cathedral, the Sculpture of Mary in front of lighted candles and the walls are adorned with multiple things

Dutch Royal Theatre

A beautiful art theater, a few steps away from the cathedral, and what caught my attention was a quote on the windows of the theatre. It reads:

no soft smart fragile tender human tissue should ever be ripped apart because we differ

What a quote!!

The building of the Royal Dutch Theater with the following words printed on its two windows on both sides of the door — no soft smart fragile tender human tissue should ever be ripped apart because we differ

Saint Nicholas’ Church

Then we checked out the Belfry of Ghent building before moving forward to the Church — stunning exterior, and an even more stunning interior, with lots of art displays. The best thing was that we did not encounter crowds anywhere, so it was a very relaxed walk through this beautiful city.

Saint Michael’s Bridge

Next was the time for a photo session, we came across Saint Michael’s Bridge. We found that it is a famous photo spot and for a reason. The pictures turned out to be amazing, you can fit Saint Bavo’s Cathedral, Saint Nicholas’ Church, and the Belfry Tower all in one photo frame. We were very happy with the results haha.

Me at the Saint Micheal’s bridge with backdrop of Saint Bavo’s Cathedral, Saint Nicholas’ Church, and the Belfry Tower


We were hungry by then, so we stopped for lunch at Royal India Restaurant. The food was tasty and they had a lovely Bollywood playlist, we were tuning along while enjoying the delicious Paneer Kadhai and Butter Naan.


Then we walked to Korenlei, and woww, what a scenic place. The birds flying near the canal and those beautiful buildings, made for another perfect photo spot. We loved this place and spent some time before proceeding to the castle via Hoofdbrug.

Canal view from Korenlei, there are beautiful buildings lining the other side of the canal


Views from both sides of Hoofdbrug were beautiful, the castle with reflection in the water on one side of the bridge and the city views on the other side. Everywhere you turn around in this city, the scenes feel right out of a storybook. It feels like time stands still in the backdrop of water running through the canals.

Buildings on other side of the Hoofdbrug with canal water in front

Gravensteen castle

The Gravensteen castle itself is a magnificent, 10th-century preserved castle, where every step you take feels like walking through history. It also gave a bit of Game of Thrones vibes.

The castle is at the edge of the water, and the reflection falls perfectly on the waters

City center

We were a bit tired by this point, so we decided to rest a bit, and then we explored a few stores in the city center for shopping. My friend bought a jacket. We then enjoyed some coffee at a cafe. Before heading back to the bus stop, we couldn’t resist grabbing some delicious fries, after all, we were in Belgium.

Fries sign reading Versen frieten (fresh fries) in backdrop of Sint-Jacobskerk

Return journey

We walked around 8 Kilometers and our feet were hurting by the end of the day. Thankfully the bus arrived a bit before time, so we got in and relaxed. The journey back to Amsterdam was seamless. We munched on Milka strawberry cheesecake chocolate, and I am mentioning this because it tastes so good that it is now my favorite Milka flavor. I even dozed off after Breda and woke up a few minutes before our stop. We reached well before time.

What an incredible start to 2024, I loved everything about this trip.


Ghent is a beautiful, picturesque city waiting for you to uncover its charms. It is a hidden gem, and I highly recommend adding this destination to your travel list. With its enchanting canals, majestic cathedral, historic castle, charming cobblestone streets, and scenic bridges, Ghent makes for a perfect day trip and a budget-friendly destination.

If you’ve had the chance to visit Ghent, I’d love to hear about your experience.

Since this is my first attempt at sharing my travel adventures, your feedback is invaluable. If there’s any specific topic you’d like me to delve into further, please let me know as well.

Until next time, thank you, stay safe, and keep exploring the world!



Anuradha Kumari

Web Developer, Accessibility Advocate, Google Developers Expert, Microsoft MVP, anuradhakumari.com ‘Choose RIGHT over easy, always!’