Ghent Weekend Breaks

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Weekend Breaks to Ghent

Planning a short break to Ghent? Check out Travel Library's recommended Top 10 Things To Do in Ghent. It's a perfect companion for weekend city breaks to Ghent. Once you've been you can add your own tips and suggestions to help other visitors.

St Bavo

Located at Sint-Baafsplein.This cathedral is one of the top attractions in Ghent and is not to be missed when visiting the city.The exterior of the cathedral is a mix of Romanesque; Gothic; and Baroque architecture. The real attraction however is the interior, which houses priceless paintings, sculptures, screens, memorials and carved tombs.

The most important piece in the cathedral's collection is the 24 panel altarpiece, The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, which was completed by Jan van Eyck in 1432. The cathedral also has a Romanesque crypt, which holds a wealth of religious antiquities, vestments, sculptures and paintings.

Admission to the cathedral is free. Admission to the Mystic Lamb chapel and Crypt is $3 for adults; $1.50 for childre 6 - 12; and children under 6 are free.

Bijloke Museum

Godshuizenlaan 2, south of the city centre. This museum is housed in a former 14th century Cistercian abbey. The exhibitions in the museum include weapons; uniforms; clothing; and household items from the everyday life of Ghent from the begining of the city's history up to the French Revolution. The House of the Abbess exhibits authentic works of art of Ghent and Flanders. This museum is one of the attractions not to be missed when in the city. Admission is $3 for adults; $1.50 for seniors and people 12 - 25; and children under 12 are free. The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 09h00 - 12h30 and 13h30 - 17h30.

Castle of the Counts (Gravensteen)

Located at Sint-Veerleplein. The castle was built in 1180 by Philip of Alsace, Count of Flanders. The Gravensteen was the center of the Count's power during the early Middle-Ages, and from tower there is a panoramic view over the city. The castle has been restored and is still partially surrounded by the medieval moat. It also houses a weapon museum and a museum of instruments of torture, from the days when the castle was used as a prison. Walking around the castle and museums is like taking a step back in time. Admission is $7.28 for adults; $3 for seniors and people 12 - 25; and children under 12 are free.

Ghent River Hotel

Waaistraat 5, in the middle of the cultural and commercial centre of Ghent. This amazing hotel is on the right bank of the Leie, and the site encompasses two buildings: a 1518 Renaissance house and a 1857 rice-mill. The rooms have a warm and homely feel, with a range of facilities including airconditioning; radio; cable TV with remote control; direct dial telephone; connectable modem; mini-bar; and fully equipped bathroom. The hotel also has an excercise gym if you feel like working out, and a sauna for you to relax after a long day of sightseeing. There is also a bar in the hotel, that serves a wide range of the most popular local drinks.

For more information on bookings and promotions go to the hotels website: www.ghent-river-hotel.be/

Sint-Jorishof

Botermarkt 2, opposite the Town Hall. This is one of the best restaurants in Ghent, and is housed in the old Sint-Jorishof Hotel. The decor is a mix of dark woodwork and stained glass, with a big fireplace surrounded by an upstairs balcony. They serve a wide range of excellent French and Flemish, featuring a menu filled with fish and meat dishes. The house Flemish secialities include paling in't groen and chicken waterzooi. The prices range from $14.50 - $43.75 for main meals; and $47 - $68 for set menus. They accept all major credit cards. This restaurant is a great place to sample some of the local cuisine at it's best.

Fine Arts Museum

Citadelpark, near the train station. The museum's collection mainly consists of paintings from the 14th century to 1940. The museum's highlights include works by Peter Paul Rubens; Anthony van Dyck; Hieronymus Bosch; and Theodore Gericault; as well as James Ensor; Theo van Rysselberghe; George Minne; and Constant Permeke. This museum should be on any tourist to Ghent's to do list. Admission is $3 for adults; $1.25 for seniors and 12 - 25 year olds; and children under 12 are free. The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 09h30 - 17h00.

For more information visit: www.mskgent.be

The Graslei and the Koornlei

Located in the centre of Ghent. This area, along the banks of the old harbor of Ghent, is not to be missed when in the city. Graslei means street of the herbs and vegetables and Koornlei means street of the wheat, which shows what was once traded and on the streets. There are a number of old and interesting buildings found here, including the Spijker, which is the oldest house at the Graslei and dates back to the early 13th century; the guild house of the Free Sailors, built in 1355 and rebuilt after it was sold in 1530; and the first Grain Counter's House with the Angel next to it. These houses reflect the wealth and power of the medieval guilds.

Canal Boat Trip

Located at Graslei and the Koornlei. Taking a boat trip along the canals in Ghent is one of the most popular tourist activities with visitors to the city. A guide takes you on an unforgettable adventure through the age-old houses and picturesque bridges along the canals of Ghent. Boats depart from Graslei and the Koornlei daily, every half an hour from 10h00 - 19h00. The boat trips operate from April to October. The trip takes about 35 minuntes and costs $5.44 for adults and $2.42 for children under 12.

Illuseum

Victor Braeckmanlaan 123, near Dampoort-railway station. This is one of the most interesting museums in Ghent, and houses amzing exhibitions of opitical illusions. Exhibits include objects that move without movement; shapes that vanish into space; a non-existing ring; an invisible baby; holography; an inexhaustive watersupply; and many more. There are many things to see and do, and the museum is fun for children and the whole family.

It is open every Sunday from 14h00 - 18h00. Admission is $4.85 for adults and $3.60 for children.

For more information visit the Illuseum's website: www.illuseum.be/

Botanical Garden of the University of Ghent

Karel Lodewijk Ledeganckstraat 35. The Botanical Garden was established in 1902 and covers 2.75 ha, with 4000 m² covered by heated indoor greenhouses.

The park has many walking paths that take you through many different species of plants and trees, with a collection of over 10.000 species including umbrella pine; a collection of medicinal plants; Dicotyls; Monocotyledones; and an amazing Mediterranean section.

This is a great place to go and relax, taking a break amongst the beauty of nature.

The garden is open daily from 09h00 - 16h30, and weekends 09h00 - 12h00. Guided group tours are on offer, which cost around $30 for 15 people.

For more information visit: www.plantentuin.ugent.be

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