© iStock/Freeartist
© iStock/Freeartist

Ghent, a carefree walk with a happy ending

4 minutes to read

One Tuesday, I had a day off, and since this rarely happens, I wondered what to do with this gift of free time. As I was hanging around the kitchen, my gaze settled on an old landscape magnet of Ghent on the refrigerator. Even though I have been living in Belgium for many years, I visited Ghent only once, years ago, for a music festival. I decided it was time to correct this omission and jumped on the train from Brussels Gare Centrale. Only 40 minutes later, I was wandering around the Central Station in Ghent, not quite sure where the exit was. At first, I took the wrong one and ended up in the middle of an enormous parking lot for bicycles. It was impressive and delightful to discover that people in this town care so much about the environment. This impression was reinforced when I found out that there were actually more bikes than cars in the streets! After I finally discovered the exit leading to the historical center of Ghent, I stopped for a while to enjoy the beautiful square in front of the train station. This is how my carefree walk with a happy ending started.

© iStock/orpheus26
© iStock/orpheus26

From Sint-Pieters railway station to Citadel Park

The Sint-Pieters railway station is the main one in Ghent. Designed by the architect Louis Cloquet, its construction began in 1881 and was completed in 1912, on time for the World Exhibition.

Sint-Pieters Station, Ghent
Sint-Pieters Station, Ghent
Kon. Maria Hendrikaplein 1, 9000 Gent, Belgium
© iStock/Jasper De Ryck
© iStock/Jasper De Ryck

All the streets around the station are named after royalty figures, and if you take Koningin Astrid Street, in only 15 minutes, you will reach the wonderful Citadel Park.

© Desi Krsteva
© Desi Krsteva

It is not the biggest one, but it does have a nice lake, some rock structure with a waterfall and many fanciful statues scattered throughout the whole place. There are two museums located near Citadel Park – SMAK and the Museum of Fine Arts.  

Citadelpark, Ghent
Citadelpark, Ghent
Citadelpark, Citadelpark, 9000 Gent, Belgium

SMAK and the Museum of Fine Arts

It is not the biggest one, but it does have a nice lake, some rock structure with a waterfall and many fanciful statues scattered throughout the whole place. There are two museums located near Citadel Park – SMAK and the Museum of Fine Arts.  

© iStock/Olivier DJIANN
© iStock/Olivier DJIANN

SMAK – Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art is an impressive museum offering a variety of exhibitions. If you ever feel thirsty for art, SMAK is the perfect place to treat yourself with carefully curated pieces of contemporary art in all its forms – audio and light installations, unorthodox figures and modern interpretations of classical works.

SMAK, Gent
SMAK, Gent
Jan Hoetplein 1, 9000 Gent, Belgium
© Desi Krsteva
© Desi Krsteva

The Museum of Fine Arts is a totally different deal. The collections represent an impressive passage through ages presented elegantly and accompanied by a detailed audio guide background. Who would have suspected that Belgium has such a rich art history?

© iStock/Olivier DJIANN
© iStock/Olivier DJIANN
Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Ghent
Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Ghent
Fernand Scribedreef 1, 9000 Gent, Belgium

The old historical center of Ghent is for sure one of the most beautiful ones in the country. I was completely bedazzled by the architecture, the rivers with their bridges, and in the evening, all buildings are delightfully illuminated.

© iStock/SL_Photography
© iStock/SL_Photography

PIET Moodshop - my favorite artistic shop

After this, not long enough but an incredible visit to Ghent, I was on my way back to the train station with my thoughts re-visiting all the fascinating places I had seen, when suddenly I came up to a small but ravishing artistic store, called PIET Moodshop. This little hidden gem automatically became my favorite shop in Ghent, where I spent almost an hour.

© PIETmoodshop / unknown author
© PIETmoodshop / unknown author

It is the ideal place to buy accessories for your home, an original souvenir for someone, or a bottle of home-produced rare beverage – alcoholic or not.

© PIETmoodshop / unknown author
© PIETmoodshop / unknown author
PIET Moodshop, Ghent
PIET Moodshop, Ghent
Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 94, 9000 Gent, Belgium

At the end of the day, after this full of impressions walk, I was saying “Goodbye” to Ghent throughout the window of the train, promising myself to be back soon for more adventures. On the seat next to me, I had two bags full of souvenirs, postcards from the museums and other treasures. I had spent a wonderful day in this hospitable town and gifted myself a marvelous carefree walk with a happy ending in Ghent.  

© iStock/Tomas Sereda
© iStock/Tomas Sereda

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The author

Desislava Krsteva

Desislava Krsteva

Hi there, my name is Desi. I am an actress, a traveller, and a storyteller. I have always been passionate about discovering new cultures and charming places all over the globe. On itinari, I will make you discover some of the beautiful places in Belgium.

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