Bruges and Ghent are two of the most popular tourist destinations in Belgium, attracting millions of visitors each year. While both cities are known for their historic architecture and charming canals, they each have their own unique personality and attractions. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at what makes each city special and help you decide which one to visit based on your interests and preferences. Make sure to also check out the Bruges Travel Guide and Ghent travel guide.
Location and History
Both cities are part of the Flemish region of Belgium. Bruges is located in the northwest of Belgium, close to the North Sea. It was once a major trade center in Europe and its well-preserved medieval architecture makes it a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ghent is located approximately halfway between Brussels and Bruges. It is known for its beautiful Gothic architecture and lively cultural scene.
The distance between Bruges and Ghent is approx 55km, which translates in a 40 minute drive or 23 minute long journey by train. This is good news for people who want to visit both cities, since it’s super easy and convenient to stay in one city and plan a day trip to the other.
Sightseeing and Attractions
Both Bruges and Ghent have plenty of historic buildings, canals and museums to explore, but they also have some unique attractions that set them apart. Bruges is famous for its picturesque canals and charming cobblestone streets, while Ghent has a vibrant student population and a lively music and arts scene. Some top attractions to visit in Bruges include the Belfry Tower, the Basilica of the Holy Blood, and the Groeningemuseum. In Ghent, be sure to check out the Graslei and Korenlei, the Ghent Altarpiece, and the Gravensteen Castle.
Food and Drink
Belgium is famous for its delicious cuisine, and both Bruges and Ghent offer plenty of opportunities to indulge in local specialties. In Bruges, don’t miss the chance to try some of the city’s famous chocolate, beer, and waffles.
Ghent is known for its hearty Flemish stews, local cheeses, and beer. Be sure to visit the Patershol neighborhood in Ghent for a wide variety of restaurants and bars offering everything from traditional Flemish dishes to modern fusion cuisine.
Nightlife and Entertainment
While both Bruges and Ghent have a laid-back vibe, they offer different options for nightlife and entertainment. Bruges has a more relaxed atmosphere with plenty of cozy pubs and bars where you can enjoy a local beer or two. In contrast, Ghent has a bustling nightlife scene with a variety of clubs, live music venues, and bars catering to a younger crowd.
Both Bruges and Ghent offer a range of accommodation options to suit all budgets and tastes. In Bruges, you’ll find everything from luxurious hotels to budget-friendly hostels, while Ghent has a mix of boutique hotels, historic B&Bs, and trendy hostels. If you’re looking for a unique place to stay, consider booking a canal boat in Bruges or Ghent.
Getting to and around Bruges and Ghent is relatively easy thanks to Belgium’s well-connected train system. Both cities have train stations located in the city center, making it easy to travel between them or to other destinations in the country. Once you’re in the city, walking or biking is the best way to get around, as both cities are compact and easy to navigate.
>> For More information, check the Belgium Public Transport Guide
Deciding whether to visit Bruges or Ghent ultimately depends on your personal preferences and travel style. If you’re looking for a picturesque, laid-back city with plenty of historic charm, Bruges might be the perfect fit. On the other hand, if you’re interested in a more lively cultural scene with a variety of entertainment options, Ghent might be the better choice. Either way, both cities won’t fail to impress you. If possible, you should consider visiting both cities.