Sundays are sacred in Ghent. Most of the shops are closed and students go home to have lunch with their parents. Still in a city as vibrant as this, of course, you don’t need shops or students to have a fantastic day and find loads to do on a Sunday in Ghent.
Unknowingly, the Cypriot and I discovered a great way to spend the day without any FOMO (fyi, a state of mental or emotional strain caused by the Fear Of Missing Out.) I don’t know how many of you read my post Le Loop de Paris. Read it. Then you will discover the walking tour that the Cypriot and I do when we only have one day in Paris. I believe we have now found De Loop van Ghent – our Sunday tour in this most Belgian of cities.
We left our hotel and walked down Sint-Michielsstraat, past University of Ghent’s cultural centre Het Pand – the former Dominican monastery built in the 13th C.
Stop for coffee at More More on the corner of Onderbergen and Jakobijnenstraat. FYI Balls & Glory on the same street is closed on Sunday!
Walk down Onderbergen gazing into all the great shop fronts (closed), picking which ones you want to visit the next day, and then turn left onto Gebroeders Vandeveldestraat across the bridge over the Lys River.
Pass the neo-classical Court House, completed in 1846, and find yourself immersed in the absolutely divine, only on Sunday, Flower Market!
Here on Kouter Square, there is actually a flower market everyday, but on Sunday it explodes, taking up the whole square and acting as a magnet for locals and tourists alike.
We were there when hydrangeas were being sold fast and furious, but April must be incredible when the tulips are in season.
As you approach the flower market, you would be right to think that speakers are set up to play classical versions of modern hits. You would be wrong. Set right in the middle of market is a band shell and, on the Sunday we were there, a small orchestra was performing:
The only thing that could tear us away from the music was the rumor of a few Oysters and Champagne at De Blauwe Kiosk (The Blue Kiosk).
This kiosk has been here for as long as anyone can remember, serving seafood on toast or seasonal oysters, always accompanied by some bubbly.
When ready to move on, pass by the Opera House unto Kortrijksepoortstraat to head to S.M.A.K., Ghent’s Museum of Contemporary Art, nestled into Citadel Park.
Another great street for window shopping and another coffee, if you need it after a few glasses of Champagne.
Turn left onto Charles de Kerchovelaan and you will see the park in front of you. Walk in and it’s as if you left the city far behind.
Keep walking and you will hit what you think is a casino, given the word CASINO at the top. Actually it was the city’s Casino, built in 1910, but SMAK was officially opened in this space in 1999.
I won’t go on about the exhibit we saw as you may be going at a different time, but make sure to check out the hanger space in the back – which wasn’t being used for an exhibit but was pretty impressive!
After you’re done taking in the art, it’s time for the architecture tour! Continue onto Charles de Kerchovelaan and Turn left onto Overpoortstraat, which becomes Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat.
To be honest, the Cypriot and I jumped on a bus, but we realized we should have walked when we zoomed past Sint-Pietersplein – a gorgeous church, square, museum and garden. If you have the stamina, do everything by foot. Turn right onto Korianderstraat and then turn right onto Platteberg.
Next on the list was De Krook. Remember the Cypriot is a contemporary architect! A gentleman stopped us and wanted to know if we were lost. We told him we were looking for De Krook – not really knowing exactly what it was, but having seen it on the map. He explained it is to be the city’s new library and, the little that is open, has been a success. We wish De Krook luck and I know there is one Cypriot who was impressed!
Double back onto the main street and take in all the fab architecture:
Art Deco and Renaissance and just weird unite into one Ghent!
Head straight over one more bridge and you will find yourself back at the flower market in no time! If it’s before four, have a second glass of champagne before they all pack up until next week!
That is our Loop in Ghent, more loops in more destinations to come!
TO PIN LATER
Thank you so much for Visit Gent and Visit Flanders for all their assistance and support, making this dream trip a reality. The Visit Gent City Card made the trip a whole lot easier and I highly suggest getting one if you are there for more than a day. We had a great time and, of course, everything on Best Bits is my own opinion!