There's so much to love about the tiny Belgian city of Ghent, but if you don't want to get stuck in tourist-trap restaurants or overpriced gift shops, you need to know where to go. So we've gathered a few tips from locals.
Galerie Ganache combines two great elements: Belgian chocolate and art. With interesting works displayed on the walls, and delicacate confections on your plate, what more could you want?
For more local delicacies, check out Confiserie Temmerman, where you'll find there's much more to Belgian food than moules frites. Try the cuberdons, also known as Ghent noses - raspberry-flavoured sweets made of acacia gum.
When walking around Ghent, local Bennie recommends downloading the Concrete Canvas Tour Map which highlights 85 eye-catching works of graffiti. One of the spots on the map is the Grindbakken, old pits where sand and gravel was transported from ships into trucks. These have now been transformed into a multi-purpose space where you can check out the art or just hang out. This is one of the city's spots where graffiti is legal; artists can use the white walls as their canvas.
"If you haven’t been to this museum, you haven’t been to Ghent," says local Nick. Which museum is he talking about? That would be STAM, the Ghent City Museum, where you can get an overview of the rich history of Ghent. You can even do your own investigation into the stolen pieces of the famous Ghent Altarpiece. Some historians say this artwork has been stolen more times than any other relic; two-thirds of the 12-panel alterpiece are now back where theybelong, in St Bavo Cathedral, while the rest is undergoing restoration at MSK (the Museum of Fine Arts) where you can see the restorers at work.
If it's a gift you're after, even if it's just a gift for yourself, Piet Moodshop and Mus in een Plas ("Sparrow in a Puddle") are great contenders. Both are stacked with stylish home accessories, shown off in equally attractive interiors.
Spotted by Locals is a series of apps and blogs available on iPhone and Android devices with up-to-date tips by locals in 60+ cities in Europe and North America
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