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Ghent is one of the wonderful cities of Flanders, the Dutch speaking part of Belgium. Like Bruges it is a place with plenty of water. Unlike it, Ghent is not a city of a single period. Its buildings span many centuries. This may make it somewhat less 'tidy' then Bruges but it is extremely interesting and well justifies several nights. For more information, visit the official Tourist Website.
The main festival during summer are The Ghent Festivities, a free ten day festival during the week of 21 July, celebrated in the historic centre of Ghent. This festival attracts over a million visitors each year, who will see free concerts, puppet busker acts, street theatre and much more on the streets and various squares.
Ghent has an average Belgian climate with warm and relatively dry and sunny summers from June to August. Average daytime temperatures are around 20-23 °C and nights are between 12 and 14 °C. Winters last from December to February when it is mostly above zero, but nights average just below. Snow is not very common but always a possibility in winter. Most of the rain falls during the October to April period though heavy showers in summers after hot conditions are possible as well.
Ghent has two train stations, Ghent Saint-Peter (Gent Sint-Pieters) and Dampoort. Saint-Peter is the main station, and the second busiest train station of Belgium. Nowadays, huge construction and expanding works are in progress who will last for a few more years but services are normal. Check the NMBS website for information about connections, prices and other details.
Ghent is easily reached by car along the E40 highway from Bruges and Ostend in the west and Brussels, Leuven and Liege in the east, and along the E17 with Antwerp in the northeast and Lille in France in the southwest.
Your best bet is to put your car in one of the underground parking lots, or to use one of the P+R (park and ride) parking lots outside the city and to take a bus or tram.
You can use both bus and tramway of the De Lijn Company.
Like most Belgian cities, Ghent is pretty small, so easy to explore by foot!
It's sometimes difficult (and dangerous) by bike because of the cobble stones and the tramway rails.
Ghent is the vegetarian capital of Belgium, with dozens of vegetarian or vegan restaurants! Do not forget to check out Panda, Avalon and Komkommertijd!
|Aquarius Boutique B&B||Pieter Van Reysschootlaan 8 Ghent||Guesthouse||-|
|Bed & Breakfast Hancelot||Vijfwindgatenstraat 19||Hotel||-|
|Casa Borsalino||Vlaanderenstraat 46||Guesthouse||-|
|Ecohostel Andromeda||Elyzeese Velden 22 Bargiekaai 35||Hostel||89|
|Guesthouse PoortAckere||Oude Houtlei 56 9000||Guesthouse||84|
|HI De Draecke Gent||Sint-Widostraat 11||Hostel||80|
|La Ducale||Vlaanderenstraat 54||Guesthouse||-|
|Logies Onderland||Rabotstraat 62||Guesthouse||-|
|Suro Guesthouse||57 Vlierstraat, 9000 Gent||Guesthouse||-|
Internet is widely available in Belgium, but internet cafés are not common, because most people have internet access at home or through wifi. There are multiple internet access points in all cities and it is free in most libraries. Also in multiple gas stations, train stations and diners on the highways there is Wi-Fi available. Many cafés offer free Wi-Fi nowadays and if you can't find any you can always fall back on Quick or McDonalds which both offer free Wi-Fi.
See also: International Telephone Calls
The country calling code to Belgium is: + 32. To make an international call from Belgium, the code is 00.
Belgium has a modern telephone system with nationwide cellular telephone coverage. Belgium uses the GSM standard of cellular phones (900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands) used in most of the world outside of the U.S. There are three main companies (Proximus, Mobistar and Base, and a large number of MVNOs) offering wireless service. The country is almost totally covered. If you stay for some time, it may be advisable to buy a pre-paid cell phone card that you can use in any phone that supports the GSM standard on the 900/1800 MHz bands. Then incoming calls and SMSes are free. You can get sim cards for the three main companies in dedicated phone shops. Sim cards from the MVNOs are readily available at supermarkets (Carrefour, Aldi, Colruyt to name a few all have their own brand). All networks provide UMTS and HSDPA (3G) mobile internet coverage, and are rolling out a 4G network, mainly in the big cities and eventually in the whole country.
De Post is the national postal service of Belgium, with Dutch, French and German versions. They offer generally fast, reliable services. It's a relatively expensive service though, with normal domestic post (cards, letters etc) up to 50 grams costing €0.61. To other European countries it costs €1.03 and outside Europe it's €1.34. At the post offices, you can buy stamps and they have other services as well, including international money transfers. The opening times of post offices are 9:00am or 10:00am until 4:00pm or 5:00pm, depending on whether it's the main central one or a smaller branch or in towns. Some of them might be open on Saturday mornings, and remember that quite a few still close for lunch break! De Post also offers the sending of parcels, but you could also use private international companies like UPS, TNT or DHL, as they offer roughly the same services and prices, but are generally faster.
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