Ghent is an old medieval city that has long been overshadowed by Bruges, but nevertheless holds plenty of exciting attractions for visitors and is far less crowded than other Belgian cities.
The city was once the heart of the cloth trade and one of the largest medieval cities in northern Europe. Today, the old centre boasts many historic buildings including St Bavo's Cathedral, the Castle of the Counts (a turreted castle with a moat and bell tower, which make for great views), the Town Hall and the 15th-century Cloth Hall.
Ghent's city centre is wholly modern however, and the city's large university population mixes with an eclectic blend of expats and artists to give the city a diverse and cosmopolitan air.
Despite being off the beaten track for many tourists, Ghent offers good museums, lively nightlife and excellent restaurants serving the best in Flemish cuisine.
Belgium's small size ensures that Ghent is less than a 40-minute train ride from major cities such as Bruges and Brussels, and within easy distance of other interesting tourist destinations, like Courtray and Ostend. A weekend in Ghent is the perfect way to cap an idyllic holiday in Belgium.