During Ghent Festivities in July, the entire city of Ghent transforms into one gigantic festival. The streets are loaded with cheerfull people strolling from one stage to another, singing along and clapping for street artists that show off their moves and tricks. This sprakling festival used to be for the locals only (first edition in 1834). However, an increasing number of foreigners have found out about the charmes of this festival. The fact is: the ‘Gentse Feesten’ are known as one of the largest national feasts together with Oktoberfest in München and Las Fallas in Valencia in Europe!
Ghent goes wild!
During “Ghent Festivities” you can enjoy hundreds of activities and street acts scattered all over town. The bigger acts (national and international performers) are staged on 10 different squares. The fun thing about this event is the variation of disciplines: a free offer of (music) performances, (street) theatre, exhibitions, animation for children, fairs, parades and so much more… Old people, hipsters, party animals, house wifes, children… There’s something for everyone. And did you know that practically all locals take a week off during the Ghent Festivities? Pay attention to the shops doors and windows. Soon you’ll notice that many are closed for more or less 10 days.
The last day of Ghent Festivities always takes place on a Sunday. This day is known as “de dag van de lege portemonnees (the day of the empty wallets). It alludes to the fact that many people are financially broke. There’s a traditional market at the Gras- and Korenlei where people spent their last pennys. Many stand owners hand out ’empty wallets’ when you purchase something. A funny tradition I would say!
Blogtrip to Ghent
Last week I visited the festival with a nice group of Dutch bloggers. I accompanied the bloggers to a trip organised by Visit Gent and Vist Flanders. We had a great time in the city, enjoying the peformances and street theatre during the day and the beautifully illuminated city at night.
The atmosphere in the city was fantastic and there was music all over the place. Yet, it’s good to know that if you want to shop or visit the architectural gems of Ghent, it’s not the best time to book your trip.
Our program consisted mainly of enjoying the performances and atmosphere in town to get that real ‘Gentse Feesten’ feeling. However, our itinerary included tasting the local delicacies as well. We also enjoyed a guided graffiti walk through the city. Many (local) graffity artists have been assigned with a project to add cool graffity designs to Ghent’s walls. The Canvas Tour can be booked with a guide, yet you can also use the specially designed map for walking and cycling tours.
Another highlight of our blogtrip was definitely the boat trip with Rederij Dewaele which takes of at the Korenlei. During our guided tour through the canals of Ghent we were spoiled with a glass of cava and delicious bites. We really enjoyed getting to know the city from another perspective.
Here’s a photo impression of our two-day trip to Ghent:
Lunch @ Balls & Glory with 6 gorgeous Dutch bloggers. www.ballsnglory.be
Tasting delicious beer at the city Brewery Gruut.
There’s one street in Ghent where you can legally spray graffity: the Werregarenstraatje, better known as graffity street.
Boat & cava in Ghent with ‘De Bootjes van Ghent’ (Rederij Dewaele).
Polé Polé festival at Gras- and Korenlei, beautifully illuminated.
Don’t forget to buy some Belgian Chocolates! These are from a very special chocolatier Yuzu at Walpoortstraat.
For best Belgian waffles in town: Établissement Max!
Next edition: mid July 2016
Tips and tourist information Ghent: www.visitgent.be
Best to travel by train from neigbouring countries. I travelled by train from Rotterdam to Ghent in 2,5 hours: www.NSInternational.nl
Travel by air: Brussels or Antwerp Airport