Visit Ghent, Belgium

This ancient city was second only to Paris in medieval times. Known as Gent in Flemish and Gand in French, Ghent's hustle, bustle and lovely canal make it stand out from Belgium's other fetching medieval cities. 

Headline attraction

There are some wonderful medieval buildings in Ghent, and nothing beats standing on St Michael's Bridge where the view of the city's skyline of three towers - St Nicholas Church, the belfry and St Bavo Cathedral - opens up. You can also visit the interiors of these impressive buildings - the 14th-century belfry affords spectacular views across the city.

Best of the rest

The imposing Gravensteen - the 12th-century castle of the counts of Flanders - is nowadays home to a torture museum. If you've ever wanted the chance to gawp at a quintessential castle with moat, turrets and arrow slits, then this is the place to do it.

Chow down

Ghent is a bit of a culinary capital of Belgium and there are countless restaurants, cafes and bars in which to sample Flemish fare. Don't leave town without putting together your own pick-and-mix box of praline heaven at deluxe chocolaterie Van Hoorebeke. You can also pick up a pot of Ghent's special mustard from Tierenteyn, by the 15th-century market building. The recipe, brought to the city by a Dijon-born Frenchman, delivers quite a kick.

Get the camera out

Wander along the waterfront promenade of the Graslei and admire the buildings with their distinctive gables.

Try the local drink

Sample some of Belgium's best loved export, beer, in almost any bar in town. Try the locally-brewed Augustijin Abbey Ale or give fiery jenever (gin) a go.

A bit of history

Sitting on the junction of the Leie and Scheldt rivers, Ghent had become Europe's largest cloth producer by the 14th-century, importing wool from England.

Out of town

Just a little over an hour away by train is Ypres, with its poignant and moving history of World War I. More than 300,000 Allied soldiers - including Australians and New Zealanders - were killed here. You can visit a raft of memorials, cemeteries and museums dedicated to the sad history of this area.