“Proud and rebellious”, as the locals like to define it, Gent is a city with an important history and a lively and extremely enjoyable contemporary lifestyle. In the Middle Ages Gent grew to become one of the most important cities of Northern Europe: dedicated to the highly profitable wool trade, it was second in size only to Paris. It has even been defined as “the medieval Manhattan”!
The city you can visit and enjoy today is full of life (it hosts also a well known university) and beautiful thanks to a clever mix of traditional and contemporary architecture.
There are many things to see in a relatively small historical centre, making it a good choice for a day trip or for a more laid back weekend break, also due to the presence of cobblestone which slows down the visit a bit.
Unmissable are the Cathedral of St Bavo (partially wheelchair accessible) with the famous Gent altarpiece – the Mystical Lamb, at the centre of one of the most famous art thefts in history – and the Graslei and Korenlei with their canal and bridges, the perfect place to eat out in a terrace or just have a taste of one of the more than 200 types of Belgian beers.
If you want to know more about the history of the city you can visit the STAM, the museum of the history of Gent, or dive into some contemporary art at the well known SMAK. The itineraries prepared by Visit Flanders, the Flemish Board of Tourism, will guide you to the best attractions following the easiest routes around town. Download it here!
General Accessibility of the area
Tip: the city is ancient and in some parts circulation can be complex for people using a wheelchair: download the map created by Visit Gent for a stress-free city experience and to find all accessible places (and toilets)
The level of accessibility in Gent is variable: new or renewed buildings like, for example, the city museum (STAM) or the contemporary art museum (SMAK) are very well adapted with access to all floors: on the other hand, the historical centre is covered in cobblestone and a lot of restaurants and bars in older buildings have toilets in the basement, accessible only through stairs.
This is why the Gent Tourism Office, together with two non-profit organizations, JCI Gent Artevelde and On Wheels, have created the map presented here. The itineraries suggested include easier roads, where the cobblestone is more even, indications of accessible toilets, restaurants, bars and attractions.
Also, the historical centre is rather small and, especially in the warmer season, there are many bars and restaurant with open air terraces at street level, if you want to take a break.
Belgium has three airports, the National Airport (BRU) is the main one, but there also Charleroi airport (CRL) in the South of the country and the Antwerp Airport (ANR) further North, near Holland.
You can find information on accessibility for all three airports at the following links:
Brussels National Airport – Information on accessibility and special assistance
Charleroi Airport- Information on accessibility and special assistance
Antwerp Airport- Information on accessibility and special assistance