Ceecee wrote:Is Ghent unsafe? It just seems quieter and less touristy than Bruges. I'm not looking for nightlife or even shopping per se (flying all over the place, keeping things light-ish). I doubt I'll be able to get out to any bars at night anyway. Grabbing a few bottles for the hotel is more my speed. Just leaning toward Ghent because I abhor tourist traps.
nightlife and Belgium don't mix. everything's closed by midnight.
plus Bruges's bars are much better than Ghent. everyone talks about Bruges B'jertje or whatever. it's a tourist trap. been mentioned in too many beer books. they don't even try with their beer list. De Kelk's bartender/owner looks like a reformed skinhead but is a supernice guy. bar plays some punk and other music. it's on the main path but totally off the beaten path. you just go there and drink and talk to the bartender or stranger. no partying.
not going out to bars while in belgium would be a huge shame, man. the people are nice, the bottles you get are great. and at good beer bar, the worst beer on tap would be St Berny 12 and Rodenbach. just think about it.
Ghent isn't unsafe, but it's definitely more raw than Bruges.
Bruges is pristine. Ghent isn't. you stay outside the old city part and you'll see. Bruges on the other hand,...you feel like the only crime that happens is littering, and that doesn't really happen.
Ghent also has a large Moroccan population. when you go to Belgium and you talk to the locals, you'll hear about their relationship with their immigrant/Moslem population. summary: they don't like the Moslems. but the Morrocans in Ghent are poorer. they're on the east side of the city, but there's definitely an element of roughness in ghent because of all factors (immigrant population, university town, less touristy, a new city built within an old city, versus Bruges where the residential area's outside the touristy area).
i'd say that Ghent is as safe as Brussels. so take that as you will.
first time i was in belgium, i liked ghent over bruges. this time around, it was the opposite. plus i can give you an insane B&B to stay at in Bruges. amazing rooms, amazing food.
i'd choose bruges over ghent easily. ghent's canals and walkways near the canal break my heart with their beauty. it's a city built within a 500 year old city. charming and liveable. bruges is charming and pristine and you don't need to pay for a horse-drawn carriage ride around. but it's great.
and you know what? ghent's a 1 hr trainride away. so you can always go there for the day.