We are having 5 days in Ghent over Christmas - staying at the Monastiere Hotel -and visiting the Art exhibition. Any other ideas for things on 23rd to 25th and where to eat and enjoy the Christmas spirit? Heather hawthorn
I don't know about the Christmas spirit - in Belgium it is still more St. Nicolas (6 December) that is celebrated than Christmas except in the religious sense. Otherwise I would recommend you at least have a coffee at the Pakhuis, which is sort of behind McDonalds (ask the tourist office in the Belfry for a map), just to enjoy the design, and perhaps a meal at the Groot Vleeshuis for local specialities. 24 December falls on a Monday, when most museums are closed anyway (e.g. SMAK and the Design Museum, so these will be closed on both Monday 24th and Tuesday 25th). You will normally need to have booked if you want to eat out on the evening of 24 December and most things will be closed on 25 December, but you could take the train to Brugge - 30 minutes on trains going to Knokke, Blankenberge and Ostende - for the snow and ice sculpture festival which is held right next to Brugge station (www.icesculpture.be). Trains will be running Sunday service that day, as will the trams. There is also a Christmas market and open air skating rink in the Market Square in Brugge, as well as the one in St. Baafsplein in Ghent.
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