Almost a month ago I went on a holiday to Ghent, in Belgium. I stayed in Ghent for 8 days, together with two friends. Ghent can be a sustainable holiday, as long as you can travel there by train or car (or bike!). Additionally, there are two other things very important for having a sustainable holiday: eating (mostly) plant-based and not shopping (or shopping second-hand). Ghent is great for all that! Today I’ll tell you about all the sustainable and fun hotspots in Ghent.
I always say that traveling by train is most sustainable and the preferred choice. And it is. But I didn’t listen to my own advice this time. I got talked into taking the car, because we had plans of going to the beach for a few days (which we didn’t do, after all, it was too rainy). But I regret that choice very much. As it turns out, you can travel to Ghent by train in 2 hours and 17 minutes (starting in Amsterdam). However, it took me about 8 hours. I first went to Enschede, to pick up my dad’s car, this took me 3 hours. From there it was 5 hours to Ghent because of all the traffic. So dumb. I feel stupid. So, please take my advice: travel to Ghent by train.
My recommendation for the stay is FairBnB: a fair alternative to AirBnB. There are 15 options, so I’m sure you can find something. But once again: I didn’t follow my own advice. We stayed in an AirBnB. We booked this trip in 2022 and I honestly don’t recall why we made that choice. I guess I couldn’t convince my friends to choose for FairBnB. Or I didn’t know FairBnB existed at that point.
There is another almost free option for staying in Ghent: TrustedHouseSitters. TrustedHouseSitters is a platform which connects people needing a house-sitter for their pets with people who want to stay somewhere. In exchange for pet care you can stay in their home for free. It’s an extremely cheap and sustainable way to travel because you make use of what already exists. You do have to pay a monthly fee to enter the platform. I have never tried this option yet, but I did want to mention it because I heard great stories about it.
Here’s a list of all the delicious vegan food I found in Ghent, in alphabetical order:
Have a Roll
Have A Roll is not a restaurant or a place to sit. You can only get take-out there. And to be more specific: you can only take out cinnamon rolls, haha. Have A Roll is a vegan place for cinnamon rolls. It’s a small store with amazing food and a cute look. The cinnamon rolls are very good! I have tried two and my personal favorite is the one with peanut butter.
Accessibility: people using a wheelchair can’t enter Have A Roll, there’s a big step at the door. There’s no braille on the menu.
Address: Koestraat 12, 9000 Ghent
I think Otomat is the best place I visited in Ghent. It is a chain, which I usually don’t like, but I loved Otomat. It’s a pizza chain. You can get all sorts of pizza’s. And what I loved so much about it are three things. Most importantly, the food was amazing. No standard margherita or pepperoni pizza. Instead, they serce really special combinations (with amazing vegan cheese!!). I have never had a pizza that was like this one. Second, they have home-made drinks. This gives me the option to say screw you to multinationals like Coca Cola. And last, the place was just really pretty. Cozy, nothing you’d expect from a chain with multiple locations.
Accessibility: the main floor is accessible to people who use a wheelchair, but the bathrooms are on the second floor and are therefore not accessible. There’s no braille on the menu.
Address: Kleine Vismarkt 3, 9000 Ghent
O’yo is quite a big vegan restaurant in Ghent, because they have two locations in the city. They offer breakfast, lunch and dinner. I only visited during the lunch, so I can’t say anything about their breakfast or dinner. When it comes to the lunch, I’d say it’s fairly good. They have many options if you have a sweet tooth. But I am more into savory food. They did have some options, but they were okay, not amazing. What I can say: the portions are very large. If you have lunch at O’yo, your belly will be full for a good amount of time. The food is quite healthy. That is amazing, but for me personally, it was a little bit too healthy. I like healthy food, but at O’yo they can make it tastier. Overall, it was good.
Accessibility: if I remember correctly, there’s a big step at the entrance. Also, the bathroom is not accessible to people using a wheelchair. They have a digital menu, so I think that’s accessible for people who cannot see (much), because the software can usually read the dishes out loud.
Indian food is always very vegan friendly. But this restaurant, Royal India, took it to the next level for me. They had multiple vegan naan and vegan lassi! Well, if you offer vegan garlic naan, you’ve amazed me. And honestly, it was amazing! The service was also very good, the staff was extremely friendly and fast too. This restaurant is perfect for when you’re looking for a place to eat with non-vegan company. I personally don’t like it when restaurants serve meat and so I’d rather eat at a 100% plant-based restaurant. However, not the entire world is vegan (yet). So, sometimes you have to compromise. Royal India is great for that. They serve amazing food.
Accessibility: in theory, this restaurant is accessible for people using a wheelchair. But the restaurant is very tiny so there’s very little room and I don’t think they have an accessible bathroom.
Address: Donkersteeg 19, 9000 Ghent.
Another kitchen which can never do me wrong: Lebanese. In every Lebanese restaurant they have vegan dishes which are delicious. Same here at Yalla Yalla. The hummus, grilled cauliflower and baked eggplant dishes were my favorites. Oh! And they had a very good home-made drink. I forgot the name, but it was with shredded almond flakes. The place was very cozy, but extremely hot. After a while I became nauseous due to the heat. I hope that’s not normal for this place. But the food is very good and vegan-friendly. It was so good we took some leftover with us, back home.
Accessibility: there’s a small step at the door, so I am not sure this place is accessible to people using a wheelchair. The place is also very small, there’s not much room. The menu does not have braille.
Here are some sight-seeing tips. I’m sure you can find them yourself too, on the internet. But to make this article complete, I did want to share them.
Bike Tour by Baja Bikes
It doesn’t really matter in which city I am, I always book a bike tour at Baja Bikes. I started it years ago in Berlin and ever since they have never disappointed me. The tours are just very special. This one in Ghent was too. The guide was the best. A very funny man who really seemed genuinely interested in all of us (we did the tour with 5 people, 3 of us and 2 others). And the best thing: we skipped all the highlights. The guide said: you can find those yourself (which is true). Instead, we went to really special places where you usually wouldn’t end up yourself. I found the street art astonishing. Ghent is also a very progressive city, which I adore.
For this tour I can’t recommend any company. I think all the boat tour companies in Ghent are quite the same. The tours are the same duration and price everywhere, so it does not matter which one you choose. We did a boat tour on a sunny day and that was amazing. It’s a great way to see the city from a different perspective. It’s highly touristic, yes. But that doesn’t make it less fun. It’s not that expensive if you’d ask me. And you learn a lot about the city from the guide. A boat tour is a must-do in city like Ghent.
I am usually not really into musea. It’s quite weird, but I find most musea very boring. I don’t really care too much about art and old things. And so, I didn’t really know what to expect when we visited this castle. But I was amazed, I loved it. And that’s only because of the audio tour. When you buy a ticket, you get a free audio tour with it. It’s a small device, a bit like a phone. This took our visit from a 6 to a 9. Without the tour, I would have thought it was just an old castle. The tour really added context (and humor!) to the visit. Tickets were 8 euros (for a student ticket) and that’s definitely worth it.
Accessibility: this castle is not accessible to people using a wheelchair. Nor is it safe for people with limited sight or people who are blind.
Address: Sint-Veerleplein 11, 9000 Ghent.
I don’t want to encourage consumerism. But if you want to go shopping per se, secondhand is the best option. Here are the secondhand shops I visited in Ghent.
Fann is a secondhand shop for expensive clothing. Mostly clothing from expensive brands, so it’s really high-end. I didn’t buy anything, because I think it’s a waste to pay a lot of money for the name of the brand. Also, I don’t want to be a billboard for these brands. But if you are into that type of clothing, Fann is great. It’s a really big shop with a lot of clothing. And the shop is very neat as well. It might as well be a shop selling new clothing. I liked a lot of things I saw at Fann. And they even offer good secondhand shoes, which is quite unique.
Accessible: Fann is not accessible to people using a wheelchair, there’s a high step at the entrance.
Think Twice is a popular shop in Ghent, because it has three locations! It was also recommended to us by the bike tour guide. We visited two of the stores and I absolutely love Think Twice. I even found an item I had been looking for for months, a good fanny bag. For just 8 euros! I am honestly so happy with it.
Accessibility: the store in Ajuinlei is accessible to people using a wheelchair, the one at Brabantdam is not. For the third location I don’t know.
Club Millie Vanillie
Haha, okay, this is very random. But I just wanted to say something about this. My friends and I were planning on doing a pub-crawl in Ghent. However, we only visited one club: Millie Vanillie. We just really enjoyed it there. Music is really important for me when I go out. At Millie Vanillie they play a lot of hip-hop songs, which is a gift, honestly! 50 Cents, Drake, Destiny’s Child and even Donell Jones. I absolutely adored it. If you’re in Ghent and like this type of music, visit Millie Vanillie.
Those were the sustainable and fun hotspots in Ghent, Belgium that I know off! But don’t forget: this blogpost is always evolving. if I visit new hotspots in Ghent which I like/love, I will add them.