Ghent is teeming with places to have a drink in the summer sun, so we'll help you pick out the very best ones, where the vibe is relaxed and prices are fair.
8 summer terraces where you can soak up the sun in Ghent
Moored in Ghent’s old docklands, Sigrid Hubloux’s houseboat is a relaxed spot for a summer cocktail. You can eat salad or quiche below decks in a clean Nordic interior with wood floorboards, a long communal table and porthole windows. But the summer sun brings everyone out on deck to enjoy the view in this emerging new neighbourhood.
2) Vooruit Café
Arty hub Vooruit occupies a grand building created in 1913 by a worthy socialist organisation. You can drink coffee in a stunning interior with marble tables, tiled floors and high ceilings. But if the sun shines then look for a free table on the roof terrace added by DIAL architects in 2013. The friendly young staff take your order at the bar.
3) De Planck
An old river barge lies moored on the waterfront near Kinepolis cinema, making it a hot spot for movie fans and actors during the Ghent film festival (held 8-18 October). You can sit out under the trees on a warm summer evening and pick from a list of more than 200 beers, including the house brew Planckske. Below decks, the long cabin is decorated in a rustic style with old furniture, beer signs and candles.
Dieter and Robin run this friendly coffee bar in an old 16th-century house with roses growing up the walls. It lies hidden at the end of a quiet lane overlooking the Leie, so most people miss it. The interior has tables looking out on the water and odd vintage details like an old radio and photographs of King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola. In the summer, you can drink Or brand coffee on the waterfront terrace while watching the ducks drift past.
5) Bar Jan Cremer
Named after a notorious Dutch novelist, this relaxed coffee bar has a cool interior featuring pale wood tables and walls stripped back to the bare brick. Once summer arrives, regulars move outdoors onto the cobbled square where the mood is like a summer beach cafe complete with bright red deckchairs.
6) Het Spijker
This historic bar is located in a rugged grain warehouse with bare brick walls and low beams. Be careful when you enter or you will hit your head on the 12th-century stone lintel. If the weather is at all warm, the terrace at the front quickly fills up, but only a few locals know about the waterfront spot at the back of the café where you can sit with a Belgian beer looking out on the river.
7) Simon Says
This is a relaxed coffee bar with a few tables set out on a quiet square. It was opened by Simon Turner and Christopher Joseph who also run a small B&B in the same bright red and yellow Art Nouveau building. The tables inside are covered with hand-made tiles while the dark blue walls are dotted with tiny drawings of imaginary flying machines by the Antwerp artist Panamarenko.
8) Café Ventura
This small, friendly cafe on the Vrijdagmarkt stays open until the early hours. It’s run by a young couple who create a relaxed mood with DJ nights and the occasional offbeat film screening. The terrace is ideally located to catch the sun from the early afternoon until the last of the daylight.
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The 500 Hidden Secrets of Ghent reveals off-the-beaten-track places and interesting details for anyone who's keen to explore Ghent's best-kept secrets.
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