Saint Peter's Abbey
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A secret garden lies hidden behind the Sint-Pietersabdij on the slopes above the River Scheldt. Entered by an old coach gate, this romantic spot dates back to the 9th century when the hillside was terraced to create a vineyard. The site was restored in 1983 and replanted with fruit trees, vines and herbs. It is popular with students, but sometimes you have the place to yourself. Not open on Mondays.
Ghent students bring their textbooks to study in this secret little park. Created in 1992 on a patch of sloping land leading down to the River Leie, it feels romantic and even a little bit wild.
SInt-Lucas sculpture courtyard
The inner courtyard of the Sint-Lucas Academy is filled with a strange, forgotten collection of Gothic an Baroque fragments. They were placed here in the 19the century when this building, formerly a monastery, was turned into an art academy. The arches, gargoyles and doorways were once used to teach the principles of architecture, but they are now overgrown with moss.
Korte Meer 20a
Not many people notice the coach entrance on the narrow back street Korte Meer. But it is worth taking a look inside if the door is open. You pass through an old stable block with a wooden hay rack and then enter a hidden 18th-century garden overlooked by the grand D'Hane-Steenhuyse mansion. This is a strangely secret spot in the middle of Ghent.
Not many people ever take a look at the university botanical garden. Maybe it looks too serious and scientific, but it has a fascinating collection of 7,000 species from all over the world, along with an Alpine garden, tropical greenhouses and a romantic lake bordered with magnolias. The perfect spot to sit with a book in the summer.