Ghent - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Ghent

Ghent

Ghent is an old medieval city that has long been overshadowed by Bruges, but holds many attractions for the visitor and has the advantage of having far fewer tourists. It was once the heart of the cloth trade and the largest medieval city in Europe after Paris. Today the old centre has many historic buildings including St Bavo's Cathedral, the Castle of the Counts, a turreted castle with a moat, a bell tower for great views, the Town Hall and the 15th-century Cloth Hall.


Information & Facts

Language
The Flemish, in the north, speak Dutch (60% of the population); the Walloons in the south speak French (40%). Brussels is bilingual, the majority of citizens speaking French. In the east there is a small German-speaking community. English is also spoken.
Money

Euro (EUR) divided into 100 cents. Most credit cards are accepted (Visa, American Express, Diners Club and Eurcard) as are travellers cheques (though it is best to carry them in Euros, US dollars or Pounds Sterling to avoid additional charges when exchanging). ATMs are available in all major cities. Banks are open Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm, and are closed on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Some banks close for an hour during lunch. There are however some foreign exchange offices that trade on Sundays.

Time
Local time in Belgium is GMT +1 (GMT +2 from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October).

During World War I, the medieval town of Ypres in the Flanders region of Belgium was the epicentre of fighting on the Western Front, with the Allied army suffering its heaviest losses in history. Flanders Battlefield Tours, run by an informed, sensitive and knowledgeable group of Great War scholars, ensure that the memory of that 'lost generation' is preserved and respected. The tour has been roundly celebrated for the vividness of the battle accounts it gives - much of the information is supplemented by personal artefacts, such as old maps, photographs, diary extracts and poems - and visitors are sure to be awed, spending time in areas where on average every square metre of earth witnessed the death of 35 young men. A solemn, moving and important experience, Flanders Battlefield Tours have been described by travellers as 'the best of [their] kind in Europe'.

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