5 x city trips in Scheldeland
Out and about in the warm heart of Flanders
Forget Barcelona, Paris and Madrid. From now on, Scheldeland is the place for city trips. With their lively vibe and authentic culture, towns like Aalst, Dendermonde, Ninove and Ghent have everything you need for a great adventure, off the busy tourist trail.
Tower above Aalst in the Tower Hotel
Ever heard of the The Plague Victims by Rubens? You haven't? Then it's high time to put that right. You can admire this highlight in St Martin's church in Aalst. And while you're at it, why not make a weekend of it? Wander through the centre with its many historical buildings, and trendy and creative spots, or pay a visit to ’t Gasthuys Municipal Museum, where you can fathom the local and eccentric folklore of Aalst.
Enough culture for now? Time to ride your bike through the Faluintjes region, as the green lung of Aalst. You pedal past Aalst's rural communities, like Herdersem and Meldert, which were once famous for their hop farms. The origins of the name Faluintjes are unclear. It might be linked to the French word fallunière, meaning ‘quarry’. After all, Affligem abbey once excavated sandstone here.
A night in Tower Hotel tops off your weekend in Aalst. The modern, luxuriously furnished hotel with 73 guest rooms and 15 apartments was built on the foundations of the RTT building. Most impressive of all is the large breakfast room complete with roof terrace on the sixth floor, from which you enjoy a breathtaking 360° views across Aalst. How better to get your day started?
Sleep in a piece of historic Aalst in Station Hotel
You must have heard of the Bayard Steed and its four young riders. But do you actually know the story behind them? The best place to find out more is in Dendermonde, where the saga of the impressive horse and the four brothers is very much alive. There is more folklore to discover in the Dender town. In August, the three giants Indiaan, Mars and Goliath dance through the streets of the centre in the Katuit parade.
But even without the dancing giants, the centre is still worth a visit. You'll find as many as two monuments on the list of UNESCO World Heritage: The beautiful St Alexius beguinage and the Belfry and Cloth Hall.
Want to spend longer enjoying all those delights? You are welcome with Jo and Silke at Domus Portus, literally ‘home on the harbour’. The B&B is located right beside the old Dender. The romantically furnished rooms have names like Napoli and Sombrero. They refer to the building's original purpose, a hat shop.
Jo and Silke grew up in the district of Dendermonde and fell in love with its charming heart and the pleasant nature of the local residents. So they know the town inside and out. Nice restaurants, boutiques, nature areas … the couple are delighted to point you in the right direction.
Sample Ninove's hospitality in Hotel De Kalvaar
‘The oldest, the boldest and the wisest of towns’, is how Ninove was described by the historian Sanderus – rather jokingly – in 1644. Whether the town is bold and wise, that's up to you to decide, but Ninove is old without a doubt. The tower of the church of Our Lady of the Ascension is in fact one of the oldest churches in Baroque style in the country. Don't miss getting a glimpse of the impressive nave and enormous church organ. In the town centre you pass historical gems like the Koepoort or pop in to the Hospital Chapel which is home not only to the tourist office, but also to the town giants.
In Ninove there is plenty for nature lovers to enjoy, such as cycle rides through the marshlands of the Dender valley and walks in Neigem woods. In springtime, these woods are stunning with their beautiful carpet of bluebells.
The perfect place to stay for townies who enjoy some greenery is Hotel De Kalvaar, a ten-minute drive from recreation domain De Gavers. In 2019, the De Bisschop family won the prize at Hotel De Kalvaar for their friendly attitude, hospitality and customer service. Those staying in this welcoming hotel will immediately understand why.
Energised in d’Apotheeke in Ghent
Everyone knows the exciting city of Ghent. But did you know that the city's boroughs have lots to offer as well. Wander around the Campo Santo, the cemetery in Sint-Amandsberg, leading to the Main Beguinage, a charming spot that features on UNESCO's list of world heritage. Gentbrugse Meersen are also a lovely place for a refreshing Sunday potter, and in Ledeberg you can sense a rich industrial history as you wander. Or follow the Scheldt upstream and drop your anchor in Zwijnaarde, in d’Apotheeke.
This B&B run by Patrick and Katrien is housed in the former home of a pharmacist. Many details still bear reference to the building's past. Pills and lotions are long gone, but the warm spirit and welcome are certainly soothing. In the rooms Opium, Passiflora and Bella Donna the noise-dampening cork provides the ultimate peace and quiet.
Time for a city trip in Scheldeland
Sniff out some culture and enjoy the comforts of one of our six selected B&B’s or hotels in Aalst, Dendermonde, Ghent and Ninove. Surf to the website of your favourite accommodation in your favourite town. There you’ll find information about prices and availabilities to book your exciting weekend away!
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