Europe trip on a shoestring budget: Flanders

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Weekend is coming to an end. Yet your hangover is here to stay. You close your eyes and forget about the red lights that lead you to your workplace. Your battle with the seat belts needs a break.

If architectural history, delicious food, fashion, and the exquisite taste of beer are the ingredients that cook up your dream vacation, then visit Flanders, one of the three Belgian states in Europe.

This once in a lifetime experience also has a pocket friendly alternative to all those backpackers and travelers who wish to travel Europe while cutting down expenses.

Here are the two must visit Belgian cities if you are a travel enthusiast wishing to travel the whole of Europe or, looking for a week long escapade while experiencing backpacking adventures:
Ghent
Often best described as Europe's Best Kept Secret, Ghent is one of the oldest university towns of Flanders which is a perfect amalgamation of the old and the new with medieval and gothic architecture covering the city and the pubs surrounding it.

Ghent offers a host of budget-friendly accommodation options to make your stay most memorable. One can consider opting for a budget friendly accommodation in Ghent like the B&B hotels, Youth Hostels or holiday apartments. These accommodations are housed in attractive historic buildings and are ideal for tourists as they offer great facilities, Flemish cuisine, and great interiors. Youth Hostels are open round the year making it very convenient for the tourists visiting the city.Some of the popular places to stay in Ghent:

Backstay Hostel Ghent - A monumental Art Deco building located between the historical city centre and the Arts Quarter. Backstay Hostel Ghent is housed in a former printing press and has a capacity of 108 beds, in both shared and single rooms. The room price includes a buffet breakfast, sheets, WiFi access, lockers and baggage storage.

Hostel Uppelink -Hostel Uppelink is located in a historic building, in the heart of the historic city centre, and boasts an impressive view of Ghent's famous towers. The hostel offers affordable accommodation in shared rooms, with two to ten beds per room. On the ground floor there are a breakfast area, a cosy salon and bar, with an impressive view of the Graslei.

Hostel 47 - Low-budget accommodation on the outskirts of the historic city centre. The rooms for two to eight persons can accommodate a total of 34 guests. The common rooms are stylish, comfortable, and decorated in a very contemporary style.

13 O'Clock Hostel - 13 O'Clock Hostel recently opened in Universiteitsstraat. One can spend the night here for a reasonable price. Longer stays (for a month even) are also possible.

Fred&Breakfast - B&B Ghent - Located at the Coupure 645 in Ghent, 5 minutes walking of the centre of Ghent it is the ideal operating base to discover the historical and cultural curiosities of the city.

Bed & Breakfast Geertje Henckens - Waking up in the middle of the city, in a mansion with a coach, part of a former cloister of which beautiful remainders still can be seen. Let yourself be carried away with what Gent has to offer, all within walking distance.

Things to do

Ghent is an excellent stop for vacationing families who are looking for just the right quirky mix of medieval and modern. Walk through the architectural masterpiece of castles, cathedrals, churches and old merchant houses.

The most scenic way to get to know Ghent is by boat ride as you glide along the enchanting canals you will notice the beauty of the place. These rides are quiet easy on the pocket. Torture museum which has a collection of medieval torture instruments is a must-see. A visit to the top of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Belfry Tower for one of the best views of the city is a must. One can also opt for cycling trails or walking tours to discover Ghent.

There is so much one can do at Ghent

So, log in here to design your perfect holiday.



Leuven

A vibrant student population and a rich history combine in the city of Leuven, home to one of Europe's oldest universities (KU Leuven), founded in 1425. The university, one of the most important in Europe, has its roots in the centre of Leuven, and its historic college buildings dominate many of the squares and streets. A few lucky students even have the distinct privilege of living in the 13th century stone beguinage, a UNESCO world heritage site worthy of a visit. 28,000 students and professors lend a distinctly youthful atmosphere to the city along with its beer culture.

Leuven is Belgium's reining brewing capital - no small feat in a country that produces hundreds of delicious varieties. Leuven is the headquarters of Inbev, the second largest brewery in the world, famous for Stella Artois beers. Centuries of Flemish tradition and craftsmanship lie behind Leuven's premium brews. Leuven is a great place for the curious young traveler with time to explore.

Some of the popular pocket-friendly hostels to stay in Leuven:

Cube Hostel

  • Hostel in the city centre
  • Free wifi, game/cinema room
  • Lounge with library and piano
  • Linnen and breakfast included (from 8 to 11 p.m.)
Leuven City Hostel

  • Hostel in the city centre
  • Private and shared rooms
  • Free wifi, coffee and tea all day long
  • Breakfast and bed sheets included
De Blauwput

  • Hostel near the train station of Leuven
  • Rooms for 2, 4 and 6 persons
  • Extended breakfast buffet included
  • Equipped with conference rooms, internet and a bicycle garage
Sint-Jacob

  • Hostel in the city centre
  • Recently renovated and containing every comfort
  • Completely equipped kitchen, accessible 24/24
  • Free internet in the living room


As mentioned earlier, Leuven is a wild and lively city filled with students and wanderers who want to explore the depths of Europe and its culture. With close to 45 pubs on the Old Market Square, which is also known as the longest bar in Europe is a must visit lane for sinking in with the young local crowd and the city's lifestyle. Adding on to this experience one can stay at The Great Beguinage, which is a UNESCO world heritage property currently under the University of Leuven. Lastly, the 15th Century Gothic Town Hall and, Museum M with impressive Gothic and 19th century collection along with an unforgettable view of the city from its rooftop makes them splendid must visit locations.
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