Last-minute Valentine: the 5 most romantic cafes in Ghent

De Geus van Gent

Whether you're not into all that gooey romantic stuff or the annual 'day of love' caught you by surprise (again!) - it can be tempting to keep it simple on Valentine's Day. Sometimes less is more, and just taking someone out for a lovely glass of wine or tasty Belgian beer can be a declaration of love in itself. Especially if the setting helps to create some romantic vibes and invites you to squeeze a bit closer together. We've listed the 5 most romance-inducing cafes in the lovely city of Ghent, just in case you didn't have anything planned yet and have started to regret it by now. You're welcome. 
Here is a strange, romantic place hidden away in a vast Ghent mansion. It is run as a cafe and gallery by Eveline Roels, a Ghent art graduate who grew up in this grand 1860s house. You sit on worn antique chairs under a beautiful moulded ceiling while Eveline heats up some soup in the kitchen or brings you coffee in a delicate China cup. It is a warm, welcoming place with a beautiful overgrown garden at the back for summer days. ‘Huset is a place where anything can happen,’ Eveline says. But unfortunately not at weekends, when it is closed.
Hoogstraat 49
Two young women called Aline and Ottelien have created a relaxed, bohemian cafe filled with secondhand books, old lamps and antique framed photographs of young lovers. The coffee comes on a silver tray and the croissants are served with a small pot of jam. But the speciality of the house is a hot chocolate drink based on a 17th-century English recipe that uses melted chocolate, hot water and spices. It can get crowded downstairs, but you can usually find a table on the first floor.
Belfortstraat 6
+32 (0)483 23 62 28
Hidden down a cobbled lane in the Patershol, this is a wonderful place for a late-night drink. It feels like a private home, furnished with assorted tables and chairs, piles of books, candles everywhere and an old piano. Out at the back is an overgrown garden that is deeply poetic on summer evenings. But the main attraction is Betty, who has been in charge of this place for the past 25 years. She mingles with her customers, invites local musicians to play and occasionally offers flirting couples a glass of her secret love potion Elixir d’Amour.
Corduwaniersstraat 57
+32 (0)9 224 30 35
This romantic little bar opposite the Gravensteen is the perfect place to dive inside on a wet winter day. The interior has a warm, welcoming feel with its old rococo wood-panelling, candles in gin bottles and stuffed deer head. The beer list includes some interesting Ghent brews, but this is really a place to drink a gin and tonic or possibly, if you are feeling extravagant, a glass of Ben Nevis whisky bottled 42 years ago.
Rekelingestraat 3
+32 (0)478 57 96 54
This cafe is hidden down a quiet cobbled lane that runs beside the Sint-Pietersabdij. You would never come across it by accident. Yet it is one of the most romantic spots in Ghent, especially if you can find a table in the room to the left. Here you are surrounded by bookshelves, oil paintings and curious animal heads. Open from 4 pm until the last customer heads out into the damp Ghent night.
de alchemist gent

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