Gent (Ghent), Belgium
It is impossible to overstate the wealth of attractions packed into this Belgian chocolate box. Start with one of the world’s earliest oil paintings, the 20 panel Adoration of the Mystic Lamb signed in 1432 by Jan van Eyck. Galleries and museums dot the cityscape, including the MSK with Low Countries artworks from the 14th to the mid 20th centuries. For a change of pace, visit Gravensteen, a picture perfect castle replete with a moat. Climb Belfort, the towering, dragon topped belfry that is a city icon and a UNESCO heritage site. MIAT is an early textile mill converted into a museum dedicated to Belgian fabric manufacture, with hulking machines to satisfy the latent mechanic and engineer. And, of course, there is beer, and waffles and chocolates.