Best Things to do in Ghent

12 Best Things to do in Ghent, Belgium

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Ghent, a charming city located in the Flemish region of Belgium, offers a wealth of cultural and historical attractions. From medieval castles and cathedrals to picturesque canals and vibrant festivals, Ghent has something to captivate every visitor. Whether you’re an art enthusiast, a history buff, or simply seeking a delightful getaway, Ghent has a plethora of activities to offer. In this article, we will explore the 12 best things to do in Ghent, Belgium, providing you with a comprehensive guide to make the most of your visit.

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1. Visit Ghent Castle

As you arrive in Ghent, a visit to Ghent Castle is a must. Also known as Gravensteen, this imposing fortress dates back to the 12th century and holds great historical significance. Its well-preserved structure allows visitors to step back in time and experience the medieval atmosphere. Inside the castle, you can explore various rooms and exhibitions that showcase the castle’s rich history.

2. Explore Gravensteen

Gravensteen, the Castle of the Counts, is a prominent landmark in Ghent. This medieval castle served as the residence of the Counts of Flanders and offers a fascinating glimpse into the city’s past. The castle features a moat, towers, and a courtyard, all of which can be explored. As you wander through the castle, you’ll discover its historical significance and learn about the medieval way of life.

3. Discover St. Bavo’s Cathedral

St. Bavo’s Cathedral is a magnificent Gothic cathedral that stands as an architectural masterpiece in Ghent. The cathedral is renowned for its stunning stained glass windows, intricate artwork, and its famous Ghent Altarpiece painted by the Van Eyck brothers. A visit to St. Bavo’s Cathedral allows you to admire the grandeur of its interior and experience the spirituality and artistry that defines this iconic landmark.

4. Take a stroll along Graslei and Korenlei

For a picturesque experience, head to Graslei and Korenlei, the historic waterfront of Ghent. Here, you’ll find a row of beautifully preserved medieval buildings that once served as the city’s grain and harbor trade centers. The charming facades, reflected in the calm waters of the canal, create a postcard-perfect scene. Take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront, soak in the vibrant atmosphere, and enjoy the various cafes and restaurants offering delightful local cuisine.

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5. Visit the Belfry of Ghent

The Belfry of Ghent is an iconic tower that dominates the city’s skyline. Climbing the 91-meter tall tower rewards you with breathtaking panoramic views of Ghent. The tower also houses a carillon, which rings out beautiful melodies throughout the day. As you ascend the tower, you’ll witness the cityscape unfolding beneath you, revealing the architectural wonders and historic landmarks that make Ghent so special.

6. Explore the Ghent City Center

The Ghent City Center is a treasure trove of architectural gems and a vibrant hub of activity. The city center is adorned with stunning medieval and Gothic buildings, including the Town Hall and St. Nicholas’ Church. Take a leisurely stroll through the narrow streets, discover hidden alleyways, and immerse yourself in the lively ambiance. The city center is also home to charming shops, boutiques, and local markets, offering a unique shopping experience.

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7. Enjoy a boat tour on the Ghent canals

To truly appreciate the beauty of Ghent, embark on a boat tour along its enchanting canals. From the water, you’ll have a different perspective of the city, admiring its architectural marvels and hidden gems. The boat tour takes you through the picturesque waterways, passing under charming bridges and alongside historic buildings. The tranquil atmosphere and captivating views make this experience truly memorable.

8. Discover the Museum of Fine Arts

Art lovers shouldn’t miss the opportunity to visit the Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent. The museum houses an extensive collection of Flemish and Belgian art, including works by renowned artists such as Jan van Eyck, Hieronymus Bosch, and Peter Paul Rubens. From medieval paintings to modern art, the museum offers a comprehensive journey through the region’s artistic heritage. Temporary exhibitions also provide fresh perspectives and showcase contemporary artists.

9. Visit the Design Museum Gent

For design enthusiasts, the Design Museum Gent is a must-visit attraction. This museum showcases innovative design, contemporary art, and applied arts from the past and present. From furniture and fashion to graphic design and architecture, the museum’s diverse collection celebrates creativity and craftsmanship. The exhibitions often explore the intersection of design, technology, and society, offering thought-provoking insights into the world of design.

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10. Experience the Ghent Festivities

If you happen to visit Ghent during July, you’re in for a treat. The Ghent Festivities, known as “Gentse Feesten,” is a 10-day festival that transforms the city into a lively and colorful celebration. The festival encompasses music, street theater, cultural events, and vibrant parades. The streets come alive with performances, and numerous stages are set up across the city, offering a diverse range of entertainment for all ages. The Ghent Festivities are a perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and experience the city’s vibrant spirit.

11. Explore the Ghent University Botanical Garden

Nature lovers will appreciate the serene beauty of the Ghent University Botanical Garden. This green oasis in the heart of the city is home to a wide variety of plants and serves as a peaceful retreat. Take a leisurely stroll through the garden’s diverse sections, including a rock garden, a pond with water lilies, and a greenhouse. The botanical garden offers a tranquil escape from the bustling city and provides an opportunity to connect with nature.

12. Try the local cuisine in Ghent

No visit to Ghent is complete without indulging in the city’s culinary delights. Ghent is known for its gastronomic scene, offering a range of traditional dishes and local specialties. From savory delights like “Waterzooi,” a creamy stew, to sweet treats like “Cuberdons,” cone-shaped raspberry candies, there’s something to satisfy every palate. Explore the city’s restaurants, cafes, and food markets to sample the local flavors and immerse yourself in Ghent’s culinary heritage.

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In conclusion, Ghent, Belgium, is a city that effortlessly combines history, culture, and charm. With its medieval castles, Gothic cathedrals, picturesque canals, and vibrant festivals, Ghent offers a diverse range of experiences for visitors. Whether you’re interested in art, history, architecture, or simply want to soak in the vibrant atmosphere, Ghent has something for everyone. So, pack your bags and embark on a journey to discover the 12 best things to do in Ghent, creating memories that will last a lifetime.


1. What is the best time to visit Ghent?

The best time to visit Ghent is during the spring and summer months, from April to September. The weather is generally pleasant, and you can enjoy outdoor activities and festivals. However, Ghent also has its unique charm during the winter months, especially during the festive season when the city is adorned with lights and decorations.

2. Are there any guided tours available in Ghent?

Yes, there are several guided tours available in Ghent. These tours offer insightful information about the city’s history, architecture, and culture. You can choose from walking tours, boat tours, or even specialized tours focused on art, food, or specific landmarks.

3. How can I travel around Ghent?

Ghent has an excellent public transportation system, including buses and trams, making it easy to navigate the city. You can also rent bicycles, which are a popular mode of transportation in Ghent. The city is relatively compact, making it convenient to explore on foot.

4. What are some budget-friendly activities in Ghent?

Ghent offers several budget-friendly activities for visitors. Exploring the city center, visiting public parks and gardens, and enjoying the picturesque canals are all free of charge. Additionally, many museums offer discounted or free entry on certain days or for specific age groups. You can also enjoy the local cuisine at affordable prices by opting for street food or dining at local eateries.

5. Is Ghent suitable for a family vacation?

Yes, Ghent is a family-friendly destination with plenty of activities to keep everyone entertained. Children will enjoy exploring the medieval castles, taking boat tours on the canals, and visiting interactive museums. The city also has several parks and playgrounds where kids can play and unwind.

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Upendra Yadav is a seasoned Data Analyst with a passion for exploring new places and immersing himself in different cultures. With a curious mind and an eye for detail, Upendra delves deep into the history, people, and cuisine of the places he visits, and brings his experiences to life through his writing.. His work has been featured in various travel blogs, where he shares his insights and recommendations for fellow explorers. Through his writing, Upendra aims to inspire others to venture beyond their comfort zones and discover the hidden gems of the world. When he's not analyzing data or traveling to new destinations, Upendra can be found indulging in his other hobbies, such as photography and trying out new recipes. He is currently working on his next travelogue, where he hopes to take his readers on a journey to even more exciting and lesser-known destinations.