Ghent, Belgium

Things to Do in Ghent, Belgium


According to diseaseslearning, Ghent is one of the nicest cities to visit in Belgium. Less urban than Antwerp and less of an open-air museum than Bruges. Ghent is an atmospheric city where the former wealth is still clearly visible in the city center. It is not for nothing that Ghent is popular among Dutch tourists as a destination for a day or a few days. Visitors are especially drawn to the many cultural-historical buildings, museums and the atmospheric nightlife. The top event is the Gentse Feesten, a traditional folk festival that dates back to the nineteenth century and lasts no less than ten days. These parties, which take place in the summer, are the top attraction of Ghent. Because the Gentse Feesten are only temporary and there is so much to see and do in Ghent, we have not placed it in our top 10. The same applies to the annually organized Christmas market in Ghent. We also regard this as a temporary event and not as a permanent attraction.

In recent years, Ghent has become increasingly popular among Dutch tourists. After top destinations Antwerp and Bruges, Ghent has grown into the third city trip destination among the Dutch. And rightly so, because Ghent is certainly as nice as those two cities. If you want to know what to do during your city trip to Ghent, we have put together these top 10 sights for Ghent.

Top 10 Things to Do in Ghent

#1. Korenlei and Graslei

If you ask us what the most beautiful place in Ghent is, we don’t have to think long about the answer. The Korenlei and Graslei together form the most characteristic place in the center of Ghent. The river Leie, together with the other inland waterways, offers beautiful atmospheres in Ghent. The most popular part is where the Graslei and Korenlei are on the water. Here are a number of beautiful buildings, some of which date from the Middle Ages. Various tour boats also depart from both slates. When the weather is pleasant, the terraces, especially on the Graslei, are busy. Locals and tourists also like to sit on the stone edges on and around the water.

The Sint-Michielsbrug is the best place to take beautiful pictures of the Korenlei and Graslei. This monumental bridge dates from the early twentieth century. In terms of design, it fits in perfectly with the environment. From this bridge you also have a perfect view of the three towers of Ghent: the Sint-Niklaaskerk, the belfry and the Sint-Baafskathedraal. Around noon the sun is in the right position to photograph the slates. For the three towers you have the best light later in the day.

#2. St Bavo’s Cathedral

St Bavo’s Cathedral is a medieval church built over a Romanesque crypt. The cathedral, which is now located in the heart of Ghent, is originally Gothic, but with later additions it also has elements in the Renaissance, Baroque and Classicist style. The church building itself is worth a visit, but the most important one to take a look at St Bavo’s Cathedral is the presence of The Ghent Altarpiece. This religious polyptych was made by Hubert and Jan van Eyck. The work of art, completed around 1432, is considered one of the highlights of the Flemish Primitives. The altarpiece, painted on twelve wooden panels, has recently undergone a major restoration.

#3. Cruise

Participating in a canal cruise is highly recommended if you want to discover Ghent. The water offers a different perspective on this special city. During a boat trip you will get to know the different sights and the history of the city. At the end you will understand why there are three towers close to each other, why Ghent has been able to develop into an important city and what the most beautiful places in Ghent are. Ghent. The cruises start from Graslei and Korenlei. The duration is 40 minutes to an hour and a half, depending on which cruise you participate in.

#4. Gravestone

The Castle of the Counts is a fortified moated castle with an almost intact defense system. According to wikipedia it is the only remaining castle in all of Flanders. The first fortifications were built here in the ninth century. A large stone keep was erected in the eleventh century. Later a castle was built. Over time, the appearance of the Castle of the Counts has constantly changed due to renovations and extensions. The Castle of the Counts as you see it now is the result of recent restoration work, in which the ivy characteristic of the ramparts up to that time was removed. The Gravensteen can be visited almost daily. You then have a nice insight into how a medieval fortress is built. The weapon museum and law museum present in the Castle of the Counts show you special objects, including a real guillotine. As a bonus, you have a beautiful view of the city from the Gravensteen.

#5. Belfry

For the best view of Ghent you can visit the 95 meter high belfry. This tower was built in the fourteenth century and forms the center of the well-known tower row of Ghent. The belfry is built against the cloth hall. The belfry is the tallest tower, but not the tallest structure in Ghent. In 2012, the belfry was surpassed by the Arteveldetoren. You can visit the belfry for a fee. The first part you have to climb a spiral staircase, but then you can take the elevator to the level that offers a beautiful view over the city of Ghent.

#6. Markets

There are many types of markets to visit in Ghent. There is the Vrijdagsmarkt, which takes place on one of the oldest squares in the city on every Friday. In the past, executions were also carried out on this square. A final beheading took place in 1822 with the knife of the guillotine. One of the oldest markets in Ghent was the Oude Vismijn. This is on the Sint-Veerle square, characterized by the gatehouse. In 2010 it was restored and refurbished as a catering business. Another former market is the Grote Vleeshuis. A few years ago, no meat as in the Middle Ages was sold here, but vegetables and fruit. Since the restoration of this medieval market hall in the 1990s, the building has been used as a promotion center for East Flemish regional products.

#7. Design Museum

If you like art, you can visit various museums in Ghent. The Museum of Fine Arts mainly shows paintings, drawings and other works of art from the Middle Ages to about the middle of the 20th century. The SMAK is dedicated to contemporary art. A third art museum is the Design Museum. This museum has an extensive collection of design from Belgium and other countries. The applied arts can often be found in everyday life. The story behind the design, the trends, the conceptual thinking and the different movements within the design form an endless source of inspiration for interesting exhibitions that appeal to a fairly wide audience.

#8. graffiti street

The Graffitistraatje shows that Ghent has more to offer than museums and buildings worth seeing. Werregarenstraat, located in the center of Ghent, forms the backdrop for this popular contemporary form of street art. The entire car-free street has been transformed into a graffiti tolerance zone. This creates expressive colorful art that together form a fascinating attraction within Ghent. Are you an aerosol artist yourself and do you want to show your skills? Then this is a tolerance zone where you can do that.

#9. House of Alijn

The former Children of Alijn Hospital now houses a special museum: the House of Alijn. This museum shows everyday life in the twentieth century. You are guided through the past century by decade. The further you get to the end of that era, the more often you will see objects that remind you of your childhood or later life. This provides the adult visitors with a feast of recognition. The nice thing is that you can show your children or grandchildren what kind of things you used to have at home, what you cooked with, how you spent your free time and what equipment you owned to make life more pleasant.

#10. Ghent City Museum

Would you like to know more about the city of Ghent? Then the Ghent City Museum, or STAM, is a good tip for you. Opened in 2010, this museum shows the recent history and development of Ghent. The absolute highlight of the STAM is a 300 square meter interactive aerial photo of Ghent. The urban character of Ghent is highlighted and the story of the city is told by means of three hundred different objects.

Ghent, Belgium