Ghent is a city in Belgium that is known for its medieval architecture, canals, and lively nightlife. The city is also famous for its many festivals, including the Ghent Festival, which is one of the largest music festivals in Europe. If you’re looking for a place to enjoy some good food and drink, Ghent is the perfect destination.
There are numerous restaurants and bars serving up traditional Belgian fare, as well as international cuisine. And of course, no visit to Ghent would be complete without sampling some of the local beer. So whether you’re looking to explore Belgium’s history or just party the night away, make sure to add Ghent to your list of travel destinations.
If you’re looking to get from Brussels to Ghent, there are a few different transportation options available to you. You can take the train, which is probably the quickest and most convenient option.
Alternatively, you can take a bus or drive yourself. However, if you’re looking for an adventure, you can always try to hitchhike!
Regardless of how you choose to get there, Ghent is definitely worth a visit. The city is incredibly charming and has a lot to offer in terms of history and culture. So make sure to add it to your Belgium itinerary!
1. Visit the mystical Castle of Counts (Gravensteen)
This medieval castle was built in 1180 and is still open to the public. Your kids will be astonished by the Arms Museum and “the guillotine”. You can also visit the gatehouse, ramparts, the count’s residence, and the stables.
They also provide a unique audio tour and Visio guide with a touch of humor in this majestical fortress. Next to the castle is the old fish market with some nice buildings.
2. Take your Instagram picture on the St Michiels bridge (Sint Michiels brug)
On this bridge, you will have one of the best views of Ghent. From this spot, you can see all the medieval towers of Ghent. You will probably have to get in line with your selfie stick to get your Instagram capture.
Don’t forget to have a look down at the Gras- and Korenlei. When the sun is out students are gathering here on one of the most photogenic spots of Ghent.
3. Have a look @the Lam Gods painting in St. Bavo’s Cathedral (Sint Baafskathedraal)
One of the reasons you must visit this cathedral is “The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb” by the Van Eyck brothers which were completed in 1432.
What happened in 1934 is still a big mystery in Belgian history. On the morning of 11 April, two panels were stolen off the 18 in total. One of them was returned anonymously but “The Just Judges” is still missing.
The masterpiece has been restored many times in the past but can now be visited in the cathedral. The entrance to the cathedral is free but to have a look at the paintings you will have to pay a little amount.
If you want more information about the painting, you can check this website.
4. Climb the stairs of the Ghent Belfry (Belfort)
The belfry is the middle tower in the row of three. On top of the belfry, there is a copper dragon that protects the city of Ghent and guards the historic heart of the city. If you want to get closer to the dragon you will have to climb the tower (91m).
You will be rewarded with a stunning view of Ghent. Every Sunday morning you can hear the carillonneur at work between 11 am and 12 noon.
5. Have a lunch in Belgium’s food capital
After visiting all those amazing castles and cathedrals you will get hungry. Ghent has the reputation of being the food capital of Belgium. Young chefs are trying new dishes and the older restaurant are still serving the best Belgian dishes you can find. Ghent also has a lot of students so coffee bars and hip cafes are everywhere. Find your perfect spot on the Graslei to have your “moules frites” while enjoying the sun.
It’s no secret that Belgian fries and Belgian waffles are the best in the world. But also try the “Stoofvlees” which is a ragout of beef, slowly cooked in dark beer. When you like some dessert, try to find the Cuberdon vendors on the Groentenmarkt. Cuberdons are sweats made of raspberries.
6. Travel back in time on a fantastic boat trip
Just like Bruges is Gent well known for his canal cruises. Choose your captain and get aboard at the borders of the Graslei. Boat trips are held daily and the captain on board provides a guided tour, possible in several languages. You can book your tickets in advance.
You can also take the water tram and hop on hop off while the boat makes a circuit around the city. If you have a city card, it’s for free. More info about the city card can be found here.
7. Have an amazing night out @the Vlasmarkt
Ghent is one of the best party towns in the Benelux. Because Ghent has so many students you have a huge nightlife scene with a lot of trendy places to go.
One of my favorites is the Charlatan, it’s located at the Vlasmarkt next to the St. Jacobs Church. It’s open until… very early in the morning and on Thursdays and Sundays they have free performances. They also call it the House of Perdition… a place for the late-night owls.
On “De oude Beestenmarkt” which means the old animal market, you have a lot of trendy places. Club 69 is my favorite and one of the coolest places in town. Put on your dancing shoes and dance! And during the daytime little children can still buy baby rabbits or little chickens, what a difference.
8. Taste some of the “local” beers!
Visiting Gent without having a beer is like going to the sea without having a swim. Unfortunately, you can’t taste all of them, so I try to advise you on my favorite beers and where to taste them.
If you go to the “Het waterhuis aan de bierkant”, which is very close to the Gravensteen you have the opportunity to taste 160 beers. Meanwhile, some jazz or blues will be playing.
Most people know Duvel, the blond strong beer but instead, you should try Omer. It’s only a few years old but getting more popular these days. Delirium Tremens is another blond beer, famous for the pink elephant on the bottle.
Of course, we have all kinds of Trappists, which are brewed by the monks. One of them is Westvleteren, chosen as the best beer in the world. The only problem is that it is very limited and hard to get so instead you should try the St. Bernardus 12 which almost has the same flavor.
One piece of advice, try to eat some small tapas while tasting these beers… Here you can find a walk that takes you through Tasteful Ghent.
Or book this guide who will take you through Ghent:
9. Wander around in the “Patershol”
If you love small picturesque streets from the Middle Ages you have to visit this small city in a city. In these cobbled streets, you can also find food from all over the world. Indian, Italian, Japanese… and of course our Flemish cuisine.
Take a visit to the House of Alijn which is a museum about Flemish traditions and customs. In the inner courtyard, there is a museum café. Sometimes raconteurs are telling their stories while you have a drink.
10. Meet the nicest people during the“Gentse Feesten”
Every year during July, Ghent has a big festival. Artists from all over the world perform on the streets, in pubs, and even in some churches. During the day you have an animation for children, fairs and a lot more.
Most of it is free but sometimes you have to pay for entrance or book in advance for certain shows. More info about the “Gentse Feesten” can be found here.
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