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Discover the Magic of Ghent: 7 Must Dos in Belgium's Historic City

Updated: Apr 30, 2023

Welcome to vibrant Ghent! One of the most beautiful cities in Belgium, this historic hub holds a plethora of captivating activities and spectacular sights. From exploring its breathtaking art galleries, strolling along medieval alleyways, admiring charming canals or feasting on exquisite local cuisine - whatever you choose to do during your stay in Ghent is sure to be an unforgettable experience. Whether you’re looking for the perfect slice of Belgian culture or just wanting some adventure and excitement, then make sure you check out our guide on discovering the magic that lies within Ghent.

Ghent, Belgium
Ghent, Belgium

Overview of Ghent – Learn about the fascinating history and culture of this Belgian city


Ghent is a Belgian holiday destination packed with history and culture that is ready to be explored. Explore ancient historic sites such as St Bavo’s Cathedral and see world-renowned painting in Kunsthal Sint-Pietersabdij. With a wide variety of restaurants serving incredibly tasty dishes, you are sure to have a holiday to remember when visiting Ghent. Treat yourself and explore the holiday opportunities available - with so much culture on display, Ghent is the ideal holiday location!


What to Do in Ghent – Uncover the many activities and attractions available in Ghent, including the Graslei quay, Gravensteen castle, and more


Beautiful Ghent, Belgium at night
Beautiful Ghent, Belgium at night

Ghent, Belgium is one of the most beautiful places to explore in Europe. 5 must do activities when visiting Ghent include exploring the Graslei quay, marveling at Gravensteen castle, visiting St. Michael’s Bridge, taking a ride with the trams and boats, and finally feasting on the amazingly tasty local cuisine. The Graslei quay is a picturesque harbor with amazing photo spots to capture amazing memories of your visit. You can also wander along the banks past cafés, pubs and restaurants to find something for everyone. Then head to Gravensteen Castle for an unforgettable experience of captivating history where you can look out on facades from its towers that never cease to amaze visitors. St. Michae’s Bridge is another perfect spot for some incredible view points over the river Liège while taking a fun tram ride among other locals commuting around the city is an absolute treat. Last but not least, be sure to take some time make top-notch dining experiences by trying out some authentic Belgian specialties like Moules Frites or Waterzooi - it's a must! So no matter if you're looking for great view points or unique attractions; Ghent has it all!

1. Gravensteen castle

Gravensteen castle, Ghent, Belgium
Gravensteen castle, Ghent, Belgium

Gravensteen castle is one of the most stunning attractions in Ghent, Belgium. Located on the banks of the river Leie, this medieval fortress dates back to 1180 and offers visitors a glimpse into its fascinating history. This imposing stone structure stands as a reminder of Ghent’s past as an important trading hub for Europe during the Middle Ages. Visitors can explore its many rooms, towers, drawbridges and moats while admiring its unique architecture and artistry. Gravensteen castle also houses an impressive collection of weapons from different eras in time – making it an ideal destination for anyone interested in learning more about European military history. Whether you’re looking to take amazing photos or simply soak up some culture - Gravensteen Castle is sure to be an unforgettable experience!



2. Patershol, culinary heart of Ghent

Patershol, Ghent, Belgium
Patershol, Ghent, Belgium

Journey back in time to the Middle Ages and explore this magnificent corner of Ghent, a city within itself. Soak up centuries of history with enchanting architecture and art that will make your heart skip a beat. Meander along rustic streets lined with cozy restaurants, laidback pubs, and fashionable bars - all adding to the nostalgic atmosphere you won't be able to resist falling in love with!


Ghent is a veritable paradise for food connoisseurs, and the Patershol area reigns supreme on everyone's list of must-trys. In this charmingly quaint cobbled district, eateries are almost competing to outdo each other in their global gastronomic offerings - Japanese, Indonesian cuisine rubbing shoulders with Turkish delights; Italian specialties right beside Spanish tapas bars; not forgetting the traditional Flemish fare! Whatever your style may be - modern chic or romantic hideaways; eccentric or exclusive fine dining establishments – you're sure to find something that tickles your taste buds after exploring here!


3. Graslei and Korenlei: the best Ghent has

Graslei and Korenlei: the best of Ghent
Graslei and Korenlei: the best of Ghent

Graslei and Korenlei are two of the most iconic sites in Ghent, Belgium that have been around since the 13th century. Located on the banks of the river Leie, these two quays offer incredible photo opportunities to capture amazing memories of your visit. With stunning views overlooking historical buildings and facades, it's easy to understand why this area is so popular among visitors and locals alike.


Stroll along the quays past cafés, pubs and restaurants that cater for all tastes, from traditional Flemish fare to global gastronomic offerings. When the sun sets, you'll find yourself in a vibrant atmosphere with picture-perfect views of the illuminated bridges, waterfront and boats bobbing on the river.


Whether you’re looking for romantic stop-offs or just want to soak up the atmosphere of this enchanting city - Graslei and Korenlei are sure to be an unforgettable experience! So don't forget to explore these two sites when visiting Ghent.


4. Get a canal cruise and see another side of Ghent.

Canal cruise in Ghent
Canal cruise in Ghent

A canal cruise is the perfect way to discover another side of Ghent, Belgium. Located on the banks of the Leie River, this city offers a unique perspective that can only be experienced from one of its many canals. A canal cruise gives visitors an opportunity to view Ghent from a different angle and marvel at its picturesque scenery.


The cruise takes you around the historical centre of Ghent where you can admire the buildings, bridges and monuments that are surrounded by water. As you pass through its charming canals, take in views of the colourful buildings and bustling quaysides with cafes and restaurants to explore at your leisure. You may even be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the beautiful swans and other wildlife that inhabit this area!


So if you're looking to get off the beaten track and explore Ghent from a different perspective - why not give a canal cruise a try? It's sure to be an unforgettable experience!


5. St Nicholas' Church

St Nicholas' Church, Ghent, Belgium
St Nicholas' Church, Ghent, Belgium

St Nicholas' Church in Ghent, Belgium is a must-see destination for any visitor to the city. Located in the centre of the historic quarter, this stunning church has been a fixture of Ghent since the 11th century and offers visitors a unique glimpse into its rich past. The building itself is awe-inspiring with its ornate stained-glass windows, impressive spire and intricate decorations.


The interior of the church is equally stunning with its high ceilings, marble floors and breathtaking works of art. There are several chapels to explore as well as a crypt that can be visited for a small fee.


Visitors to St Nicholas' Church will also find a number of interesting artifacts throughout the building, including a 12th-century Gothic statue and several rare sculptures. So take your time to explore this remarkable place and discover its secrets!


No matter what you decide to do in Ghent, Belgium – visiting St Nicholas' Church is sure to be an unforgettable experience!


6. St Bavo’s Cathedral: Stunning Ghent church and home of the Mystic Lamb

St Bavo’s Cathedral, Ghent
St Bavo’s Cathedral, Ghent

Visiting St Bavo’s Cathedral in Ghent, Belgium is an experience like no other. Located in the heart of the city and home to one of the most iconic works of art in the world - ‘The Mystic Lamb’ - it is a must-see destination for any visitor to this historic city.


The exterior of the cathedral is impressive enough, with its imposing spires and intricate decorations. But it’s inside that St Bavo’s truly comes alive. The interior is breathtaking, with ornate stained-glass windows, marble floors and soaring ceilings that make you feel as if you have stepped into a fairytale. There is also a crypt to explore if you’re feeling brave enough!


But the real star of St Bavo’s Cathedral is ‘The Mystic Lamb’ – a masterpiece of Gothic art created by Jan and Hubert van Eyck in 1432. This impressive altarpiece depicts scenes from the Bible and has been carefully preserved over the centuries, making it one of the most important paintings in Western European art.


So make sure to add St Bavo’s Cathedral to your list of places to visit when in Ghent – it is sure to be an unforgettable experience!


7. Shop at Vrijdagmarkt

Vrijdagmarkt, Ghent Belgium
Vrijdagmarkt, Ghent Belgium

Vrijdagmarkt, or the Friday Market, is one of the most beloved attractions in Ghent, Belgium. Located in the heart of the city, this bustling market has been a fixture of Ghent since the 16th century and offers visitors a unique glimpse into its rich history.


The market consists of hundreds of stalls selling a variety of items including fresh produce, clothes, antiques and souvenirs. It’s a great place to pick up some unique gifts for friends and family back home or to simply wander around and soak up the atmosphere!


Vrijdagmarkt is also a great spot for people-watching as you can observe locals going about their daily business and sample some of the delicious food stalls, such as waffles and Belgian chocolates. So why not head down to Vrijdagmarkt on your next visit to Ghent – you won’t be disappointed!



The Best Photo Spots – Get great shots of Ghent’s beautiful architecture, its canals, cobblestone streets, and other stunning landmarks

Enter Ghent and get Instagram-ready! This Belgian city is known for its stunningly-preserved architecture, which makes it the perfect destination for photographing your travels. Get top shots of breathtaking landmarks like the Gravensteen castle, the Leie River lined with captivating ancient monuments, and the quaint cobblestone street squares where art galleries and chocolate shops abound. Don’t forget to take a cruise down Ghent’s canals or throw in a few snapshots of the captivating artwork along the walls of buildings while you’re out exploring. With top places to take photos like these, your visiting Ghent experience is sure to be well documented.


Where to Eat in Ghent – Find out where to sample some of the delicious cuisine Ghent has to offer

When it comes to delectable cuisine, Ghent has got it going on! With its diverse dining scene, you'll certainly find something in the city that satisfies your appetite. From traditional Belgian dishes like Stoemp – a delicious mash of potatoes and root vegetables - to high-end sushi restaurants featuring innovative take on classic flavors, there's something for every palette in Ghent. Sample waffles or fries smothered with delicious sauces or try hearty stews accompanied by freshly-baked breads. There's no shortage of amazing food options in Ghent, so make sure to set aside time to try them all while you're visiting!


Shopping & Nightlife Tips – Explore a variety of unique shops in Ghent's historic center as well as its vibrant nightlife options
Shopping in Ghent
Shopping in Ghent

Ghent, Belgium is the perfect destination for shoppers and nightlife enthusiasts alike. Centrally-located within the city are a plethora of boutiques featuring everything from quirky antiques to designer clothing - it's a veritable treasure trove of artisanal items! The vibrant nightlife hotspots go beyond traditional bars and pubs, ranging from underground microbreweries to quaint but lively night markets. So while strolling around Ghent's enchanting cobbled streets and exploring its outstanding architecture, why not take a break and let loose in one of its irresistible shopping or nightlife spots? There truly is something for every taste!


Day Trips from Ghent – Take advantage of day trips outside the city walls to discover even more amazing sights, from medieval villages to charming seaside towns


Ghent, Belgium is home to countless historic sites and attractions, but there are many wonders just outside the city walls that should not be missed! Taking advantage of a day trip from Ghent will give you the opportunity to explore stunning small towns and unforgettable medieval villages. From scale-tiled rooftops in Bruges to digging for antiques in Antwerp, you’ll be sure to create a memorable adventure from from the sights and experiences a day trip has to offer. Not only can you take in quaint cobblestone streets and centuries-old castles, but also discover lovely landscapes along riverside paths or along some of Europe’s most enchanting coastlines. With plenty of options ranging from a quiet getaway to an active outdoor excursion, there is something for everyone - enjoy your day trip adventure!


Ghent is THE place to visit in Belgium

Ghent, Belgium is an amazing city with a beautiful culture that leaves its stamp on every visitor. It offers so many opportunities for fun and exploration, from the small quays along the Graslei to Gravensteen Castle and beyond. There’s no better way to capture the spirit of Ghent than by getting amazing photos of its iconic attractions - the canals, cobblestone streets, and more. Or go on a food journey around the town and taste the flavors of Belgian cuisine. Shop in unique boutiques in historic centers or take part in Ghent’s exciting nightlife options. Even go outside of Ghent’s walls for thrilling day trips to discover more unique sites like medieval villages and charming seaside towns. There’s always something new and exciting to do when you visit Ghent, so plan your itinerary now! Explore all that this stunning Belgian city has to offer – Visit Ghent today!

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