Are you visiting Ghent in Belgium and looking for the best things to do in Ghent? Look no further. Here are the best things to see in the “New York of the Middle Age”.
Things To Do in Ghent, Belgium
Soon after arriving at the center of Ghent we knew exactly why Ghent is called the New York of the Middle Age. It was one of the largest and fastest growing cities in Europe and a cultural hotspot. The flair and the architecture are breathtaking and still visible today.
1. The Old Town of Ghent
No matter where you turn your head in the Old Town of Ghent you see beautiful facades, bridges and impressive buildings as well as famous art.
To get a better view we walked up the 95 m high Belfort, an impressive tower. In front of us we see the St. Bavo´s-Cathedral. It displays the world famous “The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb” from the brothers Van Eyck.
3. Graffiti Street Werregarenstraat
Not far away is a more modern piece of art. The Werregarenstraat, a colorful street full of graffiti.
4. Medieval town
In the Middle Ages Ghent was a thriving city. A big part of the center of Ghent still reminds us of this Dark Age. We pass the old fish market and walk into the old meat market hall.
Outside we sip a cup of coffee at the oldest café in Ghent, the Galgenhuis, reminding us of the practices of the Dark Age. Outside people were hanged (the name Galgenhuis means gallows house). Today the horror is (gladly) not visible anymore.
5. Local food and drinks
Across the street we enter into an old schnapps bar called the Dreupelkot. We had a hard time deciding which jenever we should try. The list is really long. In the end we tried a tiramisu jenever and I tried the pineapple jenever.
Next door to the Dreupelkot is the Waterhuis aan de Bierkant, an old pub at the water front. In the Middle Age almost every street in Ghent had its own brewery because drinking water was rare. Even children drank beer altough the content of alcohol was only about 1%. Not to be compared with the beer you get nowadays with up to 11% alcohol content.
6. Castle Gravensteen
Across the street we pass the Castle Gravensteen…
…arriving a minute later at the Hotel Gravensteen.
7. Veggie Day – Ghent, Europe´s Veggie Capital
Since 2009 Ghent features the Veggie Day every Thursday. As we are vegetarians we had to visit Ghent at a Thursday. You can get a brochure of restaurants who participate in the Veggie Day. We had dinner at the restaurant Du Progrès at the Korenmarkt. I had a lukewarm pasta salad and Thomas tried a Veggie Burger.
Ghent in one day?
It´s possible to cover a lot in one day. To get an overview of Ghent we took a boat trip. If you want to have enough space and a chat with the guide the best time is early in the morning.
At 10 o´clock when the boat tours start you have a chance to have a boat on your own (That´s what happened to us – maybe it was just luck :D).
We had fun listening to the stories about the town and got to see the lover´s tree (you should kiss your true love under the lover´s tree) plus lots of ducks and turtles.
Watch in HD:
In the Old Town of Ghent almost everything is in walking distance. We covered a lot in a short amount of time. To have more time you should plan at least two days in Ghent especially if you are a museum and art lover.
No wonder the slogan of the City Ghent is:
More than a one night stay.
More about Ghent: Ghent – When houses tell their stories
More about Bruges: One day in Bruges – Things To Do And See
Thanks to City Ghent for the invitation. All opinions are ours.
zuletzt aktualisiert am March 7, 2023
37 thoughts on “The Best Things To Do In Ghent”
Gent is indeed very beautiful and also not far from where I currently study 🙂
Great and yes, Ghent is so beautiful. In Ghent we´ve seen so many students. If I remember it right there are 60 000 students in Ghent.
Ha New York of the Middle ages – I love that name! Definitely adding this to my bucket list, cheers
If you add Ghent to your bucket list don´t forget Bruges. 😉 It´s close to Ghent and as beautiful. I will soon have an article about Bruges too.
Hmmm…beautiful old buildings, great beer, cool newer art. I think Ghent will do! Love the shot of Graffitistreet, very pretty.
I visited once briefly on a work trip some dozen years ago, don’t remember much, and have oftentimes said I should return to check out more. You certainly made it look and sound inviting. Who can pass up being served drinks by Santa’s brother?
My brother biked through Gent on one of his races, and he highly recommended it – I will have to rethink my plans on my next layover.
I can highly recommend Ghent too, as well as the UNESCO World Heritage city Bruges, which is only a 45 minutes drive away from Ghent. (Blog post will be released soon 🙂 ).
Ghent is more lovely than I realized. Thanks for sharing your photos and tips!
We have a Ghent neighborhood in my home city of Norfolk, VA. Ghent Belgium looks much lovlier.
Oh, really? Sounds interesting.
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Thank you so much. That makes our day.
I’d love to visit Ghent. To me, the name evokes old world elegance.
You will find a lot of old world elegance. 😀
you make it look quite special! Thanks for sharing – another city I should get to!
You definitely should. 😀 We can highly recommend Ghent.
Very interesting spot. Thank you for sharing!
I wouldn’t of considered Ghent as a short break destination but your article shows how pretty it is and there is plenty to do. Thanks for the information.
You´re welcome. There is indeed a lot to do and see. 🙂
Wir haben mit unserem (Schul-)Niederländisch-Kurs regelmäßig Holland und Belgien erkundet. Das war eine tolle Zeit. Mein lebhaftestes Erlebnis an Gent hat jedoch nichts Geschichte zu tun, es ist vielmehr ein einstürzendes Bett, auf das sich meine Freundin und ich nach einem langen Sightseeing-Tag geworfen haben : ) Glücklicherweise gab es noch ein freies Zimmer!
Na da hattet ihr dann ja richtig Glück, dass es noch ein freies Bett gab. Sowas ist mir noch nie passiert. Dass dies in Erinnerung bleibt kann ich mir lebhaft vorstellen.
Sounds like a great place.
It is. We enjoyed our stay at Ghent a lot. Altough there are quite some visitors it doesn´t feel too crowded.
I also loved Ghent 🙂 My favorite city in Belgium. Nice pics 😉
I totally understand why Ghent is your favorite city in Belgium. 😀
I haven’t been to Belgium but I would love to go sometime. I will definitely visit Ghent when I am there as well. I love the shot of Werregarenstraat, I like seeing good graffiti.
Walking through the Werregarenstraat is interesting. But watch out: There are some graffitis not appropriate for children. 😉 (It´s not that bad…)
I always loved this town. I use to do trips with my family when I was younger since I lived nearby.
It stays a beautiful place!
Ghent and Bruges too are special cities in Europe. I´m kind of jealous you lived close by. 😉
I love those old Belgian towns. And with those Veggie Days and tiramisu jenever I feel a return trip coming on…
Let us know about it, especially how you liked the Tiramisu jenever. 😀
I love the graffiti street in the middle of such a beautiful old city! Very cool stuff.