What to see in Ghent, the most beautiful city in Flanders

I close my eyes and just by letting go I have memories of what to see in Ghent. Quiet and lonely canals, a medieval past and a city fused between the past and the future. but with that elegance and beauty that make each walk immerse you in a time travel. Ghent or Gent, in Dutch, is the jewel of Flanders, the most beautiful region from all over Belgium.

We want to tell you about our experience, the historical places we enjoy, the streets that most caught our attention and the ideal route to enjoy the most beautiful city in Flanders.

The historic heart of Flanders

Ghent is the city of the two rivers, of Leie (Lys) and of Scald, a place chosen to build alittle abbey which gave rise to the city there by the sixth century. We know that during the middle ages Ghent became one of the most prosperous and important cities of the time, a result that today can be perceived in its architecture and the richness of each city building.

The wool city, so many knew her at that time, a material that made only a city like Paris exceed it in size. Ghent and the cities of Flanders like Bruges, Leuven or Antwerp were the center of the world commercial, almost nothing ...

Ghent at night
Ghent at Christmas

When you walk through Ghent it is not difficult to find those commercial features and names of that time, such as that of stoppendragers (those who carry the rope), a name of war due to the humiliation of their nobles before Carlos V (Carlos I of Spain) who made them wear penitents with a rope around their neck when trying to rebel against the empire.

It is important to immerse yourself in history every time you visit a city like Ghent. The centuries make its beauty and architecture merge different styles and mix totally different moments. At the end of the 18th century the famous arrives industrial Revolution to Ghent, making this city the mirror of Europe and filling it with factories that today have been converted in a very special way.

Today is the historic heart of Flanders, a small medieval Manhattan that has preserved the best of many times.

What to see in Ghent in two days

By train from Brussels airport

Ghent can be an ideal weekend destination, as it is at less than an hour by train from Brussels airport. Eltren and the bicycle are the Belgian's preferred transport. In the same airport there is a train station connected to the center of the main cities of Belgium, and it could not be less Ghent and the beautiful region of Flanders.

Walking through the dream city

This is how they portray her and it couldn't be less. The best way to travel Ghent is by walking. Ghent has a multitude of alleys, pedestrian streets, recesses, canals and places in a historic center not too big and that can be seen in one day With great desire. There are dozens of places to see in Ghent, but if you want to enjoy all of them at least you will have to spend a night in the city. In the following map, the historical center, shows the wealth and the number of places that a city like Ghent hides.

Ghent Map

Our selection of Ghent

1 Graslei & Korenlei

When we arrived in Ghent, it was almost night, and we still began to walk as if there was no tomorrow for life and the lighting that the city presented us. The area we enjoyed the most was the one between the bridge of San Miguel, Graslei and Korenli, next to the river Leile. Here the river passes so quiet that the houses of the thirteenth century reflect on its waters. Along the river there are several restaurants with terraces where to spend the night is a real luxury.

Graslei & Korenlei
Ghent at night

But Ghent changes completely from night to day. If the canals were the reflection of the beauty of the city, the facades during the day showed those colors and those shapes that only in the middle ages were possible. What we saw at night we saw it again during the day, because each city must always be seen in both ways.

Graslei & Korenlei
Graslei & Korenlei

2 St. Bavo's Cathedral (St. Baafskathedraal)

Savón Cathedral has been under construction for several years and although it is not the most beautiful building in Ghent, it is not bad, having the entire facade covered with scaffolding meant that it did not shine on our trip. This cathedral is the oldest parish church in Ghent. It is built on a church dedicated to Saint John Baptist where only one Romanesque central nave remains in the crypt.

San Bavón Cathedral
Next to the Cathedral of San Bavón

3 The Municipal Bell Tower (Belfort)

The bell tower of the city is one of the places that most captivated its history. Both in France and in Flanders the bell towers represented the freedom, power and prosperity of the cities. From them you could see the entire city and in the case of Ghent the views are scandalously beautiful If you are lucky enough to have a clear day.

Inside the bell tower of Ghent is the famous Ghent Dragon one of the symbols of the city and one of the things to see in Ghent without a doubt.

Next to the bell tower is the cloth market, a ship where the textile that arrived arrived and that later was destined to the market of fabrics.

The church of San Nicolás from the bell tower
The church of San Nicolás from the bell tower

4 The Meat Market

Every medieval city worth its salt had its meat and fish market. Its mission, centralize the trade of this product. The Ghent fish market dates back to the 15th century, you can visit and even buy local products and even have a beer. It looks fast, but it is worth it both to enter and see its reflection at night on the Leie River.

The meat market
The meat market

5 Castle of the Counts of Flanders (Gravensteen)

The first thing they told us upon arrival is that this was the only medieval castle that remains in all Flanders. Its history dates back to Roman and Viking times, but what we have today is a very well preserved fortification and was the residence of the Counts of Flanders ...

Gravensteen - Castle of the Counts of Flanders
Gravensteen - Castle of the Counts of Flanders

You can visit both inside and outside. In Christmas They decorate it for the occasion, making unique corners for children with storytelling and Christmas decorations. At the top of the castle there is a long “terrace! From where Almost all of Ghent is seen.

Sleeping beauty awaits us in the background
The castle at Christmas

6 Werregarenstraatje

Next to the hotel where we were we had one of the most curious alleys in all of Ghent, the Werregarenstraatje. This alley, about 100m long, is full of graffiti of local artists. It is strange to see it, since you do not expect such a corner next to the old town.


7 Patershol

Not far from the castle is the Patershol neighborhood, a quiet neighborhood ideal for walking. There you can find very original shop windows and centuries-old shops between narrow streets and alleys. In summer it can be a good place to go for a snack in one of its terraces.

Ghent Neighborhoods
Ghent Neighborhoods

8 Vrijdagmarkt

During our visit to Ghent there was a moment that we lost through its streets, aimlessly, well, looking for churches and landmarks that could indicate “there is something there”. One of those points was the Santiago church, with the shell of the Camino de Santiago at your door. To get there we had to go through the square of Vrijdagmarkt. This square has a market every week but if it is famous for something, it is because it was the seat of tragic executions, hoists and massacres, stories that make us shiver more than one.

In many guides where they talk about the places to see in Ghent they do not give much intention to this place, I do not understand it, because in one of its corners there is a 14th century building unique and representing what the square was like at the time.

By the way, next to the square there is a bakery with some tremendous buns and a brewery Ideal to stop along the way.


Practical data

Flights to Ghent

To get to Ghent you have to fly to Brussels airport and there take a train that lasts about 45 minutes to the city of Ghent. Train tickets can be purchased from the official website and for the flights we recommend the following pages:

  • Brussels Airlines
  • Ryanair
  • Skyscanner (always has the best prices)

CityCard Gent

As it happens in other cities of Ghent it is possible to acquire a valid card during 48h or 72h that will allow you to:

  • Entrance to historic houses, museums and the most important attractions
  • Free public transport
  • Water tram use (hop on hop off)
  • Bicycle rental

Guided tour of Ghent in Spanish

For about € 15 you can take a guided tour of the city of Ghent, a good option if you want to know the history of the city first hand. Recommendable!.

 Hire guided tour

Where to eat or dine

The first night we had dinner at the Brasserie Belga Queen restaurant, next to the river Lys, one of the most beautiful areas in all of Ghent. The restaurant is literally spectacular, since they have reformed aold wheat warehouse of the thirteenth century.

The second day we ate at the Du Progres restaurant, smaller and more collected, and with top quality. In the background in Ghent you eat very well, since the gastronomy is sacred by these places.

If you like them chips, for me they are a doom, Ghent is your city. A normal Belgian eats french fries at least once a week, so seeing and eating them will be very easy. In Ghent, three establishments stand out above all:

  • Sint-Jacobs
  • Frietketel (if you are a vegetarian you will adore their vegetable oil)
  • Gouden Saté, opens practically all day (closes only 2h)

Where to sleep in Ghent

Here are a series of recommendations. We accept proposals and add them!

  • Ghent Marriot Hotel. In the best place in the city, next to Graslei and Korenli. from € 100 a night. A luxury!
    • Novotel Gent Centrum

    . Modern hotel in the center from € 85 a night

  • Studio 17. Fabulous apartments in an old renovated factory. From € 125 a night
  • Ibis Gent Centrum. It is one of the cheapest hotels you can find in the center. From € 70
  • NH Gent Belfort. Hotel of the Spanish NH chain from € 70 per night. In the center

Travel insurance

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What to see in Ghent
Graslei & Korenlei
San Bavón Cathedral
The meat market
SummaryThese are the valuations of the different places you can see in Ghent
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