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Ghent City Guide | Things To Do In Ghent | Where to Stay in Ghent

Ghent is a vibrant and historic city located in the heart of Flanders, Belgium. With its beautiful medieval architecture, winding canals, and lively cultural scene, it's a must-see destination for anyone traveling to the region. Ghent is a city of contrasts, where old meets new and traditional meets trendy. Visitors can wander through the cobbled streets of the old town and explore its impressive Gothic cathedral and castle, while also enjoying the city's thriving food and drink scene, world-class museums, and cutting-edge contemporary art galleries. Whether you're a history buff, a foodie, or an art lover, Ghent has something to offer everyone, and this guide will help you make the most of your visit.


Things To Do in Ghent


⭐⭐⭐ 3 Stars: The Most Popular Attractions


Gravensteen Castle

A medieval fortress that served as the seat of the Counts of Flanders. Visitors can explore the castle's ramparts, towers, and dungeons, and learn about its fascinating history through exhibitions and audio tours.


St. Bavo's Cathedral

One of the most iconic landmarks in Ghent and a must-visit for anyone interested in Gothic architecture and art. The cathedral is home to several masterpieces, including the famous Ghent Altarpiece by Jan and Hubert van Eyck.


Belfry of Ghent

A towering medieval bell tower that offers panoramic views of the city and the carillon bells that ring out every quarter of an hour.

 

⭐⭐ 2 Stars: Not-so-popular but Worth a Visit


Ghent Altarpiece (Adoration of the Mystic Lamb)

A world-famous masterpiece of Flemish Renaissance art created by the van Eyck brothers in the early 15th century.


Graslei and Korenlei

Two picturesque quays located on either side of the River Leie in the heart of Ghent. The quays are lined with beautifully preserved medieval buildings and offer stunning views of the city's skyline.


Gravensteen Museum

A museum located in Gravensteen Castle that displays a collection of medieval weapons and armor.

 

⭐ 1 Star: Optional Attractions


STAM Museum

A museum that explores the history and culture of Ghent through interactive exhibits and multimedia installations.


Saint Peter's Abbey

A beautiful 12th-century abbey that now serves as a cultural center and venue for concerts and events.


Gentse Feesten (Ghent Festival)

A 10-day festival that takes place every July and features music, food, and entertainment throughout the city.


Where to Stay in Ghent

🛏️ Budget Accommodation

Ibis Budget Gent Centrum Dampoort

For budget-conscious travelers, the Ibis Budget Gent Centrum Dampoort is an excellent choice. This modern and stylish hotel is located just outside the city center, but still within walking distance of many of Ghent's top attractions. The rooms are basic but comfortable, and guests can enjoy free Wi-Fi, a 24-hour front desk, and a continental breakfast buffet. With rates starting at around €50 per night, the Ibis Budget Gent Centrum Dampoort offers great value for money.


🛏️ Best Value for Money

Harmony

If you're looking for a hotel that offers a bit more luxury without breaking the bank, the Hotel Harmony is an excellent choice. This charming boutique hotel is located in a historic building in the heart of Ghent, just steps from St. Bavo's Cathedral and the Gravensteen Castle. The rooms are spacious and elegantly decorated, and guests can enjoy amenities such as a fitness center, sauna, and rooftop terrace with panoramic views of the city. Rates at the Hotel Harmony start at around €125 per night, making it a great value for the quality of accommodations and location.


🛏️ Luxury Stays

Pillows Grand Boutique Hotel Reylof Ghent

For those seeking a truly luxurious stay in Ghent, the Pillows Grand Boutique Hotel Reylof Ghent is the ultimate choice. This five-star hotel is located in a beautifully restored 18th-century mansion, just a short walk from the city center. The rooms and suites are spacious and exquisitely furnished, with plush bedding, marble bathrooms, and high-end amenities such as Nespresso machines and Bose sound systems. Guests can also enjoy a Michelin-starred restaurant, a stylish bar, a spa with a sauna and hammam, and a picturesque garden. Rates at the Pillows Grand Boutique Hotel Reylof Ghent start at around €250 per night.


Where to Eat in Ghent


🍴 Casual Dining

De Frietketel

For a classic Belgian dining experience, head to De Frietketel, a popular spot for delicious fries (frites). This casual eatery is located in the heart of Ghent and serves up generous portions of crispy, golden fries with a variety of sauces and toppings. You can enjoy your fries with a side of traditional Belgian mayo or try a more adventurous sauce like curry ketchup or samurai sauce. The prices at De Frietketel are very reasonable, with a large serving of fries starting at just a few euros.


🍴 Mid-Range

Het Gouden Hoofd

For a more substantial meal that won't break the bank, Het Gouden Hoofd is a great choice. This cozy bistro is located in the trendy Patershol neighborhood and serves up delicious Belgian and French cuisine with a modern twist. The menu changes seasonally to reflect the freshest ingredients, but some popular dishes include the steak tartare, the duck confit, and the homemade pâté. Prices at Het Gouden Hoofd are very reasonable, with most main dishes priced between €15 and €25.


🍴 Fine Dining

Restaurant Horseele

For a truly luxurious dining experience, head to Restaurant Horseele. This Michelin-starred restaurant is located in the elegant Ghent Marriott Hotel and serves up exquisite French-Belgian cuisine with a modern twist. The menu features innovative dishes like scallops with passion fruit and smoked eel with green apple, as well as classic favorites like steak tartare and foie gras. The restaurant also offers an extensive wine list to complement your meal. Prices at Restaurant Horseele are on the higher end, with a set menu starting at €79 per person.


Don't Forget Before You Leave


One of the best ways to see the city is from the water, and a canal boat tour is the perfect way to do it. You can take a guided tour down the River Leie and through Ghent's picturesque canals, learning about the city's history and landmarks along the way. You'll see some of Ghent's most beautiful sights from a unique perspective, including the Castle of the Counts, St. Bavo's Cathedral, and the Graslei and Korenlei quays.


If you want to explore the city on foot, a guided walking tour is a great option. You can join a group tour or hire a private guide to take you through Ghent's charming streets and alleys, pointing out hidden gems and sharing fascinating stories about the city's history and culture. Some popular stops on a walking tour include the St. Michael's Bridge, the Old Fish Market, and the charming Patershol neighborhood.


The Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent is home to an impressive collection of art from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. You can admire works by renowned artists like Rubens, Van Eyck, and Magritte, as well as lesser-known but equally fascinating pieces. The museum is housed in a beautiful neoclassical building and offers a serene and contemplative atmosphere.


Take Part in Ghent's Festivals

Ghent is known for its lively and vibrant festivals, which take place throughout the year. One of the most famous is the Ghent Festival (Gentse Feesten), which takes place every July and features over 10 days of music, food, and entertainment. Other popular festivals include the Ghent Light Festival, the Jazz Festival, and the Film Festival. Check the local events calendar to see what's on during your visit and make sure to take part in the festivities before you leave.

1 comentario


Invitado
22 jun 2023

Great article! I have been to Ghent 2 times and attended the walking tour, I can only recommend... I also want to mention the mustard shop in the city center ! Looking forward to going back there !

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