Ghent

Visit Ghent

Ghent is a medieval city of which the history is still palpable today. At the same time, Ghent also breathes culture and modern city life resulting in an ideal combination of old and new.

The history of Ghent begins in the year 630 when a community of note began to grow near the confluence (‘Ganda’) of the two rivers the Scheldt and the Leie. In the 11th and 12th centuries, Ghent became an important trade center thanks to the local production of cloth, for which they imported wool from England. Between 1000 and 1550, Ghent was one of the most important cities in Europe. It was bigger than London and second only to Paris in size. Its most famous citizen, Charles V, was born in Ghent in 1500. Its 1400 years of history still shapes the city today: a medieval castle surrounded by a moat, an imposing cathedral, a belfry, beguinages, many historic sites, medieval buildings and houses which stood the test of time.

Not only the historical scenes characterize Ghent, but also its many cultural activities (art, theatre, music, concerts, etc.). Ghent is also a great place to shop or simply hang around. The centre is car-free and offers a variety of picturesque terraces where you can enjoy a drink, a delicious snack or get a taste of top gastronomy. On top, the many canals – with thematic guided boat trips – threading through the city offer Ghent a touch of Venice and explains its nickname ‘Venice of the North”.

 

Ghent is also called… 

“Europe’s best kept secret”
Lonely Planet

“The most authentic historic city in the world”
National Geographic Traveler Magazine

What TO DO and TO SEE in Ghent?

TO DO

// CITY STROLLS //

Discover Ghent on foot. Within walking distance you can find all top attractions.

Sunday-market walking tour

Ghent illuminated walk

Uncover the secrets of The Ghent Altarpiece

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// BOAT TRIPS //

Discover Ghent from a different point of view and sail on the rivers of Ghent to pass by all kinds of beautiful places.

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Floating terraces

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Cruises on the Leie

Sailing oneself

// GOING OUT //

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With a car-free city center, there are plenty of places to enjoy the medieval scenery in the evening, with a wine from a romantic terrace or a beer in a cosy cafe. Heading into the night, you will find a lot of trendy cocktail bars, hidden jazz cafes, and cool nightclubs, spread all over Ghent. Most cafes and bars are gathered together at squares or plazas in the center, such as Korenmarkt, Graslei, Vrijdagsmarkt, Patershol, Vlasmarkt and Oude Beestenmarkt. Each of these quarters offer you a taste of the nightlife in Ghent.

With all these options to choose from, we selected some of the most famous places that are definitely worth a visit:

‘t dreupelkot

Try some typical Belgian jenever in this small and cosy café. With more than 200 flavors, you’ve got plenty to choose from!

Hot Club Gent

In this romantic hidden jazz cafe you can enjoy great live music every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday.

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Jigger’s

At Jigger’s, you will get a mysterious and delicious cocktail experience. To get inside, you need to ring the bell first.

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Trollekelder

You can’t plan a trip to Ghent without tasting some of the best Belgian beers. Trollekelder offers you a wide variety of beers to choose from. In case you feel overwhelmed, you can always try the beer of the month.

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Charlatan

A great music bar located at Vlasmarkt, the place to start or end your night out.

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// SHOPPING //

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Whether you’re looking for a fashionable watch, a design gadget, or a second hand dress, in Ghent you will find everything you’ve always dreamed of having or wearing. Apart from the shopping streets with the well-known international brands, there are also many design stores, boutiques, second hand shops and markets. Ghent loves its shoppers, because every first Sunday of the month mostly all shops are open too. In the shopping streets Veldstraat, Langemunt, Brabantdam and in shopping center Het Zuid you will find all the familiar brands.

If you are looking for something a little bit more special, for yourself or as a souvenir, there are some other shops where you can have a look:

Great Butchers’ Hall

The Great Butchers’ Hall stems from the 15th century, and served as an indoor meat market. The store provides many typical East Flemish regional products. There is also a restaurant where these products serve as ingredients for traditional dishes. Try the Ganda ham that you will see hanging from the ceiling.

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Onni-Bijhuis

From small gadgets to designer classics, interior design shop Onni-Bijhuis has it. Don’t forget to take a look in their medieval basement when you’re there.

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Petit Zsa Zsa

Petit Zsa Zsa is a cosy shop where you will find fun and colourful must-haves or presents, for children but definitely also for adults.

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Maaike Kleedt

This fashion designer store offers unique fashion from Belgian but also foreign designers. The clothes have an eco-luxury label.

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Think Twice

With two stores in Ghent, Think Twice is a paradise for lovers of second-hand clothing and accessories, from vintage and retro to modern day clothes.

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TO SEE

// MUSEUMS //

Discover Ghent’s past, present and potential future in all its diverse expressions by bringing a visit to its wide range of museums.

STAM – Ghent City Museum

Design museum Gent

The House of Alijn

// MONUMENTS AND ARCHITECTURE //

Discover Ghent via its old and new architecture, both grandiose and full of finesse.

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Castle of the Counts

Opera Gent

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City pavilion

// HIDDEN GEMS //

Discover undiscovered Ghent and admire the little miracles of Ghent city.

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Beguinages

Garden and vineyard at St Peter’s Abbey

Graffiti Street

// HISTORICAL PLACES //

Discover Ghent’s history, as unique as it can be.

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Patershol

Campo Santo

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Vrijdagmarkt

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