22 places to see and things to do during your visit to Ghent in Belgium

Panoramic from the bridge of St. Michael in Ghent in Belgium

From my first trip many years ago to the Belgian region of Flanders on a route by Belgium, the splendor of the city of Witches... and just some image of Ghent.

I certainly had a pending question that was to return to Ghent To really meet her.

Recently I was able to pay off this debt by visiting Ghent twice, and I anticipate that it is a city whose visit is very much worthwhile, another great jewel that should not be missed in one Flanders route.

St. Nicholas Church from Belfort Belfry of Ghent

For your trip, as we always recommend, you have the option to start your tour by signing up for aguided tour of Ghent with a Spanish guide with a duration of two and a half hours, but in any I am going to give you some tips that will be useful,

And if you prefer to visit on your own, I will indicate22 interesting places that you should know during it.

Tips for visiting Ghent

I'll tell you first Ghent It is a city that you find and on the way between Brussels and the very popular Witches.

If you are not doing a car trip through Belgium, a very good way to get there is by train, which you can take in the center of Brussels or at the airport itself.

Views of the Grislei pier from the Count of Flanders castle in Ghent

In fact it can become an intermediate stop, either on the way or when returning from Bruges.

Excursions to Ghent from Brussels

From Brussels you can sign up for a Ghent Tour from Brussels that in a day of almost 10 hours allows you to have a good approach to this Belgian city.

Or even join an excursion combined with the Tour to Bruges and Ghent from Brussels, which also takes place in a single day.

I also tell you thatGhent visit You will find it very comfortable because most of the highlights are concentrated in the historic center, where you can take a nice walk between its streets with canals and monuments.

Of course, you can have a good approach to its attractions with the Ghent visit in one day, although I will give you enough arguments so you can enjoy them with the most relaxed visit in two days.

Ghent canal in the Belgian region of Flanders

If you go on your own, from the train station it will take just 15 minutes to get to the historic center aboard a tram line 1Well, Ghent is one of those cities that enjoy the charm that, from my point of view, confer trams.

What to see in Ghent

Then in the center you will have two main axes for your visit, which come together in the San Miguel bridge that crosses the main channel of the city, and from where you have the best views of its monuments.

San Miguel Bridge

At San Miguel bridge you have one of the iconic corners of the city of Ghent, you can from there you have the famous views of the three towers that follow one another, that of the St. Nicholas church, he Municipal Bell Tower and the San Bavón Cathedral.

House facades of the Graslei pier in Ghent

Perpendicularly, with the San Miguel's Church behind your back, you can see other of the iconic scenes of Ghent, which make up the canal and the medieval docks of Graslei and Korenlei.

Graslei and Korenlei docks

The Graslei and Korenlei docks located on both banks of the main channel were the commercial center of Ghent in the Middle Ages, and now they will be one of the axes of your tourist visit.

There you can see beautiful facades of buildings from different eras, starting from the grain store originally from the year 1200.

From there you will see the beautiful image of bridge and the church of San Miguel, and you will also find lively terraces of bars and restaurants.

And on these docks you can board one of the small boats that take you on a cruise on the canals.

Municipal bell tower next to the Cloth Market in Ghent

Climb Belfort Municipal Bell Tower

If it's panoramic views, go up to Municipal Bell Tower, also known as Belfort Tower, becomes an essential to enjoy the best in town.

These usual bell towers in Belgium and France are declared World Heritage, and were used for defensive purposes to warn the population of enemy attacks.

When you go up, see if you are lucky and you can see the chime running, just like it happened to me.

Roeland bell

He Ghent Municipal Bell Tower dates back to the year 1380, and in it was installed a first bell known as Roeland.

St. Nicholas Church in front of the Ghent Municipal Bell Tower

Now on a pedestal at the foot of the Belfort Tower You can see a bell that has the same name, and that was part of the chime that was built in 1659 after the Roeland original.

The big bell that you can now see was removed from the said chime when it was electrified in 1918.

San Bavón Cathedral

On the other side of one of the squares that surround the Belfort Tower is the San Bavón Cathedral, a 15th-century Gothic building that replaced a 12th-century Romanesque church.

While the cathedral was initially dedicated to Saint John Baptist, in 1540 it happened to be under the invocation of San Bavón.

Inside the Ghent Cathedral several artistic works such as a baroque altar in marble and oak and, above all, the great work of the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb.

St. Bavo's Cathedral in Ghent in the Belgian region of Flanders

Adoration of the Mystic Lamb

I announce that if you like painting, Ghent's visit will not be complete until see the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, monumental 20 panel table painted by Van Eyck brothers.

This painting has the curious "honor" of being the most frequently stolen works of art in all times.

In fact, two of its panels were stolen in 1934 and have not been recovered.

Completed in 1432 in order to be the altarpiece of the chapel that in this church was built then mayor of GhentThroughout history, the work and its different panels have traveled through various cities in Europe.

It was in the year 200o when it happened to occupy its current location in a corner of the San Bavón Cathedral to be seen by visitors, and in 2012 the last restoration of it was addressed.

Monument to the Van Eyck brothers in Ghent

Van Eyck Brothers Monument

Behind the San Bavón Cathedral, giving to the apse, you can see a great monument with statues of the Van Eyck brothers.

Regarding the real authorship of the famous work of the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, there are various speculations.

It is known that it was initiated and painted mostly by Hubert Van Eyck, and after his death is supposed to be completed by his younger brother Jan.

Municipal Pavilion in Ghent

Municipal Pavilion

Between Belfort Tower and the St. Nicholas church is the Municipal Pavilion, a modern construction of the year 2012 that is presented as a large canopy of 40 meters in length under which various events are held.

The construction of this modern structure at the time was very controversial among the inhabitants of Ghent given its location in such a historic corner of the city.

Ghent Town Hall in Flanders in Belgium

Ghent Town Hall

Nearby you find the building of Ghent Town Hall, which will catch your attention for the two very different architectural styles of its facades.

One of them shows flamboyant Gothic style from the early 16th century.

The other facade is 17th-century Renaissance style with an architecture inspired by the Italian palaces.

Castle of the Counts of Flanders in Ghent in Belgium

Castle of the Counts of Flanders

Something that will surely surprise you is to see in the center of Ghent a great medieval castle, the only one preserved in Flanders.

It is a great fortress from whose walls you have beautifulpanoramic views of Ghent.

He castle of the Counts of Flanders It dates back to a first wooden building of the 10th century, although its configuration with a great wall and 24 towers is 1180.

Castle of the Counts of Flanders in Ghent

Vrijdagmarkt Square

Vrijdagmark It is one of the central Ghent squares which in the past was a popular execution scenario, the last of which took place in 1822.

With great breadth and with a large statue in the center dedicated to a historical character of the Middle Ages, Jacobo de ArteveldeIn this square you will be struck by a large building of the fifteenth century, one of the buildings that were originally in the square.

Night illumination of Vrijdagmarkt square in Ghent

Now this square has a great atmosphere, with numerous terraces, and to highlight the Street markets in the open air that the establishments of the same install on Friday mornings until 13 hours, and Saturdays from 11 to 18.30 hours

STAM, Ghent City Museum

Regarding museums, the STAM It is the main reference in this Flemish city, in which the Ghent city history from the Middle Ages.

During your visit, the huge aerial photos on which you will walk and that show what the city was like at different times, from 1534 to the present, will call your attention.

It is located in three buildings, a 14th century abbey, a 17th century convent and a modern 20th century building.

Corner of a Ghent canal in Flanders Belgium

Things to do in Ghent

Ghent canals cruise

One of the most typical activities on your trip to Ghent is to make a canal cruise of the Lys and Escalda rivers.

You find the boats in the Graslei and Korenlei docks.

Here you can book your trip in advance on Ghent canals cruise with a duration of about 50 minutes.

Night illumination of the medieval center of Ghent

Illuminated Ghent Tour

Although in a full day you can know the most prominent corners of Ghent, if you spend the night in the city you can enjoy one of its great attractions.

It's about giving a night walk through illuminated Ghent, which I can assure you is very worthwhile.

Keep in mind that the night illumination of Ghent It has been awarded internationally and every three years a Festival of Lights, the last one in May 2018.

Café Glagenjuisje and Meat Market in Ghent Belgium

Meat Market

Very close to Graslei you find the Meat Market, an old market of the fifteenth century with a large wooden roof, which at that time and until the nineteenth century centralized the meat trade in the city.

Nowadays it is a place where you can sit to buy or taste the most diverse regional foods and drinks, like the typical Ganda ham.

Glagenjuisje coffee

Adhered to the Meat Market You find a tiny and very curious building where a cafe is located where you may feel like having a snack.

Cruise on the Ghent canals in Belgium

I advise you to do it on the terrace given the minimum space you have inside.

Restaurants in Patershol neighborhood

Patershol It is a neighborhood of narrow streets located next to the castle of the Counts of Flanders that after being a well-off area, it concentrated artisans and merchants and then became a working class neighborhood.

After a time of decline in the last century, its subsequent rehabilitation has led to it now being a trendy neighborhood in Ghent With lovely little restaurants.

Chocolate shop in Ghent in Belgium

Typical meals in Ghent

Face to eat in Ghent, in addition to the typical regional products that you find especially in the aforementioned Meat Market, you must try the nose.

Cuberdon in flamenco, they are cone-shaped chocolates with raspberry flavor, which are sold in trolleys You can find in the streets.

In winter in Ghent it is typical to take one of the soups that are sold in the numerous soperías You can find in the street.

Cuberdons stand in Ghent

He Ghent's most popular dish is the Waterzooi, an original stew of the Middle Ages made with fish or chicken, and it is also typical to buy mustard in Tierenteyn, sweets in Temmerman and waffles in MAX.

Grutt craft beer

As for the typical Belgian beer, a place icon is Gruut, a craft brewery from the city of Ghent where the most traditional processing systems are maintained.

Use a mixture of herbs for processing (gruut) instead of hops, and offers various varieties of beer, wheat, blonde, amber, toast and hell.

Brewery terrace in Ghent in Belgium

To emphasize that it is a very nice place to chat or eat.

Dulle Griet Brewery

In the squareVrijdagmark It's worth a visit brewery Dulle Griet, where you will find many types of Belgian craft beers.

It is an establishment with a very peculiar decoration where one of the rituals is when you order a liter beer, which they serve you in a yard giant.

Flower market in Ghent

To enjoy beer you have to leave a garment in a basket that hangs from the ceiling ... and until you finish the beer, they do not return it to you.

Kouter Flower Market

Visiting Ghent on a Sunday is also synonymous with going to Kouter Flower Market.

It is a large elongated square where on both sides of it there is a succession of establishment of sale of flowers, which forms a set of great color.

Ghent florals

Floralia, floral art exhibition

But when the love for flowers reaches its maximum expression of Ghent it is on the occasion of the Floralias, a floral art festival which is held every several years in the month of April.

The last edition took place in 2016, and I can assure you it is a true wonder.

Various corners of the city house the great floral decorations, as in the Bijloke cultural center, where is the aforementioned STAM museum, the medieval abbey of St. Peter or the great Park Citadelpark.

How to get to Ghent

Ghent is only 57 kilometers from Brussels, one hour from the center of the capital by car and 35 minutes by train.

De Brujas is only 50 kilometers and 25 minutes away by train.

Video: Best food and things to do in Ghent Belgium (November 2019).