Visit Ghent: Belgium’s Hidden Gem

Ghent, often overshadowed by its more famous neighbors Brussels and Bruges, is a city brimming with history, culture, and vibrant life. This medieval city seamlessly blends old-world charm with modern flair, making it a must-visit destination for travelers seeking an authentic Belgian experience. Whether you’re an art lover, history buff, or foodie, Ghent has something to offer everyone.

Why Ghent Should Be on Your Travel List

Ghent is not just another European city; it’s a place where history comes alive through its well-preserved medieval architecture, bustling squares, and picturesque canals. Here are some compelling reasons to add Ghent to your travel itinerary.

Rich Historical Heritage

Ghent’s historical significance dates back to the Middle Ages when it was one of the most important cities in Europe. Walking through its cobbled streets feels like stepping back in time. Key historical landmarks include:

Gravensteen Castle: A stunning medieval fortress offering panoramic views of the city.

St. Bavo’s Cathedral: Home to the world-famous Ghent Altarpiece, a masterpiece of early Netherlandish art.

Belfry of Ghent: This iconic bell tower symbolizes the city’s independence and provides breathtaking views.

Vibrant Cultural Scene

Ghent is a cultural hub with numerous museums, galleries, and theaters. The city hosts various festivals throughout the year, including the Ghent Festival, one of the largest cultural events in Europe.

MSK (Museum of Fine Arts): Boasting an extensive collection from the Middle Ages to the 20th century.

S.M.A.K. (Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art): Showcasing cutting-edge contemporary art.

Culinary Delights

Belgium is renowned for its culinary delights, and Ghent is no exception. From traditional Flemish dishes to modern gastronomic experiences, the city’s food scene is diverse and delicious.

Waterzooi: A creamy stew made with chicken or fish, a Ghent specialty.

Cuberdons: Also known as “neuzekes” (little noses), these raspberry-flavored candies are a local favorite.

Beer: Sample some of the best Belgian beers at local pubs and breweries.

Top Attractions in Ghent

Ghent is packed with attractions that cater to all interests. Here are some must-see sights in the city.

Gravensteen Castle

Gravensteen, or the “Castle of the Counts,” is a well-preserved medieval fortress in the heart of Ghent. Built in the 12th century, it offers a fascinating glimpse into the city’s past. Visitors can explore the castle’s dungeons, armory, and enjoy panoramic views from the ramparts.

St. Bavo’s Cathedral

This majestic Gothic cathedral is home to the Ghent Altarpiece, also known as “The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb.” This masterpiece by the Van Eyck brothers is a must-see for art enthusiasts. The cathedral itself is an architectural marvel, with its soaring spires and intricate stained glass windows.

The Belfry of Ghent

Standing tall at 91 meters, the Belfry of Ghent is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Climbing to the top rewards you with stunning views of the city. The belfry also houses a museum that details the history of the bell tower and its significance to Ghent.

Graslei and Korenlei

These picturesque streets along the Leie River are perfect for a leisurely stroll. Lined with beautiful medieval buildings, they offer a glimpse into Ghent’s rich mercantile history. Enjoy a boat tour on the river for a different perspective of the city.

Ghent’s Graffiti Street

For a taste of modern Ghent, head to Werregarenstraat, popularly known as Graffiti Street. This alleyway is an ever-changing canvas of street art, showcasing the creativity of local and international artists.

Where to Eat and Drink in Ghent

Ghent’s culinary scene is as diverse as its history. Here are some top recommendations for food and drink in the city.

Traditional Belgian Cuisine

De Graslei: Located on the Graslei, this restaurant offers traditional Belgian dishes with a view.

Het Waterhuis aan de Bierkant: Known for its extensive beer selection and delicious Flemish stews.

Modern Dining

Publiek: A Michelin-starred restaurant offering innovative dishes in a stylish setting.

Vrijmoed: Another Michelin-starred gem, known for its creative cuisine and impeccable service.

Cafes and Bars

Dulle Griet: Famous for its extensive beer menu and quirky decor.

Café De Planck: A cozy spot to enjoy a coffee or a Belgian beer by the canal.

Tips for Visiting Ghent

Best Time to Visit: Spring and early summer are ideal for pleasant weather and fewer crowds.

Getting Around: Ghent is a compact city, best explored on foot or by bike. The city also has an efficient tram and bus system.

Language: While Dutch is the official language, most locals speak English and are very welcoming to tourists.


Ghent is a hidden gem that offers a perfect blend of history, culture, and modern vibrancy. Whether you’re exploring medieval castles, enjoying world-class art, or indulging in Belgian cuisine, Ghent promises an unforgettable experience. Add this charming city to your travel bucket list and discover why it’s one of Belgium’s best-kept secrets.

Start planning your trip to Ghent today and uncover the magic of this enchanting city!

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