Select Dates
Choose dates
Recent Searches
View of the Old Town at sunset, Ghent

Things to do in  Ghent

Medieval charm meets student life

Ghent—Belgium’s third-largest city and the capital of East Flanders—combines many of the elements that make Belgium such a fun place for travelers. Many of the most popular things to do in Ghent, from touring Gravensteen Castle to admiring the view of the Leie River from Sint-Michielsbrug, are found in the city’s medieval center. But Ghent also benefits from a bohemian tilt due to its student population, with countless beer cafes and bars and restaurants across the spectrum.

Top 7 attractions in Ghent

St. Bavo's Cathedral (Sint-Baafskathedraal)

Fronted by a Romanesque, baroque and Gothic facade, Ghent’s cavernous cathedral serves as a repository for a valuable collection of art treasures, including works by Rubens and Laurent Delvaux. Its showpiece attraction is the Van Eyck brothers’ world-renowned 24-panel altarpiece,The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb.More

Graslei and Korenlei

The medieval quays of Graslei and Korenlei face each other across the canalized River Leie and originally formed part of Tusschen Brugghen, the city’s thriving harbour. Their banks are lined with a rare architectural treat – the loveliest gabled guild houses and warehouses in Belgium, built between the 1200s and 1600s by rich merchants and guilds whose wealth came from trade. The streets are united by St Michael’s Bridge, from where their gabled delights can be seen at best advantage, and although considerable restoration work has taken place, these distinctive townhouses have maintained their allure.Graslei is lined by canal-side restaurants blessed with a graceful backdrop of gabled gild houses; the oldest is the Het Spijker (Stockpile House) at no. 10; other ornate façades once contained the guild houses of the stonemasons, the free boatmen and the grain measurers as well as the former customs house. Across the river from Graslei, Korenlei offers many surprises of its own, including imposing step-gabled, red-brick 16th-century houses. No. 9 is of particular interest for the gilded swans adorning the facade; in its time De Swaene has been both a brewery and a bordello. The pink-and-white Gildehuis van de Onvrije Schippers (Guild House of the Tied Boatmen) dates from 1739 and is a masterpiece of Flemish Baroque architecture.By day, tour boats leave from the quays of Graslei and Korenlei; after dark the district morphs into party central and restaurants, cafés and bars sprout along the quaysides.More

Gravensteen Castle (Castle of the Counts)

One of Belgium’s best-preserved medieval fortresses, Gravensteen Castle (also known as the Castle of the Counts) boasts thick stone walls, crenellated towers, and a history laced with intrigue and torture. Today, the landmark is a historical gem in the heart of Ghent; stop by to learn its often dark history firsthand.More

St. Nicholas’ Church (Sint-Nik­laas­kerk)

Owner of the oldest of the three great spires that dominate the pedestrianized heart of Ghent, the St. Nicholas’ Church (Sint-Nik­laas­kerk) was constructed between the 13th and 15th centuries in an eye-catching mixture of Romanesque and Flemish Gothic architectural styles. Built of Tournai limestone, its lovely exterior is adorned with flying buttresses and spiky spires as well as an imposing central tower; all this grandeur was paid for by Ghent’s wealthy medieval merchants to signal their wealth to the rival Flanders trading cities of Bruges and Antwerp. It’s probably more beautiful inside than out, but nevertheless all eyes lead to the Baroque high altar with its twisted side columns, floodlit through stained-glass windows high above. The church is currently under restoration but faint traces of fresco can still be seen on the supporting pillars of the nave. For the best view of St Nicholas’s flying buttresses, head for the viewing platform of the Belfry a few steps away.More

Belfry and Lakenhalle (Bell Tower and Cloth Hall)

Book-ending the square of Botermarkt with St Bavo’s Cathedral, the ornate UNESCO-listed Belfry and the Cloth Hall at its feet stand testament to the great wealth of Ghent in the 14th century; built with money from members of the wool and textiles guilds, they are in striking Brabant Gothic style. The Belfry is topped with a gilded copper dragon and holds a carillon of 54 bells that have rung for more than six centuries; take the elevator to the viewing gallery at 66 m (217 ft) above Sint-Baafsplein to see the bells and take in panoramic views of gabled facades, St Bavo’s Cathedral and the Gothic ornamentation of St Nicholas’ Church. A small museum displays models of the church, a few pieces of armor and the original dragon from atop the tower.The Cloth Hall dates from 1425 and was built as the storehouse for textile produced in Ghent; every piece had to be inspected here for quality before it could be exported. The hall still has its original carved wooden ceiling and a Baroque extension added in 1741 served as the city’s prison until 1902. Like Graslei and Korenlei, the Belfry looks spectacular when floodlit at night.More

Ghent City Center

Rich in medieval architecture and home to several UNESCO World Heritage sites, Ghent’s city center is replete with canals, cobblestones, and classic Flemish architecture. A European powerhouse during the Middle Ages, Ghent Old Town boasts soaring churches and well-kept merchants’ houses.More
Portus Ganda Marina

Portus Ganda Marina

‘Ganda’ was the ancient name for Ghent and the present-day marina at Portus Ganda marks the spot where the city first began to grow. Located east of Ghent’s triumvirate of landmark spires, the marina is one of four in Ghent and sits on the confluence of the Leie and Scheldt rivers. Once covered over to ease traffic, the Lower Scheldt was reopened to restore the city’s original waterways and at the same time several new pedestrianized piazzas and promenades were created; Portus Ganda opened in 2005 and is now a buzzing little spot with yachts bobbing alongside riverside boardwalks packed with restaurants and bars. A bridge scattered with benches unites the two sides of the river and the newly reopened and much-modernized Van Eyck swimming pool is close by on Veermanplein.More

Trip ideas

Bruges Tours from Brussels

Bruges Tours from Brussels

How to Spend 3 Days in Brussels

How to Spend 3 Days in Brussels

Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

All about Ghent

When to visit

Summer is when you’ll find Ghent at its most lively, both in terms of the bright, sunny weather and of the crowds that come for Ghent Festivities—a 10-day festival in July that sees the historical center become home to free concerts and street theater. Similarly, the lead-up to Christmas brings plenty of festive energy with the city’s various Christmas markets. A dusting of snow across the city’s medieval center only adds to Ghent’s charm.

Getting around

The historical center of Ghent is well-suited to getting around on foot, with many of the city’s main attractions within walking distance from one another. For traveling quickly or getting to outer parts of the city center, there are Ghent’s two train stations and the city’s tram and bus lines. And although they’re not an especially practical way for getting from A to B, the river boats from Graslei provide a relaxing way to see the sights around Ghent.

Traveler tips

For a memorable Belgian pub experience, head for Dulle Griet on Vrijdagmarkt. Besides serving the city’s largest selection of Belgian beers, the beer café also offers its special MAX beer, served in a giant yard glass that requires one of your shoes as a deposit to deter theft. If you prefer your beers served riverside, pull up a seat outside the laid-back Barrazza café.

People Also Ask

Is Ghent in Belgium worth visiting?

Yes, Ghent is definitely worth visiting—whether as a stop on your Belgium tour or as a weekend getaway. The city is home to a medieval center full of gothic architecture, a postcard-perfect riverfront, loads of bars and pubs serving up Belgian beer, and restaurants both traditional and international.

Is one day enough for Ghent?

Yes, one day in Ghent is enough to see the main attractions in the city center. However, if you choose to spend two days in Ghent, you have plenty of interesting places to go outside the historical center and a long list of bars and restaurants to try.

Is Bruges or Ghent better?

Whether Ghent or Bruges is better to visit comes down to personal preference, as both cities are entertaining to visit. Bruges is the more famous of the two and is easier to explore, while Ghent has a bohemian feel to it and a better nightlife thanks to its student population.

What is Ghent in Belgium famous for?

The Belgian city of Ghent is famous for several reasons. There's the Ghent altarpiece painted by brothers Hubert and Jan van Eyck, the purple cone-shaped candy called cuberdon, the city’s medieval landmarks including Gravensteen Castle, and the university—older than the nation of Belgium.

How should I spend a day in Ghent?

With just one day in Ghent, start by visiting the Ghent Belfry for its city views. Continue through the historical center to the Graslei and Korenlei quays—they're lined by the city’s prettiest buildings—before reaching Gravensteen, the city’s moated castle. End the day with a Belgian beer at a pub.

How far is Ghent train station from the city?

Gent-Sint-Pieters, the main train station in Ghent, is a 30-minute walk or a 15-minute tram ride from the Korenmarkt square in the center of the city. The other train station in the city is Gent-Dampoort, which is a 20-minute walk or 10-minute bus ride away.


Ghent information

Number of Attractions


Number of Tours


Number of Reviews



Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What are the top things to do in Ghent?
What are the top activities in Ghent?
What are the top things to do near Ghent?
Check out things to do near Ghent:
What do I need to know before visiting Ghent?