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Best attractions in Ghent: Top 20

After reading our review, you will know what every tourist must see in Ghent. Taking into account the reviews and recommendations of experienced travelers and guides, we will list the most remarkable and interesting sights of Ghent.

What to see in Ghent first?

The Belgian city of Ghent strikes not only with its fabulous beauty and hospitality, but also with a large number of historical and cultural attractions. The following excursions in Ghent are the biggest success among locals and vacationers:

1. Ghent Town Hall

The different architectural styles of the facades of the Town Hall at Botermarkt Square in Ghent Dimitris Kamaras

Construction of the Town Hall began at the end of the 14th century. The majestic architecture features many Renaissance and Gothic elements. In Ghent you can see the sights not only from the outside but also from the inside. Of great value are the throne of King Joseph the Second, the stained glass windows of the Wedding Chapel, the tiled floor-labyrinth of the Peace Hall, made in white and black colors, the wooden vaults of the Arsenal Hall.

2. Friday Market Square

The famous Friday Market Square with the statue of Jacob van Artevelde on a sunny morning in Ghent

The main square of the city has many old Gothic buildings. In the Middle Ages public executions and coronations of the country’s monarchs were held here. Friday market, which operates today, was arranged in the 12th century. In the central part of the square you can see a monument decorated with coats of arms of various commercial guilds. Gourmet diners are well advised to visit these interesting places in Ghent, where a huge number of restaurants and bars are open. Among others, there is the famous beer tavern Dulle Greets.

3. Ghent Post Office

The post office building and clock tower are an architectural ensemble on the Korenmark street in Ghent Dimitris Kamaras

The date of construction of the architectural monument is the beginning of the 20th century. The neo-Gothic building has two floors, a square bell tower with a spire and clock, and several corner octagonal towers. The facade is decorated with three female figures and a dozen smaller sculptures - objects symbolizing Belgium and its regions. There is now a shopping mall inside the former post office.

4. Beffrooy Tower

The dragon vane on the spire of the Beffrois Tower in Ghent Civa61

The grandiose structure, created in 1338, is more than 90 meters high. In the olden days, this Beffrua tower, decorated with an antique clock and a dragon weathervane, informed the townspeople of enemy attacks, floods, fires and other calamities. At the entrance to Beffrua there is a staircase with four hundred steps. Once you have surpassed them, you can climb to the observation deck, which offers unique panoramas of the entire city. We included Beffrois in our “best sights of Ghent” rating because there are two museums in the tower at once: a bell collection and an archive of formerly secret documents.

Official website:

5. Gérard the Devil’s Castle

Gérard the Devil's Castle is the oldest stone building in the city

The best option for where to go in Ghent for fans of horror and mysticism. The 13th-century palace belonged to a knight nicknamed the Devil for allegedly murdering five wives. According to legend, the knight was no less cruel than the famous Bluebeard. The castle is in the Gothic style and is considered the oldest stone structure in the city. In different eras it was used as a mental hospital, a prison, an abode and an armory. Today there are guided tours of the palace for tourists.

Feel the atmosphere of Ghent in this beautiful video!

6. The Castle of the Counts of Flanders

Legendary medieval castle of the Counts of Flanders in the Belgian city of Ghent

This huge 1157 stone palace is on all lists of “Belgium’s top attractions“ for a reason. Guides in Ghent like to say that the castle of the counts is the only building in the state that demonstrates the way of life and traditions of the Middle Ages in their entirety. Over the centuries, the palace of Flanders was used for very different purposes: it was a defensive fortress, a courtroom, a prison, a textile factory, and even a mint. Currently, inside there is a museum, one of the halls of which contains real weapons and armor of medieval knights. Impressed tourists don’t need to see all the treasures in the museum complex. Several collections are based on actual weapons of corporal punishment and torture. But we recommend all guests of the castle to go to the top level to the observation deck.

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7. Ghent St. Peters Station

Panorama of Ghent's St. Peters railway station Fréderic Louis

Originally, this luxurious train station was a modest station. The current building was erected at the beginning of the 20th century. It was last restored in 2010. From Ghent St. Peters you can take the train to anywhere in the state.

8. St. Bavon’s Cathedral

The sculptural composition on the lawn in front of St. Bavon's Cathedral on a summer afternoon
Interior of St. Bavon's Cathedral in Ghent Ed Webster

The site is owned by the Roman Catholic diocese. It was formerly the site of a small wooden church, later rebuilt into this large-scale Gothic building. The most valuable relic of the cathedral is the altar, which was painted by the Eike brothers (talented Renaissance artists).

Official website:

9. St. Nicholas Church

The gray-blue stone St. Nicholas Church from Tournay on the Korenmarkt Square in Ghent Dimitris Kamaras

Your trip to Ghent should not fail to include a visit to one of the oldest churches in the city. It was originally a Romanesque chapel, built in the early 12th century. But a fire destroyed it completely. The new gray-blue stone building has a Gothic architectural design. For its construction, funds from the townspeople were collected. During its long history, the temple was rebuilt more than once. In the 16th century, it fell into disrepair, and restoration work continues to this day. At present only the main aisle with the magnificent organ by A. Cavalier Collet, the altar decorated with gilt and the pulpit made of wood are open to tourists.

10. The Church and Bridge of St. Michael

A view from the Graslei promenade of the Saint Michael's Church and Bridge on the Leieu River in Ghent

A majestic 15th-century church built in the Gothic style. Construction work continued for several hundred years. A colorful bridge stretches from the building in the direction of the Lis (river). It is recommended to visit the bridge to enjoy views of the medieval streets, towers and churches of Ghent.

Official website:

11. Museum of Fine Arts

The building of Belgium's oldest Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent Paul Hermans
Hall of the Russian avant-garde at the Museum of Fine Arts of Ghent Pavel Otdelnov

What to see in Ghent in 1 day for art lovers? This museum with its many canvases seized from various religious associations. The date of opening of the complex is 1904. Note that many paintings were taken to Paris and never returned to the city gallery.

Official website:

12. City Museum of Modern Art (S.M.A.K.)

Museum of Modern Art (S.M.A.K.) in the Ghent Citadel Park Cristina Pastor

The museum complex was opened in 1999. The Art Center is a huge success because of its rather provocative and daring events and exhibitions. Among the permanent exhibits are canvases by Beuys, Bacon, Warhol and other illustrious creators of our time. In addition, guests are invited to view samples of temporary collections imported from various fashion galleries around the country and the world.

Official website:

13. Museum of Industry, Labor and Textiles

MIAT within the walls of the old cotton mill by the River Lea Paul Hermans
The printing presses at the Museum of Industry, Labor and Textiles in Ghent Lalieka

The complex is housed in a former textile factory in the heart of the city. The local specimens tell the story of how Belgian industry developed in the 17th and 18th centuries. Most of the exhibits are made of textiles. Also on display are all sorts of manufacturing equipment, spinning wheels and weaving looms.

Official website:

14. Pretland Ghent Entertainment Center

Indoor playgrounds for kids at Pretland Ghent Entertainment Center

If you don’t know what to visit in Ghent with the whole family, come to this entertainment complex with its many playgrounds. For the most part, there are soft rides that are safe for the little ones. However, some of the rides are designed for older guests. There is a cafe on the territory.

15. The botanical garden of the University of Ghent

Rare plant species in the Ghent University Botanical Garden Tbc

The garden, arranged by order of Empress Maria Theresia, is quite impressive in size. The square is carefully looked after by numerous workers. Everywhere is clean and comfortable, there are many benches and benches. Of great interest to vacationers, as a rule, are planted in the open air cacti of various kinds.

Official website:

Ghent sights: What else is there to see in Ghent?

We have told you about the main sights of Ghent in brief. In addition to them, you should definitely see:

16. Ghent’s sports and leisure park - Blaarmeersen

The green area around the central pond with beach and sports infrastructure in Ghent Paul Hermans

Suburban park complex with playgrounds for children and sports games, its own sandy beach. In the warm season it is possible to swim in the lake with clear water. An ideal place for a relaxing holiday in nature, hiking and biking.

17. Complex of protective constructions Works

A view from the water of the Three Towers Protective Structures Complex in the city of Ghent

The structure, also called simply “The Three Towers”, is part of the 15th century fortress. The defensive complex of the Works consists of a bridge, a stepped facade in the middle, and two round-shaped towers. After the need to defend the city was no longer necessary, the building began to be used as a warehouse, tavern and archive. Now seminars and conferences are held there.

18. Grass and Grain Street

Street of Grass (right) and Street of Grain (left) - embankments on the River Lys in Ghent User:LimoWreck

These medieval streets are home to the best hotels in Ghent. As well as cafes and restaurants that serve airy Belgian waffles and traditional French fries. Your trip here will be unforgettable if you decide to take a ride along the River Lys, along which the streets stretch, on plying pleasure boats. The trip will last 40 minutes during which you can see the whole magnificent Ghent: look at the mighty walls of the palace of the counts, the Great Meat House, Flanders facades of cottages built by local rich people of 13-17 centuries.

19. Canals of Ghent

A boat trip along the ancient houses along the canals of the Lees in Ghent
Cityscape - canal at night in the Old City of Ghent

You can explore the beauties of the city by renting small boats and riding the local canals. In one hour you can see all the architectural masterpieces of Ghent and learn many fascinating facts about them.

20. Beer tavern Dulle Greets

The cozy interior of the iconic beer bar "Dulle Griet" at the Friday Market in Ghent PMRMaeyaert

This beer bar is a real city landmark. Inside there is always a cozy and pleasant atmosphere. The interior is made of wood, with converted beer barrels acting as part of the tables. Looking at the ceiling, you can see crazy witches and other fairy tale characters. At Dulle Greets you can choose from around 250 different kinds of beer. However, it is not the diverse beer menus that make the tavern famous, but an old ritual: when a guest orders a huge glass of local beer, he should give his right shoe or shoe to the bartender. The shoes are placed in a special basket attached to the ceiling. If the customer can’t finish his drink, he is left without shoes. They are returned only after the guest completely empties the liter flask of beer.

Official website:

We hope that you will personally see all those sights of Ghent, photos with names and descriptions of which we have selected for this article. Read also about Bruges sights and get inspired for your further trip to Belgium.

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