As you may already know, I went to university in Ghent, Belgium. I have spent a good 4 years of my life living there and I absolutely loved it. If I had the opportunity to go back, I wouldn’t think twice about it. It’s such a vibrant city with beautiful buildings, friendly people and good food. Throughout the years I’ve gotten to know so many amazing places in Ghent so it wasn’t easy narrowing it down to a more or less reasonable number but hey, here are 44 things to do in Ghent, that I would recommend (see what I did there?).
WARNING: you better get something to drink & a good snack (may I suggest something chocolatey, a chocolate cupcake maybe?) because this is going to be a long post!
44 Things To Do In Ghent
- Amadeus (the one in Patershol): The perfect place for all-you-can-eat ribs. Affordable, and a cosy setting. If you can, try to make a reservation in advance as it can get quite busy around dinner time. Amadeus 1, Plotersgracht 8/10
- De Vooruit: A beautiful old building, with a great outside bar, to have a drink with your friends in summer. The inside bar is perfect for an affordable vegetarian lunch break. Great place to meet new people too. Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 23, 9000 Ghent
- Hasta Mañana: Great affordable tapas bar. I used to go here all the time, back when I was still living in Ghent! Lammerstraat 19
- Julie’s House: My all-time favourite place in Ghent! They do the best cupcakes and cakes, and heavenly English breakfasts. If you can only try one dessert at Julie’s House, try a piece of the Moelleux cake. Trust me, it’s worth it! Kraanlei 13
- SOUP’R: I am not a soup person but I do love a good warm soup in the colder months. SOUP’R’s menu always changes so there’s something new to try each week. Sint-Niklaasstraat 9
- Paul’s Boutique: Popular burger restaurant. Good burgers and fries for an affordable price. Kon. Astridlaan 209 OR Sint-Amandstraat 48
- Ellis Gourmet Burger: Just like Paul’s Boutique, this is a Belgian burger chain restaurant. I really like their burgers and often go here when having dinner with friends. Korenmarkt
- Balls & Glory: If you are looking for something different to have for lunch then this is the place to go to. Balls & Glory serves (meat)balls and mash/salad. Back when I was still in uni I used to go here for lunch sometimes because it’s relatively healthy and fast. Jakobijnenstraat 6
- Simon Says: I love going to Simon Says for a cosy breakfast and a good coffee. Plus they also have rooms, if you are looking for a place to stay in Ghent. I have never stayed here though, just always come here for the good atmosphere! Sluizeken 8
- Pain & Compagnie: They do, in my opinion, the best croissants in Ghent! Whenever I happen to be in Ghent, I always pop back in to get me one (or more). During the summer months this is a great place to eat breakfast too. Kalanderberg 3
- LKKR: There are lots of sandwich bars in Belgium, and this is one of my personal favourites in Ghent. It’s a small but cute place to have an affordable lunch (or breakfast). Botermarkt 6
- Gust: I though I’dd add an ‘Instagramable’ places to the list too. Gust does yummy breakfasts and healthy lunches and there even is a brunch option too! They have lots of vegetarian and vegan options too. Annonciadenstraat 4
- Bakery Himschoot: The oldest bakery of Ghent and probably one of the oldest in Belgium. Definitely a must-visit if you’re in Ghent. Gorgeous building and the homemade bread is delicious! Groentenmarkt 1
- Neuzekes (Cuberdons): Okay, this is not exactly a place but Ghent is famous for its ‘Neuzekes’ candy. In front of the Bakery Himschoot you can usually find 2 little carts selling the typical Flemish candy. It’s a little too sweet for my taste but I do recommend giving it a try when in Ghent!
- Nonno – Il mondo Gelato: I just had to add this ice cream shop to the list. I used to live nearby and would come here way too often during the summer. Absolutely delicious ice cream! Kortedagsteeg 22
- Polé Polé Café: Cocktail bar with a great atmosphere. It can get very busy in the evening so the wait for a drink can be pretty long, but I have tried a number of cocktails from their menu and I have yet to try one I didn’t like! Lammerstraat 8-10
- Take Five Espressobar: This coffee bar is a more recent discovery. I went back to Ghent for a daytrip in August and discovered this little coffee shop. Absolutely delicious coffee! I have yet to try their patiseries but when I go back to Ghent, I will certainly have a little tasting session. Voldersstraat 10
- Fajah Lobi Café: I absolutely love the cosy atmosphere of their pub and always go back here when I’m visiting Ghent. Would definitely recommend it for having a little break in between shopping or just for a quick breakfast! Vlaanderenstraat 2
- ‘t Dreupelkot: A small pub with a (sometimes grumpy) old man behind the bar but a classic to visit if you are on a night out in Ghent. The place has more than 200 different jenevers on offer, how many can you try in one night? Groentenmarkt 12
- De Dulle Griet: One of the best places to go beer tasting in Ghent. Enormous selection of Belgian beers, great staff, real authentic Belgian pub. Vrijdagmarkt 50
- Hot Club Gent: This is my personal favourite pub in Ghent. There’s often live Jazz music and a great selection of non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks too. It’s kind of hidden in a little alley which just add to the relaxing vibes. Schuddevisstraatje 2
- De Alchemist: Gin & beer bar with a great Flemish atmosphere. Love coming here with friends to just have a chat while enjoying a nice drink. Rekelingenstraat 3
- De Wasbar: This is a great concept: it’s both a bar and a laundromat. I like going here for a little afternoon break to drink one of their homemade lemonades, or a good old coffee. I have never washed my clothing here though. Nederkouter 109 OR Korenmarkt 37
- Bar Bidon: Another great concept: this place is both a coffee bar and a bike repair shop. Bisdomkaai 25
- Café Romain: great pub with a calmer atmosphere, if you need a good long catch-up with your friends and want to do it over a nice cold beer, this is the place to go! Walpoortstraat 13
To visit / To do
- Graffiti street: Little alley, filled with street art. Great place for photos! Werregarenstraat
- Gravensteen: Castle in the city centre, built in the Middle Ages. For a fee (6€ under 25s, 10€ over 25s, free under 19), enter and explore. Climb to the top and have an amazing view. If you like old buildings with lots of history, I would definitely recommend visiting the Gravensteen! Sint-Veerleplein 11
- St Bavo’s Cathedral: Gothic cathedral in the centre of Ghent. Admire the famous altarpiece, the Mystic Lamb. Interesting fact: part of the painting has been stolen in 1934 and ’till this day has not been recovered. There is a lot of mystery surrounding the whole ordeal. Once and a while a news article appears with a new theory as to where the painting might be and as to who might be behind the theft. Sint-Baafsplein
- Belfry of Ghent: Iconic building in the city centre of Ghent. Also possible to visit for a fee. Sint-Baafsplein
- Saint Nicholas’ Church: Beautiful old church in walking distance of both the St Bavo’s Cathedral and the Belfry of Ghent. Cataloniëstraat
- Patershol: I really wanted to mention Patershol in this list because it’s just a super pretty neighbourhood in Ghent, with its cobbled streets and lovely old buildings. Definitely take a stroll here if the weather allows it!
- The House of Alijn: The only museum on this list as I am usually not a big fan of museums. Lots of information on how the locals used to live in the 20th century. Affordable to visit (6€) too. Kraanlei 65
- Stroll around in the city centre & take a boat trip: Honestly, if you haven’t planned your visit to Ghent, just take a stroll in town and explore at your own pace. Ghent is absolutely beautiful and has lots of amazing sights to disover on your own. If you want, you can also take a boat trip. I have never done this as it is a little too touristy for my taste but it’s something to consider on a sunny day!
- Ghent Festivities: Each year in July, there is a free festival in Ghent! Superb music and drinks to be found everywhere. If you plan on visiting Ghent, come at the beginning or the end of the festival. So you can experience the city both with and without the hustle and bustle of the festival.
- The Christmas Market: Belgium has lots of wonderful Christmas markets, that are worth a visit in December. And I love the one in Ghent as well. Consider coming to Ghent in December, it’s a lot colder but oh so pretty during the weeks leading up to Christmas!
Ghent is not yet the dream shopping destination many would have hoped for but it does have some hidden gems and all of the main shops such as H&M, Zara, WE, Primark and more.
- Piet Moodshop: Cute little interior design and lifestyle store close to the Vooruit. Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 94
- The other shop: This is a rather new addition to my favourite spots in Ghent. I discovered this place during the summer of 2017 and have been wanting to go back ever since. Such a unique book and stationery store. A must-visit! Mageleinstraat 40
- Post Plaza: This beautiful old building had been left nearly abandoned for years. They finally restored it to its old glory. It is just a pleasure to go inside and admire the architecture and design. Inside you will find: a hotel, a lunch spot and a few stores. Korenmarkt 18
- Koperhuis: A lovely interior design and furniture shop. Kraanlei 27
- Tierenteyn-Verlent: Gorgeous old building, next to Bakery Himschoot. If you are looking from a Ghent delicacy to take home; try their Mustard! Groentenmarkt 3
- De Slegte Gent: I have this thing for old bookstores. Although they carry a limited selection of English books this second hand book shop is a must visit in my opinion. Voldersstraat 7
- Mus in een Plas: Cute little stationery and homeware shop. Perfect for finding little gifts. Serpentstraat 28
- Paleis: A clothing store, hidden away in a quieter area of Ghent. Great for finding cute dresses and comfy sweaters. Lange Violettestraat 62
- Main shopping streets: The Veldstraat, is the main shopping street in Ghent. Additionally, you can find more shops in the Lange Munt and there is a little shopping centre at the Woodrow Wilsonplein (it is nothing compared to some of the international shopping centres I’ve been to though). In the Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat, Kortedagsteeg and the Walpoortstraat you can find little boutiques as well as more common shops too.
Note that not all places have visa, MasterCard or even an option to pay by card, so be sure to take some cash with you. There are plenty of ATMs in the neighbourhood, so you can always get some more cash if you run out. Ghent is reachable by train. In the city centre you can take the bus or the tram. Or just walk around if the weather is good enough!
I’ve been asked so many times for Ghent recommendations, and here they finally are! I know this travel post is a little different compared to my Rotterdam ones but I just had so many places to mention. Ghent is really a must-visit if you are coming to Belgium. I cannot recommend the city enough!
Have you ever visited Ghent? What was your favourite part?