What to do in Ghent?
If you've ever been to Ghent you know it, this city is incredible. There are lots of things to see, to do, to visit, to try out, in short no time to get bored. But then there is a lot to choose from and when you only go for one day, you don't always have time to do everything. So here's a list (which could grow) of places, activities, things to see and do in Ghent. You just have to pick it up for your next visit :)
Saint Bavo CathedralSint-Baafsplein 9000 Ghent BE
Ghent's St. Bavo's Cathedral is one of the most spectacular in Flanders. It has existed since the 10th century, first as a chapel, then as a church, a collegiate church and finally as a cathedral in 1559. It is a Gothic church with a truly impressive architecture. Why is it so famous? Perhaps because it is the home of the famous Ghent Altarpiece (Adoration of the Mystic Lamb) by the Van Eyck brothers! It has been there since 1986 and several thefts have already taken place so that the baptistery where it is located is now a vault.
Saint Nicholas' ChurchKorenmarkt 9000 Ghent BE
St. Nicholas' Church is one of the oldest and most imposing buildings in the city of Ghent in Belgium. It is located in the old centre of Ghent, close to St. Bavo's Cathedral, the Ghent Belfry and the Royal Dutch Theatre. It was built in Tournai blue stone, a local peculiarity. Exhibitions and concerts are organised in this grandiose location. Admission is free if you just want to visit.
Gravensteen (The Castle of the Counts)Sint-Veerleplein 9000 Ghent BE
The Castle of the Counts is situated in the centre of Ghent. It can be found opposite the tourist office on the Sint-Veerleplein. It dates back to the Middle Ages and its defence system is still almost intact! It is a must-see in Ghent: you can still visit its torture room, the keep, a crypt, see the objects of the time, admire the ramparts and the residence of the counts. There are several viewpoints from which you can discover the castle in all its forms. You have to walk through the alleys adjacent to the castle and find THE right spot. Another nice point: you can visit the castle with the voice of the Ghent comedian Wouter Deprez. A nice way to learn more about this incredible edifice.
Lakenhalle (The Cloth Hall)Sint-Baafsplein 9000 Ghent BE
The Cloth Hall (Lakenhalle in Dutch) is a Brabantine Gothic style building in the centre of Ghent. It is located on the east side of the Belfry and was built long after it. It is a symbol of the prosperity of the drapery industry before the 17th century, a craft to which the people of Ghent owe a lot! Inside you will find the armoury of the Guild of Saint Michael.
The Royal Opera of GhentSchouwburgstraat 9000 Ghent BE
The Royal Opera of Ghent is a luxurious opera house built in the first half of the 19th century. It is run by the Flemish Opera, an association that has been producing opera and concerts for the opera houses of Ghent and Antwerp since 1981. Operas, ballets, concerts: you will find everything you want. It is important to see the opera as an architectural work as well.
Groot Vleeshuis9000 Gent België - Belgique - Belgien
Het Groot Vleeshuis in Gent is a restaurant, a promotion centre for regional products from East Flanders, a shop with more than 175 regional products. In short, it's the place to be for gourmets! You will all find good products: beers, juices, hams, cheese, mustard, chocolates, cuberdons,... The restaurant, a bit like a canteen, offers breakfast, lunch or snack formulas for groups (small or very large). It is even possible to book the whole place. Originally, it was a covered market where meat was sold: hence the name. It also went from a fruit and vegetable market to a fish market and even a car park.
The Saint-Michael BridgeSint-Michielsbrug 9000 Ghent BE
A selfie to take in Ghent? It's definitely on this bridge that you'll have to take the pose. The Saint-Michael Bridge is at the center of all the most beautiful things there is to see in Ghent. If you have the Saint Michael's Church and its chevet behind you, you will have on your left side the Korenlei and the Graslei separated by the Leie. In front of you a postcard panorama with all the most beautiful buildings: St. Nicholas' Church, the Belfry and finally St. Bavo's Cathedral in the background. And the first one directly in front of you on the Graslei? A luxury hotel: 1998 The Post. And if you are looking for St. Michael, it is in the middle of the bridge: on a lamppost!
GrasleiGraslei 9000 Ghent BE
The Graslei, or Grass Quay in English, is located on the right bank of the Lys. On the quay there are many period houses with different and very impressive styles. Romanesque, baroque, medieval, gothic, ... there is something for everyone. On the other side of the bank is the Korenlei, which was the name of the Graslei also before. The Korenlei changed its name in the 18th century.
The Royal Dutch TheatreSint-Baafsplein 9000 Ghent BE
Another building on the Sint-Baafsplein: the Royal Dutch Theatre. Its façade at the entrance is of course the one that makes people talk the most (apart from the nice performances that can be found in the theatre). It is home to Apollo and his Muses and the goddess of harmony.