Ghent, Mediaeval Manhattan
Ghent is full of charming history and modern-day fun. Vibrant Ghent is well worth a weekend trip. It’s ideal for a last-minute city trip as well. Quirky Ghent offers a fascinating cultural cocktail brimming with trendy, modern urban life. Don’t miss the chance to admire the world-famous masterpiece — The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb by the Van Eyck brothers — during your weekend trip.
Walk through the centre of Ghent and you will immediately see why it has won so many tourism prizes and earned so much international acclaim. Nowhere else can you flit so quickly from the 14th to the 21st century and back again, without feeling out-of-place for a minute. National Geographic Traveler Magazine calls Ghent the most authentic historic city in the world.
Take a cruise
Take a boat close to the amazing Castle of the Counts to discover the most beautiful places of Ghent. The fascinating history of medieval Ghent and its historical buildings and architecture. Enjoy the famous three towers of Ghent, various medieval churches and monasteries, the birthplace of Charles V of Spain, majestic guild halls, a breathtaking castle, and much more! Hear the stories behind these magnificent monuments.
- Marvel at St Bavo’s Cathedral, the Belfry and St Nicholas’ Church
- Discover the old guildhalls of labormen
- Admire the impressive castles of the Counts and the Princes’ Court
- Sail between the old Fish Market and the even older Meat Hall
- Glide through the Ancient Port of Ghent with its quay walls and mercantile houses
Shopping in Ghent is wonderful. Ghent has the largest pedestrian shopping area in Belgium and a highly varied range of shops and markets, all within a stone’s throw of each other. In Ghent, you will find the big, famous clothing stores alongside authentic boutiques. Shops are also open on the first Sunday in the month, in Ghent. They are closed on all other Sundays and public holidays.
It is perfectly possible to combine your city trip to Ghent with one of the bathing places near the Flemish coast. Knokke, Blankenberge and Oostende are only a stone’s throw away.
Free historic Ghent walking itinerary
Below you will find our free walking route for viewing the most beautiful open-air sights in the historic center of Ghent. Optionally, you can pay for entrance to various sights. The walk is about 1,5 km long and takes you past the most famous historical highlights of the city.
- Saint Bavo Cathedral (1274).
The spectacular Gothic church and Baroque ornamentations. Step into the marble choir and private chapels, appreciate the painting of “Saint Bavo Enters the Convent at Ghent” by Rubens and the beauty of the Rococo pulpit. Look at the stunning frescoes of the Romanesque crypt. Then, opt to visit the altarpiece of "The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb" by the Van Eyck brothers and admire one of the most important works of art from the Middle Ages for a small extra fee.
- Ghent Town Hall.
See its extraordinary mix of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture.
- Belfort (1313); UNESCO World Heritage.
Climb the stairs, listen to the chiming sound of the carillon and enjoy the view of the vibrant city of Ghent. The stunning view over Ghent is bound to enchant you.
- Market Hall (2012).
The multifunctional and open city pavilion is an architectural masterpiece. Discover the ‘grand café’ hidden under the city pavilion.
- Saint Nicholas Church.
One of the oldest and most prominent landmarks in Ghent.
- Saint Michael's Church.
Serving as reminders of Ghent’s medieval past.
- Graslei (Grass Quay).
Beautiful views of the river Leie and the old guildhalls.
- Great Butchers' Hall.
Discover one of Europe's oldest meat markets (15th century). East Flanders has more than 175 traditional regional products. And in Ghent you can find them all handily displayed under one roof!
Medieval castle, where the counts of Flanders used to live.
Explore the picturesque district and see charming buildings of brick facades where restaurants and cafes offer the best of Flemish cuisine.