Ghent, this aesthetic & trendy city is the ultimate European destination for a weekend trip. With its stunning medieval backdrop, interwoven with canals and bursting with quaint little bars and mouthwatering restaurants, it’s hard not to fall in love with this place. The fairytale-like city succeeded somehow to dodge the big hordes of tourists throughout the years and remains rather a hidden gem compared to its neighboring Bruges, Brussels, and Amsterdam. All the more reason to find your way here, because charm & ambiance wise Ghent sticks out above the others in our opinion.
Spending a weekend in this vibrant underrated town is a perfect idea. In this complete weekend guide, you will find everything you need to know for planning a getaway to Ghent. Besides sharing an exact route plan for each day, that you can alter to your liking, we will also share some useful tips, interesting tours to join and the best places to book a night for your stay. Last but not least the cutest spots to find local specialties, the best bars to sample local beers and delicious restaurants to still your hunger.
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Weekend in Ghent | Complete Guide to Belgium’s Best-Kept Secret
Ghent is one of the oldest & largest cities in Belgium, however, remains one of the most underrated cities in Europe. Few people have heard of Ghent, unlike other popular city trip destinations such as Antwerp, Bruges, and Brussels. This intriguing university town has fresh vibes thanks to its youthful population but also traces of incredible history, featuring remarkably well-preserved medieval architecture. It’s a place where you can fully immerse yourself in the local culture since there are fewer tourist crowds surrounding you. Just like Bruges, this medieval town makes you feel like you are being transported back in time. Admire its many cathedrals, and glittering canals along the charming streets, and indulge in its delicious gastronomy.
There are plenty of unique things to do in Ghent to keep you entertained for more than a weekend. From an imposing castle right in the city center to a boat tour along the canals, from quirky bars with famous Belgian beers to delicious chocolate and waffles, Ghent has something to offer for everyone. The picture-perfect streets truly look handpainted by one of the many Flemish Masters.
About the Medieval City of Ghent
Ghent is a city with a rich history that thrived during the Middle Ages as a cloth trading hub in Europe. Between the 11th and 16th centuries, Ghent was one of the most important economic centers of Western Europe after Paris, thanks to its port and strategic location along the Lys and Schelde Rivers. At one point it used to be a bigger city than Moscow or London if you can imagine! Its prosperous past & prestige can be seen reflected in the many well-preserved historic buildings and merchant houses.
Today, the city center is a lively and youthful meeting point characterized by an interesting blend of historical beauty and modern architectural treasures. Innovative museums and galleries are beautifully interwoven with medieval splendor. Of all the cities in Belgium, Ghent noticeably sticks out as a place of modernization and taking initiative for artistic projects. The vibrant town is known for its popular events and festivals as well as for having one of the most fascinating culinary scenes in all of Europe. No doubt that when visiting Ghent, you will have a good time here!
Things to Do on a Weekend in Ghent – Day 1
Ready to start exploring the magnificent city of Ghent? On our first day, we will cover the main highlights of the old city. Everything is located within walking distance and since the city is car-free, the best way is to explore everything on foot.
Step back in time at the Old Fish Market & Castle of the Counts
We are kicking off the first day at the Oude Vismijn, which is also the location of the Tourist Information Center. Here you can pick up a city plan and the Ghent City Card, which you should definitely consider getting if you are spending more than one day in Ghent. The card offers free entry to all Ghent tourist attractions and even includes a boat tour. You can find more information on this under the tips section of this post. The information center is already an interesting building on its own. The former Old fish Market got totally renovated with a glass window expansion giving you a pretty view of the canals.
Outside you are currently on the Veerleplein which has some cozy cafés and quaint little buildings. From here we are heading towards the Castle of the Counts (or Gravensteen), a moated protection settlement located right in the center. The fortress dates back to the Middle Ages and used to be the symbol of power and torture. These days you will find a museum inside that gives you a beautiful panoramic view of the city from the top!
Walk along the Lys river with its stunning medieval grandeur
Once you are done exploring the castle find your way toward the Burgstraat, where you will have a magnificent view of the Gravensteen and the stunning surrounding architecture. Afterward turn to your left into the Jan Breydelstraat, which has many quaint coffee bars housed in cute little houses. At the end of the street, you have a bridge on your left, called the Grasburg that runs over the river Lys.
On one side you have a beautiful view of the Oude Vismijn and Gravensteen that we visited earlier. The other side gives you an open view of the lively Graslei and Korenlei. A view that will leave you speechless, with all its medieval grandeur along the river. In the distance, you can already catch a glimpse of the famous 3 towers and the beautiful St. Michaels bridge.
Take your time to soak up all the beauty here, you can even go and grab a drink or take a seat along the water. There are always people gathering around here, definitely, in the summer this area gets quite filled! Small groups of youth sharing a drink, people kayaking on the river, boat cruises passing by, it really is the beating heart of Ghent!
Proceed on the right bank of the river, along the Korenlei. On the way towards the St. Michaels bridge, you will pass by the Saint Michaels church. Once on the bridge, you get a pretty vantage point of the breathtaking cityscape, which is our favorite. Next to the best views of the river, you can also behold the 3 towers, which are located almost in a row. It’s the perfect spot to take pictures of all the major highlights of Ghent and a popular postcard motive.
Shop traditional local delicacies
Once you took in all the beauty, cross over the bridge to the other side of the river, from where we will walk back in direction of the Groentenmarket (Vegetable market). This bustling little square holds some of the best local specialty shops. You have several chocolatiers around like Zoetse or Neuhaus.
TAKE A TOUR | Discover the Belgian chocolate delights during a Chocolate tour through Ghent.
Head inside Bakery Himschoot for some delicious patékes (little pastries) or get some vintage mustard at the famous Tierenteyn-Verlent. This one is an established name in Ghent, and many people bring home mustard from here when they visit. The mustard is freshly spooned from a huge wooden barrel in their typical ceramic pots. A really unique gift to take home!
In front of these shops, you will see a food stall selling the signature candy of Ghent called Cuberdons. (better known as “Gentse Neuzen”) These purple conical-shaped candies are filled with raspberry-flavored goodness! Get a small bag to try them out first, but these are also sold in boxes that make lovely souvenirs.
Make sure to also quickly stop by on the other side of the square at the Great Butchers hall. This 15th-century guild house was formerly an indoor meat market. It has been transformed into a great restaurant where you can try out local specialties. Inside you will find cured Ganda ham hanging from the wooden ceilings, just like back in the day.
Grab a bite and a drink at the Vrijdagmarkt
At this point, we have been walking for a while, so it’s a great moment to make a stop for a small bite and drink. Surrounded by gorgeous 18th-century buildings, the Friday Market (or Vrijdagmarkt) is home to many bars and restaurants. You might encounter the weekly market on this square if you happen to visit Ghent on a Friday. A tradition, which has been ongoing since the 12th century. Grab a portion of fries with mayonnaise to feel like to true Belgian!
Check out the Dulle Griet, a legendary café that serves over 500 Belgian beers. This quirky bar has the tradition to take in your shoe as a deposit for a beer in a shoe-shaped glass.
Discover Ghent’s Art scene & coziest neighborhoods
Of all the cities in Belgium Ghent definitely stands out for its flourishing art scene. The city is the frontrunner if it comes to taking initiative for new artistic projects. This aspect is mostly visible in the Werregarenstraat, better known as Graffiti Street. The alleyway dedicated to street art was supposed to be a temporary project in the nineties but instead became one of the biggest sights of Ghent. The alleyway can be easily passed, so check for its location here.
At the end of Graffiti Street find your way back to the waterside towards the Kraanlei. Here you’ll see plenty of inspiring art galleries along the Leie River, the perfect place for an afternoon stroll. The Kraanlei offers some amazing views of the buildings on the other side. One of them is the famous beer café in Ghent ‘Het Waterhuis aan de Bierkant’. It’s the perfect spot to sample a local beer in the afternoon.
TIP | If you are a sweet tooth, make a stop at Confiserie Temmerman to get some old-fashioned sweets and Ghent delicacies like the Cuberdons.
At this point, you are again close to the castle of the counts. Find your way to the adorable neighborhood of Patershol. This cluster of cobbled stone streets is one of the best-hidden gems to hang out in, filled with cozy bars and restaurants. It’s known as the culinary heart of Ghent, so you will surely find the perfect place for dinner here since it has cuisines from all over the world. Whether you are fancying some Persian or Japanese dishes, or want to try out traditional Flemish cuisines, this area of the town has it all.
End the first day of your weekend in Ghent with a Canal Boat Tour
The perfect way to end your first day on a weekend in Ghent is by going on a leisurely canal boat tour along the Leie. Besides familiarizing yourself more with the city it also gives you another vantage point of the beautiful surroundings. And after all that walking, who wouldn’t enjoy just sitting back and relaxing while passing all this beauty? During a 40-minute tour, the captain slash tour guide will entertain you along the way with some interesting facts and insights into the city. Though, if you are anything like me, you will just dream away while absorbing the beautiful gingerbread-looking houses and won’t even pay attention to what he is saying :p.
Most of the tours take off at the intersection of Graslei and Korenlei. Tours cost around €9 per person, if you have the Ghent City Card, the boat tour is for FREE!
BOOK A BOAT TOUR | Book tickets upfront for a boat tour with De bootjes van Gent – Rederij Dewaele HERE
Enjoy the city of Ghent at night
Ghent totally comes alive at night, especially in summer. Many locals and mostly students gather around the Graslei and fill up those bar terraces. This is absolutely a socially trendy city! However, you can still find yourself in more peaceful places around the major sights that have been illuminated beautifully. Equally impressive at nighttime, so make sure to enjoy an evening stroll before calling it a night. Or maybe hit one of the pubs for a beer?
For a more in-depth list of things to do in Bruges, be sure to check out our Best things to do in Ghent.
Things to Do on a Weekend in Ghent – Day 2
On our second day after a nice breakfast, we will first head out for the 3 famous towers of Ghent. Towards the afternoon you can dedicate your time to some more off-the-beaten sights that Ghent has to offer.
Start your day at Korenmarkt & 1898 The post
We are kicking off the second day at the Korenmarkt (or wheat market), a square that gets rather bustling during the day. Back in the day, a warehouse was standing on the spot of the Post building and corn was being traded here. The building as you can see has an eclectic style with many interesting details. Today the postal building holds a shopping mall on the lower floor and a 4-star hotel on the first floor called 1898 The Post.
TIP | Make sure to spend some time looking at the beautiful guild halls next to the Korenmarkt. In particular Masons’ Guild Hall, where you can see six figures happily dancing on top of the stepped gable.
Visit the famous three towers
Without a doubt, you will have spotted the 3 towers from all over the city. These three medieval towers dominate the skyline of Ghent and form a picture-perfect row when standing on the St. Michiel’s Bridge. The first one you will pass when coming from the Korenmarkt is St. Nicholas’ Church, one of the oldest landmarks in Ghent. When walking further to the next tower, you will pass by an interesting architectural structure on the next square. The City Pavilion (or Stadshal) is a modern masterpiece that really sticks out against the medieval landscape of Ghent. This piece of architecture has always been a subject of discussion and ridicule, you either love or hate it.
TIP | When walking around this area of town keep your eyes open for the Coin Route (or Muntenroute). The clusters of coins each tell a piece of history of its surroundings through the engraved drawings.
The second tower is the Belfry of Ghent (or Belfort), a UNESCO World Heritage Site that you simply cannot miss. It’s the tallest bell tower in all of Belgium with its 91 meters height. Climbing to the top of the Belfry Tower is a must-do on your weekend in Ghent. It gives you the best 360° panoramic view of the city.
The third iconic tower is the Saint Bavo’s Cathedral (or Sint-Baafskathedraal), home to the famous altarpiece “The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb” by brothers Hubert & Jan van Eyck from the 15th century. It’s supposedly one of the earliest oil paintings in the world and is the most celebrated masterpiece of Flemish art. The cathedral itself is really stunning too, definitely worth spending some time gazing at its interior.
Marvel at the remarkable architecture
Here in the area of the towers, you will stumble upon many gorgeous other buildings. When passing the city pavilion, quickly take look at the City Hall a little further, many statues and details on its facade are just impeccable. St Bavo’s square is home to a row of beautiful colored houses and a magnificent Performing Arts Theater in front of the fountain. In the vicinity of the square, you can find the Rear Sickle building (or Achtersikkel) a true hidden gem, not really known by tourists. This oasis of peace in the center of Ghent consists of a small brick corner tower that belongs to the conservatory. It has a beautiful terrace with a café where you can enjoy a drink while listening to the sound of rehearsals inside.
Many people decide to turn towards the shopping street here but just go on a little further otherwise you miss out on the second castle of Ghent. Located just a bit further you will find the Geeraard de Duivelsteen or the Castle of Gerald the Devil. Unfortunately, the building itself can’t be visited on the inside. There is however a cozy lunch bar located on the side to enjoy.
Hit the shops & the flower market
To take a break from all the sightseeing, another thing to do other than eating and drinking is obviously shopping on a city trip. If you love shopping, you will be happy to hear that Ghent is truly a shopaholic paradise. From all the big stores that can be found in the area of the Veldstraat, to the more luxury brands near Kouter square. The hip city counts numerous small boutiques, vintage and second-hand shops to find more unique pieces.
When visiting on a Sunday there are also numerous markets all over town. One of the most popular must be the flower market (or Kouter Bloemenmarkt) that is held on Kouter square. A book market can be found along the water edge.
Indulge in Belgian Chocolates & Waffles
Just like in other Belgian cities, you can find a myriad of artisanal chocolate shops in Ghent with high-quality handmade chocolate. Chocolaterie Luc Van Hoorebeke and Hilde Devolder Chocolatier offer a nice variety.
TIP | A fun & interactive way to explore the city is by joining a chocolate tour. Not only will the guide entertain you with historic tales during the tour, but will also take you to some local chocolatiers to sample and learn more about the world of chocolate.
Who doesn’t love waffles? You will find this mouthwatering treat all over town. Grab one to go from a food cart or find your way to a brasserie and enjoy it with a coffee. Did you know there are all different kinds of waffles to be found? The most popular one is the Brussels waffle, an airy crispy waffle. And the Liege Waffle, made out of thicker dough with big chunks of sugar. We personally love the Brussels waffles at Amfora, a typical kind of Belgian Brasserie-style establishment.
Breath in some culture at one of the many museums
Ghent is home to many great museums, in case you have time left to squeeze one in. South of the city you can find a cluster of museums such as the Museum of Contemporary Art (S.M.A.K), the Museum of Fine Arts (MSK), and the International Convention Centre of Ghent (ICC). Just a little further lies the Ghent City Museum (STAM).
Taste some legendary local Belgian beers
One of the most well-known specialties of Belgium is beer. That’s why sampling some at one of the many cozy cafés is a must thing to do while in Ghent. The beer scene of Ghent is one of the best and you will find many craft beers and local brews besides all the big names. Browse further to the section of Best Beer spots in Ghent, to find our personal hotspots!
BOOK A BEER TOUR | Learn more about the history and brewing process of beer during a guided Beer Tour through Ghent. The tour includes multiple tasting sessions at multiple locations!
Want to experience a local beer brewery right in the heart of Ghent? Head over to the Gentse Gruut Stadsbrouwerij. Tucked away in a corner of the city, you can enjoy a beer tasting with some cheese platters in their interesting setting. A super fun activity to close off a day of exploring!
For a more in-depth list of things to do in Ghent, be sure to check out our post on the Best things to do in Ghent.
Essential travel information for a weekend in Ghent
Travel Basics for a weekend in Ghent
Ghent, Gent, or Gand? All three names refer to the same location, Ghent is the English way, Gent is Dutch/German and Gand is in French.
Language? Belgium has three official languages, Dutch (Flemish dialects), French, and German, hence the many name variations for Ghent. Ghent is located in the Flemish region of Belgium where people mostly speak Dutch. Overall most people can speak English very well, definitely in the bigger cities.
Currency? The official currency in Belgium is Euro (€). To check the exchange rate, click HERE.
How to pay for things? Most places like hotels, bars, and restaurants all accept cards, the only place you might need to bring cash is the market. ATMs are quite widely spread, and exchange offices are not really common.
Plugs? In Belgium Type E power plugs are being used, with the standard 230V voltage and a standard frequency of 50 Hz. So if you come from outside of Europe, make sure to check for a travel adaptor.
Safety? Overall Belgium is a very safe country, however, always be aware of your surroundings and use common sense. Pickpocketing can always occur in tourist areas of bigger cities, just like all over Europe.
Best time to travel to Ghent
Ghent is beautiful all year round in my personal opinion. However, the city comes really alive during the warmer months, where you will see many students and locals enjoying the terraces, social events, festivals, and gathering along the waterways. Nonetheless, Ghent has so many interesting indoor activities, that even on a rainy day you will always find something to do. Based on climate conditions, the cost of accommodation, and avoiding big crowds, the months of April and September are probably best to go.
In April, and spring overall, you might still need a jacket, but there is the least chance of rain. The same goes for September and early October, our personal favorite times to go. Temperatures are comfortable and still pleasant to enjoy outside terraces.
The warmest temperatures in Ghent can be found from June to August, however, this is also the peak tourist season. In July there is the Gentse Feesten (Ghent festival), an annual music festival that attracts huge crowds. During winter the city gets extra cozy when it starts to shimmer with all the beautiful lights in anticipation of the Christmas markets. After the holidays, from January till March, Belgium overall becomes quite grey and the weather is very unpredictable. However Ghent still has its charm, you will miss out on the cozy atmosphere of the terrace culture of warmer months.
How many days do you need in Ghent?
It is possible to cover most of Ghent’s key highlights in a single day. The city center is rather compact and it’s easy to get around to all the attractions. However, we absolutely recommend at least two days to fully immerse into all this city has to offer. This way you can enjoy a drink once in a while on one of the cozy terraces, wander around the many shops, and indulge in the local specialties such as waffles, Cuberdons, and chocolate. This is absolutely what the Flemish or Flamand Burgundian lifestyle is all about, enjoying good food and drinks in a leisurely way with good company. Hey, it’s all about merging into the local culture right?
BOOK A HOTEL | Spend a weekend in the heart of the medieval city of Ghent
How to get around Ghent?
The historic center of Ghent is rather compact and all its main attractions are located within walking distance from each other. The good news is that the center is car-free, so super pedestrian-friendly to explore everything on foot! If you want to give your feet a break, it’s good to know that Ghent has an excellent public transport system. There are many buses and trams available that will take you all over town from early in the morning till late in the evening.
Another way to soak up the atmosphere of the city is by bike, an easy and quick way to discover all the hidden gems if you have only one day to spend in Ghent. Join a 2.5-hour cycling tour of Ghent to see all the highlights as well as many off-the-beaten tracks joined by an enthusiastic guide.
Are you short on time but want an in-depth tour to see everything of Ghent in one day? An option is to join a 2-hour guided Walking tour of Ghent for only €15 pp which includes a city discount card.
Tips On Visiting Ghent
Get yourself a Ghent City Card – If you are considering spending more than one day, getting a Ghent City Card is a great idea to make the most of your time. The card offers you free entry to all tourist attractions, museums, public transport, a boat tour, and even a free bike rental for a day. You can get the card at the Tourist Office and all participating museums and hotels. The price for the 48-hours card is 38€ and 44€ for the 72-hours card. Normally we aren’t the biggest fans of these types of cards, but if you do the math and consider that most attractions are easily €10, you can see it’s worth getting it.
Walk everywhere – It’s the best way to soak up the atmosphere and explore the city. All the sights are in close proximity to each other and most of the city is pedestrian only anyways. So it’s really pleasant to walk everywhere.
Wear Comfy shoes – The next tip goes hand in hand, wear comfy shoes! These historic cobblestone streets aren’t made to walk in heels, so opt for a pair of cute sneakers.
Join a free walking tour – Taking a walking tour is the best way to learn more about the city’s history, get insider facts and cover all the main sights. A popular FREE tour is The Legends of Ghent, which takes you on a 2-hour guided walking tour along the highlights of this gorgeous city. An enthusiastic local guide talks you through a journey of the legendary past of Ghent with history and funny stories. Further, they will also provide you with some extra tips, interesting facts, and hidden gems you might miss out on otherwise!
Checklist & what to bring on a weekend in Ghent
The below is not imperative, but it can help make your travels worry-free during a weekend in Ghent:
- Bring already some converted Euros with you
- Check Visa Requirements
- Universal travel adaptors if need be
- Power Bank for your phone
- Offline Map (phone app)
- Comfortable shoes
- Directions to your accommodation
Best places to eat on a weekend in Ghent
As mentioned before Ghent city is absolutely a foodie Walhalla with a wide range of cuisines to choose from. In general, you simply cannot visit Belgium without indulging in all the delicious waffles, chocolates, fries, and beers! Here we will list the best places to try out traditional food during your weekend in Ghent:
Breakfast spots in Ghent
Gust – A delightful little brunch spot located a 10-minute walk from the old town. They serve some delicious breakfast dishes, with some vegan-friendly options. Portions are quite big for good value.
Oats Day Long – If you love a portion of healthy oats, this is your place! You can also find pancakes, avocado toasts, salads, acai bowls, and amazing coffee here. Everything you need to fuel up for a day of exploring!
Simon says – If you are looking for a traditional breakfast place serving eggs, cold-cut platters, croissants, and yogurts this is the place to go. This small cozy coffee has some great coffee and friendly staff.
Lunch & Dinner spots in Ghent
t’Klokhuys – Serving all the traditional Flemish specialties on the menu such as the local Gentse Waterzooi, Meat stew (or stoofvlees), mussels with fries, steak, and more.
Amadeus – A Belgian franchise and favorite for unlimited all-you-can-eat spare ribs (a Volonté like we say it).
Meme Gusta – For all the classics from grandmother’s kitchen but with a modern twist.
‘t Oud Clooster – Located in a cozy atmosphere with a nice service to enjoy all the traditional Flemish dishes. Food is served in generous quantities, so make sure to show up with an appetite! They have a lovely courtyard in the back if you come in summer.
Pakhuis – Looking for a cool venue for a special occasion? Pakhuis is an established name in Ghent, known for its lovely setting with a styled warehouse vibe. Most people go here to enjoy their fabulous seafood platters or oysters or flemish mussels pots.
Rather fancy a quick bite? We Belgians love our fries! Here are a few places to grab a pack if you quickly want to still your hunger:
Frituur Tartaar – Your typical Belgian place to get some good fries in the center of Ghent.
Frites Atelier – Not your average ‘frituur’ like how we call the place to get your fries. This fancy place is a known franchise by renowned chef Sergio Herman. They offer some of the best fries out there with special toppings. Besides the classic mayonnaise, they also offer gourmet sauces such as truffle sauce.
Beer & Appetizer spots in Ghent
One of the most unusual ones must be bar Dulle Griet, located on the Vrijdagmarkt. This place boasts a selection of over 500 Belgian beers, the largest in all of Ghent. The interior is absolutely special, with a lot going on and you don’t know where to look first. The funniest part of visiting the Dulle Griet is the tradition of trading your shoe for beer. It’s like a deposit for a special beer glass, and you get your shoe back after settling the bill.
Het Waterhuis aan de Bierkant
Our personal favorite is Het Waterhuis aan de Bierkant , a typical “brown pub” (or Bruine Kroeg) that apparently was once a brothel. It’s a beloved spot amongst beer lovers, definitely in summer when you can enjoy their terrace on the waterfront. It’s located right in the historic center and you will pass it by several times. They have 165 beers on the menu to choose from, but we suggest ordering the Delirium Tremens, which is brewed right outside Ghent. Order some cold-cut platters with mustard (they serve the one from Tierenteyn-Verlent !) which pairs amazingly with beer. This is a typical Belgian thing to do, enjoying a beer with some cheese on the side. Now relax and soak in the beautiful views!
Another typical Belgian beer pub is the Trollekelder, which comes with a fun interior theme of ‘Trolls’. the pub is set in a 15th-century basement which lends itself to a cozy atmosphere. There are more than 300 beers to choose from, of which their own Trollenbier. A fun fact is that the basement used to be a library until the 1980s.
And last not but least, our favorite hidden gem, Barrazza café. This lovely place gives you a view of the river Lys and if you are lucky you can even get a sunny seat right next to the water. You can take this quite literally since you are sitting right on the banks of the river. Enjoying a drink here feels like you escaped the hustle and bustle of the city. From the Kraanlei Waterfront, you can catch a nice view of the café.
For the Wine Lovers
Gouts & Couleurs – Beautiful wine bar with an extensive offer of wines, which you can enjoy with some delicious cheese and cold cuts platters.
Bar Win – Perfect spot to enjoy an aperitive with some tasty bites.
Coffee & Dessert spots in Ghent
Mokabon – An old-school coffee house place where you can find some delicious freshly roasted coffee.
Madame Bakster – For the best cakes, pancakes, and pastries, with a lot of vegetarian, vegan-friendly, and gluten-free options.
Amfora – Our go-to place for the best classic Brussels waffles with fresh whipped cream! Set in a typical brasserie-style restaurant, right in the shopping district. They have a lovely terrace to enjoy, perfect for people-watching.
Julie’s house – Great afternoon tea house for some pie or cupcakes in a cute setting.
Chocolaterie Luc Van Hoorebeke & Hilde Devolder Chocolatier for the best artisanal handmade chocolate bonbons (pralines).
Aux Merveilleux de Fred – For meringue treats, merveilleux pastries and delicious chocolate-chip bread.
Bakery Himschoot – Pick up some delicious pastries (patékes in Dutch) or Waffles for the on-the-go.
Best Places to Stay for a Weekend in Ghent
We suggest staying close to the city center if it’s your first time spending a weekend in Ghent. This way you are close to all the major highlights and can truly enjoy the atmosphere of the city. Since Ghent is less known than Bruges or Brussels, you can definitely find some great-value hotels.
Best Budget places in Ghent
Hostel Uppelink – Located in the heart of the city near all the main attractions. The Hostel itself is in a historic building with clean rooms and has a really helpful staff.
B&B HOTEL Gent Centrum – The perfect base to explore the city of Ghent from, its central location just can’t be beaten. This stay offers everything you need for a basic, clean & comfortable room.
Best Mid-Range accommodations in Ghent
Maison Margo – Stylish rooms, ideally situated in the center, but a peaceful oasis for its visitors. Guests can enjoy the inner courtyard and an amazing wine bar.
Yalo Urban Boutique Hotel Gent – Design hotel with a breathtaking rooftop bar that overlooks Ghent. They have their own in-house restaurant and bar to enjoy and offer private parking on-site if you come by car.
Best Luxury hotels in Ghent
1898 The Post – A gorgeous boutique hotel located in the iconic former 19th-century post office building at the Korenmarkt. The rooms are decorated with antique furniture pieces in combination with a sleek design. Guests can enjoy a seating area with an open fireplace that overlooks Ghent, as well as an in-house cocktail bar called The Cobbler.
Pillows Grand Boutique Hotel Reylof – Located in a luxurious townhouse with a lush courtyard to enjoy, this boutique hotel has everything to spoil its guests, with a wellness center, bar, and lounge.
BOOK A HOTEL | Spend a weekend in the heart of the medieval city of Ghent
How to get to Ghent for the weekend?
Ghent is located in the Flemish part of Belgium, more specifically in the North West. It’s the third largest city in Belgium, but to be fair we all know Belgium is tiny. Hence most big cities aren’t too far away from each other and are easily accessible by public transport.
If you are flying into Belgium you most likely arrive at Brussels airport (BRU) in Zaventem, from which Ghent is only a little over an hour away by train. The city is in the midpoint of Bruges in the West, Antwerp in the East, and Brussels in the south. Each of them is around a 30-minute train ride away and trains run frequently and are not really expensive. It’s really easy to make a day trip to Ghent from any of these cities.
Here is a breakdown of how to get to Ghent for the weekend from these other cities:
Getting from Brussels to Ghent
It’s really easy and fast to travel from Brussels to Ghent by train. There is a direct intercity train (IC) that only takes 35 minutes from Brussels Central or Bruxelles-Midi station to Ghent (Sint-Pieters Station). The train ticket for one-way from Brussels to Ghent costs around 11€. If you are coming from the Airport, there is a direct train that takes around 1 hour. If you transfer over to Brussels Midi station you have more options to choose from.
TIP | Traveling through Belgium during the weekend by train can get you a 50% discount with the Weekend Ticket! Check for train tickets HERE.
By car, it will take you around 50 minutes from Brussels (Belgian traffic can be the worst). You can’t drive all the way into the city since it’s car-free but there are many parking garages around.
You can also book a guided day tour from Brussels to explore the city of Ghent. This way you can visit all the top sights while learning more about its history along the way.
- Day trip with the bus to Ghent from Brussels
- Day trip to Antwerp & Ghent from Brussels, with a picture stop at the Atomium
- Day trip to Bruges & Ghent from Brussels
Getting from Bruges to Ghent
Bruges is located quite close to Ghent, some people even visit both cities in one day during a tour. Personally, we aren’t the biggest fan of doing that, since you will only get a glimpse of each. Each city deserves at least one day on its own. The easiest and fastest way to get to Ghent from Bruges is by train. There is a direct intercity train (IC) going from Bruges station to Ghent Sint-Pieters station and runs frequently throughout the day. The ride only takes 30 minutes and costs around 9 euros one-way.
BOOK A TRAIN | Book your train tickets online for a weekend in Ghent HERE
Getting from Antwerp to Ghent
Getting to Ghent from Antwerp by train is equally easy, but takes a little longer. The intercity train (IC) takes you from Antwerp Central Station to Ghent Dampoort Station in roughly 50 minutes. The train ticket costs around 11 euros one way.
BOOK A TRAIN | Book your train tickets online for a weekend in Ghent HERE
Once you arrive at Ghent Sint-Pieters station, it’s a 25-minute walk to the historic city center. If you don’t feel like walking, there are trams 1 and 22 that take you to the Korenmarkt. They run every 10 minutes or so and you can get a Tram ticket at the Lijnwinkel (ticket shop) inside the railway station.
We hope this guide to a Weekend in Ghent helped you out. You can show some ❤ and support for the blog and help us share more adventures! Our travels are entirely self-funded, so any show of support is greatly appreciated. It allows us to keep writing helpful travel guides and gather information to make it easier for people to discover the world.
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