Ghent is definitely one of my favorite Belgian cities. The city is more lively than Bruges and more accessible than Antwerp. Most of the sightseeings are close to one another so you can see everything by having a walk in the city. Ghent has the highest number of students in Belgium, therefore the city is so live every day. So, let’s move to the must-visit places in Ghent.
The Gravensteen is a medieval castle which dates to 1180. Initially was the residence of the Counts of Flanders until 1353, but later it was used as a court or prison. Nowadays is a museum and the landmark of Ghent. Thanks to its location, in the center of Ghent, you can enjoy the beautiful view of the city from the castle. In the castle museum, there are two categories; the arms museum and the court museum. If you want more info about the opening hours and the ticket prices take a look here:
Het Belfort van Gent
Like many Flemish cities, Ghent has a belfry. These are towers that were built mainly at the end of the Middle Ages in what we now know as Belgium, northwestern France, and the southern Netherlands. Belfries are (if accessible to the public) a great opportunity to look out over a city. After all, the guards used these towers to guard the city against fires or other kinds of dangers. A belfry is always a non-religious tower; many belfries are attached to a town hall or other public buildings.
The belfry of Ghent is one of three medieval towers that overlook the old city center of Ghent; the other two belonging to Saint Bavo Cathedral and Saint Nicholas’ Church. The tower is 91m. tall which makes it the tallest belfry in Belgium. The belfry of Ghent, together with its attached buildings, belongs to the set of belfries of Belgium and France inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
For more information take a look at the official website:
Saint Nicholas’ Church
Saint Nicholas’ Church is one of the oldest and most outstanding landmarks in Ghent. The construction of this church started in the 13th century and the style changed over the years to the local gothic style of the city. The central tower was used at first as an observation point until the Belfry of Ghent was built.
The pipe organ inside the temple is one of the most important organs in Belgium. During the restoration of the church in the past years, the organ was removed, but after 2010 it is visible again for the public.
Saint Bavo’s Cathedral
The Saint Bavo Cathedral, also known in Dutch as Sint-Baafs Cathedral, is an 89-meter-tall Gothic cathedral in the center of Ghent. It is named for Saint Bavo of Ghent and contains the well-known Ghent Altarpiece, which is formally known as The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb by Hubert and Jan van Eyck. The church also holds the painting Saint Bavo enters the Convent at Ghent by Peter Paul Rubens. The cathedral is home to various paintings of religious art.
Saint Michael’s Church
Saint Michael’s Church is a Roman Catholic church built in a late Gothic style. The church contains many Baroque paintings, so if you are interested in religious art, you have to visit this church.
Graslei and Korenlei
On the way to Saint Michael’s Church, I walked over the Sint-Michiels bridge. This bridge is over the Leie river and dates from the beginning of the 20th century. The Sint-Michiels bridge is not only a beautiful bridge but it also offers a nice view of one of the most picturesque places in Ghent: the Korenlei and Graslei. Both streets were part of the medieval port and nowadays are the cultural and touristic areas of Ghent. The unique row of historical buildings in these streets is a protected cityscape. You can enjoy the view by sitting in one of the many cafe patios in the area or having a boat tour of the city.