Why You Should Visit Ghent, Belgium
One of my favorite places we went in Belgium was Ghent. I had never even heard of Ghent before going, and it turned out to be one of the most charming European cities I’ve ever visited.
Ghent is a vibrant college town with stunning Dutch architecture and charming canals winding through the narrow cobblestone lanes.
There are tons of cute shops, boutiques, markets, fun restaurants, and unique museums to explore in Ghent!
Keep reading below for more reasons why Ghent should be on your European bucket list — including one of the most amazing food markets I’ve ever seen!
If you want breathtaking, panoramic, 360 degree views of Ghent, definitely make your way to the Belfry of Ghent! There’s even an ELEVATOR so you don’t have to climb all the stairs if you want! :)
Check out these gorgeous views from from the top of the Belfry.
Looking west you can see Saint Nicholas’ Church.
And looking east you can see Saint Bavo’s Cathedral.
Graslei and Korenlei are the two streets on either side of the canal right in the heart of Ghent. If you love being in the heart of the city, within walking distance to everything, you’ll want to book your hotel as close to this area as possible. We stayed at the Marriott (the far-left building in the picture above) which is right on the Korenlei! All the canal tours start from here. A boat trip on the canal is a great way to get some history of Ghent with a unique view of the city.
The Korenmarkt is the the largest pedestrian shopping area in Europe. This beautiful former post office is now a shopping center!
Also right in the heart of Ghent is Gravensteen Castle, built in the 10th century complete with a moat!! Definitely be sure to go inside for the armory museum, old torture chambers, and panoramic city views.
Ghent is just 30 minutes by train from Brussels, so you could easily just do a day trip here, but there’s also plenty to do if you want to stay a few nights. The trains in Belgium are fast, reliable, modern, extremely easy to use, and will take you everywhere you want to go. We used a Eurail Global Pass from ACP Rail to travel all over Belgium!
Where to Eat
Oudburg is a lively restaurant street in the foodie neighborhood of Ghent. Highly recommend checking it out for lunch or dinner! We went here on our first day and found Nonna Stella, an authentic Italian restaurant with delicious pizza and amazing burrata!
You know we had to find the BEST waffle in Ghent!! We loved the Liege waffles at Jack’s House. There was always a line for these hot, freshly made waffles. They were literally right outside the door of the Marriott… So dangerous!! :)
Cuberdons are a Ghent specialty. In the Groentemarkt, you’ll find two stands selling Cuberdons that are always feuding with each other over who makes the best Cuberdons. We picked the stand pictured above because they had the most flavors!
Of course we had to try one of each.
They’re basically like a giant jellybean! You have to try one if you’re in Ghent. :)
Jack’s House also has delicious homemade gelato with flavors like Nutella, hazelnut, Biscoff, pistachio, and even cuberdon gelato!! Skip the line tip: there’s always a line for the waffles, but if you just want ice cream you can skip the waffle line. Just go straight to the ice cream window. If no one is there, look to the right of the waffle line. There is a guy with a little food stand just to the right of the waffle stand. He also runs the ice cream shop! Just go ask him if you can buy some ice cream and you can skip the long waffle line. :)
Ahhhhh, is there anything better than Belgian hot chocolate?? Loved taking an afternoon break from sightseeing with a delicious, rich, Belgian hot chocolate. We loved the hot chocolate from Colette!
Oh my gosh. You guys. We found the most AMAZING food market in Ghent!! Seriously this is one of the most fun, unique places I have ever been!
The Holy Food Market used to be a 16th-century chapel in Ghent, and now it’s a beautiful indoor market with 17 food stands.
The restaurants have fun names and menu items which are puns on Biblical names and events.
Like this popcorn-topped hot dog called “The Gluttony”!
Where else can you get a bubble waffle stuffed with a Magnum bar??! :)
You can even create your own Magnum bar with your choice of toppings! Highly, highly recommend a meal at the Holy Food Market in Ghent! :)
Where to Stay
If you want to be right in the heart of the city, within a 5 minute walk to everything, I highly recommend the Marriott in Ghent.
We felt right at home!
Thanks so much for reading! Until next time! :) xoxo