Ghent is usually overshadowed by its more famous neighbor to the north, Bruges. But ask any native, and they’ll probably tell you that they prefer Ghent to Bruges. In fact, many locals say that Ghent is their favorite city in Belgium.
What makes Ghent so special? For one thing, it has all of the medieval charm of Bruges without the crowds of tourists. The historic city center has a beautiful belfry, a majestic cathedral, picturesque canals and an 800-year-old castle. It’s also home to the Ghent Altarpiece, a masterpiece of 15th-century Flemish painting and one of the great art treasures of the world.
But Ghent is also a dynamic, modern city with a top-rate university and a lively arts scene. On warm days, the banks of the Graslei are filled with groups of students and couples of all ages enjoying the sun, sharing a drink or just soaking up the relaxed atmosphere. For two weeks every summer, the entire city is the setting for a free party, with live music, dancing and street theater on every corner.
Visit Ghent and discover why travelers and travel experts alike consider it one of Europe’s best-kept secrets.
Tours in Ghent
Historic Center Walking Tour: The perfect introduction to Ghent, this tour covers all the main sights in the city center, including the Graslei, the Cathedral of St. Bavo, the Belfort, City Hall, Gravensteen castle and Vrijdagmarkt. Along the way, learn about the rebellious spirit that has been Ghent’s defining characteristic throughout its history.
The Mystery of the Mystic Lamb: The world-famous Ghent Altarpiece can still be admired in Ghent’s cathedral, except for a single panel that was stolen in 1934 and never recovered. It remains one of history’s greatest unsolved crimes: What happened to the Righteous Judges? This tour illuminates the altarpiece’s long history, including the mysterious saga of the theft.
Ghent 1913: At the dawn of the 20th century, Ghent hosted a World’s Fair that transformed the city. Old buildings were restored, a new railroad station and post office were built, and the city prepared to welcome the world for an event that would bring it international renown. Unfortunately, the outbreak of WWI less than a year later ensured that the fair would be soon forgotten.
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