What To Do In Ghent: The Best Small Town In Europe

Wondering what to do in Ghent? Ever even heard of Ghent? Hint: It’s in Belgium!

Ghent happens to be one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen in Europe. That’s a pretty big claim, I know, but it happens to be true.

What To Do In Ghent - Bicycles on a bridge in Ghent

It truly lives up to my claim as being the “best small town in Europe”.

I’ve been to Bruges and Brussels, and whilst I love Brussels, Ghent wins out for small city charm and quaint cobblestoned beauty. The place is absolutely gorgeous and iconically European – this is what we (Australians) imagine Europe to be as we dream about coming over.

We got tipped off about Ghent from my boss when I was working in The Netherlands. He said it was amazing and I was like “what?”, as I had never even heard of it! So we organised a trip down to Belgium with our friends Shona & Wout, and we’re very, very glad we did!

What To Do In Ghent - a photo of us in Ghent

The best thing to do in Ghent is to simply walk around. You’re met with idyllic views of wide canals, grand churches, quaint houses and wet cobblestones.

I’ve split this article into a few different sections, read the whole thing or bounce around using the links below:

A Photo Tour of Ghent
Best Beers in Ghent
Gravensteen Castle
The Gentse Feesten (Ghent Fest)
Restaurant & Cafe Recommendations

A Photo Tour of Ghent

No article on the wonderful Ghent would be complete without a delightful array of the vivid and picturesque photos that can be taken around this small city in Belgium. Let’s get straight into it!

The first view of Ghent as we walked from the train station…

Overlooking Ghent

Walking around Ghent!

A fun building, full of RED!

Churches in Ghent

You’ll get your fill of European churches at Ghent, with one street we walked down showcasing four consecutive churches in a row! I’m not going to list them all out here, but if that sort of thing interests you grab yourself a map and get-a-walking!

St Michaels Bridge in Ghent

The iconic St. Michael’s Bridge is a must-see, great to snap some photos from as well!

Brave the dark alley for a promise of beer at the end!

A relaxed bicycle hanging out in Ghent.

Who doesn’t love a good sunset?

I said, who DOESN’T love a good sunset?

I said, ahhh, nevermind.

It’s our shoes, dramatic, I know.

Bier? A house full of it!

I love this shot, eat it, Bruges.

Night time in Ghent looks pretty awesome too.

I think that’s more than enough photos to get your Ghent on.

Onwards to beer!

Best Beers In Ghent, Belgium

Drinking and trying beers in Ghent is definitely a “must-do”, the place is a beehive of glorious brews available both locally and Belgium wide.

Here are some of the beers that I tried and enjoyed on my visit there:

Delirium

Has been voted as the best beer in the world in the past, Delirium is a delicious blonde with a superb after taste. Let the flavours wash over you and you will enjoy every sip.

Delirium Beer Belgium

Orval

This amber beer with an earthy feel is a lovely Belgium brew. With distinctly complex aromas of spice and leather this light yet cloudy beer with a large foam head is a must-try.

Cristal

This pilsener is very easy to drink and is great for conversation. Not overly flavourful it does offer a light maltiness and is a clean, refreshing lager.

Cristal Beer Belgium
Looks pretty drinkable, right?

Normandy

This is a special concoction from the moustached bartender at the bar Zenon (in the square opposite the castle). It’s a dark beer with added Jenever (we believe) – a gorgeous taste and something to be sipped and enjoyed at leisure.

Special Normandy Beer
Okay, so I might be wearing what Trudy calls my “fake” smile, but this Normandy beer is delicious!

Gravensteen Castle

You’ll find it difficult to miss the Gravensteen Castle when strolling around Ghent. Built in 1180 by count Philip of Alsace it was purchased by the city of Ghent in 1885 and was restored back to its former glory.

Gravensteen Castle in Ghent

It’s certainly quite a sight to see this grand castle looming just across the moat as you are in Ghent, it makes for some great pictures and there is a museum inside with various medieval torture devices!

The Gentse Feesten (Ghent Fest)

I WISH I had gone down to Ghent for this festival, which looks and sounds awesome. It happens to be one of Europe’s largest street parties and plays host to over 2 million visitors.

With 2 weeks of activities Ghent really comes alive and if you’re travelling around Belgium in July, don’t miss this for anything!

Visit the official site for more info.

Restaurant & Cafe Recommendations in Ghent

After a few personal restaurant and cafe recommendations in Ghent? Well, here’s a couple of places that we thought were great!

Amadeus

Website: AmadeusSpareRibRestaurant.be

All you can eat ribs? Yes please! Imagine sitting in a bar from Paris in the 1920’s, a crackling fireplace nearby and black jacketed waiters strolling by serving up a constant supply of spare ribs and jacket potatoes with a creamy mustard sauce. A bottle of french red house wine rests upon the table. This is Amadeus.

With two restaurants in Ghent, Amadeus is a power house restaurant and from my glance around when we ate there the restaurant seems capable of seating hundreds! However, none of this detracts from the stunning 1920’s Parisian-feel ambience and traditional decor. I enjoyed the atmosphere and the all-you-can-eat ribs here immensely!

Amadeus Ribs in Ghent

Simon Says

Address: Sluizeken 8, 9000 Gent, Belgium
Website: Simon-Says.be

Simon Says Cafe in Ghent

A cute cafe with friendly waiters providing breakfast and a light lunch. A delicious spicy chai latte to start followed by a tasty club sandwich and sweet potato chaplets. Yum!

Simon Says Club Sandwhich
 

The Final Word

I’m going to keep this short and sweet.

We had a fantastic time in Ghent, and I definitely rate it as a must-see for people travelling through Belgium.

The final word is;

When in Belgium, forget Bruges and head to Ghent!

10 Responses to “What To Do In Ghent: The Best Small Town In Europe”

  1. Gigi says:

    I agree! Ghent is one of the most charming cities I’ve been to in Europe. And it wins the award for friendliest people.

    Also, the Ghent Festival is fantastic, but I definitely recommend that anyone who wants to go to the festival also plan on spending a few days in Ghent afterward. It’s way less crowded and better for walking and picture taking then. I spent six weeks in Ghent last summer and never ran out of things to do or see. Just loved it.

    • Tom says:

      Wow, that’s awesome Gigi! 6 weeks in Ghent is a photographer’s dream I’m sure πŸ˜‰

      Yeah I’m really bummed I missed the Ghent Festival! Oh well, next time!

      Thanks for commenting!

  2. Chris says:

    Don’t be too mean to Bruges Tom. It was pretty cool too!
    Skip Brussells I say!
    I do wish we had gone to Ghent after seeing these photos. Great work with the beer reviews.

    • Tom says:

      Naaa Brussels is good πŸ˜› If you HAVE to skip something, skip Bruges πŸ˜‰ Or, just see all 3!! They’re all great for different reasons. Thanks mate, you should try Delirium, I know you love a good beer!

  3. Hogga says:

    mmm belgium beer

  4. Peter Lee says:

    I agree with you it is the most charming Europe city. The place looks absolutely amazing and the architecture is a treat for eyes.

  5. Deeps says:

    its good to read about an beautiful unknown location. Thanks all

  6. Wong says:

    Hi Tom ..I was read ur.comment..I’m from Malaysia..this Mach fly to Paris…can u let me known how to choose with nice and safe hostel.n how to booking the trian Tacket.. Tq

  7. Sonya says:

    Well, I don’t know about skipping Bruges. πŸ˜‰ I do know that I loved your Ghent post, especially your lively, creative city photos.

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