Last Updated on 03.08.2023 by Iliyan
Are you looking for the best things to do in Ghent in one day? Great! In this guide I will share you 7 things to do in Ghent in one day.
Ghent is a city with a rich history, culture and great vibe. This is one of the most beautiful cities where you can spend a whole day, walking on the little cobblestone streets. It is a true pearl, settled between the traditional touristic Brussels and Bruges. I had already visited these two cities and I thought I couldn’t be surprised by anything else in Belgium. I was wrong! Ghent completely turned around my notions and without a doubt is one of the most charming cities in Europe. As a well-preserved medieval center, the architecture of Ghent is a typically Dutch with charming canals and cobblestone streets.
Things to do in Ghent in one day
Stroll through Vrijdagmarkt Square
Vrijdagmarkt is the largest square square in the historic center of Ghent. You could easily spend hours here just chilling. It’s surrounded on all sides with shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants most of which are housed in beautiful historic buildings.
At the center is the majestic statue of Jacob van Artevelde with a hand raised pointing to England. Van Artevelde managed to cancel the boycott of English wool imports during the Hundred Years’ War between England and France. He revived the textile industry in Ghent.
Drink beer at Pub De Dulle Griet
Drinking beer at Pub De Dulle Griet is one of the best things to do in Ghent in one day. This pub is located in the center of the Vrijdagmarkt square. Here you can dive into the medieval atmosphere and to try more than 500 types of beer.
If you order a local beer (MAX), you will have to leave one of your shoes as a guaranty, in order to receive the beer. The beer is served in a special glass (genuine coach glass) with the height of a half a meter on top of a wooden stand. The volume is exactly 1.2 litres at the price of €10.70. The shoe will be placed in a special basket which is hung on the ceiling and after you drink the beer and return the glass, you will receive your shoe from the bartender.
We drank a large beer for lunch and we continued our walk. The name of the pub comes from the gigantic cannon Dulle Griet, which is a couple of minutes away from the Vrijdagmarkt square. This cannon (bombard) comes from the 15th century and it was used in the siege of the Oudenaarde.
Visit the St Bavo’s Cathedral
One of the most famous landmarks in this beautiful city is the Saint Bavo’s cathedral. It is an incredible ensemble of astonishing design, art and history, and even Charles V has been baptized here. The marvelous tall ceilings, exquisite stained glass, wood carvings, statues and paintings make this place a real textbook of architecture and decoration. People come from all over the world to see the impressive collection of exhibits, including the masterpiece of the Flemish art – “Adoration of the Mystic Lamb”. In order to see it, you will have to pay 12,5€. The Saint Bavo’s Cathedral is closed to the public only on 1 January. I recommend to book your ticket online at www.sintbaafskathedraal.be.
Enjoy the view from Belfry of Ghent
It’s really impossible to miss this tower, as it dominates the central part of the Ghent. The Belfry of Ghent is the tallest belfry in Belgium with its 91 metres height. Together with its attached buildings is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Belfry of Ghent is definitely worth visiting. The entrance fee is 11€, but there is an elevator so you do not have to climb the whole staircase to the top.
Explore Gravenstein Castle
One of the best things to do in Ghent in one day is exploring the mysterious Gravenstein Castle (Castle of the Counts). It is located exactly in the center of the old part, so there is no way to miss it.
Gravensteen is a medieval castle, built in 1180 by Philip of Alsace. The castle has plenty of rooms, halls, dungeons and yards but many of them are empty. You will have the chance to enjoy the wonderful view over Ghent from the top of the castle. The entrance fee is 12€.
Cross the St Michael’s Bridge
St Michael’s Bridge connects two part of Ghent. This is the only place in the city where you can see from the same place the St. Bavo’s Cathedral, Saint Nicholas’ Church and the Belfry.
The Graslei and Korenlei streets are settled from the two sides of the canal. According to the local ones, this place is the most beautiful part in town. Here, it’s full of cafes and restaurants, where you can try Waffles, which are specific for Belgium.
Trying Belgian Waffles
A trip to Ghent is simply not complete without trying the famous Belgian waffles. They were originally leavened with yeast, but baking powder is now often used. Nowadays, you can find a great variety of waffles with different toppings from whipped cream, confectioners sugar, fruit, and chocolate.
Trying Belgian waffles is one of the awesome things to do in Ghent in one day.
You can also read my blog post about the Ruins of the Villers Abbey in Belgium, because is absolutely worth visiting.