Top Best Things To See Around Ghent
Ghent is one of the most foot-friendly European cities. Its center is the largest pedestrianized area in Belgium. Walking is healthy and free, so exploring the city on foot is a perfect way to see its attractions.
Among the landmarks of the historical center is Belfort en Lakenhalle (Belfry and Cloth Hall), Sint-Baafskathedraal (St. Bavo's Cathedral), Het Gravensteen (Castle of the Counts) and Sint-Niklaaskerk (St Nicholas's Church).
The municipal tower of Belfort en Lakenhalle has an elevator that leads to one of the greatest panoramic views of Ghent. The Cloth Hall used to be a gathering place of merchants during the medieval times.
The solid building of Sint-Baafskathedraal comprises various architectural styles from Gothic to baroque. The cathedral treasures the 24-panel altarpiece "The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb", completed by Jan van Eyck in the early 15th the century.
The stone castle of Het Gravensteen was once a bastion, a prison and a cotton mill. Today it examples a medieval art of fortification and offers a great view of the city from the central building rampart.
Sint-Niklaaskerk belongs to the three towers of Ghent. The church has undergone numerous restorations and managed to maintain the original architects’ intention - its interior is light and airy.
It is impossible to imagine Ghent without its guild houses. The facades of the House of the Free Boatmen, House of the Grain Weighters, Customs House, House of the Masons retain the history of the 13th-16th centuries.
The city is beautiful from any angle, and Ghent’s canals provide some of the most picturesque views. Regular guided and non-guided boat trips are daily held in the city from April till October. The ticket price ranges from 7euro.
A visit to Ghent is incomplete without visiting one of its museums. The antique styled fine art gallery of MSK museum houses the works of the great Flemish painters like Bosch, Rubens, Ensor. The relatively new SMAK museum introduces a permanent collection of contemporary art. Converted from a 14th century Abbey into a modern museum complex, STAM museum tells the story of Ghent’s eventful background and evolution. Its interactive exhibition involves the visitors into a creative process, e.g. building Ghent in LEGO bricks.
The quintessence of the city’s cultural life is The Ghent Festival (Gentse Feesten) that lasts for 10 days in July every year. This colorful music and theater event involves people of all ages and nationalities. The festival features free music concerts on 10 squares and various indoor and outdoor activities. About 2 million visitors attend the festival yearly.