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Ghent city guide

Ghent is a gem in the middle of old Europe. Find yourself strolling through its marvelous cobbled streets and squares; take a bike or boat ride along its many little rivers and bridges; enjoy a host of concerts, theatre plays and special events that take place almost every night. We are proud inhabitants who are known to be bon vivants and that’s why you will find cosy little bars and restaurants at the corner of just about every street. Ghent hosts the biggest open air festival in Europe (the Gentse Feesten during summer) and counts the largest amount of veggie restaurants of any European city. In this guide, I’ll tell you some of my favorite hangouts and things to do.

Enjoy! Charlotte


Good to know Public transport

Local food & drinks

Ghent has an extensive network of trams and buses to transport you around the city. To navigate, use Google Maps or ask a local. You can buy your public transport tickets inside the bus/tram, just ask the driver for one.

Belgium may be famous for waffles and chocolate, but there’s so much more on offer! Drink special Belgian beers, fresh fries, the ‘Neuzekes candy’, a mastel, local cheeses with Ghentian mustard, ‘Gentse waterzooi’, ...


City Card

After midnight it’s harder to find a bus or tram that will bring you to your destination. My advice: go to the nearest big square to grab a taxi. Or just call this number: 0032 (0)9/222.22.22

The City Card gives you access to multiple museums, as well as a canal cruise and bikes to use for the day. If you plan on doing some museum hopping, it is worth getting this card at the tourist office.

Language & currency

The Guesthouse

English is widely spoken, so no need to worry about brushing up on your Flemish or French. Euro is the accepted currency, and it is important to have some on hand for payment. Not every place will accept credit cards.

The guesthouse is situated at Parklaan 8 at a central location. To get to the city centre, take tram 1 at Elisabethlaan (5 min walk). Get off at Korenmarkt. The Gent-Sint-Pieters station is right around the corner for daytrips to other cities.


Station Quarter TO DO & SEE


Parklaan, Fortlaan and Kunstlaan are grand avenues full of art-nouveau gems. The guesthouse is right in the middle of this stunning neighborhood. Admire the great architecture and combine it with a walk in the gorgeous Citadelpark.

O DO & SEE The Botanical Garden of the university, located in the Citadelpark, has a fascinating collection of 7000 species from all over the world, along with an Alpine garden, tropical greenhouses and a romantic lake. Ledeganckstraat 35

The Citadelpark stands on the site of a massive fortress built by the British after the battle of Waterloo. The fortifications were torn down in 1898 to create a romantic park, including a mysterious grotto, a bandstand, a dog shelter, romantic avenues and an open-air theatre.

De Smet De Naeyerpark and the surrounding neighbourhood called ‘Miljoenenkwartier’ or Million’s quarter is where every art deco lover’s heart starts pounding. Several local architects created distinctive villas for Ghent’s elite, in the 1920s on the site of the 1913 World Fair.

Art lovers should visit the SMAK museum, which always hosts surprising exhibitions, and the Museum of Classical Arts (MSK). They are both located in the beautiful Citadelpark (next to the guesthouse). Jan Hoetplein 1, Fernand Scribedreef 1

It’s actually just outside this neighbourhood, but I’d like to recommend recreational park Blaarmeersen. A lake surrounded with sports fields, hills and a lot of trees where Ghentians enjoy the hot Summer sun on the beach. Bring your bathing suit! Strandlaan 24


Station Quarter FOOD & DRINKS


De Appelier is my favourite vegetarian restaurant in Ghent. Their dish of the day is a plate full of different salads, warm veggies, rice, quiche, ... for only € 12! Reserve a spot, it’s very well-known. They have a sunny terrace too. Citadellaan 47

Vers is a modern local grocery store, with a selection of products from Ghent and its region, ranging from organic veggies and fruit to artisan jam, soup and salads. Everything is 100 % fresh and healthy. Kortrijksesteenweg 31

Alix Table & Jardin D’Amis is a heavenly place to have lunch on weekdays or brunch in the weekend. In Summer you can enjoy a picknick in their big garden. Let me know if you would be interested and I will make a reservation! Kortrijksesteenweg 206

Limerick is a literary bookshop with creaking wood floors, comfortable arm chairs and the smell of fresh coffee. The owner takes an interest in English, Dutch and French fiction and philosophy and politics. Koningin Elisabethlaan 142

Kruidtuin is the place to be for lovers of the fresh, surprising cuisine. The chef Toon Deseyne serves healthy, seasonal dishes made with local products. Meat, fish or veggie options available! Kortrijksesteenweg 27

Toulouse is a beautiful deli shop close to the station. They sell cardboard lunchboxes containing soup, sandwiches and a drink which make for a perfect picknick for a Summer day in the nearby Citadelpark! Koningin Elisabethlaan 41


University Quarter TO DO & SEE


The Abdijtuin is the garden of the Saint-Peters Abbey. It’s a green oasis in the middle of the university area, where you can enjoy a picknick amidst the wine ranks. Romantic! In the old abbey, there are exhibitions all year round. Sint-Pietersplein 9

Bar Jan Cremer is a typical hangout for students when it’s sunny outside. I have to say, they have one of the best terraces for sunbathing in Ghent, including beach chairs and free peanuts. Plus, the bagels are really good here! Kramersplein 5

Arts centre Vooruit is Ghent’s temple of culture, created by the socialist movement in 1913. It hosts a grand café and terrace, many concerts, theatre plays and club nights. Check their agenda to see if something you like is going on! Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 23

On the same square you can find Ghent’s most famous ‘frituur’, De Gouden Saté! A frituur is where you can enjoy our local specialty ... fries! These usually come with various meat specials. Order a ‘Julienke’ and be pleasantly surprised. Sint-Pietersplein 28

Muinkpark was once the site of Ghent’s zoo. Now it’s a romantic little park surrounded by stunning Art Deco houses. Combine a visit to this cute park with a walk along the Schelde river at the Muinkkaai, leading into the centre.

Or Coffee is a coffee bar located in the busy Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat. If you love people watching like I do, go there and find yourself a place at the windows. Order an Orroccino, their specialty cappuccino and my favorite! Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 128


University Quarter FOOD & DRINKS


Nonno is an ice-cream parlour where you find the best homemade gelato of Ghent. The Italian-Ghentian owner comes from a generation of artisanal gelato makers. Try the nocciola or/and vanilla with caramel and sea salt! Kortedagsteeg 22

Marimain is the cafe where I usually meet up with friends. In Summer, it’s a good place to enjoy a rosé on its sunny terrace or on the steps of the nextdoor theatre, when the seats are taken. Try the local drink RooMer, made from elderflower! Walpoortstraat 17

A new food hotspot in Ghent is Aywa Beirut Streetfood, serving Lebanese dishes like houmous, Lebanese rice, fatoush salads, baba ganoush, the best cauliflower dish and a brunch special on weekends. Be ready to have your tastebuds stimulated! Lammerstraat 12

If you’re into Belgian beers and tasty burgers, go to Jilles ! The restaurant is spacy and therefore the perfect place to hang out with a group. They have an exhaustive menu with chicken, beef, veggie and spit burgers, each paired with a fitting local beer. Tentoonstellingslaan 165

Cozy sofa chilling with a local beer, surrounded by bookshelves, old paintings and animal heads is done at De Geus Van Gent, a cafe that is hidden down a quiet cobbled lane that runs beside the St. Peters Abbey. Super-cozy! Kantienberg 9

De Superette is run by Flemish foodie Kobe Desramaults, one of Belgium’s best chefs. On the menu, you’ll find hearty Flemish brunch and pizza. The centerpiece is most definitely its open bakery. Must eat: the yummy artisanal sordough bread! Guldenspoorstraat 29


University Quarter SHOPS


Bolia is a new & trendy interior store with Danish deco and furniture, located in a renovated chapel. They stand for new Scandinavian design, creating warm and timeless pieces. Their velvet sofas are so chic! Kortedagsteeg 12

The Music Mania record store has been around since 1969 and attracts local DJ’s looking for new tunes to play in their sets. The store is located next to the Vooruit building and is a must visit for all vinyl fanatics. Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 19

Need a present or something to embellish your home? Piet Moodshop is a popular design and gift shop, located in an old pharmacy building with a beautiful tiled floor and old cabinets. Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 94

LoveStories is a Dutch lingerie brand with playful designs and quirky details and prints. Their vision is that mixing & matching is fun and their use of colors is amazing. So is the shop’s interior! Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 7

Rewind Woman, Rewind Men & Rewind BLACK are three cool shops that offer the latest French, Belgian and Scandinavian fashion. One for men, one for women and one for black loving avant-gardists with a love for A.F. Vandevorst and Rick Owens. Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 13 & 44

At chocolate shop Yuzu, you can find exquisite handmade pralines. The owner uses authentic ingredients and original local fillings like mustard, Ganda ham and Roomer. Seems like the perfect souvenir to take home for your family and friends! Walpoortstraat 11a


City Centre TO DO & SEE

Go to the Kouter Flower Market on Sunday morning! Start with checking out (or buying) fresh flowers and have oysters & champagne at the blue kiosque afterwards. A typical local thing to do on Sunday mornings. Kouter

The stadshal of Ghent, an architectural landmark of our city located next to the city hall, has been the talk of the town for a long time. Most people call it “the sheepfold” because of its form. Have a look and see for yourself! Poeljemarkt

Visit the Design Museum, one of my favorite places to stop by. This intimate old building has rotating exhibits, from interior to architectural design, technology and more. Check out the toilets outside, in a building modeled after a toilet roll (really). Jan Breydelstraat 5

De Krook is Ghent’s latest architectural work of art. It is a unique meeting place for residents, students and visitors. Come here to discover culture, enjoy a quiet drink or try out innovations and technologies like 3D printing! Miriam Makebaplein 1

The most impressive building at Groentenmarkt is Het Oud Vleeshuis. This is the old meat market where people bought their daily meat in the 15th century. Now it’s the home of all things regional: East Flemish beers, cheeses, dishes like Gentse Waterzooi, ... Groentenmarkt

The most photographed place of Ghent is definitely the Graslei, and it’s really worth the visit. It’s the best known hang-out of locals when it’s sunny outside. Enjoy the sun along the water at the Graslei with a glass of wine in Summer (or some hot cocoa in Winter). Graslei


City Centre FOOD & DRINKS


Eat Love Pizza is a cool restaurant with sustainable wood furniture and mural drawings. They serve thin pizzas with unusual toppings like truffles or turnip. The other side of the restaurant is dedicated to all things lasagna. Ajuinlei 10

On a hot Summer’s day it can be hard to find a sweet spot in to relax in the sun and drink a cool rosé. My tip is to head to Mòris! They have a nice selection of gin & tonics. Be sure to stop by their newest bar RAY that’s just across the street. Klein Turkije 20

Have lunch at the NTGent Foyer, the lobby of the city theatre NTGent. They serve French and Belgian classics. Go find yourself a spot at the terrace when the sun is out! Sint-Baafsplein 17

I sometimes spend Sunday evenings at Kapitein Cravate, where pub quizzes are organised. What else is there to do on a Sunday night? Other than that, it’s a cozy café where people also dance in the weekends. Nederkouter 69

Hot Club De Gand is a relaxed jazz bar in the centre. Candlelight, a glass of Roomer (elderflower wine, a Ghentian specialty) and live jazz music, that’s all you need. Next door you’ll find the famous Dreupelkot, a tiny bar specialised in genever (a traditional liquor which evolved into gin). Schuddevisstraatje 2 & Groentenmarkt 12

Two up-and-coming streets in Ghent are Nederkouter & Brabantdam, where lots of eateries and boutiques arose over the last few years. At Nederkouter, check out lunch spots Romain Roquette and Revue, wine bar ONA and clothing store Cezar. Brabantdam has Belgian boutiques Julia June and CKS, restaurant San and the guiltfree bakery Madam Bakster.


City Centre FOOD & DRINKS


The quirkiest cocktails are best drunk in the legendary Limonada, a futuristic cocktailbar that’s been around for over 20 years. They serve over 40 extremely cool cocktails, such as the Junifen (with barbe-a-papa) or the Lord Voldemort, a cocktail served in an erlemeyer with a candy eyeball on top. Heilige Geeststraat 7

Fashion lovers should definitely visit Twiggy, an inspiring fashion boutique for men and women. The 3-floor store is located in a grand 19-century townhouse, filled with a wide range of international labels such as Paul Smith, Acne Studios and Isabel Marant. They have a coffee corner and a personal shopping service. Notarisstraat 3

Café Theatre is the café-restaurant next to the opera building. It’s a place with grandeur, perfect for a chic dinner or apero. They recently started selling bread, using traditional recipies from famous pre-war bakery Bloch. Schouwburgstraat 5-7

Tierenteyn have been selling spicy mustard since 1862 using a secret family recipe. The delicious condiment is brewn in the basement and flows straight into a large wooden barrel in the shop upstairs. Groentenmarkt 3

Brasserie ‘t Pakhuis serves fine French cuisine with numerous seafood dishes. Dining is done in an 1900’s style industrial warehouse building. Schuurkenstraat 4

Coffee table books are found at Copyright. The shelves of this townhouse store are stacked with gorgeous books on architecture, (interior) design and fashion. Jakobijnenstraat 8


City Centre SHOPS


Little fashionistas & fashion-minded boys should go to Meneer Janssen & Juffrouw Kaat, a multibrand boutique for children up until 12 years. Here you won’t find average clothes, but bold and quirky outfits and accessories. Gouvernementstraat 7

Mokabon is a coffee shop where I used to go with my grandparents as a kid on Sunday mornings. It has a very nostalgic fifties feeling to it. You can buy coffee beans or have a coffee in the cafe, surrounded by elderly ladies and the smell of fresh coffee. Donkersteeg 35

If you’re a fan of all things simple and minimal, pay a visit to new kid on the block BILLIEROSE. A store and coffee shop in one, they carefully select interior pieces, clothing and accessories, often by local designers. Brabantdam 135

Deco lovers should take a stroll in Onderbergen, a pleasant street with interior stores & galleries. One of them is A Puur A, a must-visit decoration & gift shop with an original selection of must-haves! Onderbergen 56

Moor & Moor is a hip grocery store and coffee & lunch spot where you can find authentic products that are delicious, organic, meat-free and ecological. I love their branding & packaging created by Ghentian agency DIFT. Jakobijnenstraat 7

The Belgian fashion brand Essentiel is one of my personal favorites. Their designs are colourful, playful yet wearable. Their gorgeous boutique (have you seen the staircase?) also has the men’s collection upstairs. Henegouwenstraat 2


St Jacobs Quarter TO DO AND SEE


Go out at Oude Beestenmarkt or Vlasmarkt on a Saturday night. Kinky Star, Charlatan, Aap, Giraf, ... Only a small selection of the bars to go to on a Friday or Saturday night, all located at the lively Vlasmarkt square. Oude Beestenmarkt & Vlasmarkt

Café Gomez is a late-night café serving beer and good food until 3 am on Friday and Saturday nights. Why? Because it’s located next to the Oude Beestenmarkt, a square with cool clubs & bars, like Club 69 & Vier. Oude Beestenmarkt 4

Visit the antique market at Sint-Jacobs on Friday, Saturday or Sunday morning, from 8- 13h. Afterwards, have a coffee or cava at one of the bars located at the pictoresque square. Bij Sint-Jacobs

Café VenTura and nextdoor café Albatros are the latest hotspots for 20-somethings on Friday & Saturday nights. Apero starts at 5, and at a certain hour, they remove the tables and dance ‘til sunrise. Vrijdagmarkt 35

One of my favorite go-to places to relax and read a book is Portus Ganda, the place where Ghent originated at the confluence of the two rivers Leie & Schelde in the 9th century. Walk around at the magical Lousbergkaai, or go swimming at the art deco Van Eyck swimming pool. Julius de Vigneplein

Chambre Separée is Flemish foodie Kobe Desramaults’ latest culinary trophy: dining in an intimate setting, with over twenty small dishes coming your way. The restaurant is located in an old Brutalist building and has an open kitchen. Our advice: Book your table 3 months in advance! Keizer Karelstraat 1


Patershol TO DO & SEE


Get lost in the cute cobblestone streets in the Patershol area that stem from the Middle Ages. Go inside one of the many cafés and restaurants and take a moment to rest at the weeping willows at the Lievekaai.

I’m a big fan of theme bars - call me kitsch, I don’t mind! The Drifter is a cocktail bar in tiki style. Enjoy a strong rum cocktail on the bamboo benches and admire pictures of a young Leo when taking a leak. Oudburg 47



Are you a big fan of Japanese noodles? Go to Ramen for lunch! It’s a super tiny noodle bar located in the cute Patershol area. Very fresh & tasty. Be sure to try the gyoza! Oudburg 51

EVÍN is a wine bar & shop run by Eva, a young entrepreneur. Next to the obvious wine tastings, she also organises apero evenings with live dj’ing and closet sales on weekends. Sint-Margrietstraat 16

Simon Says is a cozy coffee bar located at a little square, run by Simon, originally from London who lost his heart to Ghent. He opened up a coffee bar and b&b in an eccentric art nouveau house. Sluizeken 8

Amadeus is famous for its allyou-can-eat ribs and the sauce that comes with the oven-boiled potatoes. Meat lovers, you know where to go! They have three locations in Ghent but this one is the coziest. Plotersgracht 8


Dampoort Quarter TO DO AND SEE


The moment the sun comes out, head for aperitivo at Kiosko. This hard-to-miss kiosque next to a busy intersection is only open on sunny days. Its sole purpose: bringing people together over proper Aperol Spritz. One of the best places to spend a sundazed afternoon. Hagelandkaai 40-42

Clouds in my Coffee is one of the coolest brunch places in Ghent. The interior is super cute and they even have an interior store that you can visit by appointment, where they sell design, furniture and ceramics sourced from all over the world. Dendermondsesteenweg 102

If you want to dance your feet off, pay a visit to Amigo Amigo and Bar Bricolage, two cool hangouts in Ghent’s industrial area. A bit further away but check the bus network on how to get there! Stapelplein 31 & Chinastraat

Ghent’s new place to be is definitely Golden Gai, a hip noodle bar mainly focusing on ramen and surprisingly good cocktails. Their selection of small bites are delicious: ceviche, teriyaki chicken wings, ... Dampoortstraat 11

Dok Noord is a new shopping and food centre built on a former factory site. Hal 16 is well worth a visit if you’re into artisan food and craft beers: get your drink at the central beer bar and choose from yummy bites from 6 different restaurants including an italian restaurant, a texan bbq restaurant and innovative toaster joint. Dok-Noord 7

Ghent’s northern neighborhood is definitely transforming into a lively quarter. New places are popping up every weekend, like FranzGustav which is a good place for a Sunday brunch. ENTR is the café-restaurant of De Centrale, the intercultural centre of Ghent. Free concerts on Tuesday nights! Ham 163 & 147 19

Happiest momentS always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of somEthing else. Ghent city guide by The Guesthouse Atelier Turquoise

Parklaan 8, 9000 Gent Charlotte +32(4)94311999

Profile for rica stays

Ghent City Guide by Rica Stays  

Ghent is a gem in the middle of old Europe. Find yourself stroll- ing through its marvelous cobbled streets and squares; take a bike or boat...

Ghent City Guide by Rica Stays  

Ghent is a gem in the middle of old Europe. Find yourself stroll- ing through its marvelous cobbled streets and squares; take a bike or boat...

Profile for ricastays