7 Romantic Things to Do in Ghent

Not only is Ghent the largest city in the Flanders region of Belgium, but it’s also among the most beautiful locations in all of Europe.

While the nearby Bruges is one of the more well-known destinations for a romantic getaway, the unique architecture, scenic river, and impressive landmarks mean that Ghent shouldn’t be overlooked if you’re looking for somewhere else to discover.

To help create an itinerary of activities and must-see places during your visit to the city, we’ve put together this list of the most romantic things to do in Ghent.

The stunning buildings of the Graslei in Ghent on a sunny day with blue skies behind
The Graslei in Ghent

1. Go on a boat tour of the city

One of the best ways to explore lots of Ghent and learn about the city while you do is by taking to the water and joining a boat tour.

There are multiple points around the centre of the city where you can hop on a boat and get a guided tour of the city from a multi-lingual pilot.

As you navigate the River Leie and the canals branching off from it, you’ll learn a lot about the history of the iconic landmarks that you pass.

It’s also the perfect way to spend an hour as a couple, especially on a sunny day when you can take photos of Ghent while you travel along its waterways.

Ghent seen from the river as part of a guided boat tour
Exploring Ghent by boat

2. Visit the Gravensteen

Also known as the Castle of the Counts, Gravensteen is one of the most unique landmarks in Belgium and should be at the top of your list of places to visit.

Standing near a fork in the river, this impressive castle dates back to the 12th century and is still well-preserved. Its gatehouses, narrow corridors, and 24 towers offer an exciting location to explore.

Not only does the picturesque architecture look stunning reflected in the river, the Gravensteen is also a popular spot for locals to get married, so visiting this beautiful fortress is one of the most romantic things to do in Ghent.

The Gravensteen in Ghent on a sunny day viewed across the river
The Gravensteen and the moat surrounding it

3. Get a photo together on St Michael’s Bridge

Arguably the most romantic place in Ghent is St Michael’s Bridge, being frequently photographed for Instagram and to show off the beauty of the city.

With the River Leie running below, standing in the middle of this arched stone bridge provides a great view of Saint Nicholas’ Church and the Ghent Belfry to the east, and St Michael’s Church to the west.

As one of the most popular photo spots in the city, it’s the perfect place to get a pic together with the iconic towers and architecture behind you.

St-Michielsbrug in Ghent, Belgium.
The view along St Michael’s Bridge

4. Look around St Bavo’s Cathedral

While there are many fascinating landmarks around Ghent worth visiting, St Bavo’s Cathedral is among the most impressive.

Having stood for over 1,000 years, the cathedral is open most days of the year so it’s easy to drop by and have a look inside to admire the amazing architecture.

If you time your visit to the city well, the tower of St Bavo’s Cathedral is open during the annual Ghent Festivities that take place in summer. For some of the best views in the city, don’t miss out!

St Bavo's Cathedral in Ghent
St Bavo’s Cathedral

5. See the view from the top of the Ghent Belfry

For more fantastic views across Ghent, nothing can beat the Ghent Belfry. Positioned between two other towers – St Bavo’s Cathedral and St Nicholas’ Church – it’s well-situated to offer panoramic views over the city.

Because of those unbeatable views, climbing the 366 steps of the belfry is one of the most romantic things to do in Ghent, especially if you get to the top in time for sunset!

Fortunately, there is a lift to take you part of the way up. Plus, there are various exhibits along the way where you can learn more about the tower and the city’s long history.

6. Relax in a cafe

One thing Ghent has lots of is places to eat, drink, and just spend some time unwinding off your feet.

Because of the many tourists and students that populate the city, the cafe culture in Ghent is vibrant and there are countless options for finding somewhere to relax for a while.

Not only that, but you’ll also find many serve and specialise in one of Ghent’s most popular products – chocolate!

We enjoyed a delicious hot chocolate from In Choc Gent. It was the perfect way to warm up and relax after a day exploring the city.

Hot chocolate topped with cream from In Choc Gent
Hot chocolate from In Choc Gent

7. Take a day trip to Bruges

While there are many romantic things to do in Ghent, if you’re staying in the city for a few days it’s also worth looking slightly further afield for other activities, and spending one day in Bruges is a great way to discover another part of Belgium.

Hop on a train and you can get to Bruges within 30 minutes. Being amongst the most picturesque cities in Europe, it’s the perfect destination for a memorable day trip or longer getaway.

From climbing the famous belfry to exploring the streets on the back of a horse-drawn carriage, there are many romantic things to do in Bruges to provide a packed and unforgettable experience for couples.

A view over the canal from the Rosary Quay in Bruges
The Rosary Quay in Bruges

Romantic things to do in Ghent FAQs

What is the prettiest part of Ghent?

At the very centre of the city, the Graslei (Grass Quay) and Korenlei (Corn Quay) form the prettiest part of Ghent. Located on opposite sides of the River Leie, the old buildings along these quays are iconic and the perfect backdrop for a picture taken from St Michael’s Bridge.

How many days is enough for Ghent?

The most romantic things to do in Ghent can be done in a day, although for a more relaxed experience it’s a great destination for a weekend break. Ghent is also a great location to stop by for a day while exploring other parts of Belgium.

Which is better for a romantic break, Ghent or Bruges?

Bruges is generally the more popular destination for couples looking for a romantic getaway, due to its small size and scenic streets which are easy to explore on foot. Ghent, however, has a more bustling, metropolitan vibe which offers a different type of city break.

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