Historic city centre, the best area to stay in Ghent
The historic city centre is the place to be in Ghent. Here you can find the three towers: the Belfry (het Belfort), the Saint Bavo Cathedral (de Sint-Baafskathedraal) and the Saint Nicholas Church (de Sint-Niklaaskerk). If you’re into art, you can also find the Ghent Altarpiece (Het Lam Gods) in the Saint Bavo Cathedral or go to the Graffiti Street that is located right behind the city hall.
A lot of the restaurants and bars have a unique thing. They might be located in a historical building, serve only organic, vegan food, or offer some crazy fusion idea you’ve never heard of before. Some local specialities that you should definitely try are Gentse waterzooi and cuber dons. To top it all off, you can find nice, cold Belgian beers in any bar. Because most of the historic city centre is car-free, you can enjoy that beer on one of the many terraces in Ghent without cars racing past you.
In July, the historic city centre of Ghent transforms into a true cultural hotspot. The Ghent Festivities are a 10-day free (!) festival with music, theatre, exhibits, fairs, children’s workshops, and so much more. It is one of the largest urban festivals in Europe, with more than a million visitors each year. If you truly want to live, breathe, and taste Ghent, this is one event you cannot miss.
Hotels in Historic City Centre
Other places to stay in Ghent
Elisabethbegijnhof – Papegaai
Elisabethbegijnhof - Papegaai is located right outside the historic city centre and is almost entirely surrounded by water. If you enjoy riverside walks and architecture, you could take a stroll along the Sint-Antoniuskaai or Augustijnenkaai and admire the beautiful old row houses right next to the water. If you walk along the Coupure, you will see hundreds of students cycling by on their way to school and maybe catch a glimpse of some sheep grazing along the banks of the river.
The Elisabethbegijnhof-Papegaai area is a great place to stay if you want to be a little further away from all the hustle and bustle of the busy historic city centre, but still be close enough that you can easily reach it with a short walk. It is also a neighbourhood with a rich history, so you can still enjoy those cosy cobblestone alleys with historical buildings, just like in the historic city centre. There is a great choice of accommodations with some truly beautiful bed and breakfasts places like Het Rustpunt and B&B Door 10 or even fully furnished apartments.
Hotels in Elisabethbegijnhof – Papegaai
Right next to the train station Ghent-Sint-Pieters lies the area Stationsbuurt-Noord. Thanks to Ghent’s excellent public transportation system, you can get almost anywhere in Ghent within 15 minutes from here. Ghent is also a very bike-friendly city. Most of the historic centre has been closed off for cars and can only be reached by foot, bike, or public transportation, so why not rent a bike?
The area itself is more quiet and residential than the city centre of Ghent. The neighbourhood has the largest city park in Ghent, the Citadelpark. On sunny days, you can find a lot of locals and students enjoying some free time or a picnic in the park. It is also a great place to enjoy some botanical abundance. In 2005, the city placed name tags in front of all the remarkable trees in the park. Ghent’s famous modern art museum S.M.A.K. is also located in the middle of the park.
Right next to the Citaldelpark, you can find the University’s Botanical Garden. In here you can find over 10.000 different plant species. If you are hoping to get an impression of Ghent’s student nightlife, the Overpoortstraat is where you need to go. All the student bars are located just northeast of the Stationsbuurt-Noord, easily within walking distance.
Hotels in Stationsbuurt-Noord