Belgium is a beautiful country to explore, with so many great cities to choose from. You might be wondering why Ghent is worth visiting. In this post, you’ll discover 15 fun things to do with kids in the city of Ghent.
1. Canal Boat Tour
Kickstart your Ghent adventure with a relaxing canal boat tour. As you glide along the picturesque waterways, you’ll get an up-close look at the city’s stunning medieval architecture. A boat trip is a great way to learn more about the city while getting some of the best views at the same time. Guides usually speak in both English and French, and the guided tour is a fun way for children to see a lot of the city without all of the walking.
2. Gravensteen Castle
Feel like you’ve stepped into a fairy tale as you explore Gravensteen Castle. The medieval castle, also known as the Castle of the Counts, in the heart of Ghent is a history lover’s dream. The dungeons are especially intriguing! This is one of the top attractions in Ghent and popular with families. Audio guides are available in many languages, making finding out about the history so much easier, especially for children. Gravensteen Castle is close to the river and tram stops so it’s an easy attraction to add to your itinerary.
3. Belfry of Ghent
Get your steps in and climb the Belfry of Ghent for panoramic views of the city. With 366 steps, it’s a bit of a workout, but the view from the top is absolutely worth it. There’s a lift on the 2nd floor if you can’t manage all of the steps, or children decide it’s too much!
4. Werregarenstraat – Graffiti Street
Calling all art enthusiasts! Werregarenstraat, also known as Graffiti Street, is a constantly changing canvas of street art. Snap some photos of these vibrant urban masterpieces. You’ll find Graffiti Street in the center of Ghent, making it easily accessible by public transport. During our visit there was a lot of Disney and Looney Tunes, which was great for Erin. It’s fun to think there could be something different on the walls each time you walk down this famous street.
5. St. Nicholas’ Church
St. Nicholas’ Church in Ghent is an absolute stunner! This medieval masterpiece takes you back in time with its awe-inspiring Gothic architecture. It’s like a real-life fairytale castle, minus the dragons, of course. The towering spire, intricate stained glass windows, and ornate details will make your jaw drop. Inside, it’s all about grandeur with high vaulted ceilings and beautiful artworks. Plus, it’s right in the heart of Ghent, so you can’t miss it while wandering around. Whether you’re a history buff, an architecture lover, or just looking for some Instagram-worthy shots, this church is a must-visit in Ghent.
Take a breather at Korenmarkt, Ghent’s central square. When you’re busy walking around such a fun city, small children often need a sit down and a snack. There are loads of cafes here so you should have no problem finding somewhere to sit. This is also a great location for people-watching. I always find it interesting to see people walking around a new city. Why not play a game of I-Spy with the kids while you have a drink? There are plenty of fun things for you to spot and it’s a lovely place to sit in the warmer months.
I don’t know about you but when I visit somewhere new, I like to know what the locals like to eat. Cakes are a particular interest for me but anything sweet will do really. Treat your sweet tooth to Cuberdon, an iconic Ghent candy. These little cone-shaped delights are bursting with raspberry flavour and are a favourite among locals and visitors alike. I’m sure the entire family would enjoy trying Cuberdon. This would make a great gift for someone too if you’re planning to take a souvenir home with you.
8. Shopping in the city centre
Ghent is full of interesting streets, perfect for exploring and if you need some retail therapy. As you walk around, dip in and out of the beautiful buildings, seeing what you can find in the interesting shops. This is one of the best ways to get a real feel for Ghent and what locals like to buy. A walking tour could be a good way to get some local knowledge and find the best places to shop.
9. Take a day trip
While not technically in Ghent, there are plenty of places further afield that are worth exploring. Ghent train station is easily accessible by tram, and offers onward journeys to some great locations. The picturesque city of Bruges is just a short train ride away. Its medieval charm, winding canals, and delicious chocolate shops make it an ideal day trip destination. Antwerp is also another great choice, especially for families, with Antwerp Zoo directly outside of the train station.
10. Ghent University Botanic Garden
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and immerse yourself in the tranquillity of Ghent University Botanic Garden. The diverse collection of plants and flowers will delight any nature lover. This is a great way to see a different side of this beautiful city. Open spaces make great family attractions and Botanical Gardens are no different. You’ll get some great photos here too!
11. Try Gentse Waterzooi
Gentse Waterzooi is like a warm hug for your taste buds in Ghent! It’s a delicious, creamy stew that’s super family-friendly. Imagine tender chunks of chicken or fish swimming in a creamy broth with veggies and herbs. It’s so creamy and comforting that even picky eaters will be asking for seconds. Pair it with some crusty bread and you’ve got a meal that’s not just tasty but also great for cosy family dinners. Ghent is known for having great food and this dish is right up there.
12. Don’t forget to try a Belgian waffle
It’s nearly impossible to visit anywhere in Belgium without trying one of their famous Belgian waffles. You’ll find plenty of cafes and restaurants serving these with so many great toppings to choose from. Alternatively, smaller snack bars also sell Belgian waffles on the go! Grown-ups, why not pair your waffle with some Belgian beer?
13. STAM Museum
I think it’s important to learn a bit about history when visiting a new place. The STAM Museum is a great place for this and is one of Ghent’s great museums. This interactive museum offers a fascinating journey through the city’s past, making it a great spot for visitors of all ages. Children will be able to get hands on, ensuring they have a great time as well.
14. Buy a CityCard Gent
City cards offer a great way to see the most of a new city, at a good price. The CityCard Gent (aka the Ghent City Card) is available for either 48 or 72 hours and includes the use of the city’s public transportation for the duration. You can pick up a card from the cards from the tourist information office, which is right near Gravensteen Castle. CityCard Gent will get you into a whole host of attractions, including the following:
- Gravensteen Castle
- Design Museum Gent
- Belfry Tower
- Ghent City Museum
- St. Peter’s Abby
- Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art
- Museum of Fine Arts
- Ghent University Museum
15. Bike Along the Lys River
If you’re a family who like to do something active then you’ll be glad to know that Ghent is a bike-friendly city. You can easily rent a bike and pedal along the scenic Lys River. The peaceful countryside views are a wonderful contrast to the city’s bustling streets. What a wonderful thing this would be to do on a chilled Sunday morning! A bike ride will give a different perspective of the city and an alternative to the norm on this family vacation.