Visiting Ghent, Belgium on a Budget


Ghent, Beligium
Ghent, Beligium

Ghent, Belgium is a port city in northwest Belgium where the Leie and Scheldt rivers meet. This city feels more like a quaint small town with very pretty and well preserved architecture.  Similar to many other western European cities, Ghent can be quite expensive to visit. However, done correctly, you can visit Ghent, Belgium on a budget. We recommend spending 1-2 days here.  Here is our quick guide on Ghent, Belgium on a budget. 

Main Square in Ghent
Main Square in Ghent

Note: This post is written based on a trip taken in early April


What to do in Ghent


Free Walking City Tour

Ghent Walking Tour
Ghent Walking Tour

This tour is by far the best walking tour–paid for or free–that we have gone on.  We have gone on HEAPS of walking tours so this says a lot. Our guide was funny, entertaining, informative and engaging.  If you only do one thing in Ghent, do this. 

We did not book this beforehand and just showed up to it but you can book it in advance.  Make sure to tip your guide well at the end if you enjoy it like we did. 

Ghent Free Walking Tours


See the Cathedrals 

Cathedrals in Ghent, Belgium
St. Bavo’s Cathedral (left), three of the many cathedrals in Ghent (right)

In Ghent, it seems like there is a church on every corner you turn. The most famous is St. Bavo’s Cathedral that houses the famous Ghent Altarpiece.  We paid a small fee to see this up close and have an audio tour of the art piece.


Go to a local brewery

Gruut Brewery
Gruut Brewery

We went to the local Gruut Brewery while in Ghent.  This small brewery had very funky decor, fun staff and a very local feel.  If you are not feeling a brewery stop, consider hitting up one of the many bars with ample choices of delicious Belgian beers.

Belgian Beers
Belgian Beers

See the Gravensteen Castle

Gravensteen Castle
Gravensteen Castle in Ghent

The Gravensteen Castle is a 12th century castle with medieval architecture. You can take a tour here. With the amount of time we had, we opted not to take the tour but it was neat to see, even just from the outside. 


Where to Eat in Ghent


Sample different local cuisine near the main Ghent square 

Locals eats in Ghent
Locals eats in Ghent

We ate at the Holy Food Market, a market in a restored church, that had a lot of local options. Unfortunately, this place has closed since we were in Ghent in 2018 but we think you could get a similar experience by restaurant hopping in/around the square.  Some of our favorite foods in Ghent included croquettes, frites and waffles. 


Where to Stay in Ghent


Stay within walking distance of the main Ghent Square 


Monastery Hotel

Monastery Hotel in Ghent
Monastery Hotel in Ghent

We stayed at Monastery Hotel and would recommend it.  We actually had booked another hotel but that hotel was accidentally overbooked so we ended up at Monasterium PoortAckere and it was a pleasant surprise. This hotel was a former 19th century monastery and has its own chapel. The architecture inside the hotel makes it one of the most unique places we have ever stayed for the night. 

Monastery Hotel


We hope this post helps you plan your trip to Ghent on a Budget.  Anything else you’d add to our guide on visiting Ghent, Belgium on a budget?  We’d love to hear your feedback.  Leave us a comment. 

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Planning a multi-city trip to Europe? See our How to Plan Your First Europe Trip on a Budget guide for more tips on how to do this.

Consider visiting Amsterdam, Paris and/or London while in this area too! See our guides for more budget tips.