Where to stay in Ghent: 5 Best Areas

Where to stay in Ghent

Are you planning a trip to Ghent? Wondering where to stay in Ghent? To help you make the most of your visit, we’ve highlighted some of the best areas to stay in Ghent, while you explore the surrounding areas.

A trip to Ghent is the perfect trip for travelers who like to immerse themselves in the culture, food and people of an area. While most travelers to Belgium will spend a few days in Brussels and Brugge and then take the train to neighboring France or Holland, travelers to Ghent will find a less crowded local experience.

The medieval city centre of Ghent is a pedestrian-only, car-free zone, making this area perfect for people who prefer to walk to the major sites. Neighborhoods like Prinsenhof, Ledeberg and Sluizeken are less crowded, with less city noise, while still easily accessible by public transit.

The public transit in Ghent is an excellent system using buses, trams and trains. If you are arriving in Ghent by train with a limited stay, you may even prefer to drop your bags at a hotel near the Sint-Pieters Train Station so you can head out and hit the ground running.

Wherever you stay in Ghent, be sure to try the excellent Belgium chocolate, explore the vast medieval architecture, and enjoy the fantastic beer!

While French is spoken in southern Belgium, Ghent is part of Flanders in the north, where Dutch is widely spoken. 

Let’s take a look at where to stay in Ghent by neighborhood.

Where to Stay in Ghent: Best Areas

1. City Centre, where to stay in Ghent for first time

Ghen city Centre

Ghent is a lovely, walkable city with great public transportation. If this is your first time in Ghent, or if your time there is going to be short, then staying in the city centre is a great option.

The city centre is a car-free zone, perfect for walking and riding a bike. The public transportation system is also well organized for travelers.

Perhaps the most famous attraction in Ghent is the Gravensteen Castle or Castle of the Counts. This 10th-century castle is in the heart of the city and is surrounded by everything you need for a great stay in Ghent. 

Booking your accommodations to stay within walking distance of the Castle of the Counts will put you in the heart of the activity, although it may feel a bit too touristy at times.

Directly in front of the Castle of the Counts, you’ll find the Ghent Tourist office at the Old Fish Market. You can pick up maps at the tourist office, ask questions, and purchase a Ghent City Card.

Another fantastic landmark in this area is the Ghent Belfry. From Gravensteen Castle, it’s an eight-minute walk southeast to the Belfry, and to reward you for your walk, you’ll also find the Bier Central Ghent restaurant across the street.

Climb the 366 steps to the top of the Belfry Ghent and be rewarded with a fantastic view of the city. 

Afterward, it’s a short walk to Bier Central Ghent, where they carry 30 Belgian beers on tap and over 300 bottled Belgian Beers. The food menu at Bier Central includes local Flemish dishes and a small menu of vegan or vegetarian options.

Don´t miss the Saint Bavo Cathedral and admire masterpieces such as the Ghent Altarpiece and The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb by the Van Eyck brothers.

The perfect Ghent Instagram spot is on St. Michael’s Bridge. During the day, you’ll have an incredible view of the Gravensteen Castle of the Counts, the Old Fish Market, and St. Michael’s church. At night the bridge is illuminated with lights adding a charming romantic glow.

Head down to the docks at Graslei and Korenlei, probably the most beautiful place in Ghent.

Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate the green space and trees of Baudelopark, a large riverside park. The park is a six-minute walk from Sluizeken.

Street art can be viewed less than seven minutes away on Graffiti Street. The street art is constantly changing here as artists are able to create wherever and whenever the mood strikes them. You’ll find this colorful attraction south of the Sluizeken-Tolhuis-Ham district on Werregarenstraatje street.

The Lost at Sea Mural on the building at 9000 Rembert Dodoensdreef street is a fantastic and intricately detailed mural originally created for the Sorry, not Sorry festival in 2016.

In December, from the 8th to the 31st, the Ghent Christmas market takes place in the city centre. The market stalls are found from Sint-Baafsplein Square to the end of Korenmarkt. At Ghent’s traditional Christmas Market, you’ll find food, souvenirs, gifts, and handmade crafts.

Accommodations in the city center include everything from hostels with inexpensive dorm rooms, bed and breakfast rooms, luxury hotels and everything in between.


2. Prinsenhof, where to stay in Ghen in a quiet area very close to everything

Where to stay in Ghent: Prinsenhof

If you prefer to get out of the tourist center but still in close proximity to it and stay in Ghent in a quiet area, then the Prinsenhof district is a good location for you.

Prinsenhof (Elisabethbegijnhof-Papegaai District) has a local neighborhood feel to it. There are several small hotels, bed and breakfast rooms and guest houses in the area.

For a truly unique opportunity and a chance to really get away from the busy center, the Kar­me­lie­ten­kloos­ter or Carmelite Monastery has rooms to rent at their guesthouse.

The Kar­me­lie­ten­kloos­ter is home to a community of Carmelite monks, who open the doors of the monastery to visitors to step inside and have a moment of peaceful respite. The adjoining garden is available to visitors on request.

The small Theater Tinnenpot is just off Prinsenhof on Tinnenpotstraat. Tickets to their local folk-style shows are inexpensive and good for a night out. Stop by the theater for show times and tickets.


3. Sint-Pieters Train Station Area, lively, well connected and afordable prices

Best places to stay in Ghent: Sint Pieters

If you are taking the train, you might prefer to stay in Ghent in the Sint-Pieters train station area. If you are traveling with large suitcases, it makes sense to be near the train station to avoid dragging your suitcases a long way. 

Staying in this area, you are just a 15-minute ride by bus or tram to Gravensteen Castle, St. Michael’s Bridge, and the Ghent Belfry.

The area around the Sint-Pieters station is an eclectic mix of budget accommodations, pubs and sites to see. 

Ghent University is close to the train station, creating this affordable city area. In an area where many college students hang out, you’ll find local pubs serving good food and cheap beer!

The SMAK Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art is a 10-minute walk from the train station. The exhibits at SMAK are contemporary, thought-provoking and potentially controversial. Conceptual art is on display by local and international artists. 

The cafe onsite, Cremerie Guillaume, offers ice cream and drinks amidst creations by artist Guillaume Bijl.

Perhaps a highlight of the area is a visit to St Peter’s Abbey. Dating back to the 7th century, this former Benedictine abbey is now an exhibition hall. Visitors can explore the ground-floor level and the abbey gardens free of charge. 

There are guided tours available for a fee that go deeper into the abbey. Local abbey guides share stories from the history of the area. You can just show up to see the ground floor area but tours need to be booked in advance.

The gardens of St Peter’s Abbey are a hidden treasure. Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy in the garden or just hang out. Within the garden is plenty of green space, plus a herb garden, vineyard, and orchard. 

Find the herb garden near the church. Medicinal herbs were originally grown for use in the abbey infirmary. You’ll find lavender, rosemary, thyme and sage.

Families with children will enjoy a visit to the World of Kina: The House. This interactive museum has displays of butterflies, insects, rocks, minerals, and dinosaur bones. You’ll also find an interesting model of medieval Ghent. Plan to spend about an hour going through the exhibits.

Accommodations in the Sint-Pieters area include budget hotels, bed and breakfast rooms and moderately priced three star hotels.


4. Ledeberg – Het Zuid, where to stay in Ghent for local vibes

Best places to stay in Ghent

If you are wondering where to stay in Ghent to feel like a temporary local, then staying in Ledeberg is for you. Ledeberg is a suburban area of Ghent, about 20 minutes from the city center by bus

Here are a few things you need to know that will make your stay in Ledeberg even more enjoyable.

Bring your farmers market bags with you. You’ll want to spend Sunday mornings at the Ledeberg Market, one of the largest in Ghent. Market hours are from 7:30 am to 1:00 pm, and you’ll find the market at the city square directly in front of the Sint Lievenkerk church. 

This traditional local market sells food, jewelry and textiles. It’s also a great place to meet people. Stop by the mobile wine cart to enjoy a glass of the local wines.

The statue with angel wings and soldiers in the center of Ledeberg is a memorial to commemorate the military and civilian victims of World War I and World War II.

Nomad travelers can rent space from any of the co-working spaces in the area. Bring your phone and your laptop. There is no excuse for not getting some work done while you are there!


5. Sluizeken-Tolhuis-Ham District, where to stay in Ghent on a budget close to the historic centre

Best places to stay iin Ghent: Sluizeken-Tolhuis-Ham

The neighborhoods of Sluizeken, Tolhuis and Ham form an urban district just north of downtown Ghent. 

This area is excellent for travelers who want to be outside of busy downtown Ghent but still close enough to hop on public transportation and be in the city center in a few minutes.

Budget travelers, especially, will like the inexpensive hotels in the Sluizeken-Tolhuis-Ham District. There is a mix of standard hotels, hostels and bed and breakfast accommodations.

The Sportarena Tolhuis is a 2400-seat sports facility for indoor sports, basketball, volleyball, handball and five-a-side football.

Heilige Kerstkerk, or the Holy Christmas Church, is north of the medieval Ghent city center and a seven-minute walk from the Sluizeken neighborhood. The church’s sacristy was built in 1722. The current neoclassical facade was added to the church between 1810 and 1812.

Tolhuispark is a park with a children’s playground that has equipment separated according to age. There is also an impressive section of street art at the park.

There is a good selection of pubs, restaurants and wine bars in the area offering local Belgium specialties as well as international fare.


Photos: Shutterstock

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