Ghent on a Shoestring: 10 Free Activities to Immerse Yourself in Belgian Culture
Ghent – a city where medieval charm meets modern vibrancy. Nestled in the heart of Belgium, Ghent captivates visitors with its quaint cobbled streets, picturesque canals, and awe-inspiring historical buildings. The best part? You don’t need a fortune to discover the city’s treasures! As a local history enthusiast and gastronomy lover, I’m excited to share with you ten fabulous free experiences that will make your visit to Ghent truly unforgettable.
1. Stroll Around Graslei and Korenlei
Ghent’s historic city center is a treasure trove of architectural gems, and the Graslei and Korenlei quays are no exception. Take a leisurely walk along the picturesque waterfront, where you can admire the stunning medieval buildings and snap some amazing photos.
2. Marvel at St. Bavo’s Cathedral
One of Ghent’s most iconic landmarks, St. Bavo’s Cathedral, is a must-visit. Admire its stunning mix of architectural styles, from Gothic to Romanesque, and explore the beautiful interiors for free.
3. Discover Ghent’s Medieval Castle: Gravensteen
Ghent’s impressive medieval fortress, Gravensteen, is a sight to behold. Although the castle’s interior requires an admission fee, you can still admire its striking architecture from the outside for free.
4. Admire the Street Art at Dok Noord
Dok Noord, a former industrial site turned urban hotspot, is home to a fantastic collection of street art. Wander around and admire the colorful murals, showcasing the city’s creative spirit.
5. Explore the Blaarmeersen Recreation Area
Blaarmeersen is a fantastic recreation area offering plenty of green space, walking paths, and a sandy beach. It’s the perfect spot for a leisurely picnic, a refreshing swim, or an afternoon stroll. Among the many watersports available to practice, kayaking is a popular choice for visitors to Blaarmeersen. Paddle your way around the scenic lake, taking in the lush surroundings and enjoying the tranquility of this beautiful outdoor space. Whether you are an experienced kayaker or a beginner, Blaarmeersen provides an excellent setting for an exciting and invigorating kayaking adventure.
6. Attend Free Events at Sint-Pietersplein
Sint-Pietersplein is a bustling public square that regularly hosts free events, including concerts, markets, and festivals. Check the local calendar to see what’s happening during your visit.
7. Visit the Ghent City Museum (STAM)
Every first Sunday of the month, the Ghent City Museum (STAM) offers free admission. It’s a great opportunity to learn about Ghent’s history and admire the museum’s fascinating exhibits.
8. Relax in the Citadelpark
This sprawling park offers a serene escape from the bustling city streets. Wander through the lush greenery, enjoy the tranquil ponds, and discover the various statues and monuments scattered throughout the park.
9. Visit the Graffiti Street (Werregarenstraat)
Werregarenstraat, also known as Graffiti Street, is a narrow alleyway adorned with ever-changing street art. This colorful and dynamic space showcases local talent and is an excellent place for urban art enthusiasts to explore.
10. Join the Free Tour of Ghent
To get a more in-depth understanding of Ghent’s history and culture, consider joining a Free Tour of Ghent. These tours are led by knowledgeable local guides who share their passion for the city. Although the tour is free, don’t forget to tip your guide if you enjoyed the experience.
Ghent is a delightful city that has something for everyone, even those traveling on a budget. With so many free activities, you can fully immerse yourself in Belgian culture without spending a fortune. So go ahead and explore Ghent’s medieval streets, vibrant art scene, and stunning parks, and let the city’s charm sweep you off your feet.