10 Hidden Gems of Ghent, Belgium: Secret Spots and Local Hangouts

Ghent, Belgium, often overshadowed by its more famous neighbors, Brussels and Bruges, is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Tucked away in the Flemish region, this vibrant city offers a wealth of history, culture, and charm. While many tourists visit the popular attractions, there are several hidden gems in Ghent that are off the beaten path and offer a more authentic local experience. From secret spots to local hangouts, here are ten hidden gems that you must explore on your next visit to Ghent.

1. Café Labath

Located at Oude Houtlei 1, Café Labath is a cozy coffee shop that serves some of the best artisanal coffee in Ghent. The cafe’s laid-back atmosphere and friendly staff make it a perfect spot for locals to hang out. Not only can you indulge in a cup of their expertly brewed coffee, but you can also discover their impressive selection of loose leaf teas. Take a moment to savor your drink while admiring the beautiful barista latte art.

Café Labath Website

2. Graffiti Street – Werregarenstraat

Hidden away in the historic center of Ghent is Werregarenstraat, better known as the Graffiti Street. This narrow alleyway features vibrant murals and graffiti created by local and international artists. The ever-changing art provides a unique backdrop for artistic photographs and is a testament to Ghent’s thriving street art scene. Embrace the creativity and explore this hidden gem by taking a leisurely stroll through the colorful alley.

Graffiti Street – Werregarenstraat Website

3. Dulle Griet

Tucked away on Vrijdagmarkt Square, Dulle Griet is a unique and quirky bar that attracts both locals and curious visitors. This cozy establishment is most famous for its extensive beer list, offering a variety of local and international brews. The highlight of the experience is the “Max” beer, served in a two-liter glass that you must surrender your shoe as collateral. This tradition adds an element of fun to your drinking experience. Sip on your beer, immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere, and discover why Dulle Griet is a local favorite.

Dulle Griet Website

4. NEST rooftop bar

Perched on top of the Ghent City Museum (STAM), NEST rooftop bar offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city. This hidden gem is a local hangout where you can enjoy refreshing drinks against the backdrop of Ghent’s picturesque skyline. Whether you prefer a refreshing cocktail or a locally brewed beer, NEST has something for everyone. Escape the crowds and soak in the stunning views as you unwind at this hidden rooftop bar.

NEST rooftop bar Website

5. The Castle of the Counts

The Castle of the Counts, also known as Gravensteen, is a medieval fortress located in the heart of Ghent. While the castle is not as hidden as some of the other gems on this list, it is often overlooked by tourists. This well-preserved castle offers a glimpse into Ghent’s history and provides stunning views of the city from its towers. Wander through the castle’s halls, climb to the top of the ramparts, and immerse yourself in centuries of history.

The Castle of the Counts Website

6. Geeraard de Duivelsteen

Geeraard de Duivelsteen, or Devil’s Castle, is another hidden gem in Ghent that often flies under the radar of tourists. This imposing fortress was built in the 13th century and boasts an intriguing mix of architectural styles, ranging from Gothic to Renaissance. Quirky legends surround the castle’s dark history, making it a fascinating spot for history buffs. The building currently serves as a museum, housing a collection of medieval sculptures and artifacts.

Geeraard de Duivelsteen Website

7. Bij De Vieze Gasten

Situated in Ghent’s multicultural neighborhood of Rabot, Bij De Vieze Gasten is a community arts center that organizes a wide array of cultural events. From live music performances to theater shows and exhibitions, this hidden gem is a hub of creativity and cultural interaction. The cozy cafe on-site also offers delicious food and drinks, making it the perfect spot to relax before or after enjoying a cultural experience. Immerse yourself in Ghent’s vibrant arts scene by visiting Bij De Vieze Gasten.

Bij De Vieze Gasten Website

8. De Superette

Situated in a former grocery store, De Superette is a hidden gem for food and design lovers. This unique establishment is a combination of a bakery, restaurant, and micro-hotel, offering an extraordinary culinary experience. Indulge in freshly baked bread, sumptuous pastries, and mouthwatering dishes made with locally sourced ingredients. The charming interior, with its vintage decor and exposed bricks, adds to the overall experience, making De Superette a must-visit spot in Ghent.

De Superette Website

9. Graslei and Korenlei

Graslei and Korenlei are picturesque quays located on the banks of the river Leie in the heart of Ghent’s historic center. While they may not be hidden in the traditional sense, they often attract fewer tourists than other popular spots. Stroll along the cobblestone streets, admire the beautiful medieval guildhouses that line the river, and soak up the charming ambiance. These quays provide the perfect setting for a leisurely walk or a picnic while enjoying the stunning views.

Graslei and Korenlei Website

10. MIAT – Museum of Industry, Labour, and Textiles

For those interested in Ghent’s industrial past, the MIAT is a hidden gem not to be missed. Housed in a former cotton mill, this museum explores the city’s industrial heritage through interactive exhibits and intriguing displays. From the history of textile manufacturing to the impact of labor movements, the MIAT offers a fascinating glimpse into Ghent’s past. Explore the various collections, learn about the city’s rich industrial history, and gain a deeper understanding of its cultural identity.

MIAT – Museum of Industry, Labour, and Textiles Website

When visiting Ghent, don’t just stick to the well-trodden path. Venture off the beaten track and discover these hidden gems that offer an authentic glimpse into the city’s vibrant culture and history. From quirky bars to stunning viewpoints and cultural hubs, these secret spots and local hangouts will truly make your experience in Ghent unforgettable.