Situated in central Belgium, Ghent has long been relatively sidelined in favor of more famous cities like Bruges and Brussels. However, in 2024, Ghent will take the spotlight as the European Youth Capital. This title recognizes the city’s efforts to empower and involve young people in all aspects of urban life. This energetic vibe is evident in the city’s mix of medieval architecture, modern culture, and a thriving youth scene. Whether you’re in town for a long time or just passing through, here are a few exciting activities to do in Ghent.

1. Explore the Design Museum

This one-of-a-kind museum chronicles design evolution from the Middle Ages to the modern era. In addition to permanent collections of furniture, ceramics, textiles, and graphic design, the museum also hosts rotating exhibitions showcasing the work of cutting-edge designers. The museum also offers workshops, guided tours, and educational programs for young visitors.

2. Join the Ghent Festivities

Experience this 10-day music, culture, and art celebration held every July. The festival draws millions of visitors from all over the world, who enjoy the vast and colorful schedule of music, shows, street art, and parades. The festival also strongly emphasizes youth participation and empowerment, with several events created by and for young people.

3. Discover the Patershol

Patershol is a lovely, historic neighborhood with numerous restaurants, cafes, and taverns. You can try local dishes like waterzooi (a creamy stew with chicken or fish), stoverij (a beef and beer stew), and cuberdons (cone-shaped chocolates with a soft center). You can also enjoy the nightlife since Patershol has numerous bars, clubs, and live music venues.

4. Learn About the History and Culture of Ghent at the STAM

Visit STAM, the city’s museum housed in a former abbey. The museum tells the story of Ghent from its origins to the present day, using interactive exhibits, multimedia, and objects. You can also visit the museum’s garden, which features a giant aerial photo of the city and a labyrinth made of hedges.

5. Have Fun at the Blaarmeersen

Blaarmeersen is a recreational park with activities suitable for people of all ages and interests. You can swim, kayak, sail on the lake, play tennis, golf, or volleyball on the fields, or relax on the beach or in the woods. The park also has a playground, a skate park, and a climbing wall for kids and teenagers.