Have you ever experienced a city break in winter? Wrapped up in your coat and scarf, you can also do lots of fun things in Ghent during the coldest months. What about an invigorating walk or some ​(​end-of-season​)​ bargain hunting? The atmosphere is great during these shorter days, and you can warm up with all sorts of indoor activities. And, of course, with good food and drinks.

Winter events

If you think urban life grinds to a halt in winter, you’re mistaken. In Ghent, there is as much to do in the winter months as in summer. A visit to the city may be the perfect opportunity to catch up with friends or relatives over a drink. This is also the time of the first race of the road cycling season: Omloop het Nieuwsblad.  There are lots of other activities you should not miss out on. 

Indoor activities

We enjoy being out and about in the cold, but maybe you’re not as winter-hardy. Prefer spending your time indoors? Then you’re in luck, as there are lots of fun indoor activities in Ghent. You can visit one of the winter exhibitions in a museum, for instance, or marvel at the world-famous Ghent Altarpiece. You can relax in a hotel with spa, or exercise while enjoying the backdrop of an Art Deco swimming pool. Go for a movie, take a peek inside a grand townhouse: so many options! 

Winter walk

There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. The same holds true for cold weather: dress warmly and you’re good to go! Taking a walk in winter is a invigorating, both in the city and in nature. Book a guided tour of Ghent’s historic centre, set out at dusk – which is quite early in the winter months – for the award-winning Ghent Light Walk, or visit one of the parks or nature reserves in and around the city. Hopefully you’ll see a layer of snow or ice for some extra winter magic.  

Food and drinks

A good city break is not complete without excellent food, and in Ghent you’re spoilt for choice. The city abounds with talented chefs who will surprise you with their culinary creations. Vegetarians and vegans can also choose from lots of options, as there is no shortage of restaurants offering plant-based dishes. Warming up with a delicious pancake or pie, enjoying an elaborate dinner, or just eating and drinking all day: you do you. And you will notice that Ghentians love having a drink alfresco: as soon as the weather allows it, the pavement cafés are packed. At some outdoor cafés, blankets are available for cold-blooded patrons.  

Shopping the cold away

Shopping in Ghent is quite an experience: the range of shops is wide and unique. This is thanks to the numerous Ghent makers who put their heart and soul into the products they offer. These products include clothes, designer objects or delicacies. The vintage scene is also extensive in Ghent, as is the range of sustainable merchandise. If you visit Ghent in January, you can do some end-of-season bargain hunting. If you also visit a cosy market, your shop trip to Ghent will be complete.  

Kids-proof winter tips

Ghent enthusiastically welcomes families with children in any season of the year. So you can also plan a child-friendly city break in winter, as there are lots of things to do for young and old. Examples include a treasure hunt with the app of Fosfor the Dragon, a street art tour or an exploratory visit to the Castle of the Counts or the Belfry – the ‘Little Guide’ booklets for kids will help you on your way. By the way, you can admire the most important piece of Ghent art, the Ghent Altarpiece, while wearing augmented reality glasses. Have had enough culture? Then give your children free rein at a playground or park 

Spending the night in Ghent

There is so much to do in Ghent during the winter months that it’s advisable to book an overnight stay: the best way to make the most of your visit!  The wide range of hotels, hostels, B&Bs and holiday homes caters for all tastes.