A Travel Price Comparison for Belgium Ghent vs. Brussels for Nightlife, Attractions, Food, and Old Town

Should you visit Ghent or Brussels?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Ghent and Brussels. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Ghent

Ghent is a under-rated, youthful, and high energy city. The famous beauty of this place is one of the main draws. It's also known for shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Brussels

Brussels is a historic, cosmopolitan, and authentic city. It's an amazing and huge city with tons of activities and things to do. It's also known for nightlife, food, and shopping.

Ghent and Brussels: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Big city activities
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife


Is there more to do in Ghent or Brussels?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Brussels than Ghent, as it is bigger with more sights, attractions, and activities for visitors. Brussels is more popular for its shopping and big city activities, while Ghent is known for its nightlife and impressive beauty. Ghent is popular for its medieval buildings, large squares, and weekly markets Brussels is popular for its beautiful architecture, grand squares, diverse population, and delicious waffles. It is also home to La Grand Place (Grote Markt).

La Grand Place (Grote Markt)
La Grand Place (Grote Markt)

How is Ghent different from Brussels?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Brussels and Ghent. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Ghent or Brussels?

Ghent
Brussels

Both Ghent and Brussels have excellent landmarks and museums for visitors.

Visitors can fill many days exploring the museums and attractions around Ghent. The city has many different sights that are concentrated in a compact area. Make sure you check out the Cathedral of St. Bavo, The Fortress of Gravensteen, and The Belfry. The audio tour at Gravensteen really brings the history to life and makes for an enjoyable activity.

Brussels offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. Popular sights include Saint-Michel Cathedral, Place Royale, and the Belgian Royal Museum of Fine Arts. The city is filled with impressive architecture, fascinating art museums, and innovative science and technology museums.


Is the Food Better in Ghent or Brussels? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Ghent
Brussels

Foodies will find both Ghent and Brussels both to be excellent destinations.

With its innovative style combined with traditional elements, Ghent makes for a great culinary experience. The food scene is diverse and international, but there are also many local dishes and flavors that you should try. Pas de Rouge is a local cheese and mastel is a local bread. Ganda ham is also a popular meat that is dried and salted. In additional to traditional restaurants, you'll find almost any international cuisine that you could want.

Brussels has a huge number of terrific restaurants. While the city is most known for its waffles and fries, the diversity of dishes and international restaurant selection continues to grow. There are Lebanese, Japanese, and Indian restaurants among others. Popular local dishes include moules-frites, waterzooi (a stew), and stoemp (made with mashed potatoes and vegetables).

Is Ghent or Brussels Better for Nightlife?

Ghent
Brussels

Ghent is renowned for nightlife. Also, Brussels is still popular, but not quite as popular for nightlife and partying.

Ghent is a destination that you simply have to visit at least once for nightlife. With its young student population, you'll find plenty of lively bars and clubs around town. There are many places where you can party or dance into the early hours of the morning and some of the best places are around Oude Beestenmarkt, De Overpoort, and De Vlasmarkt. There's also the famous Ghent Festival every July.

If you're looking for night time activities Brussels has a few options to choose from. The city's nightlife is quieter and more mellow than some other major cities around Europe. That doesn't mean there aren't plenty of dance clubs and bars where you can hang out. Keep your wits about you after the sun goes down as some areas are a bit rougher than others.

Is Ghent or Brussels Better for its Old Town?

Ghent
Brussels

Visitors enjoy the excellent old town areas in both Ghent and Brussels.

There are many historical things to see in the old town of Ghent. The medieval old town follows along the canal and offers great architecture and a unique atmosphere.

Many visitors explore the old town while visiting Brussels. The old town in the city center is where you'll find the greatest concentration of historic sights. The area is surrounded by tree-lined boulevards and is easy to explore.


Is the Shopping Better in Ghent or Brussels?

Ghent
Brussels

Brussels is a world-class destination for shopping. Also, Ghent is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its shopping opportunities.

Brussels is a famous shopping destination with plenty of stores. Although it's famous for diamonds, the city also has many shopping streets where you can find designer brands, vintage shops, and other unique boutiques that are fun to explore.

Ghent is well-known for its shopping. The city has the largest pedestrian shopping area in Belgium, making it a great place to explore on foot. The city has several different shopping areas which each have their own style and personality. You'll find everything from major European brands to local boutiques and street markets.

Is Ghent or Brussels Better for Families?

Ghent
Brussels

Brussels is a well-known place for its family-friendly activities. Also, Ghent is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its kid-friendly activities.

Brussels is a very family-friendly place to visit. The city has a number of unique kid-friendly activities including a Mini-Europe Museum, a Comic Strip Museum, and Train World. The city is also a chocolate lover's dream with many factories and chocolate shops around town.

Ghent is a family-friendly city. The city has a fun atmosphere with kid-friendly restaurants and a number of attractions that appeal to all ages. Kids and adults alike will enjoy exploring Gravensteen, which is the "Castle of Counts". You can also take a boat tour, rent bikes, or head to one of the town's playgrounds so the kids can burn off some energy.

Is Ghent or Brussels Better for Couples?

Ghent
Brussels

Ghent and Brussels both excellent destinations for a couple.

Ghent is a very popular place to visit for couples. It makes a great weekend getaway with a diverse restaurant scene, nice hotels, and plenty of historic attractions that you can explore.

Brussels makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. From beautiful buildings and museums to shopping, dining, and chocolate shops, there are plenty of romantic spots around town. There's a vibrant nightlife scene and many diverse restaurants that couples can enjoy exploring.


Is Ghent or Brussels Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Ghent
Brussels

Brussels is a well-known place for backpackers. Also, Ghent is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for backpackers and budget travelers.

Backpackers come from all over to visit Brussels. The city has an active nightlife and a number of hostels that are great for backpackers, but do take note that some areas can get a bit rough at night, so make sure you understand where you are.

Plenty of budget travelers visit Ghent. The city has a number of hostels to choose from as well as a young vibe with a large student population. Many people overlook Ghent, but it feels more genuine than nearby Bruges, which attracts the larger tourist crowds.

Is Ghent or Brussels Better for Students?

Ghent
Brussels

Ghent is renowned for students. Also, Brussels is still popular, but not quite as popular for its student-friendly activities.

Ghent is a very popular place to visit for students. The city is very popular with international students so it has a young and energetic vibe with plenty to do throughout the year.

Brussels is a very popular city for students and younger travelers. The city has a number of universities that attract students from around the world. The multicultural setting is great for students of the world.

Is Ghent or Brussels Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Ghent
Brussels

Both Ghent and Brussels offer terrific public transit options.

With a huge network, the transit system in Ghent can get you around easily. Buses and trams travel to most parts of the city and are convenient and efficient.

Visitors in Brussels can get around quickly with the extensive public transit system. Transit options include train, tram, metro, bus, and waterbuses.


Is Ghent or Brussels a more walkable city?

Ghent
Brussels

Ghent and Brussels both are excellent when exploring on foot.

Ghent is very walkable. The area's with the most tourist attractions are generally walkable.

Brussels is a very walkable city. If you stay in the historical area, it's easy to walk around and many boulevards are being converted to pedestrian areas.

For even more information, also check out Is Ghent Worth Visiting? and Is Brussels Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Brussels or Ghent?

How long in Ghent or Brussels?

In either Ghent or Brussels, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. Most visitors tend to spend more time in Brussels than Ghent because of the overall number of sights and activities. Usually, 1-3 days is a good amount of time for Ghent, and 1-5 days is enough time in Brussels.

Families should spend more time in Brussels than Ghent. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Brussels, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Brussels than Ghent if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Brussels.


  • How many days in Ghent or Brussels? Ideal Length of Stay
    Ghent 1-3 
    Brussels 1-5

One day in Ghent or Brussels?

The beautiful city of Ghent offers food and shopping. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. With all of its activities, you can easily fill one day here. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

Each neighborhood in Brussels has its own distinct appeal, so there are pleny of areas to explore. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. Lots of people come for the shopping. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Because of this, one day is usually enough time for a trip here.

A weekend in Ghent or Brussels?

Ghent is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have a weekend, this city makes for a great vacation. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Ghent, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Brussels. For many, it makes a great getaway for a weekend. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. This would be the perfect place to spend a weekend, as it has just the right amount of activities. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.


Five days in Ghent or Brussels?

Ghent is a popular choice for travelers. It's no surprise that nightlife is why people visit. Five days is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Brussels is a fun place to experience. Each neighborhood in Brussels has its own distinct appeal, so there are pleny of areas to explore. Lots of people come for the shopping. Visiting the old town is also a must. This would be the perfect place to spend five days, as it has just the right amount of activities.

A week in Ghent or Brussels?

Ghent is a great place to explore. It's no surprise that nightlife is why people visit. Visiting the old town is also a must. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This city offers something for everyone.

You'll find food and shopping around the cosmopolitan big city of Brussels. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. Lots of people come for the shopping. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Cultural Tours in Belgium, The Best Luxury Tours to Belgium, The Best Tours for Seniors to Belgium, and The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Brussels.


Which place is cheaper, Brussels or Ghent?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Ghent is €118, while the average daily cost in Brussels is €137. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Ghent and Brussels in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Ghent 72
    Brussels 73
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Ghent 144
    Brussels 146
Compare Hotels in Ghent and Brussels

Looking for a hotel in Ghent or Brussels? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Ghent


Hotels in Brussels


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Ghent Hotel Prices and Brussels Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Ghent 19
    Brussels 17

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Ghent

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Ghent:

  • Departure Private Transfer from Ghent City to Brussels Airport by Luxury Van: $166
  • Ghent <-> Amsterdam Shuttle Transfer (1 to 8 Seats): $228
  • Ostend Airport (OST) to Brussels - Arrival Private Transfer: $39
  • Private Roundtrip Transfer Ostend Airport to Brussels : $78
  • Transfer Ghent <-> Luxembourg (1 to 8 places): $232
  • Transfer Ghent <-> Schipol Airport Amsterdam (1 to 8 Places): $174

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Brussels

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Brussels are as follows:


  • Subway Pass
    4.50
  • Atomium train ticket (2)
    8.00

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Brussels

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Brussels:

  • Brussels Airport: Transfer to/from Gent Sint Pieters Station: $11
  • Airport Transfer to/from Lille City Center: $16
  • City hotels to Brussels Airport(BRU) - Departure Private Transfer: $24
  • Private Transfer from Brussels City to Brussels Airport(BRU): $44
  • Airport Arrivals Private Transfer to the City: $60
  • Arrival Transfer from Brussels Train Station to Brussels by Sedan: $64
  • Arrival Private Transfer Brussels Train Station to Brussels by Luxury Car or Van: $68
  • VIP Transfer between City/ Airport and Ghent: $69
  • Airport transfers from Brussels to Zaventem Brussels airport by luxury car: $74
  • Brussels Zaventem Airport Private Transfer from/to Brussels: $75
  • Brussels City all area to Brussels Airport BRU - Private Airport transfer 1-7pax: $75
  • Brussels City all area to Brussels Airport BRU - Private Airport transfer 1-3pax: $75

Is it cheaper to fly into Ghent or Brussels?

Prices for flights to both Brussels and Ghent change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Ghent 35
    Brussels 38

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Ghent

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Ghent.

  • Walking food tour: Introduction to Ghent through food: $101
  • Small-Group Food Tour in Ghent by Bike: $157

Typical Food Prices in Brussels

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Brussels:


  • Ice Cream & Macaroons
    4.60
  • Dessert (Turkish Delights)
    4.75
  • Cheese
    5.60
  • Olives and Snacks
    6.98
  • Waffle
    3.00

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Brussels

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Brussels.

  • Hard Rock Cafe with Set Menu for Lunch or Dinner: $28
  • Hard Rock Cafe Brussels with Set Lunch or Dinner : $29
  • City Center Guided Food Tour with Tastings: $61
  • Food Tour in Brussels - Do Eat Better Experience: $106
  • Brussels Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours: $130
  • Secret Food Tours Brussels: $136
  • Market Tour and Cooking Lesson with a Belgian Gourmet Meal in a Brussels Home: $160
  • Private Food Tour – 10 Tastings with Locals: $162
  • Brussels Private Custom Food Tour with a Local Foodie : $190

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Ghent 8.64
    Brussels 23

Tours and Activities in Ghent

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Ghent are as follows:

  • First Discovery Walk and Reading Walking Tour: $3.20
  • Evening Tour of the Dark Side of Gent: $3.25
  • Historical Walking Tour: Legends of Gent: $3.25
  • Gastronomic Walking Tour of Gent - Tasters included: $3.25
  • Ghent city tour: audio guide in your smartphone: $5.33
  • Self Guided City Audio Tour in Ghent: $5.43
  • Hidden A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.99
  • Escape Game and Tour: $6.93
  • Ghent Scavenger Hunt and Best Landmarks Self-Guided Tour: $7.06
  • Self-Guided Highlights Scavenger Hunt & Walking Tour: $7.99
  • Walking Tour with Audio Guide on App: $9.32
  • 40-Minute Historical Boat Tour of City Center: $11

Tours and Activities in Brussels

Here are a few actual costs in Brussels for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • First Discovery Walk and Reading Walking Tour: $3.20
  • Evening Tour: The Dark Side of Brussels: $3.25
  • Free Tour of Brussels in Italian (with booking fee): $3.25
  • BELvue Belgium History Museum Entry Ticket: $5.33
  • A Self-Guided Tour of Brussels' Secret Places and Untold Stories: $5.99
  • City Exploration Game and Tour on your Phone: $6.38
  • City Exploration Game and Tour: $6.39
  • Highlights Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt and Tour: $6.93
  • Museum Halle Gate Entry Ticket: $7.46
  • Walking Tour with Audio Guide on App: $7.99
  • Brussels’ Noble Beginnings: An Upper Town Audio Tour: $7.99
  • A Self-Guided Tour of Medieval to Modern Times: $7.99

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Ghent 18
    Brussels 13

Sample the Local Flavors in Ghent

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Ghent:

  • Ghent Pub Trail : Pub crawl with interactive online game: $12
  • Private Ghent Beer & Brewery Tour by a young local: $244

Typical Alcohol Prices in Brussels

Some typical examples of the costs for nightlife and alcohol in Brussels are as follows:


  • Bottle of Wine
    10
  • Beer
    6.00

Sample the Local Flavors in Brussels

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Brussels:

  • Pub Crawl and Nightlife Party Experience: $18


When comparing the travel costs between Ghent and Brussels, we can see that Brussels is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in Europe, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Ghent Expensive? and Is Brussels Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Ghent or Brussels?

Brussels has a larger population, and is about 4 times larger than the population of Ghent. When comparing the sizes of Ghent and Brussels, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Ghent or Brussels?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Ghent or Brussels in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Ghent and Brussels. The summer months attract visitors to Ghent because of the family-friendly experiences. Also, the city activities and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Brussels this time of year.

Ghent is around the same temperature as Brussels in the summer. The daily temperature in Ghent averages around 17°C (63°F) in July, and Brussels fluctuates around 18°C (65°F).

In Ghent, it's very sunny this time of the year. Ghent usually receives more sunshine than Brussels during summer. Ghent gets 202 hours of sunny skies, while Brussels receives 186 hours of full sun in the summer.

In July, Ghent usually receives less rain than Brussels. Ghent gets 66 mm (2.6 in) of rain, while Brussels receives 75 mm (3 in) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Ghent 17°C (63°F) 
    Brussels 18°C (65°F)

Should I visit Ghent or Brussels in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Ghent as well as Brussels. The shopping scene and the natural beauty of the area are the main draw to Ghent this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Brussels for the city's sights and attractions and the shopping scene.

In the autumn, Ghent is around the same temperature as Brussels. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Ghent in October average around 12°C (54°F), and Brussels averages at about 12°C (54°F).

In the autumn, Ghent often gets less sunshine than Brussels. Ghent gets 105 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Brussels receives 114 hours of full sun.

Ghent usually gets more rain in October than Brussels. Ghent gets 78 mm (3.1 in) of rain, while Brussels receives 70 mm (2.8 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Ghent 12°C (54°F) 
    Brussels 12°C (54°F)

Should I visit Ghent or Brussels in the Winter?

Both Brussels and Ghent are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. Many travelers come to Ghent for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Also, many visitors come to Brussels in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

Brussels can get quite cold in the winter. Be prepared for some very cold days in Ghent. In January, Ghent is generally around the same temperature as Brussels. Daily temperatures in Ghent average around 3°C (38°F), and Brussels fluctuates around 3°C (38°F).

Ghent usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Brussels during winter. Ghent gets 47 hours of sunny skies, while Brussels receives 49 hours of full sun in the winter.

In January, Ghent usually receives less rain than Brussels. Ghent gets 59 mm (2.3 in) of rain, while Brussels receives 67 mm (2.6 in) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Ghent 3°C (38°F) 
    Brussels 3°C (38°F)

Should I visit Ghent or Brussels in the Spring?

Both Brussels and Ghent during the spring are popular places to visit. Many visitors come to Ghent in the spring for the natural beauty. Furthermore, most visitors come to Brussels for the activities around the city during these months.

Ghent is cooler than Brussels in the spring. The daily temperature in Ghent averages around 8°C (47°F) in April, and Brussels fluctuates around 10°C (49°F).

In the spring, Ghent often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Brussels. Ghent gets 158 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Brussels receives 147 hours of full sun.

Ghent usually gets less rain in April than Brussels. Ghent gets 45 mm (1.8 in) of rain, while Brussels receives 57 mm (2.2 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Ghent 8°C (47°F) 
    Brussels 10°C (49°F)

Typical Weather for Brussels and Ghent

Ghent Brussels
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 3°C (38°F) 59 mm (2.3 in) 3°C (38°F) 67 mm (2.6 in)
Feb 3°C (38°F) 44 mm (1.7 in) 4°C (39°F) 53 mm (2.1 in)
Mar 6°C (42°F) 55 mm (2.2 in) 6°C (43°F) 72 mm (2.8 in)
Apr 8°C (47°F) 45 mm (1.8 in) 10°C (49°F) 57 mm (2.2 in)
May 12°C (54°F) 49 mm (1.9 in) 14°C (57°F) 71 mm (2.8 in)
Jun 15°C (59°F) 62 mm (2.4 in) 17°C (62°F) 79 mm (3.1 in)
Jul 17°C (63°F) 66 mm (2.6 in) 18°C (65°F) 75 mm (3 in)
Aug 18°C (64°F) 67 mm (2.6 in) 18°C (65°F) 63 mm (2.5 in)
Sep 16°C (60°F) 62 mm (2.4 in) 16°C (60°F) 59 mm (2.3 in)
Oct 12°C (54°F) 78 mm (3.1 in) 12°C (54°F) 70 mm (2.8 in)
Nov 7°C (45°F) 75 mm (2.9 in) 7°C (45°F) 76 mm (3 in)
Dec 5°C (40°F) 71 mm (2.8 in) 4°C (40°F) 76 mm (3 in)