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Graslei, Ghent – The Most Picturesque Spot in the City

The Graslei is a picturesque area in the historic city center of Ghent, Belgium, a city full of wonderful landmarks.

It’s a quay along the Leie River lined with stunning medieval structures that used to serve as guild halls, warehouses, and trading houses.

The architecture reflects various styles spanning several centuries, creating a beautiful and unique atmosphere.

Some of the most notable landmarks in this part of the city are:

Guild houses

The guildhouses were historically owned by different trade guilds. They display unique architectural features and were once used as meeting places for various guild members.

Graslei Ghent
Graslei Ghent

The Spijker

This building was a medieval warehouse for storing grain. It features a stepped gable and is one of the iconic structures along the Graslei.

Spijker Ghent
Spijker, Ghent

Guild House of the Free Boatmen

This guild house belonged to the free boatmen, who were important in the city’s trade and transportation along the river.

Guild House of the Free Boatmen
Guild House of the Free Boatmen


Though not directly on the Graslei, the Korenlei is the opposite quay across the river and features buildings similar in style and historical significance to those on the Graslei.

What’s remarkable is the fact that many of these structures have been repurposed for modern uses, such as restaurants, cafes, and offices, while still retaining their historic facades.

Korenlei Ghent
Korenlei Ghent

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The picturesque views aren’t the only reason why this is a hotspot for tourists. The Graslei is surrounded by other amazing feats of architecture that are located just walking distance away.

Some of these include:

St. Michael’s Bridge (Sint-Michielsbrug)

This bridge offers a picturesque view of the Graslei and Korenlei from a distance. It’s a beautiful spot to take in the panorama of the historic buildings along the river.

St. Michael’s Church (Sint-Michielskerk)

Situated near the Graslei, this church is known for its impressive tower and stunning interior with notable artwork and religious artifacts.

Saint Michaels Church and Saint Michaels Bridge
Saint Michael’s Church and Saint Michael’s Bridge

Castle of the Counts (Gravensteen)

Not far from the Graslei, this medieval castle stands as a prominent landmark. It’s a well-preserved medieval fortress with a moat, dungeons, and towers, offering insights into medieval life.

Gravensteen ghent

Saint Nicholas Church

Saint Nicholas Church is one of the 3 major landmarks that dominate the historic center of Ghent. It’s a beautiful Romanesque building that is quite imposing as well.

Saint Nicholas Church Ghent
Saint Nicholas Church Ghent

Belfry of Ghent

The Belfry of Ghent is the second of the three tallest buildings of medieval Ghent and is possibly even more imposing than Saint Nicholas Church. It’s quite an experience to behold this monumental tower.

Belfry of Ghent location
Belfry of Ghent location

St. Bavo’s Cathedral (Sint-Baafskathedraal)

This cathedral is a short walk from the Graslei and is famous for its stunning Gothic architecture, including the Van Eyck brothers’ famous altarpiece, “The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb.”

St Bavos Cathedral in Ghent Saint Bavos Square
St Bavo’s Cathedral

Old Fish Market (Oude Vismijn)

Close to the Graslei, this historic building was once a fish market. Today, it hosts events and exhibitions, showcasing the city’s cultural heritage.

Vismijn Ghent
Oude Vismijn

Ghent City Hall (Stadhuis van Gent)

Located not too far away, this stunning Gothic-style building is a masterpiece of Flemish Renaissance architecture as well and is still used as the city’s administrative center.

Ghent City Hall
Ghent City Hall

The Graslei is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike, offering a scenic view of the river and historic buildings that showcase Ghent’s rich history.

With all the surrounding beauty, it’s hard to deny that Ghent is one of the most stunning medieval cities in the world, don’t you think?

Graslei Aerial View
Aerial view of the quay / Zairon / Wiki Commons