Originally the residence of the Count of Flanders and the birthplace of Charles V in 1500, the Prinsenhof was a walled castle with 300 rooms, a zoo and a pleasure garden. In the late 18th century the crumbling palace was repurposed as a sugar refinery, soap factory and cotton mill; little remains of the original compound. Today, it's a vibrant neighbourhood, home to the Prinsenhoffeesten, held each September.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Ghent attractions

1. Gravensteen

0.18 MILES

Flanders’ quintessential 12th-century stone castle comes complete with moat, turrets and arrow slits. It’s all the more remarkable considering that during…

2. Oude Begijnhof


Ghent has three widely separated begijnhoven; Oude Begijnhof is Ghent's most central. Unlike other surviving areas, there's no remnant enclosing wall so…

3. Design Museum

0.21 MILES

A vast toilet-roll sculpture humorously marks the back side of this museum, which has a collection specialising in furnishings including baroque, art…

4. Patershol

0.23 MILES

Dotted with half-hidden restaurants, enchanting Patershol is a web of twisting cobbled lanes. Its old-world houses were once home to leather tradesmen and…

5. Grasbrug

0.24 MILES

To admire Ghent’s towers and gables at their most photogenic, stand just west of the little Grasbrug bridge over the Leie at dusk. It’s a truly gorgeous…

6. Graslei

0.27 MILES

Ships have been docking on either side of the River Leie since the 11th century. The area on the east bank is known as Graslei; Korenlei is on the west…

7. Korenlei

0.27 MILES

The Korenlei area is on the west bank of the River Leie; Graslei is on the east bank.

8. Huis van Alijn

0.29 MILES

Set in a restored 1363 children’s hospice complex, this delightful museum examines everyday life from the 1890s to the present, with a fabulous emphasis…