If you set out to design a fairy-tale medieval town, it would be hard to improve on central Bruges (Brugge in Dutch). Picturesque cobbled lanes and dreamy canals link photogenic market squares lined with soaring towers, historic churches and old whitewashed almshouses. And there’s plenty of it.
There’s a special charm in spring when daffodils carpet the tranquil courtyard of the historic retreat, or in winter when you can have the magnificent and icy town almost to yourself. Don’t miss Hof Bladelin, Groeninge Museum, Church of Our Lady, and Belfry and Market Halls or rather let us help you with the best places to visit in Bruges!
1. The Grote Markt
The Markt is the place to be in Bruges, full of life, buzzing with people, music & restaurants.
This square was the medieval commercial center of the city. It houses the city's most impressive monuments, Belfry, Cloth Hall and the Provincial Palace, nowadays the seat of West Flanders Provincial Court.
If you are inclined to go on a carriage ride, here is where you can pick one up. The horse carriages are a lot of fun!
2. The Belfort
City's most prominent symbols, the Belfry is a medieval bell tower in the center of Bruges, Belgium.
The most important of Bruges' towers stands 83 meters tall. It houses, among other things, a carillon with 47 melodious bells. In the reception area, waiting visitors can discover all kinds of interesting information about the history and working of this unique world-heritage site. Those who take on the challenge of climbing the tower can pause for a breather on the way up in the old treasury, where the city's charters, seal, and public funds were kept during the Middle Ages. You should also check out the impressive clock and the carillonneur's chamber.
Finally, after a tiring 366 steps, your efforts will be rewarded with a breath-taking and unforgettable panoramic view of Bruges and her surroundings.
3. The Chocolate Museum
Private Bruges tour for Foodies and chocolate lovers.
It is a museum with exhibits on the history of chocolate, plus demonstrations, samples & a gift shop. Wildly experimental flavors by 'shock-o-latier' Dominique Persoone include bitter Coca-Cola, Cuban cigar, wasabi and black olive, tomato and basil. It also sells pots of chocolate body paint :)
4. Groeninge museum
Artwork from Jan van Eyck to Hieronymus Bosch, Jan Provoost and much more!!
Bruges’ most celebrated art gallery boasts an astonishingly rich collection whose strengths are its superb Flemish Primitive and Renaissance works. In room 2 are meditative works including Jan Van Eyck’s 1436 radiant masterpiece Madonna with Canon George Van der Paele (1436) and the Madonna by the Master of the Embroidered Foliage, where the rich fabric of Madonna’s robe meets the ‘real’ foliage at her feet with exquisite detail.
5. Boat ride on the canals
The historic center of Bruges has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage. Site since 2000 thanks to its status as one of the commercial and cultural capitals of Europe and its enduring Gothic architecture. The Belgian city center is cited as a great example of a medieval historic settlement, even while it has evolved over the years. Whatever yo do, we strongly recommend that you take a boat ride around the city! A boat ride is a perfect way to enjoy the views this beautiful place has to offer.
6. Basilica of the Holy Blood
Known for the crystal vial kept inside that is reputed to contain a drop of Christ's blood brought back from the Holy Land
The Basilica of the Holy Blood (Heilig-Bloedbasiliek) presides over the central plaza known as the Burg. The church is famous for the crystal vial kept inside that is reputed to contain a drop of Christ's blood brought back from the Holy Land by Dietrich of Alsace in 1149 on his return from the Second Crusade. Each year in May, this sacred relic is carried through the streets of Bruges in the Procession of the Holy Blood. The facade of the basilica with its three Flamboyant-style arches and gilded statues was erected between 1529 and 1534. An elegant spiral staircase leads to the upper chapel (built in 1480) where every Friday the vial containing the Holy Blood is brought out and shown to the faithful.
7. Stadhuis or the Bruges Town Hall
The oldest and the most creative building in Bruges!
On the southeast side of the Burg is Bruges' Town Hall (Stadhuis), one of the oldest in Belgium, having been constructed between 1376 and 1420. The facade of the delicate Gothic building displays the strong vertical emphasis characteristic of the style, with soaring pilasters, three of which end in octagonal turrets, separated by tall Gothic arched windows. Statues of the counts of Flanders from Baldwin Iron Arm onwards fill the 49 niches. Inside, don't miss the great Gothic Hall on the first floor with its beautiful timber vaulting, which dates from 1402, and its murals recording events in the town's history by A and J de Vriendt (1895-1900).
So what ae you wating for ? Pack your bags and get going!! If you are in France or Belgium, you just can't miss Brugge!