A small, cozy city with a striking amount of cultural heritage
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Meandering through Bruges in Belgium is delightful. This small city has a surprising number of heritage buildings, and especially the historic centre has been well preserved. It’s a great place to spend a weekend.
Meandering through alleyways and over bridges, while marvelling at the historic buildings, and delectable scents come out of restaurants. That’s Bruges in a nutshell. Many buildings were enhanced in the 19th century; restored or rebuilt in a neo-gothic style, though many houses are centuries older.
Boat tours on the canals are very popular, as are the many restaurants and bars in the city. It’s a wonderful place to visit, especially outside of peak season.
Bruges is a picturesque city, especially outside the high season. These are the most beautiful sights of Bruges. With also some nice excursions to do. These are both well-known and lesser known tours.
The market is the central point of the city. You will find some important attractions here, but also a lot of cosiness with restaurants, terraces and shops. It is a lovely place to stroll around, do some shopping, eat and drink. Especially at the end of the day this is a good place to be.
The Belfry Tower of Bruges stands proudly in the Grand Place. This famous tower dates back to the 13th century and is 83 meters high. One of the best excursions is to climb the tower for a wonderful view of the city. You can hear the carillonneur here when he rings the bells.
The Historium is a historical museum about the Golden Age in Bruges. It's a state-of-the-art museum. This will give you an understanding of where the city’s wealth comes from. Also look over the city from the courtyard. It's a stunning view.
The name The Duvelorium is absolutely amazing, if you’re a beer lover you’ll understand why. This is a café of the well-known Duvel beers. You will also find various other Belgian beers on tap. Sit by the window if you can, because the view over the market is showing the beauty of Bruges. The Duvelorium is in the same building as the Historium.
The Basilica of the Holy Blood is famous for a bottle with a drop of blood from Christ. The blood drop is said to have been taken by Dietrich of Alsace in 1149 after the Second Crusade. The interior of the church is beautiful with stained glass windows.
The city's canals are well known. The best way to experience this is a boat tour. There are several tours you can book. Pay particular attention to the time of day. If you want to take photos, it is best early in the morning or late in the day. Especially when the sun is shining.
The Bonifacius Bridge is the most famous bridge in Bruges. This is also due to the stately houses around it. Good pictures can be taken here, especially when the boats are passing by.
The De Halve Maan Brewery is famous throughout Belgium. The only Bruges beer, Halve Maan, is made at this brewery. During the brewery tour you will learn everything about the beer, taste the beer and its history. The view of Bruges from the brewery is worth a look. You will find the brewery on the very beautiful Walplein.
The Arentshof is a garden near the famous Arentshuis. The name comes from Aquilin Arents de Beerteghem, who was the owner of the property in the 19th century. You can take a lovely walk and enjoy the various works of art in the park.
From the Arentshof you can walk to the Church of Our Lady. It is no less than 115.6 meters high, so you can see it from a long way. Here lies, among other things, the grave of Mary of Burgundy. She was queen of the Netherlands in the 15th century. The tomb of her father Karel de Stoute can also be seen. In addition, you will find the famous statue Mary with Child by Michelangelo.
Choco Story is the now famous chocolate museum of Bruges. The city is very well known for its chocolate, but how did that come about? In the museum you will learn everything about Belgian chocolate. The excursion includes a tasting.
The Groeninge Museum is famous for its fine arts. Especially Belgian paintings, also known as Flemish paintings. You can see arts from well-known painters such as Jheronimus Bosch, Albert Cuyp, Jan van Eyk and Jan Provoost in this museum. It's not particularly big, but it's worth a visit.
More info: visitbruges.be/groeningemuseum
Believe it or not, the Frietmuseum, or French fries museum, really exists. Belgians take pride in their fries, as they believe they are the inventors of the fries as a meal. Just look around and you’ll see people eating it. In this museum you can see how the Flemish fries conquered the world. And of course, the tour includes tasting the fries in variations.
The Beguinage Ten Wijngaerde is known for its beautiful white houses. And it's a lovely place to chill out. You will find the Beguinage at the Minnewater.
The Sint-Jans hospitaal is not only beautiful, but also known for the old pharmacy and herb garden. When you visit St. John's Hospital you will hear everything about the building from the 12th century. Not only the locals were taken care of, but also travellers and pilgrims. Which was not common in that era. The former hospital is beautifully located along the water.
One of the best ways to experience the city is by bike. You can do this yourself, bikes can be rented in different locations. But the cycling tour can also be done with a guide. There are tours where you ride along the most beautiful places, and get an explanation about the city.
The city is remarkably small. Partly because of this you can see all the attractions relatively quickly. It's a good idea to spend the night in the city. Then you get to see how beautiful the city is in the evening, and also experience the city waking up early in the morning. So you can go out before other tourists.
You can reach Bruges easily by public transport. The train station is located southwest of the city, so it’s a quick walk into town. Therefore it is better to travel by train than by car. The parking is very pricey and you don't really need the car.
Bruges is very popular with day trippers, which makes it too busy in the summer months. It also gets crowded on the weekends in spring and autumn. Visiting during the week is better, it is best to visit the outside highlights early in the day. At the busiest part of the day you can visit a museum or other indoor attractions.