The city of Brugge does boast striking architecture, charming canals, great beer and delicious chocolate, while a relatively small city, it is packed also with great restaurants, fascinating attractions, a variety of fun things to do and more charm and allure than expected. Here are our top picks to explore!
1. The Belfry tower – a Unesco World Heritage Site – stands the Belfort, a bell tower built in the fifteenth century.
This is Bruges’ unmissable attraction – the Eiffel Tower or Empire State Building of the city if you will. Make the 366-step climb on the hour to hear the tower’s incredible ensemble of bells ringing out their special tunes.
2. The canal. The best way to see the Gothic city is by cruising its waterways by boat.
You can see the city by horse and carriage or by foot but the best way to see it’s beautiful architecture is by water. Canals weave their way through the historic center of Brugges and stretch off into the city beyond. Beautiful buildings stretch off in every direction with the rugged skylines reflecting in the water. Boats depart from jetties around the city throughout the day and evening – and the captains are all full of information, anecdotes and fun stories of the city’s bloodline: the water.
3. Brugge Markt
This market square has been holding a weekly market since 985. The Market Square , in the shadow of the majestic belfry tower, was the scene of mediëval festivals, fairs, tournaments, uprisings and executions. A place full of history!
Today, the square serves as e meeting place for the locals and the three tot four million visitors who flock to the town every year. The most striking building is without any doubt the Belfry.
4. The Lover’s Bridge and Lake of Love
The Lake of Love is an oasis of calm in the middle of Minnewater Park, a haven of peace and tranquility with the picturesque and romantic Lover’s Bridge at its heart. Rumor has it that if you cross the bridge with your partner and kiss, your love will last forever.
5. Basilica of the Holy Blood
The Basilica of the Holy Blood is a beautiful renaissance building consisting of two churches and is best known for a small phial inside said to contain a cloth with the blood of Jesus Christ on it.
6. Chocolatier Dumon
Chocolate has to be one of Belgium’s most famous exports. And in Bruges you have more choice then you could possibly imagine, but there’s one chocolatier you shouldn’t leave this city without visiting – Chocolatier Dumon.
Chocolatier Dumon is one of Belgium’s most well-known brands of chocolate but the giant’s tiny, charming shop just off the Markt is a delightfully, authentic building. Watch your head as you step down into this higgledy-piggledy shop filled with chocolates.
7. Visit Historium
One of the square’s most prominent buildings has recently been renovated into the Historium. This unusual museum has been set up to be a 3D flashback to Bruges’ Golden Age, as told through the eyes of one of Jan Van Eyck’s young apprentices. The magical “reality” is truly wonderful – so realistic and fun!
8. Take a tour of beer craft at the De Halve Maan Brewery
This authentic brewery in the centro of Bruges is a family business with a tradition stretching back through six generations to 1856. This is where the Bruges city beer – the Brugse Zot – is brewed: a strong-tasting, high-fermentation beer based on malt, hops and special yeast. In 2016 a unique underground beer pipeline, some 3 km long, was laid from the brewery to the bottling plant in the suburbs. Daily tours of the brewery are organized, at the end of which visitors are offered a free glass of Brugse Zot blond beer.
De Halve Maan Brewery
9. Take a private walking tour of Brugge
Delight in a private guided tour through one of the most charming medieval cities in Europe with a complete Belgian experience from picture perfect canals and bridges to local legends and chocolate.
10. Take a moment to reflect on your new experiences at Begijnhof
Here you find an open tranquil area which makes for a nice place for quiet walks away from the crowded streets.
Within the Begijnhof grounds, there is a small museum dedicated to the convent garden and a 13th-century church that can be visited. During April when the daffodils are in bloom the Begijnhof grounds are just beautiful to see and well worth making time for even during the shortest of visits to Bruges.