Hailed the world over for its entrancing beauty, Bruges is a fairytale city. Bestowed with the title of UNESCO World Heritage City, this Belgium city is a ménage of picturesque historical and architectural edifices. The city’s cobbled lanes, beautiful canals, and splendid architecture give it a charm that is unique, standing out from its European counterparts. You can spend days in the city photographing each and every beautiful sight and still not have your fill.
Bruges is located in the province of West Flanders in Belgium.
Facts about Bruges
- Due to its beauty, it has been used as a setting for many movies and TV shows including the Hollywood movie – In Bruges.
- Andrew the Apostle is the Patron Saint of Bruges.
- It is well-known for its lace.
Places to Visit in Bruges
Historic Centre of Bruges: An UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000, the Historic Centre of Bruges is definitely one of the most picturesque locations in the city. An outstanding example of an architectural ensemble, the Historic Centre of Bruges houses the Church of Our Lady (a brilliant example of stonemason’s art) and the sculpture of Madonna and Child by Michelangelo. The medieval and gothic architecture of the area is perfectly complemented by the cobblestone streets and the canals, and the view is enough to transport visitors back to a much elegant and resplendent time.
The Markt: This city square located at the heart of the city is the commercial center that is decked with glorious classicist buildings and the 13th-century towering building of Belfry of Bruges, also known as the Halletoren. Climbing to the top of the Belfry of Bruges is a must to enjoy a panoramic view of the whole city, but you have to ascend a narrow, steep staircase of 366 steps. Once you are through taking pictures of this neo-Gothic styled provincial belfry and adjacent medieval buildings, you can take a ride in a horse-drawn carriage and then take a break at one of the many chic cafés that line the square.
Groeningemuseum: A trip to the museum is a must for art connoisseurs. Providing an overview of the history of Belgian visual art, the museum is renowned for its vast collection of Flemish Primitive paintings. It also has other masterpieces like Jan van Eyck’s Virgin and Child with Canon van der Paele and Hans Memling’s Moreel Triptych among the chefs-d’oeuvres of Hugo van der Goes, Robert Campin, and Rogier van der Weyden. The museum also has a number of Renaissance works, 18th– and 19th-century neoclassical pieces, Greco-Roman style paintings, more examples of Flemish Expressionism and post-war modern art.
Basilica of the Holy Blood: The basilica is quite unique as the lower half (Chapel of Saint Basil) has a Romanesque design of West-Flanders, while the upper floor (Chapel of the Holy Blood) has a stunning gothic architecture. This curious combination of two different architectural styles of the basilica is reason enough to garner a visit. In the Chapel of the Holy Blood, there is a small vial that is said to contain a cloth with blood of Jesus Christ, which is paraded each year during the Procession of the Holy Blood by the Bishop of Bruges.
De Halve Maan Brewery: Belgium has a history of producing some of the finest beer in the world and De Halve Maan Brewery is a testament to that history. The records of the brewery go all the way back to the 16th century and it has been continuously producing beer on the Walplein in Bruges since 1856. The brewery not only offers tours of the facility but also free samples making it a must for any beer lover. Overlooking the dreamy canals, a cozy fireplace, a state-of-the-art brewery, and a beautiful terrace, you can enjoy your meal amidst wondrous environs.
Choco-Story Museum: Belgian Chocolate is considered to be one of the best in the world, so where better to learn about the world’s biggest addiction! The Choco-Story Museum will let you know everything about chocolate, its history, as well as some recipes. There, you may meet some experts who are more than willing to answer any and all questions you may have about chocolate.
Frietmuseum: The Frietmuseum is the world’s only museum that is dedicated to Belgian potato fries. The ground floor is dedicated to the history of potatoes, while the first floor is all about potato fries and Belgium’s love affair with them. In their basement, there is a café where visitors can try some potato fries and know why Belgians love fries so much.
Burg Square: The place is full of history. It houses buildings which highlight various architectural styles ranging from Neo-Classicist to Renaissance to Gothic. The Gothic Town Hall or Stadhuis, which is considered as the city’ most beautiful building, is also here.
Chocolates & Happiness: This is one of those places that bring the quote ‘find happiness in small things’ to life. Located in the townhouse ‘The Peckepuut,’ it offers stylish souvenirs, artisan products and of course, the fine chocolates.
Accommodation in Bruges
As a major city of the country, Bruges offers a number of accommodation options for tourists. Budget travelers can check out Pickery B&B or Europ Hotel, while mid-range travelers can stay at Hotel Albert 1 or Anselmus Hotel. High-end travelers should definitely consider Hotel Dukes’ Palace or Aragon Hotel.
Best time to visit Bruges
The weather from June to August is usually the warmest of the year making that time the best to visit Bruges.
How to Reach?
By Air: Bruges is serviced by Ostend-Bruges International Airport.
By Rail: The Brussels-South station is the center for international train travel in Belgium and is about 105 kms (65 miles) away from Bruges. A drive takes around an hour and a half.
More on Bruges
How far is Bruges from Amsterdam?
Bruges is about 269 kms (167 miles) away from Amsterdam by road. A drive will take about three hours.
What are the official languages in Belgium?
The official languages of Belgium are Dutch, French and German.
What is the weather like in Bruges?
Bruges has a mild climate with warm summers and cool winters. There is moderate rainfall in Bruges all throughout the year, so an umbrella is a necessity.