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Bruges, an invitation to stroll Visit Bruges

Bruges, known as the 'Pearl of Flanders' or the 'Venice of the North' is the most touristy city in the north of Belgium. Take advantage of our essential tips to discover this medieval city that has retained the splendour of its architectural heritage. From The Market Square (Markt) and Minnewater to the Beguinage and the Groeningemuseum with its Flemish primitives, wander along its streets on foot or explore them by bike or even carriage to immerse yourself completely in its soul (and romance).

As in our article on Ghent, we have selected the best places to eat because any city break worth its salt leaves plenty of time for culinary pleasures!

10 musts in Bruges

SEE

  • Bruges' canals (and the small boats) are an integral part of the 'Venice of the North's' tourist attractions. The city is very attached to water; it is an ancient merchant town that earned its wealth from maritime trade. So why not visit one of the most photogenic parts of the city, Dijver and Rozenhoedkaai, stroll along the canal to Arentshuis, cross the Arentshof gardens and the Bonifacius Bridge, which offers a wonderful view?
  • Dating from the 14th century, the Bruges city hall (Stadhuis) is not to be missed. See its gothic room, splendid mural paintings and multicoloured vault, a work of art in itself. Next to the city hall, visit the Basilica of the Holy Blood, located on Burg square. It consists of two attached churches, the Chapel of Saint Basil and the Chapel of the Holy Blood, which is home to a relic containing the blood of Christ. 
  • Head to the south of the city to find Minnewater, the 'Lake of Love'. According to popular legend, lovers who make a wish on the bridge will love each other for ever. How romantic! Take the time to explore the eponymous park that is calm and intimate.
  • Another of the city's unmissable attractions is the Princely Beguinage Ten Wijngaarde. Founded in 1245, it bears witness to the influence of the Beguines, celibate women or widows devoted to god. It comprises picturesque houses with white fronts, a large convent garden and a church. One of the houses has been turned into a museum so visitors can get an idea of what life was like at the time.
Bruges
Bruges

DO

  • Admire the skyline of Bruges, the view of the city and the Markt (main square) from the belfry. You will need all your patience as there are 366 steps to climb to reach the top, which stands 83 metres tall. Tip: visit early in the morning, as the site attracts many visitors.
  • What would Bruges be without the Flemish primitives? Visit the Groeningemuseum to see, among others, masterpieces by Jan van Eyck, Hans Memling, Hugo van de Goes or Gerard David. The remarkable collection of Flemish expressionist paintings also deserves a special mention: Permeke, De Smet, Brusselmans and more.
  • In addition to its rich cultural and artistic past, Bruges is full of unusual museums such as the museums of chips, beer, lace and diamonds. They offer an original alternative if the weather is gloomy when you visit the city ;-) 

EAT

  • Belgium is known for its chocolate, beer and waffles, and Bruges is no exception! Fancy a break for some food? Visit Go.fre and try an original waffle eaten off a stick like a lolly. For the classic version, Chez Albert is the place to go.
  • Located in the historical centre, De Halve Maan is an authentic traditional brasserie. An artisan business (six generations of restauranteurs since 1856), the brasserie is the ideal place for a natter over the local beer, the Brugse Zot.
  • What do you fancy today? Mussels and chips at Poule Moule? Flemish rabbit at De Torre? Or as many ribs as you can eat at BONES? Or, even better, a waterzooi or Flemish carbonade at the restaurant De Vlaamsche Pot. The choice is yours!
Bruges