Taking a trip to Bruges means to enter the enchanted world of Flanders, made of redstone houses and romantic canals, small breweries and candy shops.
The streets resound with the trotting horses pulling carriages for tourists, the alleys smell of chocolate and sugar. During the day, the air of Bruges is full of songs: the 48 bells of the Belfry - the bell tower - make the city sing and dance from morning to night.
Go to the beautiful Market Square to enjoy the colours of the stately homes of the ancient aristocracy and, if you really want to know this beautiful city, visit the HIstorium: an interactive museum in which you will discover the life led in Bruges and Flanders in the XV century and understand where all the Flemish elegance that the city still exudes today comes from.
Click on a picture to open the full-width gallery
Port of landing and storage of valuable raw materials such as English wool and Indian dyes, Bruges became a prestigious manufacturing centre. It is no coincidence that in the city today you can still find the finest lace, the best chocolate, and amazing wrought-iron works of art
If the great Flemish architecture is the most striking aspect of the city, a boat trip on the canals is a wonderful experience for those who are in a romantic mood. On the other side, if you want to breathe the real spirit of this part of Europe, step in the many cosy shops to appreciate the commercial identity of Bruges. We are not talking about the chain stores that nowadays uniform many city centres, but the independent shops that are found in the minor roads, the ones that tell the true story of the territory in which they are located.
Beer lovers will feel like babies in Toyland, spoiled for choice among typical breweries, tasting tours and shops packed with bottles of all kinds.
If you are a fan of the sacred architecture, head to the beautiful Burg Square and visit the Basilica of the Holy Blood: its Gothic façade, the frescoes and the stained glass windows, the golden details and the richness of the decorations make it the most interesting church in the city. From here, on every Ascension day starts a procession dedicated to the Blood of Jesus Christ, brought to Bruges from the Holy Land during the Crusades (although this seems to be a false history fact). The relic is kept in the chapel of the Basilica in a vial made of gold, silver and precious stones that weighs 30 kg.
Walking in the streets of Bruges you will not fail to see the 122-meter-high tower of the Church of Our Lady, another city's landmark: in it there is the statue of Michelangelo "Madonna and Child". Besides, the hospital of St. John, today a museum and cultural hub but once upon a time a refuge for the pilgrims and a hospital for those infected by the plague.
If you want to enjoy a quiet corner, go to the Beguinage, a place of silence and prayer where once the unmarried women (which increased greatly after the wars) used to live a retired life. Today it is a convent of Benedictine nuns with a small park and a museum. The Flemish Beguinage were declared Unesco World Heritage in 1998.
If you visit Bruges in summer or in other crowded periods, you will be able to enjoy the city more at dusk, when the day tourists leave and you can have your deserved plate of mussels with an amazing Trappist beer in complete quietness.
Admission € 13,50
MINI CRUISE ON THE CANALS
€ 8 for 30 minutes, departures from the pier (see map).
The BELFRY, BELL TOWER
83-meter-high Tower on the top of which (after 366 steps) a great view of the city can be enjoyed.
BASILICA OF THE HOLY BLOOD
The Romanesque crypt (ground floor) and the upper basilica (first floor) are free.
Museum admission € 2,50
CHURCH OF OUR LADY
Admission € 4
Museum admission € 2