One of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe outside of the main capitals, Bruges is a simply stunning city to behold and a must-see for anyone visiting Belgium. Often called ‘the Venice of the North’ due to its mesmerising canals and waterways, it is a gorgeous place full of lovely old medieval architecture and wandering its ancient streets really does make you feel as if you have stepped back in time. Whether you are after local beers and amazing architecture or sumptuous art and delightful churches; Bruges will never disappoint with all of the amazing sights that it has to offer. Let’s have a look at what there is to see and do in beautiful Bruges!
With picturesque squares dotted about the city and various church spires rising above the ancient roofs, when navigating around Bruges a good tactic it to simply head to the next belfry and enjoy the sights you see along the way. The most famous of these is the Halle which lies in the main square of the city. Its towering belfry is one of the most distinctive landmarks in Bruges and climbing to the top is well worth the effort for the fantastic views and panoramas it offers of the cobbled streets and canals down below. Dating all the way back to 1248, it is also worth checking out for the lovely architecture on show.
Not far away lies another of Bruges’ main attractions: the Basilica of the Holy Blood which is again located on a pretty cobbled square. Here you can witness a vial that is reputed to contain a drop of Christ’s blood and many people come here on pilgrimages to gaze upon the relic. Lavishly decorated, the rich ornamentation of the church makes it well worth visiting for the look of the place alone.
In fact, almost every building you look at in Bruges is beautiful to behold and the vast majority of the edifices date back to medieval times when the city’s port and its strategic location on important trade routes allowed it to blossom into the charming place we know today. Renowned for its beauty, one of the best things to do when in Bruges is to simply let yourself get lost and enjoy exploring the canals and narrow streets of the city.
In addition to all of the lovely architecture, over the centuries numerous artists from Flanders have become world-renowned and the Groeninge Museum houses many masterpieces by the old Flemish masters. With fantastic paintings by van Eyck and Hieronymous Bosch on display in its galleries, it is a lovely place to wander around and it is undoubtedly the best art collection in the city.
While Bruges’ museums and streets can get a bit too crowded with tourists in the summer, it is still always worth visiting as there are numerous secluded spots dotted about the city for people to enjoy and the best way to kick back and relax is with one of Belgium’s many great beers in your hand. With loads of atmospheric cafes and bars scattered about the city, make sure to try Brugse Zot, a lovely local beer which is especially refreshing in summer. To finish off your trip in the perfect way, De Halve Maan is a centuries old brewery in Bruges which any beer aficionado just has to see before leaving the beautiful city. Art, architecture, beers and canals; what more could you ever want in a city?!