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On the surface, Bruges seems untouched by the passage of time, and arriving in its magical historic center is like stepping into a medieval time warp — which luckily for visitors comes with 21st-century facilities. Although half the charm of this mini-city is gazing up in awe at its sublime Gothic glamor and getting lost in its tangle of cobbled alleyways, Bruges also offers world-class art museums, dreamy restaurants, and cool bars to explore, all while celebrating its heritage of brewing, diamond production, and lace making.

Good for
  • History Buff
  • Shopping Fanatic
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Nightlife Seeker
  • Foodie
  • Peace and Quiet Seeker
  • Luxury Traveler
  • Like a Local

16 Places

7 City Tips

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16 Places

Day 1

Canal Boat Tours

Boat Tours

The Markt

Points of Interest & Landmarks

Historium Brugge

Specialty Museums

Burg Square

Points of Interest & Landmarks

Basilica of the Holy Blood

Religious Sites, Architectural Buildings, Historic Sites

Bruges Beer Museum

Specialty Museums

Breydel-De Coninck

Restaurants

Day 2

Groeninge Museum

Art Museums

Site Oud Sint-Jan

Art Museums

Beguinage (Begijnhof)

Historic Sites, Historic Walking Areas

De Halve Maan (Straffe Hendrik) Brewery

Breweries

De Vier Winden

Restaurants

Day 3

Choco-Story - The Chocolate Museum

Specialty Museums

Friet Museum

Specialty Museums

The Lace Center (Kantcentrum)

Lessons & Workshops, Factory Outlets, Specialty & Gift Shops, Specialty Museums, History Museums

Le Chef Et Moi

Restaurants

Sasha H's City Tips

  • Many of the foremost museums in Bruges are run under one umbrella, and are all free to enter with the Bruges City Card.
  • The excellent-value Bruges City Card offers two- or three-day packages of free entry into 27 museums, as well as reductions on bike hire and public transport.
  • Most Bruges museums and attractions close on Mondays.
  • Mussels are a Flemish specialty and come in a raft of styles, normally enjoyed with fries and Belgian beer.
  • Bruges is in Flanders, and most residents have Flemish as their first language, but French, German and English are spoken almost everywhere.
  • Souvenir shoppers in Bruges should consider taking home chocolate, lace, bottled beers, and — wallets permitting — diamonds.
  • Shoppers, dive off into the backstreets around Wollestraat for a present-buying spree in the shops of the area.
    Day 1
  • Save
    Canal Boat Tours
    Boat Tours
    See more photos
    Sasha H Says:

    Visitors to Bruges can orient themselves to the city by taking a boat trip around the canals: Float past medieval palaces and warehouses, glimpse the Belfry tower, and duck under bridges. There are five departure points, with the two along Dijver being closest to the great central piazzas of Markt and Burg.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • A 30-minute canal trip is included in the piece of the Bruges City Card.
    • Boats operate March to November daily, 10am-6pm.
    • There is multi-lingual commentary on board.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 4 Boat Tours & Water Sports in Bruges
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Highlight on our travels ! 06/02/2015
    • Mustn't miss 05/31/2015
    • Canal Boat Tours
  • Save
    The Markt
    Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Sasha H Says:

    The heart of Bruges lies in the Markt, the vast square surrounded by gabled medieval palaces and dominated by the Belfry, which is the city’s most iconic landmark and dates in part back to 1240. The ornate central tower is the tallest in Belgium; on a clear day it is possible to see the coast from the top. The lower floors of the Belfry, originally the city’s trading halls, are now given over to the Museum-Gallery Xpo Dalí for a suitably eccentric retrospective of Spain’s famous surrealist artist. The city’s main tourist office is housed in a wonderfully ornate Gothic Revivalist palace opposite the Belfry, and the square is lined with typically Flemish eateries with seats under colorful awnings.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Take a pony-and-trap ride from the Markt to see the sights of Bruges. Tours from the Markt operate daily 9am–6pm, but on Wednesday mornings they depart from the neighboring Burg.
    • There are a variety of eating options here.
    • The sculptures in the center of the Markt depict Flemish heroes Jan Breydel and Pieter de Coninck, who led a 1302 uprising against the nobles who dominated the city’s guilds.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #13 of 124 things to do in Bruges
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • My most favorite place to visit EVER - So much to do and see 06/01/2015
    • So much to do and see 06/01/2015
    • The Markt
    Address:
    Markt
    Bruges 8000
    Belgium
    Other:
  • Save
    Historium Brugge
    Specialty Museums
    See more photos
    Sasha H Says:

    A relative newcomer on the Bruges cultural circuit, the Historium sits above the tourist office in the Markt, and it's the best place to start an exploration of the city. Through interactive displays, film, music, and holograms, the history of Bruges’s 15th century heyday is brought to life in an entertaining and educational way.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • The neo-Gothic Provincial Palace next to the Historium dates back to the 1800s, and houses the government of the province of West Flanders.
    • Sample a couple of beers in the Historium’s Duvelorium Grand Beer Cafe while enjoying some of the best views over the Markt.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #53 of 124 things to do in Bruges
    • A good but simple way of learning about the history of Bruges 05/31/2015
    • Skip it and hit the beer museum around the corner 05/31/2015
    • Historium Brugge
    Address:
    Markt 1
    Bruges 8000
    Belgium
    Phone:
    +32 50 27 03 11
    Other:
  • Save
    Burg Square
    Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Sasha H Says:

    The second of Bruges’s great central squares is steps away from the Markt and showcases some of the most beautiful medieval palaces in Belgium, which were mostly civic buildings. Masterpieces include the Palace of the Liberty of Bruges, which was formerly the city’s law court, and its over-blown 16th-century council chambers. The gilded Stadhuis (Town Hall) next door was built in 1376 and is the oldest administrative building in Belgium. Its façade is decorated with replicas of statues by Jan van Eyck and inside, the Gothic Hall is adorned with glowing, gilded 19th-century murals depicting highlights from the city’s turbulent history.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • There are a variety of eating options here.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #5 of 124 things to do in Bruges
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Beautiful 06/01/2015
    • Beautiful 06/01/2015
    • Burg Square
    Address:
    Hoogstraat and Breidelstraat, Brugge, B8000
    Bruges
    Belgium
  • Save
    Basilica of the Holy Blood
    Religious Sites, Architectural Buildings, Historic Sites
    See more photos
    Sasha H Says:

    The Basilica of the Holy Blood squats next to the Stadhuis in the corner of the Burg, a 12th-century Romanesque chapel with Gothic upper floors. The exterior is colonnaded and covered with lacy arches, the interior is of mind-boggling richness, and there is a small ecclesiastical museum to explore too. The church houses a much-revered relic of Christ in the form of a cloth smeared in his blood, reputedly wiped from his body by Joseph of Arimathea after the Crucifixion.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Legend says that the Holy Relic was brought to Bruges from Jerusalem by the Count of Flanders, Diederik van de Elzas, after the second Crusade. He gave it to the church in 1150.
    • Although admission is free to the Basilica of the Holy Blood, a donation is required to see the holy phial on display. It is unveiled daily 11:30am-12pm and 2pm-4pm.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #10 of 124 things to do in Bruges
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Precious treasure in a striking building 06/01/2015
    • Colours 05/31/2015
    • Basilica of the Holy Blood
    Address:
    Burg 13
    Bruges 8000
    Belgium
    Phone:
    050-33-67-92
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 am - 12:00 pm
    2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
    Other:
  • Save
    Bruges Beer Museum
    Specialty Museums
    See more photos
    Sasha H Says:

    There are more than 700 beers brewed in Belgium, from fruit, white, and wheat beers to monastery-brewed Trappist ales, lagers, strong dubbels, tripels, and yeasty lambic beers. The Beer Museum provides a high-tech overview of the growth of the brewing industry in Bruges, nattily guided by iPad, also educating visitors on the various types of ale and explaining how to pair beers with food. Visitors learn about beer provenance through touchscreens, and the tour ends in the tasting room, where there is plenty of opportunity to sample several unusual beers.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    Tips
    • There are a variety of tickets available for the Beer Museum, depending on number of tastings. Children under 16 are not allowed to sample the beers.
    • The Beer Museum opens daily 10am–5pm.
    • There is a special kids’ trail through the museum that involves finding and rescuing a bear.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #36 of 124 things to do in Bruges
    • The beer museum bar is a must go! 06/01/2015
    • History and tasting in one.... 06/01/2015
    • Bruges Beer Museum
    Address:
    Breidelstraat 3
    Bruges 8000
    Belgium
    Phone:
    +32 479 35 95 67
    Other:
  • Save
    Breydel-De Coninck
    Restaurants
    See more photos
    Sasha H Says:

    By early evening, the cafés of the Markt and Burg are well and truly buzzing; now is the time for an aperitif before heading here to Breydel-De Coninc for a blowout seafood supper of shellfish, lobster, and the favorite Flemish waterzooï stew with fish and vegetables in a creamy sauce. Named after Flemish heroes Jan Breydel and Pieter de Coninck, who led an uprising against the city’s wealthy rulers in 1302, the restaurant has a simple interior with stripped pine floors and wooden tables, and it's one of the best fish restaurants in Bruges. Prices can be accordingly high, although the pails of mussels is good value for money.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveler
    Tips
    • Closed on Wednesdays.
    • Breydel-De Coninc is just steps away from both the Burg and the Markt.
    • Book ahead to be sure of a table.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #206 of 538 restaurants in Bruges
    • Moules were great 06/01/2015
    • Good food, good value 05/27/2015
    • Breydel-De Coninck
    Address:
    Breidelstraat 24
    Between the Markt and the Burg
    Bruges 8000
    Belgium
    Phone:
    050 339746
  • Day 2
  • Save
    Groeninge Museum
    Art Museums
    See more photos
    Sasha H Says:

    In a light-flooded gallery built in the late 1920s, the Groeninge stands among Belgium’s premier art museums, with a specialist collection of Flemish masterpieces from the 15th to the 20th centuries. Highlights include works by Flemish Primitive artists Jan van Eyck, Hieronymus Bosch, and Hans Memling, and the story continues with portraits by Sir Anthony van Dyck, the romantic paintings of James Ensor, and a sterling collection from homegrown Belgian Surrealists Paul Delvaux and René Magritte. Almost next door to the Groeningemuseum is the Gothic Gruuthuse, a lavishly appointed mansion built by a 15th-century nobleman who obviously lived in some considerable style. The vast courtyard and decorative doorways prepare the way for the opulent interior, adorned with elaborately carved fireplaces, oak balconies and gilded wooden ceilings. Set against this splendid background is a fine assembly of silverware, ceramics, glassware and tapestries showcasing the very best of 15th-century Flemish decorative arts.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • The Flemish nobleman who owned the Gruuthuse, Lodewijk van Gruuthuse, had his own private pew overlooking the neighboring Church of Our Lady.
    • There’s a choice of lunchtime pit stops between the Gruuthuse and Sint-Janshospital in Bruges’s so-called Museum Quarter.
    • Entrance to the Groeningemuseum includes access to the neighboring Arenthuis for temporary exhibitions and a permanent collection by Anglo-Welsh artist Sir Frank Brangwyn.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #22 of 124 things to do in Bruges
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Great art beautifully displayed 05/30/2015
    • Comprehensive selection of art 05/29/2015
    • Groeninge Museum
    Address:
    Dijver 12
    Bruges B-8000
    Belgium
    Phone:
    050/44-87-11
    Other:
  • Save
    Site Oud Sint-Jan
    Art Museums
    See more photos
    Sasha H Says:

    The earliest wards in the Sint-Janshospitaal (Hospital of St John) date back to the 13th century, and did not close until 1976. Inside there’s a 17th-century apothecary still displaying rows of glass medicine bottles and medieval hospital wards filled with stomach-turning surgical instruments. However the highlight of a visit is the religious artwork by Flemish Primitive Hans Memling, who was one of Bruges’s most prominent artists in the 15th century. Displayed in the hospital’s former chapel, his masterpieces include the gleaming, golden Ursula Shrine and a sublime three-paneled altarpiece. Also housed in the former wards of the Hospital of St John, the Expo Bruges is an oft-overlooked modern-art museum that offers a wander through Impressionism to Picasso, with a collection of several hundred sketches, lithographs and prints by the likes of Monet and Rodin, Magritte and Miró.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Hidden Gems
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • The women who lived in the Begijnhof provided medical care for the sick and injured patients in the Hospital of St John.
    • Chances are you’ll probably have Expo Bruges to yourself, so make the most of it and take time to really appreciate the artwork.
    • Standout pieces in the Expo Bruges include simple line drawings and a series of action-filled bullfighting prints by Picasso.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #79 of 124 things to do in Bruges
    • Picasso 05/23/2015
    • CAN APPRECIATE THE CHANCE TO SEE THIS. 03/31/2015
    • Site Oud Sint-Jan
    Address:
    Mariastraat 38
    Bruges 8000
    Belgium
    Phone:
    32 (0)50 476 100
    Other:
  • Save
    Beguinage (Begijnhof)
    Historic Sites, Historic Walking Areas
    See more photos
    Sasha H Says:

    The Begijnhof sits in a tranquil grassy courtyard planted with trees. It was founded in 1245 for women who vowed to remain celibate, but without taking religious vows. For centuries, the Beguines were responsible for caring for the sick and injured in St John’s Hospital. Today the Begijnhof is run by Benedictine nuns and its neat lines of gabled, whitewashed houses still have an air of calm that is rare in tourist-packed Bruges; one of the houses contains a small museum relating the history of the Beguines, who left their historic home as recently as 1976.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Hidden Gems
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • The Begijnhof courtyard is open 24/7 and there is no admission charge. There is a small charge for the museum in the Begijnhuisje.
    • The neighboring lake of Minnewater, nicknamed "Lake of Love," is surrounded by medieval buildings and is another quiet spot to take a late-afternoon breather.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #14 of 124 things to do in Bruges
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Boring 05/31/2015
    • Bird tree houses 05/31/2015
    • Beguinage (Begijnhof)
    Address:
    Wijngaardstraat
    Bruges
    Belgium
  • Save
    De Halve Maan (Straffe Hendrik) Brewery
    Breweries
    See more photos
    Sasha H Says:

    As one of Bruges’s few remaining family-owned breweries, the Half Moon has operated on its present site since 1856 and now offers tours of its former brewhouse. The brewery still produces its notorious Brugse Zot (Bruges Fool) and extra-strong Straffe Hendrik. Both can be sampled in the smart on-site brasserie, which has a pretty courtyard for impromptu summer-afternoon beer tastings.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • Hit the Half Moon late afternoon to chill out over a couple of boutique beers.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #9 of 124 things to do in Bruges
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Excellent tour! 06/01/2015
    • enjoyable tour with a welcome farewell drink included 05/31/2015
    • De Halve Maan (Straffe Hendrik) Brewery
    Address:
    Walplein 26
    Bruges 8000
    Belgium
    Phone:
    32 050 33 26 97
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 am - 6:00 pm
    Other:
  • Save
    De Vier Winden
    Restaurants (Belgian)
    See more photos
    Sasha H Says:

    De Vier Winden is virtually at the foot of the Belfry on the Markt, and prices are amazingly good for views of this caliber, especially when the tower is romantically floodlit at night. The cooking may not be haute cuisine but the standard is consistently good, and the cheap meal deals of mussels, seafood platters, and crème brûlée never lets its punters down.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveler
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • After supper, wander away from the Markt and Burg to find late-night bars hidden away in the backstreets. One good bet is 2be, famed for its beer and located on nearby Wollestraat.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #265 of 538 restaurants in Bruges
    • De Vier winden bruges four windows 05/31/2015
    • A lovely experience 05/31/2015
    • De Vier Winden
    Address:
    Markt 9
    Bruges 8000
    Belgium
    Phone:
    00-32-496-57-81-18
  • Day 3
  • Save
    Choco-Story - The Chocolate Museum
    Specialty Museums
    See more photos
    Sasha H Says:

    Belgians are besotted with chocolate; Choco-Story nips through the coca bean’s history, from its origins among the Mayans, to hot chocolate becoming the tipple of choice among Europe’s aristocracy in the 1500s, to a look at modern-day production processes. With lots of Aztec artifacts and Limoges china to admire, the exhibition continues through to chocolate-making displays and a chance to taste the finished product.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    Tips
    • A ticket to Choco-Story also includes entry to the Fries Museum nearby.
    • Chocolate-making courses can be booked online ahead of time.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #63 of 124 things to do in Bruges
    • I never thought chocolate could be so dull 06/01/2015
    • A well worth while visit 05/31/2015
    • Choco-Story - The Chocolate Museum
    Address:
    Wijnzakstraat 2
    Sint-Jansplein
    Bruges 8000
    Belgium
    Phone:
    050 61 22 37
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 am - 5:00 pm
    Other:
  • Save
    Friet Museum
    Specialty Museums
    See more photos
    Sasha H Says:

    Like chocolate, fries are something of a national obsession in Belgium, served thin and sprinkled with salt. So it’s only appropriate that a museum dedicated to the humble spud has opened in Bruges. It’s housed in the 14th-century Gothic Saaihaile and delivers hard facts about the potato from its origins in Peru to the Irish Potato Famine; and there’s an entertaining film about the progress of the spud from seed to frozen fry. Visitors of course have a chance to sample the wares at the end of the tour!

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveler
    • History Buff
    Tips
    • Hit the Fries Museum by late morning and enjoy a snack lunch of a traditional paper cone of fries in the ground-floor cafe.
    • A ticket to the Fries Museum also includes entry to Choco-Story nearby.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #72 of 124 things to do in Bruges
    • Interesting...ish 05/28/2015
    • Frietastic 05/17/2015
    • Friet Museum
    Address:
    Vlamingstraat 33
    Bruges 8000
    Belgium
    Phone:
    050 34 01 50
    Other:
  • Save
    The Lace Center (Kantcentrum)
    Lessons & Workshops, Factory Outlets, Specialty & Gift Shops, Specialty Museums, History Museums
    See more photos
    Sasha H Says:

    In the 15th century there were more than 2,000 lace makers in Bruges, so hats off to the ladies at the Lace Center, who are determined to pass their dying craft on to the next generation. Part workshop and part museum, this is the place to go to see intricately patterned lace shawls and tablecloths flying off the bobbins at the daily demonstrations between 2pm and 5pm. Of course, there’s inevitably an opportunity to purchase lace at the end of a visit, and although prices are steep, at least visitors can be assured that all the lace here is handmade.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Hidden Gems
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    Tips
    • Historically, much of Bruges’s wealth came from lace-making and diamond production. There is also a Diamond Museum on Katelijnestraat, though I personally find it somewhat dull.
    • The museum store also sells everything required to make lace, from bobbins to thread, and lace-making courses can be arranged in advance online.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 2 Classes & Workshops in Bruges
    • Fun to see a lace class in action 05/26/2015
    • Remarkable! 05/19/2015
    • The Lace Center (Kantcentrum)
    Address:
    Balstraat 16
    Bruges B-8000
    Belgium
    Phone:
    +32 50 33 00 72
    Price range:
    $5 - $5
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    9:30 am - 5:00 pm
    Other:
  • Save
    Le Chef Et Moi
    Restaurants (International)
    See more photos
    Sasha H Says:

    With chandeliers glinting in the candlelight, Le Chef et Moi — a romantic little restaurant featuring a tiny menu showcasing seasonal ingredients — is fast becoming the go-to destination on the Bruges dining scene. Owner-chef Stefaan Cardinael cooks up a storm — dishes include scallops, sole, venison, and a signature ginger and hazlenut cheesecake — while his partner Caroline Saeys oversees the fine wine list. Just the spot for a gastronomic feast in lovely Bruges.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveler
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    Tips
    • There’s a set menu that is gentler on the credit card than the à la carte option.
    • Book ahead for dinner at this tiny restaurant.
    • A special place to dine on your last night in the city!
    • Closed on Sundays and Mondays.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #22 of 538 restaurants in Bruges
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • A real Treat of a Restaurant and food to die for. 06/01/2015
    • Wedding anniversary meal 05/30/2015
    • Le Chef Et Moi
    Address:
    Dijver 13
    Bruges 8000
    Belgium
    Phone:
    +32 (0)50 39 60 11
    Other:
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