things to do in bruges

Last Updated on: 1st February 2024, 04:32 am

Hello there! Are you looking for a picturesque destination to add to your travel wishlist? Look no further than Bruges, Belgium. This charming city is famous for its medieval landmarks, pristine canals, and delicious cuisine. Whether you want to immerse yourself in history and culture, or simply stroll along the cobblestone streets, Bruges has a variety of things to do, activities, and attractions to suit every traveler’s interests.

From cruising the canals to exploring the city’s museums, Bruges offers an abundance of experiences that you won’t want to miss. Let’s take a closer look at some of the top things to do in this delightful Belgian city.

Exploring the Medieval Landmarks

Dive into Bruges’ rich history by exploring its medieval landmarks. From the iconic Belfry Tower to the historic Church of Our Lady, there are plenty of architectural wonders to admire. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Basilica of the Holy Blood, which houses a venerated relic. Immerse yourself in the city’s medieval charm and discover the stories behind these iconic landmarks.

Belfry Tower

The Belfry Tower is one of Bruges’ most recognizable landmarks. Dating back to the 13th century, the tower stands at 83 meters tall and offers stunning panoramic views of the city. The climb to the top involves 366 steps, but it’s worth it for the fantastic views that await you.

Church of Our Lady

The Church of Our Lady is a must-see for art lovers. It houses an impressive collection of artwork, including Michelangelo’s famous sculpture of Madonna and Child. The church’s tower is also the second tallest brick tower in the world, standing at 122 meters tall.

Basilica of the Holy Blood

The Basilica of the Holy Blood is a unique landmark in Bruges, as it houses a venerated relic – a cloth said to have been used to wipe the blood of Jesus Christ during his crucifixion. The Basilica itself is a stunning example of Gothic architecture and is well worth a visit.

“The medieval landmarks in Bruges are truly awe-inspiring and offer a glimpse into the city’s rich and fascinating history.”

Cruising the Charming Canals

As I continued to explore the charming city of Bruges, I discovered that one of the best ways to experience its beauty is by taking a leisurely canal cruise. Drifting along the picturesque canals, passing by quaint houses and charming bridges, I couldn’t help but feel relaxed and rejuvenated.

Admiring the city’s unique architecture from a different perspective, I learned about Bruges’ history and heritage through the informative commentary provided during the cruise. This was truly a remarkable experience that I can’t recommend enough.

If you’re looking for some of the best Bruges sightseeing opportunities and tourist spots, then a canal cruise should definitely be on your list. It offers a scenic and relaxing way to explore the city from a different perspective, giving you a chance to see some of the most beautiful parts of Bruges that you might not otherwise discover on foot.

Bruges Canal Cruise

A serene canal in Bruges, a perfect way to see the city from a different angle.

Visiting the Bruges City Centre

When in Bruges, a visit to the city centre is a must-see. It is the heart of the city where tourists and locals alike converge to explore the sights, sounds, and tastes of Bruges.

A perfect place to start your Bruges sightseeing is at the Markt square. It is the hub of activity, with the iconic Belfry tower standing tall and proud in the background. The colorful facades of the surrounding buildings are a sight to behold. The square is usually bustling with activity, with street performers, vendors, and tourists mingling about.

As you continue your exploration, take a stroll to the Burg square. It is an equally historic site, with several notable buildings of regional significance dotting around, including the Gothic-style Stadhuis (City Hall). The Royal Palace and Basilica of the Holy Blood are nearby, adding to the square’s impressive collection of Bruges points of interest.

Don’t leave the city without indulging in some Belgian chocolate or enjoying a pint of local beer at one of the many cafes and bars scattered around the city centre. You will find a wide array of local shops and boutiques selling souvenirs such as lace, chocolate, and beer to commemorate your stay in Bruges.

Exploring Bruges’ Museums

Bruges is a city of rich cultural heritage with a diverse range of museums to explore. Whether you are an art enthusiast or history buff, you will find something to fascinate you in Bruges’ museum scene.

The Groeningemuseum

The Groeningemuseum houses a fascinating collection of Flemish and Belgian artwork and is a must-visit destination for art lovers. From the works of Jan van Eyck to Hans Memling, the museum boasts of an impressive assortment of Gothic and Renaissance paintings.

Historium Brugge

For a glimpse into Bruges’ past, visit the Historium Brugge museum. Get transported back in time to the medieval era at this interactive museum, which features a recreated medieval cityscape and engaging multimedia exhibits.

Bruges Beer Museum

Beer lovers should check out the Bruges Beer Museum, which offers a fascinating insight into Belgium’s beer culture. Discover the history of beer production in Bruges, learn the art of beer tasting, and sample some of the finest beers that the city has to offer.

Bruges attractions

Tip: Several museums in Bruges offer entry discounts or free admission with the Bruges City Card, a tourist card that provides access to many of Bruges’ attractions and public transportation.

Sampling Belgian Delicacies

During my visit to Bruges, I indulged in some of the best things to do in Bruges Belgium – sampling Belgian delicacies. There’s no shortage of delicious food in the city, making it a paradise for food lovers like me.

One of the must-try delicacies in Bruges is mouthwatering chocolates from local chocolatiers. The city is known for its high-quality chocolate, and I couldn’t resist trying some. Wittamer Chocolates, located in the heart of the city, offers an irresistible selection of chocolates that are too good to pass up.

Another treat that I couldn’t resist is the famous Belgian waffles. The waffles in Bruges are unlike any I’ve ever tasted before – they’re light, crispy, and served fresh with a variety of toppings like fruit or cream. Be sure to try one or two while you’re in the city!

Finally, no visit to Belgium is complete without sampling some of the world-renowned Belgian beers. Bruges has a variety of bars and beer halls that offer a wide selection of beers to suit different tastes. I visited the Bruges Beer Museum, where I learned about the history of Belgian beer and tried some of the local brews. It was an unforgettable experience that I highly recommend!

Exploring Bruges’ Surroundings

Things to do in Belgium Bruges

As much as Bruges is a gem city with enough attractions, its surroundings offer even more exploration opportunities that I can’t resist. I recommend taking a day trip to the historic city of Ghent or the scenic coastal town of Blankenberge. Alternatively, you can venture into the countryside to explore the charming windmills of Zaanse Schans or the tranquil beauty of Damme. There’s plenty to discover beyond Bruges in the surrounding areas of Belgium.

Day Trip Options

Destination How to get there Attractions
Ghent 30-minute train from Bruges Ghent Altarpiece, Gravensteen Castle, St. Bavo’s Cathedral
Blankenberge 20-minute train from Bruges Blankenberge Beach, Sea Life Blankenberge, Belle Epoque Centre
Zaanse Schans 2-hour train from Bruges Windmills, Cheese making, Clog making
Damme 20-minute bike ride from Bruges Flea market, Medieval town center, Kasteel van Damme

Make sure to plan your itinerary accordingly and decide on the destination that aligns most with your interests. No matter where you end up going, exploring the surrounding areas of Bruges will only add to your appreciation of Belgium’s beauty.

Experiencing Bruges’ Festivals

If you’re looking for fun things to see and do in Bruges, make sure to visit during one of the city’s festive events. Bruges is known for its lively festivals throughout the year, which showcase the city’s vibrant spirit and cultural heritage.

Bruges Triennial

If you’re visiting during the summer, don’t miss the Bruges Triennial. This art festival transforms the city into an open-air museum, featuring interactive installations and large-scale artworks. It’s a great way to experience the city’s creative side and discover new perspectives.

Bruges Christmas Market

If you’re in Bruges during the winter, make sure to visit the Bruges Christmas Market. This festive event brings the city to life with twinkling lights, delicious food, and merry entertainment. Shop for unique gifts from local artisans, sample traditional treats like waffles and mulled wine, and enjoy the magical atmosphere of the market. Don’t miss the chance to see the stunning ice sculptures on display, too!

Experience Bruges activities in a festive setting and make unforgettable memories at one of the city’s famed events.

Shopping in Bruges

If you’re looking for unique shopping experiences, Bruges is the place to be! The city offers a variety of shops, from local boutiques to well-known brands, with something for everyone. Handmade chocolates, lace products, and traditional crafts are just some of the treasures you can find while exploring the quaint streets. One of the main shopping streets in the city is Steenstraat, lined with a variety of stores, making it the perfect place to find souvenirs or indulge in some retail therapy. Whether you’re a serious shopper or just browsing, Bruges offers a shopping experience like no other.

Bruges attractions

Boutiques and Local Shops

If you’re looking for unique gifts or souvenirs to take home, Bruges has an abundance of local boutiques and artisanal shops. From handmade jewellery to beautiful lace and tapestries, these shops offer one-of-a-kind treasures you won’t find anywhere else. Don’t miss ‘t Apostelientje, a lace shop with over 200 years of history, or Chocolaterie Sukerbuyc, known for their delicious handmade chocolates.

Well-Known Brands

If you prefer shopping at well-known brands, Bruges has you covered too. You can find stores like H&M, Zara, and The Body Shop, among others, in the city centre. In addition to these international brands, Bruges also has a variety of local shops selling clothing and accessories with a unique Belgian style.

“Indulge in some retail therapy at Bruges’ variety of shops, from local boutiques to well-known brands.”

Enjoying Bruges’ Outdoor Spaces

Bruges is not just about its historic landmarks and canal cruises. It also has several beautiful parks and gardens that offer a peaceful retreat from the bustling city center. One of the most romantic spots in Bruges is the Minnewater Park, also known as the “Lake of Love”. Take a stroll by the water or have a picnic with your loved one while admiring the serene surroundings.

The Begijnhof is another charming enclosed garden that is perfect for a relaxing break. Enjoy the tranquil atmosphere and the beautiful flowers while escaping the crowds of the city center.

These outdoor spaces are perfect for those who want to enjoy nature and take a break from the busy tourist spots. So, pack a picnic basket and enjoy the fresh air and lovely scenery in Bruges’ peaceful outdoor settings.

Recommended Activities

  • Take a romantic stroll through the Minnewater Park
  • Escape the crowds and relax in the Begijnhof garden
  • Pack a picnic and enjoy the serene outdoor atmosphere

Conclusion: Your Bruges City Guide

If you’re looking for a destination that is full of history, charm, and beauty, Bruges is definitely a city worth visiting. With its medieval landmarks, picturesque canals, and delightful cuisine, Bruges has something to offer every kind of traveller.

As your Bruges city guide, I hope this article has given you a better sense of what to expect and where to start exploring. Whether you’re interested in sightseeing, shopping, or simply relaxing in the great outdoors, Bruges has plenty of options to suit your interests.

Remember to take the time to sample some of the city’s delicious Belgian delicacies and visit its unique museums, parks, and gardens. And don’t forget to check out some of the exciting festivals happening throughout the year.

So pack your bags, grab your camera, and immerse yourself in the magic of Bruges. You won’t be disappointed.


What are the top things to do in Bruges, Belgium?

Some of the top things to do in Bruges include exploring the medieval landmarks, cruising the charming canals, visiting the Bruges city centre, exploring the museums, sampling Belgian delicacies, exploring Bruges’ surroundings, experiencing Bruges’ festivals, shopping in Bruges, enjoying the outdoor spaces, and more. Bruges offers a variety of activities to suit different interests.

What are the must-see landmarks in Bruges?

Some of the must-see landmarks in Bruges include the Belfry Tower, the Church of Our Lady, the Basilica of the Holy Blood, the Markt square, the Burg square, and more. These landmarks showcase the city’s rich medieval history and architectural beauty.

How can I explore Bruges’ canals?

One of the best ways to explore Bruges’ canals is by taking a leisurely canal cruise. You can drift along the canals, admiring the picturesque views of the city and its charming bridges. It’s a relaxing and scenic way to experience the beauty of Bruges from a different perspective.

What are some popular museums in Bruges?

Bruges is home to a variety of museums catering to different interests. Some popular museums include the Groeningemuseum, showcasing Flemish and Belgian artwork, the Historium Brugge, offering a glimpse into the city’s past, and the Bruges Beer Museum, where you can learn about the history and culture of Belgian beer.

Where can I indulge in Belgian delicacies in Bruges?

In Bruges, you can indulge in Belgian delicacies such as mouthwatering chocolates from local chocolatiers and delicious Belgian waffles topped with fruit or cream. You can also sample a wide selection of Belgian beers, available in the city’s bars and beer halls.

Are there any day trips I can take from Bruges?

Yes, there are several day trips you can take from Bruges. You can visit the historic city of Ghent, known for its beautiful medieval architecture, or the scenic coastal town of Blankenberge. You can also venture into the countryside to explore the charming windmills of Zaanse Schans or the tranquil beauty of Damme.

What festivals can I experience in Bruges?

Bruges is known for its lively festivals throughout the year. You can experience the Bruges Triennial, an art festival that transforms the city into an open-air museum, or the Bruges Christmas Market, which brings the city to life with festive lights, ice sculptures, and local crafts.

Where can I go shopping in Bruges?

Bruges offers a unique shopping experience with a mix of local boutiques, artisanal shops, and well-known brands. You can explore the quaint streets and discover handmade chocolates, lace products, and traditional crafts. The Steenstraat, one of the city’s main shopping streets, is lined with a variety of stores.

Are there any outdoor spaces to enjoy in Bruges?

Bruges boasts several beautiful parks and gardens where you can unwind and enjoy the outdoors. You can visit the Minnewater Park, known as the “Lake of Love,” for a romantic stroll by the water. The Begijnhof, a charming enclosed garden, offers a tranquil retreat from the bustling city center.

What makes Bruges a remarkable city to visit?

Bruges effortlessly combines history, culture, and charm, making it a remarkable city to visit. From its medieval landmarks to its picturesque canals, there is no shortage of things to do and see in Bruges. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a food lover, or simply looking to relax, Bruges has something for everyone.