Bruges – Top 10 sights for a weekend

by Anni & Wladi

See Bruges… and die? (translated from German; orig. title: In Bruges) I shouldn’t have taken the eponymous title of Martin McDonagh’s film with Colin Farrell too literally. But I almost put the words into practice. Actually, it would be better to say another beer would have. Because the stuff in Belgium has a few more turns and tempts you to overestimate yourself. Yet beer is not the main topic here. Just an introduction to the top 10 sights for a weekend in this beautiful city.

From a postcard…

“Salute from the “shitty” Bruges. Dreamlike medieval picture. First beer is being savoured. The game is on. This time we’re playing “4 wins”. Anky is getting older, but we’re celebrating anyway. Greetings”

A weekend in Bruges promises a journey back in time to the Middle Ages, culture and culinary delights. Immerse yourself with us in the picturesque flair of this Belgian gem as we explore the narrow, cobbled streets, discover historic sights and sample local delicacies. From the world-famous market squares to the hidden gems off the beaten track, Bruges has something to offer every visitor.

1. Jan van Eyckplein

Bruges can be easily reached by car* from Frankfurt in six hours (depending on traffic). This time we had friends with us, so the journey was even more entertaining. We arrived at our hotel, the Golden Tree*, on Friday evening. Located to the west of the old town and within walking distance of the city center and all the sights, it was the perfect accommodation for us. We can highly recommend the hotel, and not just because of its location.

We headed off to Jan van Eyckplein in Bruges, where we were taken back in time to the medieval splendor of this enchanting city. The square is named after the famous Flemish painter Jan van Eyck and is located in the heart of the historic center of Bruges. Surrounded by majestic 17th century buildings and lined with cobblestone streets, Jan van Eyckplein exudes an unparalleled charm. Formerly a harbor district in the 15th century, the square is now a real highlight of the city for me, away from the tourist hustle and bustle. You can also get a great view of the area from the Koningsbrug bridge and look back in time via the VR viewer.

2. Choco-Story of Bruges

A visit to the Choco-Story Museum in Bruges is a sweet and educational experience for all chocolate lovers. The museum is located in a historic building in the heart of the old town and offers a fascinating insight into the history and production of chocolate. Upon entering the museum, you are greeted by the tantalizing aroma of chocolate and can admire a variety of exhibits, including historic chocolate moulds, tools and packaging.

Interactive exhibitions and demonstrations show the journey from cocoa bean to finished chocolate and provide insights into the various production techniques and traditions. Visitors also have the opportunity to take part in tastings and try different types of Belgian chocolate. A visit to the Choco-Story Museum is a delicious and entertaining way to learn more about the sweet heritage of Bruges and enjoy the variety and quality of Belgian chocolate.

3. Grote Markt

A visit to the Grote Markt in Bruges is a journey back in time, characterized by the majestic beauty of Flemish architecture. The market square, also known as the Grote Markt, is the beating heart of the city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Magnificent historic buildings rise up here, including the imposing Belfry of Bruges and the Gothic Town Hall, reflecting the city’s rich history and cultural wealth. Surrounded by picturesque gabled houses, the Grote Markt provides a picturesque backdrop for a wide range of activities, from exploring the local markets and shops to enjoying a relaxed lunch in one of the cozy cafés.

The square is particularly impressive in the evening, when the historic buildings are illuminated by soft lights, creating a romantic atmosphere. A visit to the Grote Markt is an unmissable experience for any visitor to Bruges and offers the opportunity to enjoy the beauty and charm of this fascinating city to the full.

4. Belfry of Bruges

A visit to the Belfry in Bruges is an impressive journey into the city’s past and an unforgettable experience for anyone with a passion for history and architecture. The Belfry, also known as the Belfry of Bruges, towers majestically over the Grote Markt and is one of the city’s most striking landmarks. The tower is part of the Belfry complex, which consists of the belfry, the city gate and the former market square.

On entering the Belfry, you will be impressed by the imposing size of the tower and can climb the steep steps to enjoy a breathtaking view over the city. From the top of the 83-meter-high tower, you have a picturesque panoramic view of the rooftops of Bruges and the surrounding countryside, offering a fascinating insight into the city’s heritage. Be sure to book your tickets and time slot in advance for this main attraction of the city.

5. Basilica of the Holy Blood

A visit to the Basilica of the Holy Blood in Bruges is a spiritual and cultural experience that takes visitors on a fascinating journey through the history and traditions of the city. The basilica, which is dedicated to the Holy Blood, is an impressive example of Gothic architecture and an important religious center in Bruges. Upon entering the basilica, one is struck by the majestic beauty of the interior, which is adorned with ornate carvings, gleaming mosaics and luminous windows.

Visitors have the opportunity to see the famous relic of the Holy Blood, which is kept in a magnificent shrine and is venerated annually during the Procession of the Holy Blood. The calm and solemn atmosphere of the basilica invites visitors to pause, pray or simply enjoy the spiritual silence.

6. City Hall of Bruges

The City Hall, also known as the Stadhuis, is a magnificent Gothic-style building located on Burg Square in the center of Bruges. Upon entering the town hall, you will be impressed by the opulent interior, which is characterized by ornate ceiling paintings, gleaming mosaics and historic tapestries. Visitors have the opportunity to explore the various rooms of the town hall, including the council chamber, where important political decisions were made, and the magnificent wedding hall, which is used for festive occasions. The tower of the town hall also offers a breathtaking view over the town and the surrounding countryside.

City Hall of Bruges

7. Rozenhoedkaai

The Rozenhoedkaai, also known as the Rosenkranz Quay, is one of the most famous and popular places in Bruges and offers a breathtaking view of the characteristic gabled houses and historic buildings along the canals. A perfect spot for social media-worthy pictures of your visit to Bruges. The old buildings are reflected in the calm water and the Belfort towers in the background. Rozenhoedkaai is also a popular meeting place for locals and visitors alike who want to relax along the waterfront, watch the passing boats or simply enjoy the romantic atmosphere. The Rozenhoedkaai is particularly impressive in the evening, when the buildings are illuminated by warm light and a magical atmosphere is created.


8. Boat tour Bruges

While we’re at Rozenhoedkaai, let’s hop on one of the boats and take a boat tour*. A boat tour in Bruges is an unforgettable way to experience the city from a completely new perspective. As you glide leisurely along the picturesque canals, you immerse yourself in the rich history and enchanting atmosphere of this medieval city. From the deck, you can admire the impressive gabled houses that stretch along the banks, as well as the historic buildings such as the Belfry of Bruges and the Basilica of the Holy Blood, from a unique perspective.

Boat tour Bruges

The knowledgeable tour guide provides interesting insights into the history and sights of the city and tells fascinating stories about life in Bruges over the centuries. During the trip, you can also enjoy the peace and tranquility of the city and be enchanted by the gentle lapping of the water and the picturesque view of the passing landscape. A boat tour in Bruges is an unmissable experience for any visitor and offers the perfect opportunity to savor the beauty and charm of this unique city in a relaxed flow.

9. Boniface Bridge

The Boniface Bridge in Bruges is a charming, historic bridge that crosses the idyllic Groenerei canal. This bridge is characterized by its classic, stone architecture, which fits perfectly into the medieval cityscape of Bruges. The Boniface Bridge offers a picturesque view of the surrounding gabled houses and trees along the canal and is a favorite spot for walkers and photographers who want to enjoy the romantic atmosphere of the city. With its quiet and idyllic location, the Boniface Bridge is an unfortunately very crowded gem in Bruges, but invites visitors to pause for a moment and absorb the beauty of the city.

Boniface Bridge

10. Church of Our Lady

The Church of Our Lady (Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk) in Bruges is an impressive example of Gothic architecture and one of the city’s most important religious buildings. A striking feature of the church is its high tower, which is one of the tallest church towers in Belgium at 122 meters. The Church of Our Lady is also home to some remarkable works of art, including the world-famous marble relief “Madonna with St Veronica” by Michelangelo. Inside the church you will find an impressive collection of artworks, sculptures and funerary monuments that reflect the rich history and cultural heritage of Bruges. The Church of Our Lady is not only a spiritual center, but also an important landmark of the city, attracting visitors from all over the world and impressing them with its majestic beauty and historical significance.

Church of Our Lady

11. Bruges: And what else?!

Unfortunately, it is in the nature of things that “Top 10” lists have a limit. So here are a few more places and activities that you shouldn’t miss out on:

A guided tour of De Halve Maan brewery in Bruges is an unforgettable experience for anyone interested in beer and history. The tour begins in the traditional brewery, which has been producing high-quality beer for more than 150 years. The highlight of the tour is certainly the visit to the attic, from where you can enjoy a breathtaking view over the city. At the end of the tour, visitors have the opportunity to sample different types of De Halve Maan beer. Incidentally, the brewery has had a beer pipeline over three kilometers long laid between the brewery and the bottling station to relieve traffic in the old town.

Endless beer variety

The Bar de Garre in Bruges is a real experience for beer lovers and connoisseurs. The bar is tucked away in a narrow alley near the Grote Markt and is known for its cozy atmosphere and impressive selection of Belgian beer. However, the real highlight of a visit to Bar de Garre is undoubtedly the beer. The bar is famous for its own beer, the De Garre Tripel, which is served exclusively in the bar.

As for Bieratelier Brugge, all you have to do is go there and stay until you’ve tasted all the beers. That’s it. It’s also easy with the beer tasting palette.

Restaurant De Wijngaert in Bruges is known for its traditional Belgian dishes prepared with fresh, seasonal ingredients. The menu includes classic dishes such as moules-frites (mussels with chips), carbonnade flamande (Flemish beef stew) and waterzooi (a creamy stew specialty from Flanders), all prepared with great attention to detail. All in all, Restaurant De Wijngaert is a wonderful place to savor traditional Belgian cuisine in a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere and spend an unforgettable evening in Bruges.

I think it’s become clear by this point that beer is an essential part of your visit to Bruges. Of course, there are also other culinary specialties for your female travel companions to enjoy. Trying Belgian waffles is a must. You can do this at Otto Waffle Atelier Katelijnestraat, for example.

We also had the luck of the unsuspecting this weekend from 11 August to 13 August 2023, because on 12 August there was a free dance festival throughout Bruges (Benenwerk – Ballroom Brugeoise) and we partied until the early hours in the Stadthallen with Silent Disco.

12. Conclusion

After a weekend full of wonders and treats in Bruges, all I can say is: this city really does have something for everyone! From the impressive Jan van Eyckplein, where history comes to life in the cobbled streets, to the sweet temptation of Choco-Story, where chocolate dreams come true, Bruges is a treasure trove of sights. Amidst the hustle and bustle of the Grote Markt, where the medieval façades are filled with life, the Belfort rises majestically and invites you to take in the view over the city.

The Basilica of the Holy Blood guards the precious relic with its mysterious aura, while Bruges City Hall brings the past to life with its magnificent architecture. Boats glide gently along the picturesque Rozenhoedkaai, past the impressive Bonifazius Bridge, which acts as a link between past and present. The Church of Our Lady sits enthroned above the city and invites you to contemplate, while the tantalizing aromas of beer and waffles seduce the mind and become a delight for the senses and soul.

A weekend comes to an end

In Bruges, history, pleasure and beauty merge into an unforgettable experience that we will remember for a long time to come. It was a weekend full of discoveries, joy and sweet temptations – a truly magical adventure that has captivated us forever.

Fancy travelling? Then read on here.

How many days do you need for Bruges?

Bruges itself with its old town can be explored in one day. Plan two days and combine your visit to Bruges with a trip to the seaside at Zeebrugge.

Why is Bruges so beautiful?

Bruges offers many sights (Grote Markt, Belfort, canals), which are located within the medieval old town. This is itself a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

When is Bruges at its most beautiful?

Bruges can be visited at any time of year. However, the proximity to the sea also means colder and changeable conditions. The summer months of June to August are therefore highly recommended.

*The links to Check24, and Getyourguide contained in this article are so-called affiliate links. With these links, receives a commission for brokered purchases. This does not increase the price for the customer.

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