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What to see in Bruges? top places in a magical city

We tell you which are the places you should not miss when visiting the city of Bruges in Belgium. A place that will surprise you.

Bruges is a city that seems to be taken from a fairy tale. In a certain way it is true, due to the history that it lived, several of its constructions were frozen in time. Today, its citizens know that therein lies its charm and they preserve it to the delight of all. In this article, we are going to take a tour to give us an idea of what to see in Bruges?

Bruges is the capital of the province of West Flanders, located 90km from the capital Brussels, it has a population of approximately 117,000 inhabitants.

Why is it called Bruges?

Apparently, the name comes from the old Scandinavian word “Brygga” related to port or mooring place. For reference in the Dutch language, which is very close to Flemish, “brug” means bridge. Keep in mind that the official name of the city in Flemish is Brugge, which means Bridges in the plural due to the large number of them that exist in the city.

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What to see in Bruges? (and not to be missed)

Main square

The Markt or Main Square, is one of the main meeting points in the center of Bruges, indeed the question “what to see in Bruges?” will always have a start point here. The dominant building that we can see is the bell tower, which can be visited and climb about 366 steps to see Bruges from above. Unfortunately, we were unable to visit it due to the current situation. In the middle of the square, there are two statues, they are Jan Breydel and Pieter de Coninck, popular heroes of the city.

City Hall

The Stadhuis is the place from where the city has been governed for 600 years. The most important thing to visit here is the Gothic room, although you should also stop to admire the building from the outside.

In the room, we can see murals on the history of Bruges, the visit includes an audio guide that makes the visit much richer since it explains the paintings that are there, which are not few. It is one of those places that as soon as we enter it generates the WOW effect.

  • Visiting hours: every day from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Price: 6 euros (joint visit with the Town Hall room)

Franconate of Bruges

Located in one of the City Hall buildings, the city archives are now housed here. The room that is visited is the colorful room where the Bruges Franconate was controlled, later it became the seat of the Courts of Justice, upon entering we can see a huge painting that recreated a scene from those times.

In the fireplace, which dates from 1528, we can admire a tribute to Charles the 1st, which, as expected, is seen in the center of the wooden figures.

The room is small, so it is better if we visit it when there is little influx. Besides that it is a very dark room. This is one of those places in Bruges not to be missed.

  • Visiting hours: every day from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Price: 6 euros (joint visit with the Town Hall room)

Basilica of the Holy Blood

This church, which became a basilica in 1923, has two chapels, one lower and one upper. In the lower chapel you can see the Romanesque style that was used in the coastal area. On the other hand, in the upper chapel the style that can be seen is neo-Gothic and there is the relic of the Holy Blood, which gives its name to the basilica.

  • Visiting hours: every day from 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM and from 2:00 PM to 5:30 PM
  • Price: 2.50 euros

Church of Our Lady and sculpture by Michelangelo

In this church we were able to admire a work by Michelangelo: the Madonna of Bruges. But in addition to this work, we cannot remain indifferent to a sample of what the tombs were like in ancient times, these were painted inside and it is a very interesting custom. We also saw the tombs of Carlos the Bold and his daughter Mary of Burgundy.

We tell you here how was the visit to the Church of Our Lady

  • Visiting hours: Monday to Saturday from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Price: you can enter the church for free, but to see the tombs and the sculpture of Michelangelo you have to pay 6 euros

Another activity that we did during our stay in Bruges was a Tour in which they told us about the different legends that hang over this magical city. Here we leave you the information in case you are interested in hiring it (it is free, you only have to give the tip that you consider the person who is guiding us has earned), check it out Bruges Mysteries & Legends Free Tour

Museum of the Fries

In this museum we will learn about the history of the fried potato, originally from Belgium, its sauces and how it has accompanied the Belgian culture through the ages. The building in which the museum is located is also a historical place, called the Saaihalle, which in the past was the home of an important Genoese family, dedicated to trade and installed in Bruges.

In the city, there came to be a neighborhood or a house for each country that had people living there to do business. This house is a faithful witness of those wealthy times.

We tell you how the visit to the Fried Potato Museum was here


This palace was the home of the Gruuthuse family, who lived right next to the Church of Our Lady and had their private balcony to go to mass without leaving home. In this museum, we can visit the rooms that show us what life was like in Bruges in the past, that past full of commercial prosperity.

  • Visiting hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Price: 12 euros

Leaving the Gruuthuse Museum, do not miss the canal that is right next to it, we can see the nice Bonifacio Bridge where you practically have to queue to take the photo. Something that draws attention is that the canal tour boats manage to pass, despite the fact that the space is very small.

The Swans of Bruges

In the different parks of Bruges, such as the Minnewaterpark, it will be almost impossible not to meet the many swans that roam the city. Most of these birds receive care and food from the city and this has been going on for centuries.

It all started when Maximilian I, Archduke of Austria, became ruler after the death of his wife, Maria de Borgoña. This was not to the liking of the inhabitants of Bruges. The discontent reached such a degree that Maximilian was kidnapped and locked up in the Craenenburg house, in the same main square. As part of his torments, his captors beheaded Pieter Lanchals, his faithful friend and administrator of the city, before his eyes. When Maximilian regained his freedom, he ordered all the leaders of the riots to be executed and as punishment for the inhabitants of Bruges, he forced them to keep numerous swans well fed and cared for, which became one of the protagonists of the Bruges canals. He chose this animal since in Dutch, lanchals means “long neck” being, in fact, a swan the animal represented in the coat of arms of the family of Pieter Lanchals. Thus, the Bruges would remember forever every time they saw a swan Pieter’s murder.


Founded in 1245, with white facades and a relaxing garden. The beguinage became a haven for beguines, women lay but seeking refuge and willing to live a celibate and pious life.

You can visit the “house of beguine” museum and get an idea of what the routine was like in the past. You have to know that women still live in this place: the sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict and single women from Bruges.

We only visited the garden, for the museum we did not have enough time (it had already closed). The garden is a haven of peace and the white facades transport you to the past.

  • Visiting hours: beguine’s house every day from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM and the beguinage every day from 6:30 AM to 6:30 PM
  • Price: beguine’s house 2 euros and beguinage free

Kruisvest Mills

Going to the area of the old walls, near the Cross Gate, we find several mills that are part of the numerous mills that were in the area (something like 21 in the 19th century). One of them can be visited inside, it is the Sint-Janshuis mill, a quick visit that is well worth it, both for what we will learn and for the beautiful views of the city.

  • Visiting hours: from 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM and from 1:30 PM to 5:00 PM
  • Price: 4 euros

The charity houses

These are small residential areas, dating back to the 14th century and the reason they were built is charity. But not selfless charity. In this way the wealthy could ensure a “fast” way to heaven, how? each residential area had a chapel, here the beneficiaries of these small houses had to pray to “thank” their benefactor.

Today they are still residences and when visiting them you have to remain silent, to avoid disturbing the neighbors.

Bruges Beer Experience

Beer and chocolate is something inherent to Belgium and Bruges could not miss it. In this interactive museum, we can learn about the beer manufacturing process and how it has evolved over time.

At the end of the visit, we will be offered to taste three Belgian beers (if we buy the ticket that includes the tasting, which I recommend).

  • Visiting hours: Monday to Friday from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Saturday from 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM and Sunday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Price: 16 euros with tasting and 10 euros without tasting

Bruges, a city worth seeing

Bruges is a city that did not leave us indifferent, where there is much to see since every corner brought us a story and where time seems to have stopped. So now you have an idea of what to see in Bruges. Now you just need to pack your suitcase and come.

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Olga Grijalva Alvarez

Olga is a traveler and travel content creator with 17 years of experience. Her goal is to share useful information to help you plan your adventures. She has visited more than 40 countries and is excited to share her experience with you.

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