Bruges Banner ©Jan D'Hondt, Visit Bruges


It is only fair to say that the places that stir all your senses and that creep under your skin are extremely rare. These are the places that pluck your heart strings, yet whose secrets you can’t unlock completely. Bruges happens to be such a unique place. Cultural and artistic, cosmopolitan, unashamedly Burgundian, mysteriously medieval, and a UNESCO World Heritage site to boot.

Strolling along Bruges’ alleys, picturesque canals and verdant ramparts you cannot but fall hopelessly in love with her elegant mysteriousness.

Although it is true that Bruges has one foot firmly in the past, it is equally true that she fully invests in her future. It is therefore no surprise that the 14 city museums house the Flemish Primitives as well as contemporary art. Moreover, a goodly number of enthralling cultural events enrapture both the townspeople of Bruges and her visitors throughout the year.

The delights of Bruges’ Burgundian life can be sampled in one of the countless cafés and restaurants, from authentic pubs to trendy eating places and famous gourmet restaurants. The citizens of Bruges have known for centuries how to eat and drink well, you see.


Hansa Quarter ©Jan D'Hondt, Visit Bruges

Hansa Quarter

From the 13th to the 15th century, Bruges was an important trading centre at the crossroads between the Hansa cities of Scandinavia, England and Germany (known collectively in those days as the ‘Easterners’) and the most important commercial regions in France, Spain and Italy. The Spanish traders established themselves at Spaanse Loskaai (Spanish Unloading Quay), while the Easterners set up shops on the Oosterlingenplein (Easterners’ Square). Places where you can still feel the atmosphere of days long gone by. And where the Grauwwerkersstraat turns into the Academiestraat, is popularly known as the 'Oude Beursplein' (Old Stock Exchange Square). In the Middle Ages this was the centre of financial transactions, the Wall Street of its time. 

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Flemish primitives ©Jan Darthet, Visit Bruges

Flemish primitives

During Bruges’ Golden Age, the 15th century, the fine arts prevailed. In the wake of the prestigious Burgundian dynasty, the great Flemish Primitives made a name for themselves. The world-renowned works of Jan Van Eyck, Hans Memling and those of other prominent Flemish Masters can be admired at the Groeninge Museum, St John’s Hospital, St Saviour’s Cathedral, St James’s Church and the Church of Our Lady.

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Gruuthuse Museum ©Jan D'Hondt, Visit Bruges

Gruuthuse Museum

In the museum you can journey through three crucial periods in the history of Bruges. First of all, there is the city’s Burgundian heyday, followed by the previously underexposed period during the 17th and 18th centuries, before finishing with the ‘rediscovery’ of Bruges in the 19th century neo-Gothic style that is so typical of the city today. These three periods are brought to life by more than 600 exhibits, each of which has its own story to tell.

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Belfry ©Jan Darthet, Visit Bruges


The most striking tower in Bruges dates back to the 13th century, is 83 metres high and is protected as a world heritage site. Anyone who climbs all 366 steps will be rewarded with a stunning view over the city and its surroundings. On your way up, you can stop off at the treasury, which held the city’s charters, seals and coffers during the Middle Ages. A few steps further on you will see the impressive music drum that operates the carillon and the keyboard used by the city carilloneur to play the tower’s 47 carillon bells.

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Bruges by boat ©Jan Darthet, Visit Bruges

Boat trip

A visit to Bruges is not complete without a boat trip on the Bruges canals, the arteries of the city. Accompanied by swans floating alongside you on the water, you will discover Bruges from a surprising perspective, because some things you can only see from the water! For half an hour, the captain will take you on a tour of the most beautiful spots on the water between Jan van Eyck Square and the Beguinage.

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