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A local guide to things to do in Bruges

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Belgian travel writer Sam Van den Haute of Checkout Sam reports on the best activities in Bruges. We are very happy about this post because we have not visited this picturesque city yet and always wanted to see the movie In Bruges.

Things to do in Bruges | Museum Sint-Janshospitaal canal view

Imagine strolling down a picturesque cobblestone path, past winding canals full of swans and 13th-century cathedrals. Just add some modern shopping and the scent of chocolate to this scene and you'll have the charming medieval city of Bruges.

About Bruges

Bruges, also called "Bruges" in Dutch, is one of the best preserved fairytale cities in Europe.

Bruges is located in the west Flemish region of Belgium and takes you to places you have read about in the picture books. At the same time you can be pampered with modern comfort and modern kitchen.

With its unique historic paths, churches and parks, you will discover a city in Europe that stands out from the others.

In Bruges, often referred to as the "Venice of the North", more than 117,000 people live. Here you will find a mix of fun activities and attractions. You can also discover small, quiet corners where you can relax and unwind.

Let's take a look at ten sights that you should not miss when visiting this enchanting destination.

1st Frauenkirche

What to do in Bruges? The Frauenkirche

Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk

"The Frauenkirche" is a seductive beauty from the 13th century.

With a 115.5 meter high tower, the Frauenkirche is the tallest building in Bruges.

And here is a funny fact, it is too The second tallest brick building in the world.

The church displays several remarkable works of art by artists such as the Marble Madonna by Michelangelo.

It was extended and renovated over time, the construction took about two centuries initially. It is currently being restored.

Some works of art are missing due to renovations, but most of this stunning church should now be available.

2. The Begijnhof

activities in Bruges | Beguinages or Beguinages

Since 1998 Begijnhofs UNESCO World Heritage Site are undoubtedly a peculiarity in Europe, especially in Belgium and the Netherlands.

These historical complexes date back to the middle of the 13th century and were originally inhabited by a collection of religious women or beguines who lived their lives on the model of the apostles.

The Beguines lived in a community of women only. those who were widowed or single and wanted to live religiously.

The Begijnhof in Bruges is one of the best preserved.

As you walk along the cobblestone streets, you will leave the city's noisy atmosphere behind and find yourself in a quiet, tranquil area.

The Begijnhof is still used today as a residence for nuns and women who have decided to remain unmarried.

However, you can enter and visit some of the Beguine houses by stepping back in time to get a feel for what it was like to live here!

3. Basilica of the Holy Blood

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Basiliek van het Heilig Bloed

In the city center, west of the town hall, also known as "Stadhuis", is the magnificent Basiliek van het Heilig Bloed. (Basilica of the Holy Blood)

This famous double church, named after Our Lady and Basil, is said to have a vial of blood drops of Christ himself.

The blood is said to have been brought from the Holy Land to the basilica after the Crusades in the 12th century.

This relic of Jesus is taken out every day at 2:00 pm so that visitors can show their respect.

As a double church you will notice two different sections during your visit. An upper church with neo-gothic architecture, in which the relic of the Holy Blood is kept, and an underground chapel, whose Romanesque features have been preserved.

You will not want to miss the opportunity to personally see this unique basilica!

4. Gröningemuseum

bruges belgium sights | Gröningemuseum

There is no better place to get to know Belgian art and history than the famous Gröningemuseum!

Built on the site of the medieval Eekhout Abbey, the museum offers a comprehensive visual overview of various aspects of Flemish and Belgian artists, as well as works of art from the 14th to the 16th centuries.

These include neoclassical pieces from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Many works of post-war modern art and examples of Flemish expressionism are also on display in the museum. Let us not forget the world-famous collection of Flemish primitive paintings.

Of course, many of these works were originally created in Bruges itself! It is also good to note that regular exhibitions are shown in the Gröningemuseum.

5. Belfort

what to see in Bruges | Belfort

The Belfry, a protected World Heritage Site, is a true masterpiece in the center of Bruges. With a height of 83 meters it offers a spectacular panoramic view of the city.

The ascent may feel a bit claustrophobic due to the tower from the 13th century, but the hike is definitely worth it.

Inside the tower, the glockenspiel with 47 bells still sounded manually on a particular day.

The Belfort is known as the most important and iconic tower in Bruges, reminiscent of one of the oldest examples of medieval architecture.

Perhaps you will also recognize the tower, which was featured in the famous movie "In Bruges".

6. The Burgplatz

& # 39;what to do in bruges | the castle square

If you are interested in architecture and history, you will enjoy dancing throughout your trip to Bruges.

The castle is a place that has been inhabited since the 2nd century AD and shows examples of Renaissance, Gothic and Classicist architecture.

You will find that you will go through history with every building you pass on your way to Burgplatz.

These include the "Stadhuis", also known as the Town Hall, which was preserved from its original construction in 1376, and the Old Civil Registry from 1537.

You will also see the historic court, the Frauenkirche and the Palace of Freedom of Bruges (Brugse Vrije).

You can even stop by next door to explore the old fish market and many picturesque canals!

7. Saint Jan's Hospital

Top activities in Bruges | Saint Jan's Hospital

Museum Sint-Janshospitaal

This popular historical museum, which dates back more than 800 years as a working medical institution, is located in the medieval Saint Jan's Hospital.

It is known as one of the best preserved old hospitals in Europe. Now there is a museum where you can see what the old districts and hospital life looked like.

In terms of art, there are many collections from various churches located in the old community of Saint Jan's.

Many of these pieces were handed over to Saint Jan's Hospital after Napoleon's fall in 1815.

These high-level examples of religious art include donated works by charitable organizations as well as the famous ensembles of Hans Memling from the 16th century in the chapel.

Do not forget to visit the pharmacies and the herb garden!

8. Loppem Castle

Worth seeing in Bruges Exterior pond view of Loppem Castle

Kasteel Van Loppem

The 19th century Loppem Castle underlines the magical atmosphere of Bruges, just 10 km south of the city center.

With its beautiful neo-gothic architecture, Loppem Castle combines its original interior and architectural state with its winding garden labyrinth and a huge art collection that takes you back in time.

The castle was temporarily after the First World War, the home of King Albert I, who even housed Queen Elizabeth in 1918.

A walk through the corridors of Loppem Castle brings to life the traces of artists and kings of the past.

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