Are you planning to visit a picturesque city in Western Europe? Bruges must be the worthiest choice in your mind. Venerable for its cobbled streets, canals, and medieval buildings, Bruges is the most consequential city of West Flanders in northwest Belgium. Be eclectic to see the buildings from the 13th and 14th century AD.
Although there is no end to the list of activities you can do in Bruges, Belgium, we recommend the following list. We think it can be best for anyone who’s traveling to the city for the first time.
1. Visit the Belfry Tower
You will be happy to visit the Belfry Tower, the former treasury and municipal archive, which was used as an observation post for spotting fires and other possible dangers. The 83-meter high tower, cascades a narrow, steep staircase, 366 steps high, which is accessible to the public for an entry fee of 8 Euros. Well, you must be going a complete aerobics to reach to the top, but the view there is a perfect mesmerizing pursuit. Watch the melodious 47 bells, the old treasury, and an impressive clock on the Carillonneur’s chamber.
Don’t forget to take a close look at the several elements of architectural excellence while you are at the top.
2. L’ Estaminet
Visit the cozy, brown pub on the Astrid Park, situated at a stone’s throw distance from the Burg (city hall), and Rozehoedkaai. Enjoy the interiors of the place, furnished with benches, wooden tables, chandeliers, paneling, and also mirrors that will bring you back to the commencement of the last century. The authentic café is still alluring, sympathetic, and juvenile.
The pub exists for the last 45 years, often referred to as the ‘Park Café’ in the 19th century. The place used to be a favorite place for the Spanish soldiers in the 15th century AD. Enjoy the ambiance of the historic pub along with the gravity of the past days.
3. Cruise Down the Bruges’ Canals
Take the pride of experiencing the city following an age-old tradition of cruising the Bruge’s canals. Follow the remarkable arteries of the city, the street garden, scenic views, alluring bridges, and many more. You’ll feel the loveliest places ooze even with more charm while you admire them on a boat ride.
You’ll love to enjoy the boat ride and explore all the five points during the happening 30-minute long trip. Enjoy the city from an entirely new angle. The boat ride is open daily from mid-March to November from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.
4. Basilica of the Holy Blood
Visit the double church, dedicated to Our Lady and Saint Basil, which has maintained its Romanesque characteristics. The neo-gothic upper church is the place where the relic of Holy Blood is preserved with care. The chapel, located at the corner of Burg Square, consists of a façade belonging to the 16th century AD. Observe the difference between the two levels carefully. The two chapels are connected by a staircase running behind the grand façade and facing the square.
If you can visit the chapel on Ascension Day during spring, you will witness the procession of the Holy Blood.
5. Go for a Pleasing Windmill Walk at Koeleweimolen
Once you are done with the shopping malls, city center, beers, pubs, and cafes, you would like to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city. Visit the ramparts with the windmills in it. Belgium has a rich history of windmills. At the end of the 16th century, there were no lesser than 23 windmills in the town. Now, it’s left only with just four.
See the spectacular windmills at Koeleweimolen, Nieuwe Papegaai, Sint-Janshuismolen, and Bonne Chiere. You can make your vacation a bit more exciting by renting a bike and riding along the ramparts encircling the windmills.
6. Rococo Lace Store
Bruges reminds you of its lace-making culture. So, never step out of the city without having a look at the lace factory. Pay a visit to Rococo, the popular lacemaker from 1833, which offers an extensive collection of old as well as contemporary laces. You will see the art of making various kinds of laces like an antique bobbin, ribbon, needlepoint, and also custom made ones. It’s also a fun activity for children who go and watch this art.
See the technique of making lace in the most authentic and of course, artistic way.
7. Explore the Vibrant Bruges Market Square
Placed in the shadow of the majestic Belfry tower, the Bruges Markt stands unique as a symbol of the medieval festivals, tournaments, fairs, uprisings, and also executions. It’s just a place where history reverberates.
Today, the Bruges Markt square is a popular meeting place for the locals as well as the visitors. The iconic site used to be the market place since 958. Now it’s ringed by several banks, guild houses that have been turned into restaurants. Visit the square on Wednesday to buy some fresh stock of fruits, flowers, vegetables, meat, and of course, cheese. Hire a horse-drawn carriage to get a classic feel of the olden days.
8. Fall in Love Exploring the Lovers Bridge and Lake of Love
Situated at the southern end of Bruges, is the beautiful, serene water body called ‘Minnewater.’ The centerpiece is popularly known as the ‘Lake of Love’ or the ‘Lovers Bridge.’ It’s a great place, especially if you want to chill with your family or a special friend. On the way from the train station or coach parking, you can view the stunning Minnewater. You will love the scenery of the calm water, the benches along the lake, or perhaps enjoy a stride along the trail. See the attractive buildings and monuments along the Minnewater Park.
Visit this magical place and share some personal moments, kissing each other, and your love will be eternal. That’s what the belief of the locals out here says! And for those who love photography, you can effortlessly capture a beautiful white swan swimming at the calm waters in your lenses, a sight which is very common here.
9. Get Terrified Exploring the Torture Museum
Medieval Europe used to be known for one of the most brutal forms of torture on prisoners. The Torture Museum displays 100 different types of torture instruments, which were once applied to prisoners between the 13th and the 18th century. Witness the tools on display like the chair of torture, the Wooden Horse, Tongs, Head Press, Caretaker’s Daughter, Rat torture, and the history behind those forbidden punishments.
Just imagine the human rights commission of today be present in those days, then what would have happened to the emperors and lords who posed to be next to God!
10. Treat yourself at Ribs ‘n Beer
Situated at a 5 minutes walking distance from the historic market square of Bruges, Ribs ‘n Beer is the best place to taste slow-cooked, succulent ribs, dipped in a variety of sauces. We would highly recommend you to try their specialty, a 650-gram incredibly delicious T-bone steak along with their famous nachos.
No wonder you will enjoy the meat variety with a range of Belgian beer, Trappist beer along with other drinks.
The best time visiting Bruges is from April to June and from September to October. The spring and fall weather will be simply stunning for the natural beauty to unfold. Bruges records millions of visitors during the peak visiting hours. If you are keen to visit this city of historical importance, eat, dine, walk and make merry, Bruges will no doubt be the city of your choice. But, we would suggest you to avoid visiting the main attractions during the peak rush hours for your convenience.