Bruges is a magical small town that is absolutely worth seeing. As the city center is quite small, you can see the most important sights in just a day. We will show you the best way to walk to get to a lot of sights.
Bruges is easy to access by train. If you are in Brussels for a few days, make sure to make the one hour train ride to Bruges. Halfway there you can also stop in Gent which is also always worth a trip.
When you walk out the train station of bruges you make your way to the traffic lights and cross the street. Mostly you can just follow the crowd 😉 If you have luggage you don’t want to carry around the whole day, you can leave it one of the lockers at the station. You can store your bags there for 24 hours for a small amount of money. From the station you could also take a bus directly to the center and walk the way back but the walk into town is really nice!
When you crossed the street, a sign will show you the way towards the center and you will walk over a bridge. Directly after this bridge turn right into the park and walk along the canal. You can enjoy this walk along the water till you come to the 18 meters high ‘Powder Tower’. It was built in 1401 and used to be a part of the city wall.
At the tower you turn to the left and follow the path till you arrive at the Beguinage (Begijnhof). Make sure to take a look at all the swans before you enter the yard at your left. Here you can have a look at the home of the beguines which was found in the year 1245. Nowadays nuns of the Order of St. Benedict live in these small white houses. Make sure to take a look at this calm place! It’s open all year round every day from 06:30 am to 6:30 pm.
When you leave the Beguinage over the bridge you will arrive in the Wijngaardstraat. Follow the street till you come to the corner of the Walplein and take this street on your left. This short street will lead you to a nice sqare where you will find the brewery ‘de halve man’ where the Brugse Zot is brewed, the beer of Bruges.
After you took a look at the brewery and maybe tasted the beer, make your way to the Walstraat and turn to the left into the Katelijnestraat. Here you will cross another bridge and maybe see some boats crossing. Right after the bridge you will find the old ‘Sint-Janshospitaal’. Make sure to walk inside the yard and take a look. If you have time you can have a look at the museum located there.
Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk
When coming back to the Katelijnestraat you can already see the impressive church to your right. It’s the ‘Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk. It’s usually open from 9:30 am to 5 pm and from 1:30 am to 5 pm on Sundays. Inside you will find several artpieces like Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child, famous paintings, 13th-century painted schulptures and the tombs of Mary of Burgundy and Charles the Bold. Make sure to also take a look at the 115.5 metres high brick tower!
Continue your way by taking the way on the right when facing the entrance of the church. It will lead you to the Bonifazius bridge. Here you have the famous view you may have already seen on many advertisings about Bruges. Cross the bridge and turn to the left to the big arch. Leave the yard through there and cross the street. On the corner is another ticket office to book a boattour.
When you continue to the right you can walk along the canal underneath the trees. Sometimes there’s a fleemarket and you can have a look at all the old things and maybe find some souvenirs. Continue this way till you arrive at the Vismarkt (Fish Market). But make sure to stop several times to take pictures ;). If you want a nice picture stop just before the Vismarkt where the canal takes a turn. It is one of the most pituresque places in Bruges.
Turn to the left and walk along the fishmarket towards the bridge and cross it. If you know the film ‘in Bruges’ you can see the Hotel from the film to your left when crossing the bridge. While continuing straight make sure to look up to see the beautiful arch!
When you walked through the arch you stand right at De Burg. This place was the base of operations of the Count of Flanders. Here you see the city hall of Bruges which was built in the 14 th century and the old Court of Justice, which is a rare example of Renaissance architecture in Bruges. The Basilica of the Holy Blood, where the relict of the Holy Blood is kept was built in the 12th century and is located right to the town hall. It’s usually open from 09:30 am to 12:30 pm and from 2 pm to 17:30 pm, make sure to take a look inside!
De grote Markt
When you leave the Burg to the right ( when facing the buildings) you will stand directly in the city center just a few metres further. The so called ‘Grote Markt’ is dominated by its Belfry which you probably spotted already a few times on the way there. If the weather is good we would recommend to climb up the 366 stairs and enjoy the wonderful view over Bruges. At the Market you will also find the tourist information point and the historium. If you have time, make sure to take a look at this interactive exhibition. It takes you to the medieval times of Bruges. There we learned that the Belfry was built higher several times over the last centuries and that the Building where the historium is located, used to be a gigantic Waterhalle. The Waterhalle was the central warehouse for the shipping industry as Bruges was an important trading city.
You can then make your way back through the Steenstraat, one of the two shopping streets. Take a look at the Sint-Salvatorskathedraal while walking by toward the Zand. When turning left you will pass the big Concertbuilding and can enjoy walking through the park back to the station.
For more information take a look at the official homepage of Bruges.