Bruges is said to be a city that will capture your heart. Being a major trading port, it has been an international metropolis for centuries. Despite this, it has retained its medieval charm as well as its natural beauty. Something that has helped its historic city centre to attain the tag of World Heritage Site of UNESCO. In Europe it is also referred as Venice of the North, because of its canals. It is indeed one of my favourite European cities. Although a city like Bruges is worth spending a plentiful of time, but I am shortlisting ten things that you shouldn’t miss when you visit this marvellous city. Lets, have a look at them.
A trip in its canals
Bruges looks more charming when you take a boat trip on its canals. Half hour trips on boats are most popular and you can ride on them from any of five landing stages. It gives you entirely different perspective of the city and you can certainly have that Venice feeling. These canals one provided a natural connection between city and the North Sea.
Bruges on horse coaches
Nothing is better than exploring a medieval city on horse carriages, which immediately takes you to times back. Horse drawn carriage tours are an ideal and extremely personal way to get to know Bruges. Regular trips start from the market square and take you on a historical tour of the city.
Read more about it: Romancing the horse coaches in Bruges
A double church
Basilica of the Holy Blood at Bruges is a double church, dedicated to Our Lady and Saint Basil since the 12th century and a basilica since 1923. It consists of a lower church that has maintained its Romanesque character and a neo-Gothic upper church, in which the relic of the Holy Blood is preserved. It also has a treasury where numerous valuable works of art are kept.
The 83 meter high belfry or hallstower (halletoren) is Bruges’ most well-known landmark and its most symbolic civil monument. Bruges Belfry houses the old treasury, where the city’s charters, seal and public funds were kept during the middle ages, and there is also an impressive clock and a carillonneur’s chamber. Tiring 366 steps till the top take you to a breath-taking and unforgettable panoramic view of Bruges and its surroundings.
Michelangelo in Bruges
Madonna and Child’ (1504-05) carved in Carrara marble by Michelangelo Buonarotti. Originally it was intended for an altar in Cathedral of Sienna but the Mouscron family of Bruges is said to have purchased it and gifted to Our Lady’s Church. It is said to one of very few works of Michelangelo to outside Italy during his lifetime. The church itself is a landmark. Its tower is 115.6 metres in height and it is the tallest structure in the city, as well as also the second tallest brickwork tower in world. But this art piece is its most celebrate treasure indeed.
The beauty of stained glasses
Almost all the churches in Bruges have stained-glass windows from medieval times. What a magnificent sight they make! Each one has a story in itself. Many of them have survived the ravages of time. Few of the glasses are depiction of ruling class in the late fifteenth century. Many others have Biblical descriptions. These panels are attractive, intriguing and unusual examples of art of the renaissance period.
An evening at market square
I enjoy this concept of most of medieval cities of Europe, where at the dusk the historic city centres become free of any vehicular movement, restaurant tables are out on cobbled streets and people roam around freely to eat and have fun! You can’t miss this at Bruges. That’s where the gastronomical culture of the city lies.
Celebration of art in public
A public art space is reflection of a vibrant, open and inclusive society and Bruges is indeed a representative of that. Art and art installations are there to see al around in Bruges- roadsides, house tops, balconies, city centres and even on public water taps. Such type of art denotes that how a society respects different ideas and preserves them. You are definitely got to enjoy them in Bruges.
See more of it. Read: The whole of Bruges is a public art gallery
The lacework of Bruges
Bruges is known for its lace. The textile technique of the city has been quite popular. In the 17th century textile centres of Flanders such as Bruges eclipsed Italy as the premiere sources for fine bobbin lace. It was once a very flourishing industry in Bruges, the glimpse of which can still be seen here. Bruges lace was in high production between 1850-1950. You can certainly look for some lace shopping in the city.
Enjoy the heritage
As we said, Bruges is a UNESCO World Heritage City. Retaining the mysteries of the Middle Ages and unashamedly exuberant, Bruges has been an international metropolis for centuries. Bruges has a valuable architectural heritage and history, it is famed for its brick-Gothic buildings. The original and integrated medieval fabric of the city has also been retained. It has lots of museums for a city as small as Bruges- from chocolate museum to Dali museum. Many museums pay homage to some finest painters of the city.
Have you ever been to Bruges? What were the highlights of your trip? Share with us in the comments section below.
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If given a choice, I would never visit Brussels. There are many interesting places in Belgium and given the paucity of time (Europe has so many nice places to visit) you always have to prune some places!
Indeed Arvind, small towns like Bruges and Ghent are more charming then the bigger cities of Belgium.
Thanks that’s helpful. Been a couple of times but got some new ideas from your blog for when I go in December.
Thanks a lot for dropping by. Feel nice to be of any help to your travel planning.