Though it is a small city, there are a number of tourist places in Bruges. There are numerous churches, museums, squares (9 of them), bridges (the town has over 54 of them), parks, greens, lakes, canals, city gates, windmills, bell tower, city hall et al. It’s one amazing “medieval” package !
The notable tourist places in Bruges include –
1 ) The Belfry and the Cloth Hall in the Markt Square
2) The Basilica of the Holy Blood in Burg (Heilige Bloed Basiliek)
3) Church of Our Lady (Onze-Lieve-Vrouwkerk)
4) The Beguinage (Begijnhof)
5) Jerusalem Church, Bruges
6) The Town Hall /City Hall / Stadhuis of Bruges (Brugge)
7) Groening’s Museum
8) Gruuthuse Museum
9) The Hospital of St. John (Sint-Janshospitaal)
10) St. Saviour’s Cathedral (Sint Salvators-Kathedraal)
11) The Diamond Museum
12) The Choco-Story
13) The Lace Centre (v.z.w. Kantcentrum)
14) Day trips nearby
Apart from these places one can just go around – walking on the winding cobbled streets within the city, have a ride in the horse carriage, boat rides in the canals etc. There are the medieval gates to city which though not such a beauteous architectural wonder, is interesting due to the historic importance. Originally constructed in the 13th-14th centuries these were part of the city fortifications. They include Blacksmith’s Gate (or Smedenpoort – which has a metal skull stuck to it), Cross Gate (or Kruispoort), Ghent Gate (Gentpoort), Blind Donkey’s Gate (or Ezelpoort – near the Town Hall). The city has number of spots for just hanging around absorbing the natural and historic environment – like the Grote Markt, Minnewater Lake, Wijngaard Square, the Burg square, Grunrei (a street approachable from an alley next to the City Hall), the Vismarkt (Bruges Fish market), Queen Astrid Park (in the memory of Queen Astrid, a popular young queen who died in 1935) et al. There are other places like St. Anne’s Church in St. Annakerkstraat (consecrated in 1624 and has a beautiful interior much in marble), St. Walburgha’s Church in St. Maartensplein (a baroque church built by Brugean Jesuit in 1619-1642), the Museum of Lighting (Lumina Domestica) on Wijnzakstraat, St. Sabastian’s Archers’ Guild, St. Trudo Abbey Male (former castle of the counts of Flanders and now convent of the canonesses of the Holy Sepulchre), Public Observatory Beisbroek – a well equipped observatory and planetarium located at Zeewag 96, 8200 Sint-Andries, Ter Doest (a 13th century gothic barn), Bladelin Court (built c. 1440)
Depending on the time of visit there are events in Bruges (Brugge) which people can check out. In May the procession of the Holy Blood have enactments of Biblical stories etc. Every year from November to January there is a snow and ice sculpture festival held on the station square of Bruges. This exhibit is conducted in a hall with temperatures maintained at -6°C (21°F). A number of various cultural events take place at the Concert Building.
Bruges tourist office address:
In&uit – Toerisme Brugge
The Concert Hall
‘t Zand 34, 8000 Brugge
Phone: +32 50 47 69 99 / 50 44 46 46
Timings: Daily 10am – 6pm; Thursdays till 8pm.
Also for tourist information –
In&uit – Toerisme Brugge
PO Box 744
I came across some interesting (rather morbid!) medieval details at this link. It gives the historic background of streets, buildings, statues, carvings etc. around the city.