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Bruges Must-See Sights: Top Things it’s Famous For

Nicknamed the "Venice of the North," Bruges, Belgium, is a captivating city that weaves a spell with its winding canals, charming squares, and fairytale architecture. But Bruges is more than just a pretty face. This UNESCO World Heritage Site boasts a rich history, a vibrant cultural scene, and delectable treats that will tantalize your taste buds. If you're planning a trip to Bruges, get ready to be enchanted. In this post, we'll unveil the must-see sights that will make your Bruges adventure unforgettable.

Bruge Belgium Market

What is Bruges famous for?

Groeningemuseum

This museum houses an impressive collection of Flemish art, including masterpieces by Jan van Eyck, Hans Memling, and Hieronymus Bosch. A visit here offers a deep dive into Bruges' artistic heritage and the Flemish Primitives' revolutionary techniques.

 

Markt (Market Square)
Bruge Belgium Market

The bustling heart of Bruges, Markt Square is a feast for the senses. Marvel at the magnificent belfry, the towering Halletoren (Cloth Hall), and the colorful guild houses lining the square. Soak in the lively atmosphere, people-watch, or indulge in a refreshing drink at one of the many cafes lining the square.


The Canals
Bruge Belgium Canal

A visit to Bruges wouldn't be complete without a canal cruise. Glide along the picturesque waterways, lined with historic buildings and quaint bridges. This serene journey is a quintessential Brugean experience.

 

Church of Our Lady

This magnificent Gothic church houses the revered statue of Michelangelo's Madonna and Child. Be mesmerized by the church's stunning architecture, intricate stained glass windows, and the artistry of Michelangelo's masterpiece.

 

Things You Probably Didn't Know About Bruges

Bruges is a city steeped in history and charm, but there's more to it than meets the eye. Beyond the canals and chocolate shops lie surprising facts and hidden gems. Here are three things you might not know about Bruges:


Lacemaking Capital

Bruges has been synonymous with exquisite lace for centuries. The delicate craft, passed down through generations, reached its peak in the 16th and 17th centuries. Today, you can still witness lace demonstrations and purchase beautiful handmade pieces as keepsakes.


Swan Legend

The graceful swans gliding on Bruges' canals are more than just a pretty sight. Legend has it that they originated from a gruesome act of revenge by the city's rulers in the 16th century. A nobleman named Pieter Lanchals, whose coat of arms featured a swan, was overthrown and killed. As punishment, the city was forced to keep swans on its canals forever.


Leaning Belfry
Belfry of Bruge

The iconic Belfry of Bruges is a symbol of the city. While it may not be as tilted as the Leaning Tower of Pisa, this UNESCO World Heritage Site has a slight lean. Construction started in the 13th century, but due to unstable soil, the tower began to tilt eastward. Although engineers have stabilized the tilt, it adds to the tower's unique charm.


The 83-meter tall Belfry of Bruges is a must-climb for panoramic views of the city. Ascend the 366 steps to the top for breathtaking vistas of the red-tiled rooftops, winding canals, and the Church of Our Lady.

 

What food is Bruges known for?

Bruge waffle and coffee

Bruges is famous for several delicious treats, but here are the top three:


  1. Belgian Chocolate: Belgium is a chocolate powerhouse, and Bruges boasts a rich chocolate-making tradition. Indulge in decadent pralines, truffles, and all sorts of creative chocolate concoctions at renowned chocolatiers throughout the city.

  2. Moules-Frites: This national treasure of Belgium features plump mussels cooked in white wine, herbs, and vegetables, served with a generous portion of crispy Belgian fries. It's a hearty and satisfying dish, perfect for a casual lunch or dinner.

  3. Waffles: Who can resist a Belgian waffle? These light and fluffy pastries come in sweet and savory varieties. Enjoy them plain with powdered sugar, smothered in whipped cream and fresh fruit, or even topped with savory options like cheese and ham.


Why do people love in Bruges?

People love living in Bruges for a multitude of reasons, likely a blend of its charming atmosphere, rich history, and manageable size. Here are some factors that might contribute to their love for the city:


  • Fairytale charm: Bruges offers a picture-perfect setting with its cobbled streets, canals, and well-preserved medieval architecture. Imagine strolling past flower-lined waterways and historic buildings every day!

  • Rich history and culture: The city boasts a vibrant cultural scene with museums showcasing Flemish art, historical landmarks, and ongoing events. Living in Bruges allows for constant immersion in its fascinating past.

  • Walkable and manageable: Unlike some large cities, Bruges is compact and easily explored on foot or by bike. This fosters a strong sense of community and a slower pace of life.

  • Foodie paradise: Bruges is a haven for those who love good food. From world-renowned chocolate shops to cozy restaurants serving local specialties, there's something for every palate.

  • Strong sense of community: With a relatively small population, Bruges can offer a close-knit community feel. Residents might enjoy knowing their neighbors and participating in local events.


Capture the Magic: Top 5 Instagrammable Spots in Bruges

Bruges is a photographer's paradise, with its storybook canals, colorful architecture, and charming squares. Whether you're a seasoned Instagrammer or just love capturing memories, here are the top 5 spots to snag that perfect photo:


Rozenhoedkaai (Rosary Quay)

This iconic quay boasts a picturesque lineup of 17th-century gabled houses lining the canal. With colorful facades reflected in the still water, it's a guaranteed recipe for a stunning Instagram shot.


Markt (Market Square)
Bruge Belgium Market

The bustling heart of Bruges offers a vibrant backdrop. Snap a photo in front of the majestic Belfry or capture the lively atmosphere with the colorful guild houses as your frame.


Bonifacius Bridge

This quaint bridge with a lone tree growing out of its side is a symbol of Bruges' romantic charm. Capture the bridge with a canal view, or pose under the archway for a touch of whimsy.


Minnewater Park

Escape the crowds and find serenity at Minnewater Park. The picturesque lake with weeping willows and swans is a beautiful spot for a peaceful photo, especially during golden hour.


The Canals
Boat tour Bruge

No Bruges visit is complete without a canal cruise. Rent a boat or hop on a tour, and capture the magic of the city from a different perspective. The bridges, historic buildings, and lush greenery along the canals offer endless Instagram-worthy moments.


Bonus Tip: For a unique perspective, climb the Belfry or take a hot air balloon ride (weather permitting) and capture breathtaking panoramic views of the city.


With these spots in mind, get ready to fill your Instagram feed with stunning photos that capture the essence of Bruges!

 

What is an interesting fact about Bruges?


World's First Beer Pipeline: Bruges boasts a unique blend of history and modern ingenuity. Believe it or not, the city is home to the world's first ever beer pipeline! This underground marvel discreetly transports beer from a local brewery to a bottling plant, showcasing a clever way to preserve tradition while embracing modern solutions.


What famous movie was filmed in Bruges?
Horse carriage Bruge

The most famous movie filmed in Bruges is In Bruges (2008). This black comedy-drama crime thriller stars Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson as hitmen laying low in the picturesque city. The film utilizes various locations throughout Bruges, making the city itself a character in the story.


Another movie filmed in Bruges is "The Nun's Story" (1959). This biographical drama stars Audrey Hepburn as Sister Luke, a young Belgian woman who joins a religious order and is sent to the Congo as a missionary nurse.


While the film's main story takes place in Africa, Bruges serves as the backdrop for Sister Luke's early life. Scenes depict her taking her vows and convent life within the peaceful monastery walls. The film uses the city's well-preserved medieval architecture and serene atmosphere to portray the tranquility Sister Luke seeks before her life takes a challenging turn.


How safe is Bruges at night?


Bruges is generally safe at night thanks to good lighting, low crime rates, and frequent tourists. However, be aware of pickpockets, especially in crowded areas. Stick to well-lit, populated streets, plan your route, and trust your gut if something feels off. With a little caution, you can explore the beauty of Bruges even after dark.


Is Bruges a walkable city?
Horses in Bruge

Absolutely! Bruges is a remarkably walkable city. Here's why:

  • Compact size: The historic city center of Bruges is quite small, making most points of interest easily accessible on foot.

  • Flat terrain: The city is mostly flat with minimal hills, making for a comfortable walking experience.

  • Pedestrian-friendly: Many streets in the center are pedestrian-only or prioritize pedestrians, creating a safe and pleasant walking environment.

  • Walking tours: Bruges is a popular destination for walking tours, highlighting its beauty and history from a pedestrian perspective.


Whether you're exploring the charming squares, navigating the canals, or meandering along the cobbled streets, Bruges is a city best enjoyed on foot.


A Fairytale Adventure Awaits: Unforgettable Bruges

Unforgetable Bruge

Bruges isn't just a city; it's an experience. From the iconic canals to the rich history and delectable treats, Bruges weaves a spell that will stay with you long after your visit. This charming city offers something for everyone, whether you're an art enthusiast, a history buff, or simply seeking a romantic getaway.


Whether you climb the Belfry for breathtaking views, get lost in the intricate lacemaking tradition, or indulge in world-famous chocolate, Bruges promises an unforgettable adventure. So, pack your walking shoes, embrace the fairytale atmosphere, and discover the magic of Bruges for yourself.

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