Brugge Things To Do
Nicknamed the Venice of the North, Brugge (also known as Bruges) has been a crossroads for many cultures including Belgian, French, and Dutch. The city today remains a place where it is possible to explore three cultures and see how Northern Europe has evolved.
Brugge is a city of many layers. Visitors can explore the region’s canals, walk through churches that have survived two world wars, and pop into the region’s many museums. Much of the medieval architecture has been preserved, making it easy for any visitor to see what life was like here hundreds of years ago. Easy to explore on foot and by boat, the city makes a wonderful trip by itself or as part of a tour of this part of the world.
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Seeing Brugge By Boat
Brugge is built around a series of canals. Boats ply the canals, bringing people from one area to another. Travelers can take a boat tour via the major canals. A typical tour lasts thirty minutes and brings you to most of the sites in the city. Tours leave from various places in the city, making it easy to catch one.
Brugge has long been a city of churches. Many of them are still standing today. One of the most important is the Basilica of the Holy Blood. Dating from 1150, the Basilica has a Romanesque style lower chapel and an upper chapel in the Gothic style. Another major church is the Church of Our Lady. The stunning cathedral has the only sculpture by Michelangelo ever to leave Italy. The Saint Saviors Cathedral is also another major Brugge site. The towers of the cathedral loom over the entire city. Inside you’ll find a huge organ. This is a working church that offers services and musical events, so check in advance if you want to hear a live concert.
The City Square
Brugge’s historic city center lies in the market square. If you are visiting on a Wednesday, be sure to check out the weekly market. On other days, you can enjoy the many cafes and restaurants surrounding the square. Sample Belgian fries topped with many dipping sauces such as vinegar and mayonnaise.
Brugge is home to museums that help show off the city’s history. The Gruuthuse Museum is housed in a palace that once belonged to a wealthy local family. Items showing their daily life are on display here, and include textiles and ceramics. The Hans Memling Museum is housed in one of Europe’s oldest hospitals. Visitors can see how people were treated during medieval times. The museum is named after the German painter Hans Memling, whose works can be seen here today. And those who love chocolate will want to visit the Chocolate Museum, for the history and lots of free samples.
More from SmarterTravel:
- Belgium Travel Guide: What to Do in Belgium
- Getting Around Belgium: Transportation Tips
- Where to Stay in Belgium: Lodging Tips
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Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about things to do in Brugge.