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Guide to Bruges Outdoors

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At first glance, medieval Bruges seems like it's all about the architecture: Its warren of narrow streets focuses on its two vast, unique central squares and it is not a city of green spaces. Look beyond the mind-boggling architecture to discover photogenic canals and small pockets of tranquility, panoramic city views and seaside escapes.

Good for
  • History Buff
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Nightlife Seeker
  • Nature Lover
  • Peace and Quiet Seeker
  • Like a Local

8 Places

7 City Tips

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Map

8 Places

The Markt

Points of Interest & Landmarks

Burg Square

Points of Interest & Landmarks

Boottochten Brugge

Boat Tours

Beguinage (Begijnhof)

Historic Sites, Historic Walking Areas

Ghent City Center

Points of Interest & Landmarks

Flanders Fields Battlefield Daytours

Cultural Tours, Historical & Heritage Tours, Day Trips

2be Beer Wall

Bars & Clubs, Gift & Speciality Shops

Ostende City Center

Flea & Street Markets, Coffee Shops

Sasha H's City Tips

  • In bars and cafes, round up the bill to the nearest euro; only consider leaving a tip of around 10% in restaurants if service and food have been exceptional.
  • Bruges is largely pedestrian, and all its major attractions are easily explored on foot. Park the car and forget about it!
  • A two-day or three-day Bruges City Card permits entry to 27 city museums, discounts on entry to a number of others, and reductions on bike hire and public transport.
  • There are three tourist offices in Bruges: At the Historium in the Markt, at the Concertgebouw concert hall in the ‘t Zand square, and in the main railway station.
  • Bruges is considered so important architecturally that the whole city was awarded a UNESCO World Heritage listing in 2000 — stop to admire the buildings!
  • Many museums and attractions close on Mondays in both Bruges and Ghent, so that’s the day to head out of town to Ostend.
  • Always check that a service charge has not already been added to the bill.
  • The Markt
    Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Sasha H Says:

    The historical focus of the mini-city of Bruges, the Markt is a vast, open piazza surrounded by spectacular, gabled medieval architecture. The masterpiece of all this splendor is the Belfry, which dates back to 1240 and has the highest tower in Belgium — climb up for views of the North Sea. The Belfry also houses the Museum-Gallery Xpo Dalí in the former city market halls — a joyful glimpse into the madcap world of Salvador Dalí, Spain’s most eccentric surrealist artist. A recent addition to the charms of the Markt is the Historium Bruges, where the city’s 15th-century heyday unfolds in rollicking, interactive style. It’s found in a gloriously over-the-top Gothic Revivalist palace above the main tourist office.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • When you’re done admiring the architecture of the Markt, head for one of the typically Flemish restaurants that line the square for beer, mussels, and fries.
    • Buy the sightseer’s Bruges City Card from the tourist office at Market 7 — included in the price are maps and a guidebook.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #8 of 133 things to do in Bruges
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Charming Markt 21/03/2019
    • Impressive town square 21/03/2019
    • The Markt
    Address:
    Markt
    Bruges 8000
    Belgium
    Other:
  • Burg Square
    Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Sasha H Says:

    The second of Bruges’s great central squares is home to some of the most extraordinarily beautiful medieval architecture in Belgium, including the Palace of the Liberty of Bruges, which was the city’s law court. Inside is the 16th-century Renaissance Chamber, famous for its marble fireplaces, oil paintings, and alabaster carvings of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, who visited the city in 1515. The Town Hall next door is decorated with replicas of late 14th century statues by Jan van Eyck. The Basilica of the Holy Blood in the corner of the square combines a 12th-century Romanesque chapel and lacy Gothic upper stories, and contains a much-revered relic of Christ’s blood. Legend dictates that Joseph of Arimathea wiped it from his body after the Crucifixion.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Hidden Gems
    Tips
    • The relic in the Basilica of the Holy Blood is revealed to the world every day 11.30am–12pm and 2pm–4pm.
    • On the second floor of the Town Hall is the Gothic Room, madly adorned with frescoed scenes from the city’s past and topped with a gilded vaulted oak ceiling.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #4 of 133 things to do in Bruges
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Wonderful Square 21/03/2019
    • NIce square 21/03/2019
    • Burg Square
    Address:
    Hoogstraat and Breidelstraat, Brugge, B8000
    Bruges
    Belgium
    Other:
  • Boottochten Brugge
    Boat Tours
    See more photos
    Sasha H Says:

    Every self-respecting visitor to Bruges takes a boat trip around the canals to glimpse the stone palaces, warehouses, church spires, and handsome medieval civic buildings from the water. There are five landing stages (two along Dijver, which is closest to the central squares of Markt and Burg) all marked with an anchor icon. There is multi-lingual commentary on board.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Bruges is very bike-friendly, with many pedestrianized streets and cycling lanes.
    • Pony-and-trap trips around the city leave from the Markt and trot past all the major attractions daily, 9am-6pm. They start on the neighboring Burg on Wednesday mornings.
    • The boats operate from March to November daily, from 10am to 6pm.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 5 Boat Tours & Water Sports in Bruges
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Another way to see Bruges 21/03/2019
    • Go early 09/03/2019
    • Boottochten Brugge
    Phone:
    +32 50 33 32 93
    Hours:
    Mon - Fri
    9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
    Sat - Sun
    9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
    Other:
  • Beguinage (Begijnhof)
    Historic Sites, Historic Walking Areas
    See more photos
    Sasha H Says:

    The Beguinage sits in a tranquil spot next to the Minnewater, known as the Lake of Love. It was founded in 1245 as lodgings for women who vowed celibacy but did not want to retreat totally from the world into a nunnery. Instead, they looked after the sick and injured and built up Bruges’s reputation as a center of lace-making. Today the Beguinage forms a cluster of red-gabled, whitewashed houses sitting around a grassy courtyard planted with trees, and provides a calm respite from the clamor of the secular world outside; it is run by Benedictine nuns and there is a small museum in the Begijnhuisje.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Hidden Gems
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Minnewater and its park are surrounded by lovely medieval buildings, a perfect spot for a lunchtime picnic — but beware of the greedy swans!
    • The Begijnhof courtyard is always open and admission is free, but there is a small charge for the museum.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #10 of 133 things to do in Bruges
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • A haven of tranquility - apart from the escorted groups of tourists! 22/03/2019
    • Beautiful 20/03/2019
    • Beguinage (Begijnhof)
    Address:
    Wijngaardstraat
    Bruges
    Belgium
    Phone:
    +32 50 33 00 11
    Other:
  • Ghent City Center
    Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Sasha H Says:

    Ghent is Bruges without the crowds or the picture-perfect finesse, an edgy Flemish university city whose great Gothic charms can be enjoyed in a day. Ghent City's ancient center is best explored on foot, from the extravagant beauty of the Belfry and Cloth Hall to Gravensteen Castle and the exquisite Adoration of the Mystic Lamb by Jan van Eyck in St Bavo’s Cathedral. There’s a handful of quality art and design museums, but number one on the Ghent hit list has to be the medieval quays of Korenlei and Graslei, where ornately gabled guild houses battle for attention along the Leie waterway.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Trendsetter
    • Hidden Gems
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • The Visit Ghent tourist office is in the former Fishmarket on Veerleplain.
    • Ghent is a 35-minute train journey from Bruges.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 175 things to do in Ghent
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Nice and picturesque 21/03/2019
    • Amazing city 15/03/2019
    • Ghent City Center
    Phone:
    +32 9 264 83 03
    Other:
  • Flanders Fields Battlefield Daytours
    Cultural Tours, Historical & Heritage Tours, Day Trips
    See more photos
    Sasha H Says:

    With the centenary of World War I being honored between 2014-18, now is an appropriate time to tour the Flanders battlefields to appreciate the sacrifice that a whole generation of men made for world freedom in the 1910s. From Passchendaele to Ypres, the rural Flemish countryside was flattened by a series of trenches, battlefields and underground tunnels. Today, the fallen soldiers are remembered in a series of immaculately kept cemeteries for Allied and German troops.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    Tips
    • Also worth visiting in Ypres is the thoughtfully-curated, award-wining In Flanders Fields Museum, which takes a look at events leading up to the war and the political aftermath.
    • Every tour of the Flanders battlefields should end with the emotional Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate in Ypres to commemorate the soldiers who lost their lives in World War I.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #12 of 53 Tours in Bruges
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Flanders Fields and Menin Gate 18/03/2019
    • Sobering day tour, everyone should experience this 11/03/2019
    • Flanders Fields Battlefield Daytours
    Phone:
    +32 800 99 133
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    8:00 AM - 10:00 PM
    Other:
  • 2be Beer Wall
    Bars & Clubs, Gift & Speciality Shops
    See more photos
    Sasha H Says:

    Bruges is something of an ale-drinker’s haven, and 2be offers one of the most comprehensive selections of beer in the city. Part shop and part drinking den, the bar is entered via its famed Beer Wall, which displays more than 500 bottles of Belgian origin. Cleverly located, overlooking Bruges’s prettiest canal corner at Rozenhoedkaai, 2be comes into its own in summer months as punters cram themselves onto the little terrace to enjoy the canal views along with the ever-changing menu of draught and bottled brews.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Must See
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • Bruges is constructing a 4 km (2.5 mile) underground pipeline from the city-center brewery to the bottling plant to reduce beer tanker traffic in its narrow streets.
    • There are more than 700 beers brewed in Belgium, from fruit, white, and wheat beers to monastery-brewed Trappist ales, lagers, strong dubbels and tripels, and yeasty lambic beers.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 86 Shopping in Bruges
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Go see! 20/03/2019
    • Great to view 18/03/2019
    • 2be Beer Wall
    Address:
    Wollestraat 53
    Bruges 8000
    Belgium
    Phone:
    +32 50 61 12 22
    Hours:
    Sun - Tue
    10:00 AM - 7:30 PM
    Thu
    10:00 AM - 7:30 PM
    Fri - Sat
    10:00 AM - 8:00 PM
    Other:
  • Ostende City Center
    Flea & Street Markets, Coffee Shops
    See more photos
    Sasha H Says:

    Once the summer haunt of Belgian royalty, the grand old lady of North Sea resorts is looking a little faded these days, but Ostend still offers a great sea-and-sand experience. The city has miles of pristine sand, water sports facilities, swimming pools and a promenade backed with top-notch seafood restaurants. And there’s more beyond the beaches, with a cluster of art and marine museums to explore, the neo-Gothic architecture of the barn-like St Peter and Paul Church to admire, spas to relax in, and plenty of shopping options in the city center.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Trendsetter
    • Nightlife Seeker
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • The Ostend City Pass permits access to all the city’s attractions and museums, as well as discounts in several restaurants and stores.
    • The tourist office Toerisme Oostende is at Monacoplein 2.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 14 Nightlife in Ostend
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Surreal atmosphere 11/03/2019
    • ostend city 06/06/2018
    • Ostende City Center
    Address:
    Boulevard
    Ostend
    Belgium
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