Things to do in

Bruges

Discover chocolate box houses, historical gems, and craft beer to boot in Belgium’s fairytale town.

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The 7 must-see attractions of Bruges

A medieval town criss-crossed with canals and cobbled lanes; it’s easy to see why so many tourists visit Bruges each year. There’s a beautiful building on every corner, but if you’re wondering what to do, be sure to visit at least a few of our top seven sightseeing spots.

  • Basilica of the Holy Blood

    1. Basilica of the Holy Blood

    If it weren’t impressive enough that this 12th Century church is still standing, it also displays a relic of the blood of Jesus Christ. Visit mid-week to avoid too many tourists.

  • St Salvator’s Cathedral

    2. St Salvator’s Cathedral

    Visit this cathedral in the Old Town Square to take in the beautifully restored Gothic building and the historic artworks inside. Visitors can tour every morning around services.

  • Béguinage

    3. Béguinage

    This series of pretty, white townhouses would be every Instagrammer’s dream – were it not now a convent for Benedictine nuns. Come in the spring to enjoy the daffodils.

  • 4. Loppem Castle

    You’ll think you’ve stumbled into a Disney film as you approach this turreted castle, surrounded by water and fit for a princess. To not get lost in the garden maze, follow a wall!

  • Groeninge Museum

    5. Groeninge Museum

    Neoclassicism? Check. Expressionism? Check. Post-war modern art? Check! There’s something for every art-lover at the Groeninge Museum. Entry is 8€ or free with some city passes.

  • Belfry of Bruges

    6. Belfry of Bruges

    You can’t miss this imposing landmark. Climb the tower for panoramic views if you’re feeling fit and happy to queue, or wait until evening to enjoy it lit up from the square.

  • Church of Our Lady Bruges

    7. Church of Our Lady Bruges

    Parts of the building are currently under renovation, but this beautiful church is worth a visit just to see Michaelangelo’s Madonna and Child (for just 3€ while works continue).

Frequently asked questions about Bruges

What top attractions are a must-see in Bruges?

Planning Your Visit

  • How is the weather?

    Bruges is not a hot or humid city, making it a great place to sightsee comfortably all summer (expect highs of 21 degrees and take a jacket for the evening). However, it’s busy most weekends, so consider planning a trip mid-week to have more of the city to yourself. Winter can be cold, making it a good choice if you like to avoid crowds, but the Christmas markets are a pretty and popular draw during the festive season.

  • How can I get there?

    Flights to Bruges from Europe can often be relatively inexpensive if you consider a low-cost airline into Ostend airport. Direct flights from further afield also land at this international airport. It’s easily accessible by train from many major European cities, including Paris and London via the Eurostar. The ferry is another popular option.

Good to know

  • Language
    Dutch, German and French
  • Currency
    Euro (€)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (+01:00)
  • Country Code
    +32
  • Best time to visit
    From April to May, it's still a bit chilly but the city's fauna is blooming and it's possible to get some great accommodation deals! From June to August, the temperatures are warmest, the trees are green, but there are definitely more crowds, too.

Insider tips: Planning a trip to Bruges

Jurga Rubinovaite is an avid traveler, photographer, and chief adventure planner behind the popular family travel blog Full Suitcase. On her blog, you can find more information and all the details for planning a trip to Bruges.

What should I do on my first trip to Bruges?

Bruges is a fairytale-like town with historic Old Town and picturesque canals. There are many great things to do in Bruges, but on your first visit, be sure not to miss the Market Square with the impressive Belfry Tower, Historium Bruges experience, and take a boat tour on the canals. Rozenhoedkaai - the most photographed place in Bruges - is also a must-see!

What are some hidden gems to see in Bruges?

Bruges is full of beautiful old buildings and hidden gems behind every corner! Some hidden gems include the canal Gouden-Handrei (don't miss Augustijnenbrug), medieval buildings in the Genthof and Kortewinkel streets, De Gentpoort, and Coupure. But our favorite is a visit to a nearby tiny town of Damme that you can reach either on foot, by bike, or by taking a boat called Lamme Goedzak.

How much time should I spend in Bruges?

You can see the main landmarks of Bruges in a day, but if you want to also visit a few museums and explore the city deeper, we recommend spending 2-3 days in Bruges. The city has nice hotels, good restaurants, and plenty of shopping opportunities, so it's a great destination for a weekend city trip or a romantic getaway.

What food is Bruges known for?

Just as many cities in Belgium, Bruges is a great place to taste Belgian waffles, locally-brewed beers, Belgian chocolate, and some typical Flemish dishes. Must-try is Brugse Zot, a local beer brewed by the brewery “De Halve Maan” as well as Belgian chocolates and pralines. TIP: One of the best ways to get aquanited with the regional dishes and avoid touris traps is to take a food & beer tour with a local!

What is the best way to get around Bruges?

The best way to explore Bruges is on foot. The city center is very walkable and all the main sights are located close to each other. Boat cruises on the canals and horse-drawn carriage rides are also popular and there also tours by mini-bus for those who prefer not to walk. If you want to get a bit off the beaten path, take a bike tour or rent a bike - it's the best way to cover more ground and see some attractions that are a bit further away in a short time.

What are the best months to visit Bruges?

Bruges is a year-round destination and every season has its charms. In summer, everything is green and there are many events, but it's also the busiest time to be in Bruges. Bruges is also a popular winter destination, especially in December, when the city hosts a beautiful Christmas Market. For fewer crowds and better weather (although you never know in Belgium), visit Bruges in April-May or in September-October.

What are the best neighborhoods for shopping?

The best place for shopping in Bruges is the city center area located southwest of Market Square. Steenstraat is the main shopping street in Bruges, where you'll find all the big brands and high-street fashion. If you're looking for smaller, boutique shops, try Noordzandstraat or Geldmuntstraat and also the smaller streets nearby. For chocolates and souvenirs, check out Katelijnestraat close to Beguinage of Bruges.

Other Sightseeing Options in Bruges

Want to discover all there is to do in Bruges? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Bruges

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 3,868 reviews

Andrea made us have a very nice day. We visit Ghent first and then Bruges. We had free time in both cities. They took us to eat at a restaurant in Bruges, the truth was that it was a bit expensive ... despite that Andrea was 10.

This tour was amazing. The guides were knowledgeable, warm, welcoming and fun. I can’t imagine not experiencing this trip. It is a must do. I highly recommend this company!

An incredible day, days in fantastic cities and a guide (Guiomar) who was very fun, enthusiastic and who could clarify any doubts is curiosity.

Good option to see both cities in one day with a guide. You see main attractions but you still have enough time to explore around by youself.

It was a great and enjoyable experience. A bit tiring for a 1 day trip but totally worth it!