Bruges is a beautiful city but one of those you might find yourself in for a disappointingly short amount of time. I spent an entire day exploring the city without stopping so I could let you in on the places to head to if you haven’t got time to spend three days meandering your way through the Bruges’ charming streets.
Bruges (also often spelt Brugge or Brugges) is in the Flanders region of Belgium, a region with absolutely fascinating war history. Close to the northern coast of the country, the city is reachable by train from Brussels, in which you can connect to many major European cities relatively quickly.
The city is mostly known for its cobbled streets, chocolate shops, beer, waffles and an abundance of beautiful buildings. You can navigate your way around easily on foot, however, if you want to blend in with the locals I would recommend renting a bike!
So, back to the task in question, below are just a few of the most picturesque locations in Bruges…
I thought I would kick off with the most obvious and well known. The view over the canal and Belfrey from Rozenhoedkaai (Quay of the Rosary) is a picture that will probably sum up your entire trip to Bruges, so you must go and see it. This is also where you can join a boat tour – a great way to see parts of the city that you can’t on foot.
2. Chocolatier Dumon
Chocolatier Dumon began in 1992 , creating a small scale production of artisan truffles for bakeries. In 1996 a shop was opened in the heart of Bruges, located in a picture-perfect medieval building, it is this shop that now sees a torrent of tourists every day, desperate to try these delicious artisan chocolates. The shop is located on Eeirmarkt.
The market square in Bruges is central to the entire city, bringing many of the winding streets together. This is one of the busiest spots in Bruges so I would recommend visiting early morning or evening, luckily I was visiting in February so it wasn’t too busy, I imagine July is a whole other level…
The Markt is flanked on one side by the 12th-century belfry and on the other a row of multicoloured gingerbread type houses. Did I mention it’s a great spot to sit and eat a waffle or some frites.
Dating back to the 1200s, Grauwwerkersstraat was named after the ‘gray workers’. If you’re lucky you can get this whole street to yourself, on a sunny day the sun streams through the joining alleys and shadows dance across the dwellings.
5. Burg Square
Next to the more well known Grot Markt, Burg Square hosts a variety of architectural styles, including Gothic, Renaissance, and Neo-Classicist. Here stands one of Bruges most stunning buildings – the Town Hall, dating back to 1376.
Just another beautiful street in Bruges, I loved these dwellings along Genthof, a great route to take if you want to walk further up the canal.
7. Carmersstraat and Spiegelrei
Meander your way up the canal and take some time to stop and soak in the views. The canal here is great for people watching, especially in summer when tour boats whizz up and down. The Spiegelrei watercourse you see here was an important trading route in the Medieval times.
Located close to the famous Bonifacius Bridge is Maariastraat, a typical Belgian street with a nice collection of cafes and restaurants, and a hot chocolate shop!
9. Minnewater Park
I won’t lie, when I first googled pictures of this park I didn’t feel particularly inspired to visit. However, I arrived just before sunset, I happened to walk through it when I was going somewhere else. The sense of calm and tranquillity I got after a long day of travelling and walking was exactly what I needed. This is a truly beautiful spot, if you are travelling as a couple I imagine it would be a lovely place for a romantic picnic!
This is not a place I will even attempt to pronounce, but it is definitely one for the itinerary. Founded in 1245, the ‘Princely Beguinage Ten Wijngaarde’, once home to the beguines, emancipated lay-women who led a devoutly religious and celibate life.
The houses you see today are still inhabited by nuns of the Order of St. Benedict, as well as women from Bruges who have decided to remain unmarried.
I hope you enjoyed the read! No matter where you go in Bruges you are faced with beauty and history. In order to find these spots I just walked around the city for the day, 30,000 later I had built a collection of over 500 photographs! Let me know where your favourite spots are!