Remember this famous black comedy movie “in Bruges”. Colin Farrell’s character said: “I Didn’t Even Know Where Bruges F****** Was.`` The character did not even know what to do in Bruges.
Well, after the premier the whole world found out where Bruges and it did affect the tourism in the city.This old medieval city is a capital of a coastal Belgian province West-Vlaanderen. Also, the city center is one of the UNESCO world heritage sights. Although the city is small, it’s canals and stone houses make it look like an old town from one of Grimm brothers’ stories. The city is actually called northern Venice due to the number of canals and water in general. So, in general Bruges is not a distant ancient city anymore, it is an innovative city, which should be visited by those interested in Belgium.
So, you decided to come to Bruges and experience the city aura firsthand, but you have no plan and any idea what to do. Firstly, you need to visit the main historic attractions of the city. Secondly, you can move on outside of Bruges or experience the modern side of the city. Here are some of the main places every tourist should visit:
This medieval bell tower is the most distinct attraction of Bruges. Built in the 13th century in the middle of the market square, this tower served as an observation spot for fires and other problems. But today it is a UNESCO world heritage site and the biggest tourist loop whole. Take an hour to get to the top and hear the prominent sound of the bells ringing. This is the way to see the city from the 360-degree angle.
Moving on to more modern creations, this wall is a great background for fun Instagram photos. It is actually located outside a beer museum, which you can visit to learn about this delicious drink and taste test all the major Belgian beers. Take a glass to the terrace and enjoy the view, cause as they say ‘you haven’t experienced Belgium if you did try their beers’.
Every respectful Western European city has to have a big market square in the middle of the city. Usually, you can get organic farmers fruits and vegetables, bread, cheese and chocolate. Or you can always sit in a nearby restaurant, located in old colorful guild houses and enjoy a nice early afternoon with a cup of Belgian hot cocoa.
Sometimes we all get tired from the hustle and bustle of the city, so if you got to that point, be sure to check out Minnewater Park. And whilst enjoying nature, be sure to check out the lake of Love and specifically Lover’s bridge. It is located right in the middle of the park, forming a little oasis. If you are travelling with your partner, cross the bridge and kiss at the end, so your love lasts forever.
Moving on to the more conventional sights, Basilica of Holy Blood is a renaissance building with a major religious influence. It is said that there is a piece of cloth or phial stored inside, which contains the blood of Jesus. Obviously, religious beliefs are different for everyone but this church should be at least visited for its interiors. It is small but can be rightfully called a piece of art on its own.
But if you think you saw everything you wanted in Bruges, be sure to visit nearby territories. Travelling to West-Vlaanderen, the province where Bruges is located, should be a trip on its own. But not everyone has time to explore this Flemish province in detail. So here are two of the main spots you need to visit outside of Bruges to feel your trip is complete.
Of course, if you are in a coastal province it is going to be a crime not to visit one of the beaches. The beach itself is quite big with dunes and small houses. Although, the weather in Belgium is unpredictable, if you get to experience one of the sunny days, pack your bags and have a nice day trip to the North Sea. You can rent a caravan right near the water to be able to relax and not worry about leaving your stuff on the sand.
This nature reserve is also located right near the North Sea. This is a nice way to spend your last day, walking in the dunes with the sea breeze in your hair, thinking about life. The park has a former natural inlet which connected the ports in Bruges in the Middle ages. It also is a home for various types of animals, so be sure to get a binocular to bird watch. Visiting this park makes you feel like you are in one of those wildlife movies and this is the feeling that is worth it.
To summarize, West-Vlaanders has a lot of activities to offer, and they can be both calm and exciting. But if you are traveling to the province do not forget to visit its capital Bruges and the coastal area. And if you ever feel stuck up with a question “What to do in Bruges?”, save this guide for inspiration.
Up to 95% CO2 reduction if you book a campspace adventure. Learn more