In Bruges: Top attractions in Belgium's medieval town
The medieval town of Bruges is a tourist hotspot thanks to its picturesque cobbled streets and historic buildings - not to mention the 2008 film In Bruges starring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson.
With so much to see and do in the popular town, here are a few of the top things to see and do:
The Bruges Belfort
The iconic Belfort is situated in the town's Market Square and can be used as a point of reference for those trying to figure their way around the town.
Build in the 13th Century, the tower is the town must-see attraction thanks to the stunning views on offer once you reach the top.
The 366 step climb is not for the faint-hearted and it can at times feel very clautrophobic. However visitors are restricted to 70 at any given time and the view from the top of the tower will more than make up for that out-of-breath feeling.
Visitors are advised to arrive as early as possible as queues can get very long during peak times.
Opening times: 9.30am-5pm, last tickets 4.15pm
Price: Adult - €8, child - €5
Horse-drawn carriage tour
The best way to see the sights and find your way around Bruges is by taking a horse-drawn carriage tour.
Starting off from the Market Square, the English-speaking tour guide will take you past all of the town's highlights, allowing visitors to see the best of the town from the comfort of a cart.
With Bruges being a huge tourist destination, the sound of a horse's clapping hoofs does not go unnoticed, so prepare to be photographed by eager passers-by throughout the journey.
There is a notice on each carriage informing tourists that the horses are well cared for, and a ten minute break is taken during your tour to allow the horse to rest.
Price: €50, though you are kindly asked to also leave a tip for the horse.
Canal tour by boat
Another great way to take in the sights is by water on one of the canal tours.
Driven by an English-speaking guide, the boat flows past the town's famous landmarks and it's a great way to get a close up view of the buildings that cannot be reached on foot.
Much like the horse-drawn carriage tour, this is another great way to find the town's best spots and, depending on the weather, can be a relaxing way to see the sights of Bruges.
If there's one thing the Belgians are proud of it's their beer and Bruges has some of the finest brews on offer.
There are a number of brewery tours to take in, each taking visitors through the process of making the local tipple and there's also a free sample of the product to enjoy at the end of the tour.
Some of the most popular brewery's include Brugse Zot at the De Halve Maan and Bourgogne des Flandres which is situated close to the Market Square, boasting a scenic view of the Belfort from its windows.
Price: €7.50 - €10
A looming building located in the Market Square, the Historium offers an audio and video tour of 13th Century Bruges.
This is the best source of information on the town's long history and it's panoramic terrace also offers a great view of the Square.
Price: Adult - €13.50, child - €7.50
The beating heart of the town, Market Square is surrounded by a number of cafés, bars and restaurants as well as the medieval buildings the town is known for.
The evenings are a perfect time to walk around to soak up the atmosphere of Bruges, with the buildings all lit up it's a great photo opportunity for tourists.
The area also hosts a food and flower market every Wednesday, selling fresh produce for every conceivable need. Even if you're not one to spend the money, the market is also great to walk about and take in the hustle and bustle of the town.
Places to eat
There are a lot of restaurants surrounding the Market Square, which are great if you enjoy a breathtaking view with your food. However the menus and prices are not the best on offer and visitors would be advised to venture a little further out of the town centre for a better dining experience.
The same advice is offered for those looking for the best in Belgian chocolate.
Chocolatiers are in abundance within Bruges but the further out of the centre you venture, the better price you will see for the tasty treats.
Quick must-see attractions
- The Madonna of Bruges - A marble sculpture by Michelangelo of Mary with the Child Jesus.
- Torture museum - A refurbished prison, the museum offers a gruesome insight into torture methods over the centuries.
- Choco-Story - A museum where visitors can learn the history of chocolate and sample the product after watching how it is made.
- Heilig-Bloedbasiliek Church - The basilica is named from a phial supposedly containing a few drops of Christ’s blood that was brought to Bruges after the 12th Century Crusades.