11 Things to do in Bruges

Written by Sam Van den Haute aka CheckOutSam

With a network of canals and cobblestone roads connecting the different markets, the historic center is ideal for spending a day in 'Brugge' or Bruges. The medieval city isn't only a pleasure for the tourists' camera, but the many attractions in Bruges make it easy for anyone here to have a nice time. Here are some of the best things to do in Bruges.

Sam Van den Haute CheckoutSam

Hi, I'm Sam, the blogger behind CheckOutSam!

Sam Van den Haute has been a full-time world traveler for ten years and has therefore gained a lot of travel and lifestyle inspiration on all continents. Do you still have questions after reading this blog? Ask them in the comments section or send me a message at [email protected] and I'll be happy to help you wherever I can!

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1. The Belfry

You’ll never get lost in Bruges. The Belfort or Belfry is one of the points of interest in Bruges that you can always see. Located on the Grand Market, the tower on top of the hall complex is one of the most recognizable points of the city. A climb to the highest point (via the stairs) is one of the best things to do in Bruges. From the inner courtyard of the halls, you start climbing the 366 steps that bring you to the viewing point at 83 meters (272 feet) altitude. From here you’ll get the best panorama over this gorgeous city.

belfry bruges things to do

The Belfry is one of the most appealing buildings of Bruges. Look at it from the ground, but make sure you also head to the top for the best views over Bruges!

2. Basilica of the Holy Blood

The Basilica of the Holy Blood located on the ‘Burg’ is one of Bruges’ greatest things to see, and all because in the basilica you can find a bottle containing a drop of the blood of Christ. After the Second Crusade in 1149, the blood is supposed to be brought back from the Holy Land by Dietrich Alsace.

basilica of the holy blood Bruges

Not only the outside from many historical buildings in Bruges are gorgeous. Take a look inside as well! Like in this basilica for example.

3. The canals of Bruges

The extensive network of channels flowing through the historic center of Bruges is called the ‘Brugse reien’. As the rivers flows along all the major sights in Bruges, a boat trip on these canals is one of the top things to do in Bruges. It may be very touristy, but given the reputation of the ‘Venice of the North’, a boat trip is something you must do while you’re in Bruges.

sights in Bruges canals

Touristy but… A must! Sail through historical Bruges in a comfortable boat.

4. The chocolate museum

When someone asks me what there is to do in Bruges, there are quite a few answers… One thing everyone will find out about when walking in Bruges is that there are a lot of chocolate shops in this Flemish city. It’s clear that Belgium is famous for its delicious chocolate! A reputation that is being showcased with pleasure at the Chocolate Museum. By taking a tour here you’ll learn about the history of chocolate and how cocoa is processed into the delicacy we all love.

chocolate museum bruges

Are you in love with chocolate? Then this is a place you shouldn’t skip!

5. Belgian fries museum

From one treat to another. Belgium has more specialties than just chocolate. One of the activities in Bruges that you can do is visit the ‘Frietmuseum’. The Belgian fries museum claims to be the first and only museum devoted to the Belgian fries. You will learn about the history of the crunchy delicacy, the bond with Belgium and of course you can taste the Belgian fries here! This is one of the activities in Bruges that you should only do when it’s raining.

fries museum bruges

We Belgians love Fries! When you’re visiting Belgium you should definitely try some. They’re the best fries ever!

6. Brewery ‘De Halve Maan’ (the half-moon)

Is there a better way to finish your fries than with a fresh Belgian beer? In the Half-Moon Brewery, the centuries-old tradition of beer brewing is recorded in a museum that you can visit. A tour is followed with a fresh pint of ‘Bruges Zot’, one of the beers brewed here. If you’re wondering what to see in Bruges, and you’re a beer lover, then this attraction in Bruges certainly shouldn’t be skipped. Anyone looking for a wonderful location for lunch can also have great food here with views over the many canals of Bruges.

Brewery de halve maan Bruges things to do

Did you already try the ‘Brugse Zot’? A delicious beer produced in Bruges! Go to this brewery to see how it’s made.

7. The Historium

The Historium is one of the museums you can visit if you wonder what to do in Bruges during rainy weather. Located on the ‘Grand Market’, this museum is a historic lesson for anyone who wants to experience the Golden Age of the city again. With the help of cinematic decors, music and special effects, you return to the medieval times of Bruges. The panoramic terrace on the second floor is one of the most beautiful photo locations in the city. From the top you look down at the impressive big market with the dominating Belfry, the beating heart of the city.

historium bruges points of interest

At the left side of this gorgeous building you’ll find the Historium. (Where the red and white flags are hanging)

8. The beguinage

Whether you’re in Bruges for a day or a weekend, you’ll never get enough of sightseeing in Bruges. The white colored cottages of the ‘Begijnhof (Beguinage) Ten Wijngaerde’ are one of the places you just want to visit. Although there’s no beguines living here anymore, it remains a unique location in the surroundings of Bruges. It’s in fact the last preserved beguinage of the city. The setting near the ‘Minnewater’, a small lake surrounded by trees and a park makes the beguinage even more idyllic.

Beguinage Bruges

Want to escape from the hustle and bustle from Bruges? Sit down on one of the benches near the Beguinage!

9. The St. John’s Hospital

The St. John’s Hospital in Bruges is one of the oldest surviving hospital buildings in Europe. Dating from the twelfth century, the sick, pilgrims and travelers were treated by the nuns and monks present. By visiting you’ll learn more about life in this hospital, but the old pharmacy and herb garden are worth a visit as well. In addition, there are many works of art of one of the most famous painters of the Flemish Primitives: Hans Memling. He lived and worked in Bruges during the fifteenth century.

saint johns hospital bruges things to see

The Saint-Johns hospital of Bruges actually looks a lot like a church! And of course it’s also situated next to the water.

10. Loppem Castle

Whoever spends a weekend in Bruges and thinks of all that there is to do in Bruges doesn’t have to limit theirselves to the historical center. In the vicinity of Brugge you will find the Loppem forest, in which you’ll also find a neogotic castle with ramparts. The forest is ideal for those who want to avoid the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy a walk in a delightful background.

loppem castle - what to see in Bruges

Escape the touristy Bruges and go get some fresh air in the Loppem forest.

11. Boudewijn Seapark

Another possibility to spend a weekend in Bruges with the children is by visiting the nearby Boudewijn Seapark. This theme park is located in the vicinity of Bruges and is the ideal day out with children. In addition, there is also a dolphinarium where dolphins show all kinds of tricks during a show.

what to do in Bruges? Boudewijn Seapark

A perfect excursion with the kids? Go visit the Boudewijn Seapark, only a few miles away from the historical centre of Bruges.

Plan your trip to Bruges

Looking for things to do in Bruges? Above you already found eleven. But of course there is much more to see in the most beautiful city of Flanders!
Tickets and tours can also be booked online. Curious about what is on offer?


» All tours and excursions in Bruges


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