Bruges printable map of top tourist attractions & city travel guide
Map of top 10 attractions in Bruges
The typical top ten attractions are listed below. You can find the detailed locations of these places on the maps above.
- Burg Square - The old centre of Bruges is an architectural gem – a small, intimate square surrounded by historic buildings, each one offering something of fascination.
- Market Square (Markt) - The beating heart of Bruges, dominated by a high bell tower and artfully lit at night. It is the focal point of Bruges, and is the site of a large market on Wednesday mornings, and a small Christmas market (with an ice rink) in December.
- Belfry Tower (Belfort) - For a breathtaking view over Bruges' medieval streets, climb the 366 steps to the top of the Belfort.
- Manneken-Pis - No one knows why this tiny bronze statue of a boy peeing a jet of water has become such a cherished symbol of Brussels, but it has.
- Canal near the Steenhouwersdijk Groenerei - Just south of the Burg is one of the prettiest stretches of canal, where calm waters reflect the medieval bridges and skyline. Here, the Steenhouwersdijk (stonemason's embankment) becomes the Groenerei (green canal) and is flanked by a picturesque almshouse called De Pelikaan, dated 1714 and named after the symbol of Christian charity, the pelican.
- The Canals of Bruges by the Rozenhoedkaai - This slender quay provides an exquisite view of the Belfort. The site which is so special that it is almost impossible not to take a photo.
- Basilica of the Holy Blood (Heilig Bloed Basiliek) - The city's most important shrine, home to the revered Holy Blood relic, reputedly washed from the body of the crucified Christ.
- Groeninge Museum (Groeningemuseum and Memlingmuseum) - Not only is this one of the great north European collections, with star roles played by the late medieval masters of Flemish painting, such as Jan van Eyck and Hans Memling; it is also refreshingly small.
- Memling Museum & Saint John's Hospital (Memlingmuseum & Sint-Janshospitaal) - You can find works by Memling in this 11th-century hospital converted to museum. Visitors are advised to use the excellent audio guides available with the entry ticket.
- Church of Our Lady (Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk) - The towering spire of the Church of Our Lady is another key landmark of Bruges' skyline.
- Gruuthusemuseum - If it is hard to picture quite how life was led during Bruges' past, this museum will do much to fill in the gaps. It presents a rich collection of everyday artifacts from the homes of the merchant classes, from kitchenware to musical instruments.
- Beguinage (Begijnhof) - Extraordinarily picturesque huddle of whitewashed houses which was once home to a self-contained community of unmarried women. This beautiful enclave, home to a community of beguines from 1245 until 1928, expresses something essential about the soul of Bruges. Around the tree-shaded park are the 17th and 18th-century whitewashed homes of the beguines. You can visit the grounds, the beguinage church and one of the houses.
- Lake of Love (Minnewater) - An exceptionally romantic lake which attracts canoodlers by the score. Have some relaxing time on one of the benches along the lake.
What are some interesting facts about Bruges?
Getting around - The center of Bruges is compact and filled with pedestrian-only streets, which makes walking the best way to get around. Wear good walking shoes, though, because those charming cobblestones can be hard going. And watch out for bikes.
Public transport - The most enjoyable way to explore Bruges is on foot, and the centre is certainly compact – and flat – enough to make this an easy proposition. The city does, however, have an excellent public transport system, with fast and frequent buses running to its every suburban nook and cranny, while boats offer an enjoyable way of exploring the city's canals. There are not trams or metro / subway / underground / tube.
Buses - Bruges has an excellent network of local bus services, shuttling round the centre and the suburbs from the main bus and train station.
City layout - Bruges has two hearts, the side-by-side monumental squares called the Markt and the Burg. Narrow streets fan out from these two squares, while a network of canals threads its way to every section of the small city. The center is almost encircled by a canal that opens at its southern end to become the Minnewater (Lake of Love), which is filled with swans and other birds and bordered by the Begijnhof and a fine park. On the outer side of the Minnewater is the rail station.
Central Bruges - The centre of Bruges in contained within a clearly defined shape called the Pentagon. Nowadays this outline is formed by a busy ring road called the Petite Ceinture. The road follows the path of the old city walls, a huge 14th-century construction 9 km (6 miles) long. Few traces of the walls have survived, but one old city gate, the Porte de Hal, still stands, and gives a fair indication of just how massive the fortifications must have been. Most of historic Brussels is contained within these bounds, including both the commercial and popular districts of the Lower Town, and the aristocratic quarter of the Upper Town, which includes the Royal Palace. The result is that Brussels is still a very compact city. You can walk right across the Pentagon in about half an hour. As well as monuments and cultural gems, you will find a concentration of excellent places to stay and eat, good shops, and vibrant cafés and bars.
South of the Markt - The bustling area to the south the Markt holds the city's busiest shopping streets as well as many of its key buildings and most important museums. The area is at its prettiest among the old lanes near the cathedral, Salvatorskathedraal, which lays claim to be the city's most satisfying church, though the Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk, just to the south, comes a close second.
North and east of the Markt - The gentle canals and maze-like cobbled streets of eastern Bruges are extraordinarily pretty, and it's here that the city reveals its depth of character. In this uncrowded part of the centre, which stretches east from Jan van Eyckplein to the old medieval moat, several different types of architecture blend into an almost seamless whole, beginning with the classically picturesque terraces that date from the town's late medieval golden age.
Tourist information centers - Bruges has two tourist offices. The first – and smaller – office is at the train station, where they concentrate on making hotel reservations for visitors. The main tourist office is right in the centre of town at Burg. There's an accommodation booking service here too, and they also sell all manner of brochures about the city, including a useful general guide with suggested walking routes and museum opening times. You can also pick up some free city maps here.
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