1. Walk up the iconic Belfry of Bruges
The Belfry of Bruges is a medieval bell tower that formerly housed a treasury and the municipal archives, and served as an observation post for spotting fires and other danger. Admire this iconic octagonal tower from Markt Square before ascending its 366 steps and enjoying panoramic views across the city.
2. Marvel at the Basilica of the Holy Blood
Situated in the scenic heart of the city, the Basilica of the Holy Blood is a twelfth century church that reputedly contains Christ’s blood brought back from the Crusades. Built from 1134 to 1157, the lower chapel is one of the best preserved examples of Romanesque architecture. The upper chapel, on the other hand, was transformed in Gothic Style when it was rebuilt at the end of the fifteenth century and again in 1823. It is in the upper chamber that you’ll see the phial said to contain Christ’s blood.
3. Savour the flavours of Belgium
Belgium is renowned for its beers, so make sure you take a tour of the family-owned De Halve Maan Brewery and taste their famous Brugse Zot beer. At dinner time, feast on traditional Belgian foods such as carbonade flamande (a hearty beef stew), waterzooi (a rich fish stew) or moules-frites (mussels served with fries). Of course, you can’t leave the city without buying some proper Belgian chocolate to take home – Bruges is home to more than 55 different chocolate shops, so you’ll be spoilt for choice.
4. Admire art and architecture
Bruges is brimming with artistic masterpieces and stunning architecture. Be sure to visit the fourteenth-century Stadhuis (city hall) building – its Gothic Hall, adorned with late nineteenth century murals is dazzling in its beauty. From there, head to the Church of Our Lady to see the only Michelangelo sculpture to cross the Italian border, Madonna and Child. Those passionate about paintings should visit the celebrated Groeningemuseum art gallery, whose collection covers six centuries of Flemish and Belgian art.
5. Take a scenic stroll around Minnewater
With a name that translates as ‘Lake of Love’, Minnewater is a great place to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy a tranquil stroll with your loved one. Dotted with ducks and geese, and surrounded by medieval red-brick buildings, the lake provides plenty of opportunities for postcard-worthy photographs, too.