Bruges called Brugge by its native Dutch language name which assumedly used to signify landing stage, is the capital of the province of West Flanders in present-day Flanders, the Flemish Region of Belgium. It is one of Europe's most important landmarks as the city has hardly changed since the Middle Ages.
Once over the circling canal and inside the city walls, Bruges closes in around you with street after street of charming historic houses and a canal always nearby. In recent years, the city has turned so much towards tourism the locals sometimes complain they are living in Disney-land. The newly cleaned houses should however not confuse you; they are truly centuries old. And if you can get away from the chocolate-shops, you can visit some more quiet areas s.a. St. Anna, and imagine what life in the late middle ages must have been like.
- Groeninge Museum (Dijver 12, 7 days 9.30am-5pm, 8 EUR entry) is also known as 'The city museum of Fine Arts', and has a collection of artworks that span several centuries (14th-20th), focussing mainly on works by painters who lived and worked in Bruges.
- Basilica of the Holy Blood (Heilige Bloed Basiliek) (Burg 10, April-September 9.30am-11.50am & 2pm-5.50pm, October-March 10am-11.50am & 2pm-3.50pm) is a beautiful church on the Burg square. it houses a relic - a vial of blood that is said to be that of Jesus - and was built in the Gothic style. Try and get there early so you can view the chapel when it is quiet and not filled with tourists. And don't forget to visit the chapel underneath, in heavy Romanesque style - a contrast to the lovely light Gothic above.
- Onze-Lieve-Vrouwkerk is a fascinating church with architecture from the Romanesque and Gothic periods. In the east end of the church are very fine tombs of Charles the Bold and his daughter Mary of Burgundy - in contrasting Gothic and Renaissance styles, despite their superficial similarity. The church also houses a small but lovely Michelangelo sculpture of the Virgin and Child.
- Jerusalem church in a quiet area of the city, is a highly unusual church with octagonal tower built by the Adornes brothers, merchants of Italian extraction. It includes a fine black tournai marble tomb, late Gothic stained glass, and a tiny and rather spooky chapel containing an effigy of the dead Christ. The entrance fee also covers the Lace Museum in the former Adornes mansion.
- The Begijnhof or convent, between the centre of the station and the city, with white painted small houses and fine plane trees, is a quiet place to walk - groups are discouraged.
- The Hospital of St John or Sint-Janshospitaal contains a museum of paintings by Hans Memling, within the early medieval hospital buildings.
Bruges is visited by a huge number of tourists and it sometimes becomes quite annoying, especially around the Markt and Burg squares. The important thing to remember, however, is that very few tourists venture far away from the main shopping area, so if you want some peace and quiet you should simply explore the many small cobbled streets away from the main squares.
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Nearest places of interest:
|Hotel Novotel Brugge Centrum|
Hotel Next Door Bed & Breakfast
|Hotel Casa Romantico|
The PAND Hotel Brugge, a Small Luxury Hotel
College of Europe