Known as the Venice of the North, Bruges is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
The city's name is believed to derive from the Old Norse bryggja, meaning landing stage or wharf, and Bruges' fortunes reached their zenith in the 13th and early 14th centuries, when the city was the most important trading center in northwestern Europe.
Things went downhill until the late 19th century, when Bruges once more came ‘back to life', ironically almost entirely due to Georges Rodenbach's novel "Bruges la Morte", which awakened international interest in what had become a sleepy backwater.
It was a justified motive that prompted UNESCO in 2000 to include the entire historical city centre on the World Heritage list.
The current city boundaries still coincide exactly with those of the medieval city centre, and the spaces and structures that were so typical of Bruges in the past have been preserved.
Walking along the maze of winding cobbled alleys and romantic canals, you imagine yourself to be in medieval times.
Full Day Tour
Leave Dinant for Bruges
Tour by foot into the old city center of Bruges
Some highlights on our tour:
- The Beguinage and Minnewater ("Lake of Love"):
The 'Princely Beguinage Ten Wijngaarde' with its whitewashed housefronts, tranquil convent garden and beguinage museum was founded in 1245. Today the nuns of the Order of Saint Benedict inhabit the site.
- The Market Place and the Belfry:
The Belfry tower is no less than 83 metres high! There are 366 steps to the top, home of an impressive clock mechanism and a carillon with 47 bells.
- The House "Ter Beurze" (optional)
Built in 1423. Many foreign merchants took rooms here, as it was common practice for merchants to do business in the lodgings. In front of this house, local and foreign merchants talked business and changed money. The name of the Van der Beurze family, owners of the house, gave birth to the notion ‘bourse’ (stock exchange) which was adopted in many languages.
- The Kraanplaats ("crane place") (optional)
Where the ships arrived with wool from England.
- The chocolate museum "Choco-Story" (optional)
A great experience! You are immersed in the ancient Mexican world of the Mayas and the Aztecs for whom chocolate was the drink of the gods and cocoa beans a means of payment.
The chocoholic gets to find out all about the production of chocolate truffles, chocolates, hollow figures and bars of chocolate.
Note that there are 49 chocolate shops in town ...
- The Burg and City hall : medieval opulence
For more than six centuries Bruges has been governed from its 14th-century city hall, one of the oldest and most venerable in the Low Countries.
- The Basilica of the Holy Blood
Double chapel. On ground level : St. Basil's Chapel (1139-1149) in roman style. The first floor chapel, converted into gothic style in the 15th century, contains a.o. the famous Relic of the Holy Blood (worship : every Friday).
- The Fish Market
in this covered complex (1821), fresh seafood from the nearby North Sea is for sale every day (6.00 am-1.00 pm) from Tuesday through Saturday.
. a boat ride along the picturesque waterways of the old city (you will discover secret gardens, picturesque bridges and wonderfully beautiful still lives),
. almshouses (or "Godshuizen"): tiny villages within the city’s ramparts. That’s how these medieval residential courts are best described. Centuries ago they were built out of mortar and charity. Today their picturesque gardens, whitewashed façades and glorious silence are the city’s havens of peace by excellence),
. The Brewery "De Halve Maan", whose earliest reference dates back to 1546. Their "Brugse Zot" is a tasty beer of high fermentation made of malt, hops and yeast
. lace shops (and possibly a lace demonstration, if we are lucky),
. Musea (the Flemish primitives, for instance) and churches (the Church of Our Lady, for instance, with its 122-metre brick steeple, dominates the skyline of the city. It is quite literally the ‘high spot’ of the stonemason’s art in medieval Bruges. The church also plays host to a rich collection of art treasures, of which the crowning glory is definitely the beautiful ‘Madonna and Child’ by Michelangelo. The choir aisle is also a treasure trove of exceptional pieces: paintings and exquisite woodcarving, the 16th-century ceremonial tombs of Maria of Burgundy and Charles the Bold, as well as other painted tombs from the 13th and 14th centuries, etc.),