If anyone asks me the prettiest place I’ve ever been, Bruges is always the winner. It’s not the biggest city, but there is definitely plenty to see there.
Not just your standard square, Grote Markt is the main square in the centre of Bruges. Chances are you’ll pass through it at least once while you’re in the city, but the buildings that surround the square are great to check out, with places to eat and the standard chip van on offer.
This historic tower is actually in Grote Markt, and used to be the main time piece for the city. The bells would ring to signal the start of work, end of work, announcements, celebrations, fires…just about anything really. Nowadays, the clock still chimes every fifteen minutes, and it’s great to try and guess the tune.
Some of the chocolate shops like to be adventurous with their products, and as such make a variety of things with their chocolate. And because there are so many chocolate shops, there are loads of different chocolate models to check out!
Basilica of the Holy Blood
There is reportedly a vial of Jesus’ blood at this church. Who wouldn’t want to see that?
The Basilica of the Holy Blood isn’t the only church worth seeing in Bruges – there are some pretty big and pretty, urm, pretty churches to also check out. The main church area is free to visit, but if you want to visit the extra parts, like museums or galleries, there’s a small charge. You can see a bit more about the stunning churches in Bruges here.
Jan van Eyck Square
Just a short walk from Grote Markt, the square commemorates the artist. There’s a statue in the middle of the square with a plaque explaining what the surrounding buildings are and what they used to be used for. Really pretty, just to be different from the rest of the city (ha!), and the buildings date from late 15th century. They’re pretty cool when you find out the history of them, and there’s also a building with a statue of a bear on it. I promise it’s there, see if you can spot it!
A walk along the canals is not only relaxing, but you get to the see all the different types of houses on the waterfront, as well as the different types of bridges across the river. Walk far enough and you might even stumble upon a windmill!
Jan van Eyck isn’t the only square in the city worth visiting. ‘t Zand square has a really pretty fountain that’s worth checking out, but there are plenty of squares dotted throughout the city, many of which host a market on one day or another.
I can’t lie, I was so excited to see a real windmill. It was only when I got home that someone reminded me we have windmills in England too, but I bet they aren’t as impressive as the one I walked 45 minutes to see (at least I hope not)!
The city of Bruges is also an UNESCO World Heritage Site, so just walking around the city, soaking up the ambience and seeing the historic buildings is lovely on its own! Stray further than the immediate centre and you can see the pretty houses and delightful little neighbourhood shops that line the cobblestone streets.